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DEA: Pharmacies can serve as drop-off points for unused prescription drugs

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Calling prescription drug addiction an “urgent and growing threat” to our nation’s public health, Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday announced a new Drug Enforcement Administration regulation that would allow pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and other authorized collectors to serve as authorized drop-off sites for unused prescription drugs. Under the new policy, long-term care facilities also will be able to collect controlled substances turned in by residents of those facilities, and prescription drug users everywhere will have permission to directly mail in their unused medications to authorized collectors.
 
“[P]rescription drug addiction and abuse represent nothing less than a public health crisis,” the Attorney General said in a video message posted on the Justice Department’s website. “Every day, this crisis touches — and devastates — the lives of Americans from every state, in every region and from every background and walk of life,” he said. 
 
“The Department of Justice has taken aggressive steps to fight back — by targeting the illegal supply chain; by disrupting so-called 'pill mills'; and by expanding public health, education and law enforcement efforts," Holder continued. "But we also recognize that much of this work must start at home. Nearly 4-in-10 teens who have misused or abused a prescription drug have obtained it from their parents’ medicine cabinet."
 
The new policy builds on existing take-back programs launched by the DEA. A recent take-back event coordinated by the DEA last April resulted in the safe return of 390 tons of prescription drugs at nearly 6,100 sites. Over the last four years, the DEA and other partnering organizations have taken in more than 4.1 million pounds — or more than 2,100 tons — of prescription pills.  
 
The DEA’s next take-back event will be on Sept. 27, 2014.
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Colgate, actress Danica McKellar partner to promote healthy oral care habits this school year

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Colgate has partnered with actress, author and education advocate Danica McKellar for the “Smile for Picture Day” annual back-to-school campaign to better equip families with the resources they need to help their kids achieve a healthy smile.

During Smile for Picture Day, beginning now and lasting through October, Colgate's fleet of mobile dental vans will travel to more than 150 elementary schools, providing free dental screenings to children in need. In addition, Colgate's oral health curriculum reaches approximately 3.5 million children in all 50 states throughout the year, and more than 750,000 kids through Colgate's longstanding partnership with the Head Start program of the Department of Health and Human Services.

According to a recent Colgate study, a majority of parents believe a healthy smile can contribute to academic success — 83% recognize that maintaining good oral health can keep a child from missing school, while 43% report that a dental related illness has kept their child home from school.

Several studies have demonstrated a connection between poor dental health and low grade-point averages and, in some cases, children with poor oral health are nearly three times more likely to miss days at school than their peers due to dental pain. In addition to encouraging proper brushing and regular dental check-ups, parents can download the "Colgate Tooth Defenders" app. This educational app is available for free via iTunes or Google Play and is specially designed for children in Kindergarten through third grade to help make fighting cavities fun through a series of games.

For more than 20 years, Colgate has been reaching children in classrooms across the United States with free dental screenings and education through its Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program.

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Medical groups form Coalition to Prevent ADHD Medication Misuse

BY Michael Johnsen

WAYNE, Pa. — Several organizations last week formed the Coalition to Prevent ADHD Medication Misuse to help prevent misuse, abuse and diversion of ADHD prescription stimulant medication. The coalition will initially focus its efforts on college students. 
 
“The misuse, abuse and diversion of prescription drugs is a concern of student affairs administrators across the country," stated Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. "Often, students who inappropriately use ADHD prescription medications don’t realize the consequences it may have on their academic career and future livelihood. As an association that represents more than 14,000 professionals, it is imperative that we increase awareness of the serious impact of ADHD prescription misuse.” 
 
“As a member of CPAMM, the [American Academy of Family Physicians] is spearheading research to characterize current approaches to prevention of misuse in primary care of ADHD medications in teens and young adults that can guide identification of potentially impactful primary-care based strategies that reduce ADHD medication misuse … and that reinforce appropriate ADHD medication use,” commented Julie Wood, VP Health of the Public and Interprofessional Activities for AAFP.
 
Members of CPAMM include AAFP, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the Jed Foundation, NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA and Shire. CPAMM has also enlisted student advisors to help inform the coalition’s strategies and messaging.
 
Although reported rates of nonmedical use vary, a 2013 study at one large public university indicated that 9.3% of college students reported nonmedical use of prescription stimulant medication in the past year. 
 
Recognizing that misuse, abuse and diversion of ADHD prescription stimulant medication is a concern among college students, CPAMM has aligned on two strategic initiatives: research and educational programs. This year, CPAMM will conduct market research to examine the perception and attitudes of college students with regard to ADHD prescription stimulant misuse, abuse and diversion to help inform educational campaigns designed to help prevent nonmedical use.
 
Throughout 2014-15, CPAMM plans to survey medical professionals to identify primary-care based strategies to help reduce ADHD medication misuse. In addition, the coalition will conduct focus groups among college students and administrators to try to gain a better understanding of how the college environment affects the issue. With the results of this research, CPAMM intends to develop peer-to-peer interventions for use by college students to help prevent the nonmedical use of ADHD stimulant medications. Also, the coalition will evaluate potential partnerships with other organizations, associations and programs that reach college students. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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