WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As part of CVS Caremark's sponsorship of The Partnership at Drugfree.org's The Medicine Abuse Project, which aims to prevent a half-million teens from abusing medicine over the next five years, the company now is asking its customers to take the project's pledge to learn about teen medicine abuse, to safeguard medicines in the home and to talk to teens about this issue, the company announced on Monday.
CVS Caremark will use many of its communications channels to share with customers some key facts central to the awareness campaign, such as:
Every day, more than 2,000 kids abuse prescription drugs for the first time;
1-in-6 teens has used a prescription drug to get high or change their mood and most got them from a family or a friend;
More kids abuse prescription drugs than Ecstasy, crack/cocaine, heroin or meth;
Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among kids ages 12 to 13 years; and
Kids who learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to use them.
"Our company's pharmacists are experts at advising people on the proper way to take their medications in order to get healthy and stay that way," stated Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark. "But our decision to get involved with The Medicine Abuse Project underscores an equally compelling need: to make sure children and teens don't have access to prescription drugs prescribed for others and are made aware of the risks associated with medicine abuse."
"The majority of teens who abuse medicines get them from family and friends," added Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership for Drugfree.org. "We need to change that. With the support of partners like CVS Caremark, physicians, parents and teens themselves will be more aware of the dangers of medicine abuse."
The Partnership at Drugfree.org is encouraging people to take the pledge on its website. CVS Caremark also is encouraging customers to take the pledge through its Facebook and Twitter channels, its websites CVS.com and CVSCaremark.com, in direct communications to millions of CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare cardholders, and in radio ads playing in all CVS/pharmacy locations chain wide.
In addition to the pledge, the campaign is encouraging parents to: safeguard their medicine by keeping pill bottles in a secure, locked place and to count and monitor the number of pills they have at all times; educate themselves about the information resources available on the subject; share information and awareness with family, friends and neighbors; talk to their children about the risks of abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter cough medicine; get help if they think their child has a problem with prescription drugs by either visiting Timetogethelp.drugfree.org or by calling Drugfree.org's Toll-Free Helpline: 1-855-DRUGFREE; and properly dispose of unused medicines.
In addition to supporting the Medicine Abuse Campaign, all CVS/pharmacy locations offer the Sharps Compliance's TakeAway Environmental Return program, which provides customers with the ability to safely dispose of their unused, expired or unwanted drugs using medication disposal envelopes. The postage-paid envelopes allow customers to mail their unwanted prescription and OTC medications through the U.S. Postal Service to a licensed, secure facility for safe destruction.