A 2007 National Study of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 70 percent of individuals abusing prescription pain relievers obtained them from relatives of friends. NIDA, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, reports that more than 9 million individuals are using prescription drugs for non-medical uses. In short, the United States has a prescription drug-abuse problem of magnitude; and one which threatens the future and wellbeing of our youth and upcoming generations.
The American Medicine Chest Challenge
An initiative is an important action that is intended to solve a problem. In this case, the American Medicine Chest Challenge is a public health initiative, community-based and in partnership with law enforcement.
The American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC) is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse, while at the same time providing a nationwide day of disposal for prescription drugs which are unwanted, expired and unused. The day of disposal takes place at either a designated collection site, or in the home. It is designated as the second Saturday of November every year in communities across the United States.
The AMCC provides a unified local, statewide, and national focus on the issue of prescription medicine abuse by children and teenagers. Its purpose is “to generate unprecedented media attention” to the problematic issue of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicine (drug) abuse; while at the same time challenging Americans across the nation to take the 5 Step American Medicine Chest Challenge.
The Five Steps of the Challenge
The five steps of the challenge are laid-out simply and clearly, enabling all who want to participate to do so without cost to any law enforcement agency, government or community in the country.
The Five Steps:
- First, a person takes inventory of his or her prescription and OTC medicine.
- The second step is to dispose of any unwanted, expired and unused medicine at home, or at a designated American Medicine Chest Disposal site.
- The third step is for an individual to take their prescribed medicine or medicines exactly as they have been prescribed.
- Step five is for a person to talk to their children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse—and know they are listening!
These simple but potentially powerful steps can be taken by anyone. By doing so, anyone can help in the ongoing effort to safeguard our children and teens against the deadly trap of prescription drug misuse and abuse.
Effectiveness of the Five Step Challenge
Law enforcement officials across the United States participate in the AMCC through the AMCC Public Health Campaign; encouraging the legal and safe disposal of all unwanted, unused and expired prescription medicine.
CEO of AMCC, Angelo M. Valente, notes that the American Medicine Chest Challenge can help in saving the lives or our nation’s children. Furthermore, by participating in the 5 Step Challenge, he points out that families across the United States are safeguarding their own homes from potential abuse and misuse of medicine. Valente emphasized that most important of all is to “talk to your children” regarding the dangers that prescription drugs present.
More than 1,000 communities and law enforcement partners across the nation are participating in this concerted effort to awaken others as to the very real dangers and risks of abusing prescription drugs. Valente noted there are hundreds of disposal locations throughout the country where Americans can safely dispose of the prescription drugs, helping to effectively minimize the risk to children and youth.
The AMCC website provides easily-used online search tools enabling anyone to locate a drop-off location close to where they live or work. It also features online resources of information for parents which will help them talk to their children and teens about the dangers of prescription drugs.
Narconon Arrowhead drug rehabilitation and education center in Oklahoma is another resource for parents, providing drug prevention education and materials for children, youth and adults.
Please call toll-free at 1-800-468-6933 for more information.