American Medicine Chest Challenge to Raise Awareness of Prescription Drug Abuse

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In less than a month, on Nov. 13, a historic and lifesaving event — The American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC) — a public health initiative to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse will be held in communities across the country.

According to SAMHSA’s 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health 70 percent of people who abuse prescription pain relievers obtained them from friends or relatives, the same survey showed that the scale of the problem is vast: more than 6 million Americans used a prescription medication for nonmedical purposes in the past 30 days. As alarming, is the fact that, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy there has been a 400% increase in substance abuse treatment admissions for people abusing prescription drugs.

The AMCC is designed to bring to light the dangers of prescription drug abuse and the easy accessibility within the home by generating unprecedented media attention to the issue of prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse, to create a way for adults to anonymously, legally, and safely dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine, and to encourage families to take the five step American Medicine Chest Challenge.

According to AMCC Chief Executive Officer Angelo M. Valente, “the goal of this national community based public health initiative is to inform American families the need to dispose of their unused, unwanted, and expired medicine because these excess medicines can be a danger lurking in the family home.

“The American Medicine Chest 5-step challenge will help save the lives of your children. The steps include taking inventory of your medicine, securing your medicine chest, take medicine only as prescribed by your doctor, dispose on unused, unwanted, and expired medicine, and most importantly, talk to your children about the dangers of prescription drugs.”

“With over 500 community, government, and local law enforcement partners in 33 states, plus the District of Columbia, we are on our way to a truly historical nationwide awakening to the dangers of prescription drug abuse,” explained Valente.

The AMCC website is a comprehensive repository of information on the Nov. 13 event as well as prescription drug abuse.

AMCC is being supported by numerous organizations around the country, including PhRMA, The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the American College of Emergency Room Physicians, and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. The parent organization of AMCC is the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

AMCC is based on the success of the nationally recognized Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey (OMC-NJ). OMC-NJ was the first in the nation statewide day of disposal, held in November 2009 with a one day, four-hour, state-wide event that netted over 9,000 lbs. of medicine, with a street value of over $35 million, while simultaneously garnering over a million dollars in in-kind media attention on the issue of prescription and over the counter drug abuse. The program was recognized in the 2010 Drug Strategy of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the National Association of Government Communicators.

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