Monday, June 10, 2013


This public awareness campaign aims to prevent youth prescription drug abuse

CHARLESTOWN, MA— June 10, 2013 – This week the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition (CSAC) will begin mounting posters throughout the streets of Charlestown and distributing T-shirts, stickers and buttons to local teens, marking the debut of a social marketing campaign targeting youth with messages about prescription drug abuse. Plans are underway for the campaign to appear on local subway and bus shelter signage.

Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and older who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically. Some individuals who misuse prescription drugs, particularly teens, believe these substances are safer than illicit drugs because they are prescribed by a healthcare professional and dispensed by a pharmacist. In 2012, 14.8 percent of high-school seniors used a prescription drug nonmedically in the past year. Data for specific drugs show that the most commonly abused prescription drugs by teens are the stimulant Adderall and the pain reliever Vicodin.

In Massachusetts, a 2011 a statewide survey showed that more than half of parents (56 percent) say their kids have access to their (parents’) prescription (Rx) medications, and one in seven parents (14 percent) have given their children pain medication that was not prescribed for their child.

The Turn It Around campaign incorporates these facts and combines the insights from CSAC’s teen youth group and the community to ensure that the campaign is relevant and authentic. Here’s what the young people said about why teens use or think of using prescription drugs: stress and depression, social pressure, family issues and feelings of wanting to escape. In addition, prescription drugs are easy to find and society tells us that prescription drugs make people feel better.

The brightly colored Turn It Around posters acknowledge the factors that contribute to teen prescription drug abuse.  The campaign’s tag line, Turn It Around, is a positive message for youth who want to avoid or stop abuse prescription drugs.

In addition to the posters, T-shirts, buttons and stickers, the Turn It Around campaign will use social media outlets Facebook and Twitter @turnitaroundctn to create a forum where teens can share their feelings and address their stressors in healthy ways, and receive information about community resources that can help them overcome prescription abuse or addiction. The also is a handout listing resources that will be available in pediatricians offices and the MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center.

Turn It Around was designed by Visual Dialogue of Boston and CSAC, and was funded through CSAC grants from the Drug-Free Communities Support Program through the Office of National Drug Control Policy and from American Medical Association.

About Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition (CSAC)

CSAC is a community-based coalition of residents, businesses, organizations, professionals, and advocates who work together to reduce substance abuse in Charlestown. Through a unified, collaborative approach, the coalition utilizes existing community resources, organize programs to identify needs, and harness the energy and commitment of all to provide a safe, healthy environment in Charlestown.

About the Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI)

CCHI carries out its work in Chelsea, Revere, and Charlestown, where MGH has maintained healthcare centers for more than 40 years, as well as in Boston among youth, homeless persons and seniors. CCHI has partnered with the communities it serves to assess needs and create more than 38 programs that:

  • Reduce and prevent substance abuse 
  • Intervene in the cycle of violence
  • Tackle the obesity epidemic by increasing access to healthy food and physical activity
  • Increase access to care for vulnerable populations such as immigrants and refugees, seniors, and homeless people
  • Prevent cancers through early detection and screening
  • Generate interest in science and health careers among youth



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