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April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Results released this week by the independent research firm Touchstone Research Institute, reveals the 2012 teen prescription drug abuse pilot program, WAKE UP!, to be a success. Compared to a benchmark survey of approximately 3,800 students conducted prior to the program launch, data shows that more than 75 percent of all respondents were significantly more aware of the dangers of misusing and abusing prescription drugs.
According to the U.S Office of National Drug Control Policy, most teens initially get prescription pills from family and friends, including straight from home medicine cabinets. Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in
the United States. More than one-third of those abusing prescription drugs in the U.S. are between the ages of 12-17. Deaths from prescription drug overdoses have become the second leading cause of accidental deaths nationwide, and the leading cause in as many as 15 states.
WAKE UP!, established by The Pain Truth, a
Florida 501(c)(3), was implemented into five pilot schools, thanks in part to a grant from Millennium Laboratories, three in
San Diego, CA, and two in
Tampa Bay, FL. The objective of the in-school prescription drug educational program is to raise awareness, increase knowledge, and change perceptions concerning the misuse and abuse of controlled prescription medications among high school students, providing students with knowledge to make better decisions and prevent first use. WAKE UP! uses multi-media, social marketing and other tactics that are familiar and appealing to teens, but WAKE UP! program developers believe the real motivating force is the science-based facts presented to the students.
Additional findings from the survey demonstrate that nearly half of students believe that the program would change the behavior of their peers. After being exposed to WAKE UP!, attitudes and behaviors concerning prescription drugs changed, with between 30 percent and 40 percent of students expressing more concern about friend's or family member's drug use, and reported that they were more likely to tell a parent, teacher, doctor or other trusted adult about their own or others' drug use. Additionally, over 90 percent of teens surveyed now understand that people are at risk of harming themselves if they use prescription drugs not prescribed to them.