WOONSOCKET, R.I., Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of CVS Caremark's sponsorship of The Partnership at Drugfree.org's The Medicine Abuse Project, which aims to prevent a half-million teens from abusing medicine over the next five years, the pharmacy innovation company announced today it will ask millions of its customers to take the project's pledge to learn about teen medicine abuse, to safeguard medicines in the home and to talk to teens about this issue.
In line with the company's purpose of helping people on their path to better health, CVS Caremark will use many of its communications channels to share with its millions of customers some key facts central to the awareness campaign, such as:
- Every day more than 2,000 kids abuse prescription drugs for the first time;
- 1 in 6 teens has used a prescription drug to get high or change their mood and most got them from a family or a friend;
- More kids abuse prescription drugs than Ecstasy, crack/cocaine, heroin or meth;
- Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among kids ages 12-13;
- Kids who learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use them.
"Our company's pharmacists are experts at advising people on the proper way to take their medications in order to get healthy and stay that way," said Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Caremark. "But our decision to get involved with The Medicine Abuse Project underscores an equally compelling need: to make sure children and teens don't have access to prescription drugs prescribed for others and are made aware of the risks associated with medicine abuse."
"The majority of teens who abuse medicines get them from family and friends," said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership for Drugfree.org. "We need to change that. With the support of partners like CVS Caremark, physicians, parents and teens themselves will be more aware of the dangers of medicine abuse."
The Partnership at Drugfree.org is encouraging people to take the pledge at their website: www.medicineabuseproject.org. CVS Caremark is also encouraging customers to take the pledge through its Facebook and Twitter channels, its websites CVS.com and CVSCaremark.com, in direct communications to millions of CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare cardholders, and in radio ads playing in all CVS/pharmacy locations chain wide.
In addition to the pledge, the campaign is encouraging parents to: safeguard their medicine by keeping pill bottles in a secure, locked place and to count and monitor the number of pills they have at all times; educate themselves about the information resources available on the subject; share information and awareness with family, friends and neighbors; talk to their children about the risks of abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter cough medicine; get help if they think their child has a problem with prescription drugs by either visiting http://timetogethelp.drugfree.org or by calling Drugfree.org's Toll-Free Helpline: 1-855-DRUGFREE; and properly dispose of unused medicines.
In addition to supporting the Medicine Abuse Campaign, all CVS/pharmacy locations offer the Sharps Compliance Corp.'s TakeAway Environmental Return program, which provides customers with the ability to safely dispose of their unused, expired or unwanted drugs using affordable medication disposal envelopes. The postage-paid envelopes allow customers to mail their unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications through the U.S. Postal Service to a licensed, secure facility for safe destruction.
The program is part of the Company's on-going commitment to safe medication disposal solutions, including participation in local medication take-back events throughout the U.S. With an estimated 200 million pounds of unwanted medications being improperly disposed of every year, the availability of this envelope return system at CVS/pharmacy provides customers with a safe, convenient and affordable way to help protect the environment and their loved ones.
Announced earlier this month, CVS Caremark is also supporting a year-long prescription drug abuse initiative organized by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Safety Council. As part of that project, seven states will participate in a drug policy academy, where strategies and recommendations will be developed for governors looking to reduce prescription drug abuse in their states.
"Families need to stop and ask themselves, 'What's in our medicine cabinet?'" added Merlo. "Medicine abuse is a national health problem, but, with partnerships like these, it doesn't have to be."
On September 25, The Medicine Abuse Project will unveil an interactive exhibit in Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall, which will feature personal stories about medicine abuse in a visually-engaging story-telling installation. The exhibit will be on display from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
At the nearby CVS/pharmacy at 150 E. 42nd St., customers will be offered information about the campaign and will have an opportunity to take the pledge right in the store.
About CVS Caremark
CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) is dedicated to helping people on their path to better health as the largest integrated pharmacy company in the United States. Through the company's approximately 7,400 CVS/pharmacy stores; its leading pharmacy benefit manager serving more than 60 million plan members; and its retail health clinic system, the largest in the nation with approximately 600 MinuteClinic locations, it is a market leader in mail order, retail and specialty pharmacy, retail clinics, and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. As a pharmacy innovation company with an unmatched breadth of capabilities, CVS Caremark continually strives to improve health and lower costs by developing new approaches such as its unique Pharmacy Advisor program that helps people with chronic diseases such as diabetes obtain and stay on their medications. Find more information about how CVS Caremark is reinventing pharmacy for better health at info.cvscaremark.com.
About The Partnership at Drugfree.org
Ninety percent of addictions start in the teenage years. The Partnership at Drugfree.org is dedicated to solving the problem of teen substance abuse. Together with experts in science, parenting and communications, the nonprofit translates research on teen behavior, addiction and treatment into useful and effective resources for both individuals and communities. Working toward a vision where all young people will be able to live their lives free of drug and alcohol abuse, The Partnership at Drugfree.org works with parents and other influencers to help them prevent and get help for drug and alcohol abuse by teens and young adults. The organization depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and the public sector and is thankful to SAG-AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity.
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SOURCE CVS Caremark