NABP Foundation Program Encourages Consumers to Get the Facts on Prescription Drug Abuse, Rogue Internet Drug Sites, and Counterfeit Drug Dangers
AWARxETM, a consumer protection program provided by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) Foundation, has launched a national ad campaign encouraging consumers to get informed and take action to protect their families from the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse. By asking, “Does a Drug Dealer Lurk in Your Medicine Cabinet?,” the ad campaign aims to motivate consumers to use AWARxE resources to obtain information about this public health threat affecting families and communities across the country, and to participate in prevention efforts. AWARxE highlights the importance of participating in the third Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, October 29, 2011, which gives consumers a means for getting unused, unneeded prescription drugs – including controlled substances – out of their homes and to an authorized DEA collection site for proper disposal, helping to prevent misuse of the drugs. Campaign efforts will be expanded with AWARxE public service announcements (PSAs), raising AWARxEness about prescription drug abuse and the risks of counterfeit drugs sold online, to be promoted in 16 geographical market areas beginning November 2011.
As the primary communication vehicle of the AWARxE program, www.AWARERx.org provides details on the DEA take-back event, the national epidemic of prescription drug abuse, and additional medication safety issues. Through educational presentations, quick facts, and links to relevant videos, AWARERx.org educates consumers about how proper disposal of unused, unneeded medications can help protect their families and communities from drug misuse and abuse. Over half of people who abused prescription drugs in 2009 and 2010 got them from friends or family for free, according the latest data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Further, surveys show that three in five teens would find it easy to take prescription pain pills from a parent’s medicine cabinet, and among 12- and 13-year-olds who abuse drugs, prescription drugs are the most frequently abused. Cases in which teens and adults have stolen prescription drugs while visiting a friend’s home have also been reported. Such startling facts point to the need for secure, legal disposal of unused medications, and for the need to securely store current prescribed medications.
“As an organization mission-driven to protect the public health, the NABP Foundation hopes that AWARxE raises awareness among consumers about the dangers of both prescription drug abuse and the risks of ordering prescription medications from illegally operating Internet sites, as well as encouraging reliance on a pharmacist for information on these and other medication safety issues,” states NABP President Malcolm Broussard, RPh. “AWARERx.org is a one-stop shop for consumers to get accurate information from an authoritative source. With the vast amount of search results and links that appear when conducting Internet searches, looking for prescription drug information online can be very overwhelming for consumers. In addition, rogue Internet drug outlets have become adept at creating sites that may appear to be legitimate online pharmacies, making it very difficult for consumers to know which sites they can trust. AWARERx.org provides links, facts, and information to help consumers sort out the good from the potentially harmful sites,” explains Broussard.
Recognizing that rogue Internet drug sites fuel prescription drug abuse by distributing prescription drugs without requiring valid prescriptions, and that these Web sites often distribute dangerous counterfeit drugs, AWARxE provides consumers with information on safely buying medications online, and resources for learning about rogue sites they should avoid. AWARxE wants consumers to understand how dangerous counterfeit drugs can be – these products often have too much, too little, or the wrong active ingredient, and some counterfeit drug products have been found to contain toxic ingredients such as rat poison or lead paint.
Expanding its outreach to consumers, AWARxE PSAs will communicate the messages about prescription drug abuse and counterfeit drug dangers on television stations in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington DC beginning November 2011.
AWARxE advocates the use of Internet pharmacies that are accredited by the VIPPS® (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesCM) program, the gold standard for Internet pharmacies and a program highlighted by prime time television programs including 60 Minutes, Dr Oz, and The Doctors. VIPPS accreditation requires an Internet pharmacy to comply with the licensing and survey requirements of its state and each state to which it dispenses pharmaceuticals. VIPPS-accredited pharmacies meet nationally endorsed standards of pharmacy practice, and they demonstrate compliance with standards of privacy and authentication and security of prescriptions, and adhere to quality assurance policies. Moreover, as an essential facet to ensuring public health, they provide meaningful consultation between patients and pharmacists. AWARxE encourages consumers to expect nothing less.
AWARxE also encourages consumers to rely on their pharmacist as a trusted source of accurate medication safety information, as celebrated during this year’s American Pharmacists Month themed “Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist.” The “Ask Your Pharmacist” section of the AWARxE Web site highlights for consumers the many ways pharmacists can assist when they have questions about medications.
More information on the AWARxE consumer protection program is available at www.AWARERx.org.