Drugfree.org CEO Steve Pasierb on The Medicine Abuse Project

Guest Blogger and The Partnership at Drugfree.org CEO Steve Pasierb Highlights New Documentary

10.09.13 | By Kaelan Hollon

We’re excited to host a guest blog post by Steve Pasierb, the passionate CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. We’ve been longtime partners with The Partnership, and Steve’s blog will be the first of regular updates about what’s new in The Partnership at Drugfree.org’s world.

It’s a busy, active organization, and I encourage anyone concerned about prescription drug abuse to get involved. Learn more about The Partnership here.

Last month, The Partnership at Drugfree.org embarked on the second year of The Medicine Abuse Project, our five-year public education and mobilization campaign that among its goals is to prevent 500,000 teens and young adults from abusing medicine.

It’s a Project made possible by organizations like PhRMA, who set an example for corporate responsibility and work with member companies to offer help and resources for families in need.

Together, we’re part of one of the most significant public/private partnerships to combat this epidemic among kids, because that’s where 90 percent of addictions begin.

Most of you already know the statistics. More Americans die from drug overdoses than in car crashes. Two-thirds of teens who abused pain relievers in the past year say they got them from family members and friends. Every 19 minutes, someone dies of a prescription drug overdose.

Yet, federal funding for prevention has been cut by nearly 50 percent over the past few years, and now we have a government shutdown. That makes campaigns like The Medicine Abuse Project even more vital as they deliver impactful new tools like our new documentary, “Out of Reach.” Prior to the Federal government lights being turned off – and thanks to the support of Senator Feinstein and Congressman Rogers – the film was screened on Capitol Hill in late September, followed by a panel discussion with our partners at DEA, FDA and CDC.

“Out of Reach” was created by Cyrus Stowe, a teen filmmaker, and director Tucker Capps of A&E’s “Intervention.” The film captures the issue of teen prescription drug abuse as it exists in Cyrus’ world, but the issues contained in the film are also a reflection of what’s happening across the country in typical American high schools.

The film made its official premiere at a film festival in New York City last week. It will go on to be shown in a series of local screenings across the country to raise awareness about the problem of teen Rx abuse and motivate parents to discuss the issue with their kids and take steps to secure and properly dispose of medicine at home. 

This innovative project is just one example of how together we are creatively tackling this issue and delivering a vehicle, in a teen’s voice, that can spark a renewed call to action, even in an age of slashed budgets, sequester and shutdown.

I urge you to not only check out the resources that we have compiled on The Medicine Abuse Project website, but use them. All of them are free, but each needs to be taken to scale. On the site we have lesson plans for schools, talk kits for parents, educational programs for prescribers and community education kits -- including one featuring “Out of Reach.” We’d love to help you organize a screening of the film for employees or for your community.

We may not be able to restore the huge government cuts to prevention this year, but together, we can direct the teachers, doctors and community leaders in our lives to materials that can help drive down this dangerous behavior in our communities.

You can be the catalyst for change to help #endmedicineabuse. Please visit www.medicineabuseproject.org

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