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Senate designates October National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate last week adopted a resolution designating the month of October 2011 as “National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month” to raise attention to the problem of prescription medicine abuse, especially by teenagers.

“Prescription drugs are so common that a number of teenagers use other people’s drugs, thinking they’re safe,” stated Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution.  “Parents should educate themselves and their teenagers about the potential for abuse before it’s too late.”

"Through decades of drug abuse prevention research, we know that teen cough medicine abuse can be best addressed through education and raising awareness among parents and teens about the risks of and prevalence of abuse of  medicines," stated Scott Melville, president and CEO of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, in support of the resolution. "The leading makers of OTC cough medicines and our partners will continue to inform parents and strive toward raising awareness."

"We hope that this resolution will spark a national dialogue about prevention and lead to meaningful legislative changes in the year to come, including a federal ban on sales of OTC cough medicines to teens under the age of 18 [years] and a federal restriction against the sale of the raw, unfinished form of dextromethorphan to anyone other than an entity registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration," Melville added.

According to the 2010 Monitoring the Future Survey, 5% of teens have abused over-the-counter cough medicines — sometimes as much as 25 to 50 times the recommended dose — containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan to get high over the past year. The CHPA is involved in a multitiered effort to curb the abuse of OTC cough medicines containing dextromethorphan, including:

  • A campaign with the Partnership at DrugFree.org to educate parents and provide teens with peer-to-peer testimonials on DXMstories.com;
  • An educational toolkit with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America to engage communities throughout the country to help raise awareness about this form of substance abuse behavior;
  • Curricula for fifth, seventh and ninth graders and parents with DARE America;
  • A Home to Homeroom campaign with the National Association of School Nurses, reaching an estimated 1.4 million students nationwide;
  • A collaborative educational destination with WebMD to bring information to parents; and
  • The online Five Moms campaign to help parents know what to look for and encourage parents to safeguard their medicine cabinets. The site has reached more than 35 million parents to date (since 2007).

Other Senate sponsors included Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V.; Joe Manchin, D-W.V.; and Rob Portman,R-Ohio.

Click here for the text of the bipartisan resolution.
 


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Publix commences flu vaccination program

BY Allison Cerra

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix announced that it once again is offering immunizations against the flu this season.

This year, however, the company is offering traditional flu shots, a needle-free option. Additionally, some of its pharmacies will offer the intradermal flu vaccine — which is injected into the skin instead of the muscle and uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot — and Fluzone High Dose, which is recommended for patients ages 65 years and older.

Traditional flu shots and needle-free flu shots cost $30, while the intradermal flu vaccine costs $35 and Fluzone High Dose costs $60. Publix accepts cash, Medicare Part B and many other third-party insurances as payment for flu shots, the retailer said.

“Offering seasonal flu shots is an example of the premier service our customers expect from Publix,” Publix director of media and community relations Maria Brous said. “Publix cares about its customers, and vaccinations also help lessen the spread of communicable diseases in our community.”

For a list of store locations, as well as dates and times of flu shot clinics, visit Publix.com/flu.


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BJ’s picnics raise breast cancer awareness

BY DSN STAFF

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — BJ’s Wholesale Club announced that it is partnering with 13 of the country’s leading cancer centers to host picnic luncheons to educate guests about breast cancer.

This is the sixth year BJ’s is hosting these "Pink Picnic" events, which will feature a doctor or specialist from a partner hospital and an inspirational speaker, who will share her experience with the disease, the company reported.

During the event, cancer survivors will be invited to share their stories. Additionally, all attendees will receive special gift bags.

"Many members of the BJ’s Wholesale Club family have battled breast cancer or had a family member go through it; so it’s an honor to hold the ‘Pink Picnic’ events to raise awareness and money that will go to the life-saving work being done at these cancer centers," said Jessica Newman, manager of community relations.

In addition to hosting the Pink Picnics this October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month, BJ’s Wholesale Club will sell "Pink Ribbon" Club merchandise. As in years past, funds will be raised through this specially marked merchandise sold at all BJ’s Wholesale Clubs and donated to 13 NCI-designated Cancer Centers.

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