Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry Launches Public Education Campaign to Combat Prescription Medication Abuse Through Safe Storage and Disposal

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – July 26, 2012 – In an effort to combat the serious public health problem of prescription medication abuse, Mayor Richard Berry today announced the launch of a public service announcement (PSA) campaign to encourage the safe storage and proper disposal of prescription medications. The PSA is part of a national awareness initiative called Safeguard My Meds that offers information about simple yet important steps Albuquerque citizens can take to protect prescription medicines in their homes. The PSA will air on broadcast television, radio stations and cable channels in the metro area and will also appear in the Albuquerque Journal.

Citing recent research showing that every day, more than 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription medication for the first time,1 Mayor Berry called on the community to help raise awareness about this growing public health problem.

“Many young people mistakenly think that it is safer to misuse prescription medications than illegal street drugs,” said Mayor Berry. “There seems to be less social stigma attached to misusing medications so it seems more acceptable to teens. Parents often are unaware that young people are abusing medications.”

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 12 to 17 year olds abuse prescription drugs more than they abuse ecstasy, crack/cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined.1, Prescription drug abuse by teens is exceeded only by marijuana use, and there are just as many new abusers (initiates) 12 and older of pain relievers as there are for marijuana.1 The prescription drugs most commonly abused by teens are painkillers, prescribed to treat pain; depressants, such as sleeping pills or anti-anxiety drugs; and stimulants, mainly prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).1 Sixty percent of teens who have abused prescription painkillers did so before age 15.1

With the support of local healthcare professionals, businesses, and families, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the Greater Albuquerque Medical Association and the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma L.P., Mayor Berry is encouraging people to take steps to safeguard medicines in the home and become better educated on problem of prescription drug abuse so that they can talk to their children and help them avoid the dangers.

“It is time for all of us to call attention to this problem and work together to curb the abuse of prescription medications,” said Dr. Jeremy Gleeson, president of the Greater Albuquerque Medical Association. “The first place to begin is right at home. People can help keep medicines out of the wrong hands by monitoring the contents of their medicine cabinet. They should also encourage friends and relatives to safeguard medications in their homes and consult their community pharmacist about how to properly dispose of medications that are no longer needed.”

In addition to warning the public about the dangers of abusing prescription medications, medical experts cautioned about the collateral damage that is caused by medication abuse.

“It is very important to remember that prescription medications have a legitimate medical purpose and can be very beneficial when used properly under the doctor’s supervision,” said Gleeson. “The abuse of prescription medications often makes it difficult for people who need these medicines to get the treatment they deserve.”

Safeguard My Meds is supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Community Pharmacists Association and pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma L.P. to reduce the abuse of prescription medications. Visit for more information on the safe storage and disposal of prescription medications.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,210 such cities in the country today, each represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor. The primary roles of The U.S. Conference of Mayors are to promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy; strengthen federal-city relationships; ensure that federal policy meets urban needs; provide mayors with leadership and management tools; and create a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information. Find us on or follow up on Twitter at

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America’s community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. To learn more go to or read NCPA’s blog, The Dose, at

The Greater Albuquerque Medical Association is a membership organization of licensed doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathic medicine residing and practicing in the greater Albuquerque area. The organization’s mission is to promote excellence in patient care by identifying and solving physician practice problems in any practice environment through advocacy, education and collegiality.

Purdue Pharma L.P. and its associated U.S. companies are privately-held pharmaceutical companies known for pioneering research on persistent pain. Headquartered in Stamford, CT, Purdue Pharma is engaged in the research, development, production, and distribution of both prescription and over-the-counter medicine and hospital products. Additional information about Purdue can be found at

1 Office of National Drug Control Policy, Prescription for Danger, Jan. 2008

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Dayna Gardner