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WEA Trust-created “Safer Use—Prevents Abuse” Coalition Expands its Prescription Drug Abuse Campaign

July 18, 2012

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Berryman, WEA Trust
Telephone: 608.276.4000
Cell: 608.206.9204
E-mail: mberryman@weatrust.com

Educating adults on drugs means safer children, safer schools.

Madison, WISCONSIN—Arrowhead Union High School District has joined the “Safer Use—Prevents Abuse” coalition in an effort to keep prescription drugs out of children’s hands by educating Wisconsin’s adults who use them.

The coalition—including the state’s second largest group health insurer, a nationally known physician, the state’s public school employees, major law enforcement organizations, several statewide medical and pharmaceutical organizations, educational groups, and children advocate groups—launched a grassroots education campaign to stop the illegal use of prescription drugs at their source.

“It is not safe to have unwanted medications lying around the house. Today prescription drug abuse is becoming increasingly prevalent, so we wanted to find a way to help prevent it,” said Annette Lemieux, Arrowhead High School Business Education Teacher. “We are excited about building new relationships with the WEA Trust and their ‘Safer Use—Prevents Abuse’ coalition. Students from my Medical Terminology & Business Practices course who are spearheading the efforts see this as a great way to educate the community and help protect their peers and the environment from the dangers of prescription drugs.”

The “Safer Use—Prevents Abuse” campaign was created by the WEA Trust (a local not-for-profit insurance organization) in 2010 after staggering statistics about prescription drug abuse amongst teens was released. According to Dr. Drew Pinsky, a nationally recognized physician and health advocate, 2,500 new 12- to 17-year-olds around the country will abuse prescription drugs for the first time everyday. In Wisconsin, approximately one in four high school students reported using prescription pain relievers for nonmedical purposes at least once in their lifetime, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Since 2010 the coalition has continued to grow, reaching both large and small schools and other health and safety organizations around the state.

“As the ‘Safer Use—Prevents Abuse’ campaign grows throughout Wisconsin, we are able to continue spreading our message about the importance of prescription drug abuse awareness and prevention,” said Mark Moody, President and CEO of the WEA Trust.
“Safer use means healthier children, higher-performing students, and safer, higher-performing schools. That’s why we continue to make advocacy programs such as this a priority,” Moody added. The WEA Trust has also sent hundreds of prescription drug “safe boxes” to members at no cost in order to safely store their prescription drugs.

Coalition members include over 20 statewide organizations representing over 250,000 people in Wisconsin. For a complete list of coalition members and other information about the Safer Use—Prevents Abuse campaign visit: http://saferusepreventsabuse.com/