Campaign To Raise Awareness of Prescription Drug Misuse - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Campaign To Raise Awareness of Prescription Drug Misuse

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MISSOULA -

In 2013, more than 300 Montanans died from misusing prescription drugs. Numbers from the Missoula Forum for Children and Youth show that's more than DUI fatalities, meth overdoses, and homicides combined. Now, several Missoula groups are trying to raise awareness of this growing problem.

This campaign will focus on prescription drug misuse. Campaign organizers said it's a different issue than abuse and addiction, because many may be guilty of it without even knowing.

"You want to be cool, you know," said 18-year-old Trey Gibson.

He said it's easy to get sucked into making bad decisions because of peer pressure.

"Their taking all different types of pills and stuff, it's terrible," said 18-yearold Liam Carney.

While Gibson and Carney spend their time skating, they've seen a lot of their peers find other, more dangerous, hobbies.

"I know a lot of people my age and stuff that have gotten into trouble, and gone to rehab because of it," Gibson said.

Statistics from 2012 show 11% of Missoula eighth, 10th and 12th graders reported using a prescription narcotic that wasn't prescribed to them. 8% used sedatives not prescribed to them. These numbers from the Missoula Forum for Children and Youth show teens as young as 12-years old, are misusing drugs.

"12 years-old, that's a seventh grader," said Brandee Tyree, the coordinator at the Missoula underage substance prevention program, or MUSAP.

Her program is partnering with the forum next week in a campaign to raise awareness of prescription misuse and prevention.

"Misuse is when you use a prescription, when you use it in another way then when it was prescribed to you, or when you use it for any other reason then when it was prescribed to you," Tyree said.

She said misuse can be as simple as taking expired medication or using a spoon in your kitchen drawer instead of an actual measuring spoon to take cough medicine.

"You're not trying to do anything wrong, but it's just an improper way to use prescription drugs, abuse is typically when it turns into addiction and there's more intent behind it," Tyree said.

Tyree said by focusing on misuse, she hopes the campaign can prevent addiction, and maybe even save a life.

"If we can cut down on misuse and if there was more knowledge about how to use your prescription and over the counter medications, then perhaps that will cut down on abuse," Tyree said.

A series of forums will be held next week. Experts will talk to parents about how to prevent their children from misusing drugs, and to talk about how to properly use prescription medication. For a full schedule, head to the Missoula Forum for Children and Youth.

 

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