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“Safer Use—Prevents Abuse” coalition expands its prescription drug abuse campaign

June 6, 2011

For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Lyons, WEA Trust
Email: slyons@weatrust.com

Educating adults on drugs means safer children, safer schools

Madison, WISCONSIN—The Wisconsin District Attorneys Association (WDAA) 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 teachers, major law enforcement organizations, several statewide medical and pharmaceutical organizations, educational groups, and children advocate groups—launched a grassroots education effort last September to stop the illegal use of prescription drugs at their source.

“We see cases of prescription drug abuse in communities all over the state of Wisconsin and we don’t want to prosecute anymore teens for this offense,” District Attorney Winn Collins, President of the WDAA said. “Joining this coalition will help protect Wisconsin families and communities.”

The “Safer Use—Prevents Abuse” campaign was created by the WEA Trust (a not-for-profit insurance organization created by public school employees, for school employees) in 2010 to help address prescription drug abuse amongst teens. According to Dr. Drew Pinsky, nationally recognized physician who focuses on prescription drug addiction, 2,500 new 12–17 year olds around the country will abuse prescription drugs for the first time every day.

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 September the coalition has continued to grow, reaching both large and small health and safety organizations around the state.

“Many health and safety advocates around the state have joined the ‘Safer Use—Prevents Abuse’ campaign because they believe in our mission to spread awareness about prescription drug abuse and recognize the importance of abuse prevention,” said Mark Moody, President and CEO of the WEA Trust. “The WDAA’s partnership with the coalition will help keep prescription drugs out of schools and out of children’s hands.”

In closing Moody said, “We continue to make programs like ‘Safer Use—Prevents Abuse’ a priority because we know that our efforts can make a difference in the lives of local teens.” The WEA Trust has also sent hundreds of the prescription drug “safe boxes” to members at no cost so they can safely store their prescription drugs and keep them out of the hands of their children, or their children’s friends.

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: saferusepreventsabuse.com