SAN DIEGO, June 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Millennium Laboratories, the leading research-based clinical diagnostic company dedicated to improving the lives of people suffering from pain, announced today it has awarded a $250,000 grant to the WAKE UP! campaign in an effort to combat prescription drug misuse and abuse by teenagers. WAKE UP!, a comprehensive youth program created by The Pain Truth, a 501(c)(3)nonprofit organization, promotes a school and community-based approach to address what it calls a "silent epidemic," with one in five teens currently suffering from prescription drug abuse.
Funding from Millennium Laboratories will help develop the program and launch pilots in San Diego County, Calif., and Manatee County, Fla., to coincide with the start of the school year this fall. The program is expected to expand nationally based on outcomes from these pilot initiatives.
Founded in 2010 to help fight a rapidly growing prescription drug abuse problem affecting families and communities across the country, the WAKE UP! program is a social change education and community action approach aimed at preventing teen prescription drug misuse and abuse. It embraces four principal objectives: save lives by preventing first-time prescription drug misuse by teens; create a unique packaged community outreach presentation that can be customized and implemented by physicians in communities nationwide; work with media to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse; and measure effectiveness through data collection for future program development.
Statistics continue to confirm the growing problem of prescription drug abuse across the United States, with a dramatic increase in abuse by teenagers. More than one-third of the abusers of prescription drugs are between the ages of 12 and 17[i], and every day more than 2,500 children in that same age range misuse a pain reliever for the first time[ii].
While taking certain prescription drugs at any age may result in addiction, they can be especially harmful for adolescents. Recent research shows the human brain develops through young adulthood, which makes raising awareness among teens especially important.
"The areas of the brain that control the ability to make sound and rational decisions have not yet matured, making teens more vulnerable to peer pressure, risk taking and impulsive behavior -- all of which make them more susceptible to drug misuse," said Lora Brown, MD, Medical Director for WAKE UP! and an interventional pain management specialist. "Because a teen's brain is still developing, abuse of these drugs can alter the brain structure by interfering with the neurotransmitters responsible for forming the neural connections needed for the brain to work properly. In some cases, this includes creating an addiction when there was no previous genetic susceptibility. Science also shows abuse of opioids can result in underdeveloped motor skills and a decrease in certain brain functions such as concentration, memory, motivation, as well as an inability to rationalize."
WAKE UP! advocates a school and community "takeover" approach in addressing this critical problem, as securing the commitment and integrating the involvement of teen students, parents, schools, law enforcement, and community leaders will present the best chance for success. The WAKE UP! model uses dramatic multimedia productions, true stories, celebrities, video, curriculum-based tools, public service announcements, town hall meetings, social media, music and other educational material as part of its methodology. Promoting comprehensive local involvement and gaining positive national attention that translates into community education are success factors in seeking social change, Dr. Brown noted. Millennium Laboratories' goal is to take the WAKE UP! program national by providing a toolkit and train-the-trainer sessions to its speakers bureau membership across the country.
"Our goal in funding and participating in this initiative is to help create dynamic, community-based programs that educate tens of thousands of teenagers, parents and teachers about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse. We expect that outcomes from the pilot will demonstrate the value of the WAKE UP! approach and hope other corporations and government agencies will join us to support the growth of a national program," said Howard Appel, President of Millennium Laboratories.
"As a parent of two teenage boys, I applaud WAKE UP!'s efforts to engage schools, teachers and their peer groups, all of whom directly influence our children's lives outside the home," Appel continued. "The WAKE UP! approach not only reinforces what kids need to hear about the dangerous consequences of uncontrolled use of prescription medications, but also reaches them in their own environment, utilizing dynamic and interactive tools designed especially for their age group." About Millennium Laboratories:
Millennium Laboratories is the leading research-based clinical diagnostic company dedicated to improving the lives of people suffering from pain. The company provides healthcare professionals with scientific data, clinical tools and services that help personalize treatment plans to improve clinical outcomes and patient safety.
The company utilizes leading technology and proprietary methodologies to provide some of the fastest and most reliable medication monitoring and drug detection results via both urine drug testing (UDT) and oral fluid testing. Test results are backed by expert toxicologists, clinical guidance and dedicated customer service.
Millennium's commitment to advancing the science and the field of pain management also includes a strong focus on the advancement of industry research, education and advocacy. Through its association with the Millennium Research Institute, a nonprofit national research center, it has quickly gained respect as a leader in toxicology, pharmacology and pain management research and education, providing healthcare professionals with innovative research to advance the assessment and management of chronic pain.
About WAKE UP!:
WAKE UP! is an in-your-face educational campaign established by The Pain Truth, a Florida 501(c)(3), to combat the increase in prescription drug abuse among teenagers. It is designed to use science, not scare tactics, to educate teenagers of the effects and dangers of prescription drugs. The program uses a school "takeover" approach that includes a series of public service announcements, curriculum-based tools, promotional materials, social media, and community events.
[i] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2008). Results from the 2007 National survey on drug use and health: National findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-34, DHHS Publication No. SMA 08-4343). Rockville, MD.
[ii] United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Prescription Drug Fact Sheet. http://www.justice.gov/dea/concern/prescription_drug_fact_sheet.html. Accessed June 5, 2012.
SOURCE Millennium Laboratories