Working Together to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse and Overdose Deaths

Key Objective 10:
Seize opportunities to positively influence policy, at the local as well as State/Federal levels, by identifying and communicating community factors that are contributing to prescription drug abuse

Prescription drug abuse is an extensive, community-based problem that requires a similarly comprehensive solution. Given its community impact, policy development and legislative changes have the potential to significantly influence public health and safety Specifically, states and communities around the country have passed laws or changed regulations related to a wide range of issues related to prescription drug abuse, such as creating and strengthening prescription drug monitoring programs, medication disposal programs, reducing inappropriate prescribing, and expanding access to naloxone and substance abuse treatment.

To this end, the Community Education Action Team will work with other pertinent action teams to:

  • Engage legislators and community leaders in discussions about community trends related to prescription drug abuse, emphasizing why this topic is essential for public health and safety.
  • Identify opportunities to positively influence policy, for example related to the safe disposal of medications and enhancing the CURES prescription drug monitoring program.
Community Education Action Team

Lead:  Stephanie Chen & Barbara Roberts

Key Objective 1:
Provide community education to increase public awareness of the risks of prescription drug abuse, safe use/storage/disposal, and available resources for help

Many people are not aware that the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs are as dangerous as illegal drugs, and can lead to unintended injury, addiction, and death. Recent data indicates that 41% of teens believe that it is safer to get high using a prescription drug than it is with an illicit drug, oftentimes due to the belief that prescription drugs are prescribed by doctors and thus must be safe. As a result, a critical first step in addressing the opioid epidemic is to raise awareness and educate the general public about the dangers of prescription drug misuse.

The Community Education Action Team will:

  • Engage the community via both traditional and social media, websites, newsletters, brochures, and briefs in order to increase public awareness of prescription drug abuse, its safe use/storage/disposal, and how to access available treatment and overdose prevention interventions. Target audiences may include the general public, schools and other educational institutions, local coalitions, substance abuse prevention and treatment providers, and other stakeholders.
Community Education Action Team
Priority Area I:
Education and Training
Priority Area VI:
Community Trends and Policy