In Georgia, New Project Targets Prescription Drug Abuse

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On Tuesday, officials in Georgia convened at the state Capitol in Atlanta to launch “Generation Rx,” a new project targeting youth prescription drug abuse.

The new campaign, kicked off by the state’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) is funded by a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant. The project will focus on curbing the rates of prescription drug misuse by the state’s 12-to-25 population in three counties in the metro Atlanta area -- Catoosa, Early and Gwinnett -- which were selected due to needs assessment findings conducted by researchers at Georgia State University.  

Several organizations -- including the Catoosa Prevention Initiative, CETPA and Early Choices -- have been subcontracted for the project by the DBHDD.

The program promotes the use of drop boxes -- storage containers, located at law enforcement offices, that individuals can use to discard medications -- as a means of keeping prescription pills from falling into the hands of young people. Currently, the program is also seeking youth volunteers to be trained as advocates and community leaders for the upstart project.

“The abuse of prescription drugs by young people in Georgia and across the country has grown substantially since the 1990s,” DBHDD Commissioner Frank Berry is quoted in a recent press release. “Every day, 2,500 youth aged 12-to-17 abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time, and nearly 20 percent of teens report abusing medications that were not prescribed to them.”

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