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Mayor's Prescription Drug Awareness Tool Kit
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Safeguard My Meds:

Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Campaign

Sponsored by The United States Conference of Mayors and Purdue Pharma L.P.

The Issue: Prescription Drug Abuse

Every day, more than 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription medication for the first time. 1 Sadly, teens often experiment with medications they find right at home.  

These medications have a legitimate medical use when used properly under the doctor's supervision, but misuse of these medications can lead to addiction, overdose and even death.  

Many young people mistakenly think that it is safer to misuse prescription medications than illegal street drugs. But that is simply not true.  Unfortunately, parents often are unaware that their children are abusing prescription medications.  Even when they do know, they don't know how to talk to their children about the dangers. 

In addition to the risks to people who take medications for non-medical purposes, the abuse of prescription medications can interfere with the care of people suffering from serious illnesses and injuries by making it difficult for them to get the medications they need.

The Response: A Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Campaign

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) and pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma LP have partnered since 2009 on the "Safeguard My Meds Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Campaign" - a national awareness initiative to help curb the illegal trafficking and abuse of prescription medications. The campaign provides a comprehensive approach to awareness, education, and a 'call to action' about prescription drug abuse.  The 'call to action' encourages parents and other adults to learn more about the problem of prescription drug abuse, safeguard medications in their homes and talk to their children about the real dangers of misusing prescription medications. 

Each year, the current President of The United States Conference of Mayors has been the Campaign Champion, encouraging other Mayors to join him in addressing this important growing public health issue.

"The abuse of prescription medications is a growing public health problem in cities and towns across the country," according to Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and Executive Director.  "It is time for officials at all levels of government to call attention to this problem and help their communities combat prescription drug abuse."

As part of this initiative, mayors are invited to roll out the Campaign in their communities using an array of materials and educational activities.  The Conference has developed an online toolkit and other materials to help mayors implement Campaign-related activities within their communities. 

The Campaign Tools

Television Public Service Announcements (view a sample video PSA by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake)

During the 79th Annual Meeting in Baltimore, the U.S. Conference of Mayors launched Safeguard My Meds: 2011 Mayor’s Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Campaign.  This was our third year partnering with Purdue Pharma on this extremely successful campaign.  During the Annual Meetings in 2009 in Providence, RI and 2010 in Oklahoma City, Mayors recorded radio public service announcements (PSAs) on the dangers of prescription drug abuse. In Baltimore, Mayors had the opportunity to record video PSAs on the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and 62 Mayors took advantage of this opportunity.

USCM and Purdue Pharma launched an aggressive effort - coordinating with local Mayoral press offices - to distribute the video PSAs to local television stations and cable networks in local markets.  Local stations were encouraged to air the spots in September and October 2011, to coincide with National Recovery Month and National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, respectively.  The videos were also provided in a format that Mayors and others could post on city websites, Facebook and other social media pages, and YouTube channels.

Since the 2009 launch of the campaign, 150 Mayors have recorded radio and/or video public service announcements. 

Campaign Toolkit

The Campaign "toolkit" includes a wealth of materials to assist Mayors in their local awareness and educational efforts, and is online here. The materials include resources such as fact sheets, sample op-eds, examples of community engagement activities, media and public relations tools, and other information.

Mayors are also encouraged, as every year, to issue "Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness" proclamations in their cities through city proclamations and to arrange or actively participate in other awareness activities during the months of September and/or October - National Recovery Month and National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, respectively. 

For more information please contact Crystal D. Swann, Assistant Executive Director, by telephone at (202) 861-6707 or by e-mail at cswann@usmayors.org.


1 Partnership for a Drug Free America/ ONDCP, "Teens and Prescription Drugs", Feb., 2007



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