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Statement of Steve Pasierb, President and CEO, Partnership for a Drug-Free America on New SAMHSA Study On Cough Medicine Abuse
Date:1/11/2008

NEW YORK, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) newly released data analysis from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicate 3.1 million people in the U. S. aged 12 to 25 have abused non-prescription, over-the- counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines to get high at least once in their lifetime. This announcement and the data underscore a significant ongoing shift in teenage illicit drug use behavior. SAMHSA's announcement contains important information that American families need to hear and understand.

The Partnership identified the problem of intentional abuse of medicines in 2005 when the 18th annual teen installment of the national Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) showed that 1 in 5 teens (4.3 million) had intentionally abused a prescription painkiller and 1 in 11 (2.2 million) had abused cough medicines containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan or DXM. In response to the findings, the Partnership and our program partners including the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) launched the first research-based education campaign addressing this disturbing consumer behavior of intentional abuse of medicines, labeled "Generation Rx" at the time.

The teen behavior of abusing medicines comes at a time of otherwise significant, sustained reductions in many forms of youth substance abuse. Recent studies from the Partnership, the renowned Monitoring the Future study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and others continue to mark steady declines at the national level in substances like marijuana and methamphetamine, but these promising findings continue to be overshadowed by an alarmingly high percentage of teens who choose to abuse medicines to get high.

"It is clear that the current youth drug culture is vastly different from when parents were teenag
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SOURCE Partnership for a Drug-Free America
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