Area Students Invited Enter Contest To Increase Awareness Of Rx And OTC Abuse

MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse has become an increasingly serious problem among youth. One in five teens has reported using prescription pain relievers to get high and one in ten has abused over-the-counter cough medicines.

To help promote awareness about this problem among middle school students and encourage them to “Be Smart” about prescription and over-the-counter drugs, the Coalition for Healthy Communities is inviting students in grades six through eight from across Middlesex County to submit an entry in the first annual “Be Smart About Medicine” Creative Expression Contest.


The contest is sponsored by the Coalition for Healthy Communities, an initiative of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) of Middlesex County, Inc.

Students may submit either a written piece, such as an essay or poem, or a drawing. The work must focus on the theme of the use and abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and must include the phrase “Be Smart About Medicine”.

A panel of judges will review the submissions and select first, second, and third place winners from each grade.

Invited judges include: Senator Barbara Buono; Middlesex County Freeholder Blanquita B. Valenti; Elliot White, Director of Middlesex County Division of Addiction Services, Paul Grzella, General Manager, Home News Tribune and Courier News; Peter Mancusi, Area Director, Division of Youth & Family Services – Middlesex Area Office; and children’s author and entertainer, Rachelle Burk; Steven G. Liga, Executive Director & CEO at NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc.

Every participant will receive a certificate and prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place winners in each grade (6-8).

Finalists and their families will be invited to a recognition dinner on Jan. 19, 2011, where winners will be announced and their work will be displayed.

Entries must be submitted by Dec. 1, 2010. For more information, or to request an official rules and entry form, contact Linda Surks at 1-732-254-3344 or by email at

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