HEALTH

Abbott, Partnership for a Drug-Free America launch NotInMyHouse.com

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The Partnership for a Drug-Free America and Abbott on Tuesday launched “Not In My House” (NotInMyHouse.com), a joint national education initiative that provides parents with information and tips to help them limit teen access to medicines.

According to a 2007 national survey of 1,000 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 and their parents conducted by the Partnership with support from Abbott, more than half of teens who reported abusing prescription medications said they got the medications in their own home (15 percent) or from a parent or relative (11 percent) or friend (24 percent).

As startling is the fact that more than half of the teens who tried medication without a prescription believed it was safer than street drugs and there was nothing wrong with taking them once in a while.

“With one in five teenagers reporting abuse of a prescription medication to get high, parents must open their eyes to the dangers of this new tier of teen substance abuse,” stated Steve Pasierb, chief executive officer of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. “Teens and their parents have a false sense of security, mistakenly believing it’s somehow safer to abuse prescription medication than street drugs. This issue demands the immediate action of parents, both by learning the facts and safeguarding medications at home as well as talking with teens about this very real threat to their health.”

The website, www.NotInMyHouse.com, offers insight on talking about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse with teens, helps explain how the teen brain may make them more vulnerable to addiction, details the teen drug culture and lingo and gives three simple steps parents can take to help secure their homes.

“Prescription medicines have an important role in health care, but they have significant risks when they are misused and abused,” stated Jeff Haas, general manager, pain care, Abbott. “Abbott and the Partnership have developed the ‘Not in My House’ education initiative to help teach parents the importance of securing medications in their homes to help protect their children.”

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Study says children can get key vitamins, nutrients from cereals

BY Jenna Duncan

MINNEAPOLIS The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition has released a report that said a significant number of American children and adolescents do not receive adequate amounts of calcium and another report cited that 42 percent of adolescents received a lower amount of vitamin D levels than recommended.

Some dieticians and General Mills cereal maker have said that including vitamin D- and calcium-fortified cereals in a child’s diet helps promote a healthy lifestyle.

“Maintaining adequate calcium and vitamin D intake during childhood and adolescence is necessary for the development of peak bone mass, which may be important in reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis later in life,” Kathleen Zelman, master of public health, registered and licensed dietician, said.

The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that children ages 2 to 8 should have two cups of dairy each day. The dairy can come from cheese, fat-free milk, low-fat milk, or yogurt. The recommended daily allowance of calcium for children aged1 to 3 years is 500 milligrams of per day and they should receive 200 IUs of vitamin D, sources said. Children 4 to 8 years of age should have 800 milligrams per day and the same amount of vitamin D as younger children.

General Mills said that all of its Big G Kid cereals include 12 vitamins and minerals—including calcium and vitamin D—and each has 8 grams of whole grain in each serving. In addition, by the end of the year General Mills has committed to reducing the amount of sugar per serving in its Big G Kids products to12 grams.

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FDA panel recommends stricter labeling for eye care products

BY Michael Johnsen

GAITHERSBURG, Md. A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on June 10 recommended there be stricter labeling and testing for contact lenses and cleaning solutions, following a meeting of the Ophthalmic Device Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee.

The meeting was called by the FDA, in part, because of the number of product recalls associated with contact lens cleaning solutions in the past few years.

Specifically, the advisory committee suggested stronger label warnings that would identify potential infections that can lead to blindness, for example, as a possible consequence of not following product instructions. 

Panelists also recommended the agency require pre-approval testing of the efficacy of lens solutions against Acanthamoeba keratitis, a parasite involved in one of the outbreaks. 

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