HEALTH

CADCA, CHPA kick off annual National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Wednesday joined forces to kick off their annual National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month to raise awareness of the dangers of youth prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse.

This initiative, annually held in October, features a coordinated and concentrated effort to educate parents and youth of the potential dangers associated with prescription and OTC medicine abuse.

According to the 2009 Monitoring the Future Survey, considered the preeminent national study on teen substance abuse, 5% of teens have abused OTC cough medicines containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan to get high over the past year. When used correctly, DXM-containing medicines have a 50-year history of being safe and effective. But when abused in extreme excess, dextromethorphan can produce dangerous side effects, especially when combined with alcohol, illicit drugs or certain prescription drugs.

 

“While prescription and over-the-counter medicines are safe and necessary for many people, too many teens are abusing these drugs to get high,” stated Gen. Arthur Dean, CADCA chairman and CEO. “We hope that our efforts during National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month will raise awareness of the numbers of young people who currently abuse medicines, and spur a dialogue about prevention in communities across the country.”

 

 

“We know from 35 years of drug abuse prevention research that teen cough medicine abuse can be best addressed through education, and we are using the month of October to provide additional resources to communities interested in raising awareness among parents and teens about the dangers of cough medicine abuse,” added CHPA president Linda Suydam. “In addition, the leading makers of OTC cough medicines and our partners in prevention also support legislative initiatives to give parents further tools to address this type of abuse. These initiatives include a federal ban on sales of OTC cough medicines to teens under the age of 18 and a federal restriction against the sale of the raw, unfinished form of dextromethorphan to anyone other than an entity registered by the Food and Drug Administration.”

 

 

National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month coincides with the beginning of the school year and offers a platform for communities nationwide to become involved, as well as free and downloadable educational materials. As a part of this effort, community antidrug coalitions in nearly 40 locations throughout the country will be hosting town hall meetings in their communities throughout the month of October. These coalitions have access to the online toolkit — A Dose of Prevention: Stopping Cough Medicine Abuse Before It Starts — created by the CHPA and the CADCA. 

 

In addition, the CADCA has developed a toolkit to help substance abuse prevention leaders reduce prescription drug abuse, entitled "Rx Abuse Prevention Toolkit: From Awareness to Action." To view the materials or to learn more about all of CADCA and CHPA’s activities to help curb prescription and OTC cough medicine abuse, visit StopMedicineAbuse.org.

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David Brailer joins Walgreens’ board of directors

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has appointed the chairman of Health Evolution Partners to its board of directors.

The drug store chain announced Wednesday that David Brailer would join Walgreens’ board as an independent director, making him the board’s 11th member.

Brailer has served as chairman of Health Evolution Partners since 2006. Prior to joining Health Evolution Partners, he was appointed by the Bush administration as the first national health-information technology coordinator in 2004.

“David’s expertise in advancing healthcare technology on a national level, as well as his experience in supporting companies through investments that promote major change in the health system will provide us with valuable insight,” said Walgreens chairman Alan McNally. “This will be extremely important in the years ahead as technology plays an even greater role in the delivery of quality, affordable and accessible health care.”

Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson added, “David will be a tremendous resource to our board and our company as we help patients and payers lower healthcare costs while improving quality, outcomes and transparency through our pharmacy, health and wellness solutions.”

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AstraZeneca provides Rx savings to Sacramento, Calif., pharmacy patients

BY Alaric DeArment

WILMINGTON, Del. AstraZeneca will provide medications free of charge to qualifying patients in Sacramento, Calif., through its prescription savings program, the Anglo-Swedish drug maker said Wednesday.

 

AstraZeneca said the Primary Care Center Pharmacy was the ninth organization to join the AZ&Me savings program. The pharmacy provides pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to nearly all departments within Sacramento County, dispensing around 1,200 prescriptions per day. Its free drug programs have grown over the last eight years from one to 16 programs with an annual savings of more than $4.4 million, benefiting around 25,000 uninsured patients.

 

 

“The partnership with Sacramento County will help patients who might otherwise go without the medicines they need,” AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals director of patient assistance programs Jennifer McGovern said.

 

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