ATLANTA, GEORIGA - April 22, 2014 - The Georgia Meth Project revealed today the latest results in its four-year fight against methamphetamine in Georgia, showing significant progress in attitudes about meth among teens. The organization also took another step forward as it launched today the Georgia Prevention Project as a new, statewide drug-prevention organization that aims to help teens avoid using dangerous drugs of all kinds.
Georgia Prevention Project will create proactive, youth-focused outreach and education programs to help teens learn about the risks of dangerous drug use while continuing its battle against methamphetamine. Georgia Prevention Project will work in collaboration with The Partnership at Drugfree.org, a national nonprofit organization working to find evidence-based solutions to adolescent substance abuse.
The first new program of the organization will be the Georgia Rx Abuse Project. This program will focus on the emerging problem of prescription drug abuse in Georgia. Building on the successes of the Georgia Meth Project, the new program comes at a time when Georgia is experiencing a dramatic increase in hospital admissions for non-heroin opiate overdoses. Between 2000 and 2012, these admissions jumped by almost 1,000 percent annually. In 2012, 76 percent of the drug overdose deaths in Georgia resulted from prescription drugs.
The Georgia Prevention Project made its announcement during the National Rx Abuse Summit being held in Atlanta this week. More than 1,000 state and federal officials, drug prevention professionals, and health specialists are attending the three-day conference.
"We have a potential epidemic on our hands in Georgia, just like we did with Meth a few years ago," warns Jim Langford, Executive Director of the Georgia Prevention Project. "We must work together to get out front of this prescription drug abuse problem before we lose more lives."
A new scientific survey of 1,801 Georgia teens shows that since the 2010 launch of the Georgia Meth Project "Not Even Once" campaign, the number of teens who see little or no risk in trying meth has dropped from 35 percent in 2010 to 11.6 percent this spring. Similarly, a higher percentage of teens, 68 percent, now see "great risk" in trying Meth. This is up 27 points from the 41 percent that saw "great risk" in 2010.
The Georgia Prevention Project plans to keep promoting its anti-meth messages in schools and through on-line advertising while launching the Rx Abuse Project to educate teens about the dangers of prescription drugs.
The recent survey results also show that 22 percent of teens say that prescription drugs are "easy to get" and 23 percent report that they have used a prescription drug that was not prescribed for them at least once in their lives. Of those teens that have used prescription drugs without a prescription, 75 percent say that they were 14 years of age or younger when they first used drugs this way.
"We applaud Georgia Meth Project's highly successful efforts to communicate the risks and effectively address the issue of methamphetamine use across the state," said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. "We are now committed to joining Georgia Prevention Project and tackling another devastating health crisis - the dangerous behavior of medicine abuse. The majority of parents in this state and across the country tend to deny that their teens could be abusing prescription drugs. It is up to all of us to come together and educate parents, our communities and our teens about this epidemic and in turn, save lives."
The State of Georgia was represented at the news conference by Jay Neal, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Transition, Support and Reentry. A former member of the Georgia House of Representatives, Neal has been instrumental in creating and supporting legislation that focuses on drug prevention and treatment.
"Illegal drug uses cost the people of the State of Georgia billions of dollars each year in areas such as health care, foster care, criminal justice expenses, lost productivity, theft, and property damage," Mr. Neal said. "But more painfully, our families and communities experience terrible personal losses of life and well-being. We must all work hard to find ways to prevent and treat these tragic outcomes."
The Georgia Rx Abuse Project intends to create materials and advertising similar to the Georgia Meth Project but with additional attention focused on parents and college-age young adults. The new program will also create educational materials for use in middle and high school classrooms.
The Meth Prevention Lesson will continue to be deployed by the Georgia Meth Project to schools where it can be downloaded for free by teachers wishing to teach meth education classes. The Meth Prevention Lesson meets all national and state standards for drug prevention education, and it has been viewed by more than 70,000 students in Georgia since 2012.
About Georgia Prevention Project
The Georgia Prevention Project is a statewide prevention program aimed at reducing the use of dangerous drugs among teens and young adults. Building on the experience of the Georgia Meth Project, launched in 2009, the Georgia Prevention Project initiative was launched in 2014. The Georgia Prevention Project partners with community members, schools and prevention professionals to develop strategy, build coalitions and provide drug education resources to bring attention to the health and future of youth. Learn more at www.georgiapreventionproject.org. The Georgia Meth Project and the Georgia Rx Abuse Project are signature programs of the Georgia Prevention Project. The Georgia Prevention Project is an affiliate of the Partnership at DrugFree.org, the oldest and largest national non- profit organization that focuses on drug abuse prevention.
About The Partnership at Drugfree.org
Ninety percent of addictions start in the teenage years. The Partnership at Drugfree.org is dedicated to solving the problem of teen substance abuse. Together with experts in science, parenting, and communications, the nonprofit translates research on teen behavior, addiction, and treatment into useful and effective resources for both individuals and communities. Working toward a vision where all young people will be able to live their lives free of drug and alcohol abuse, The Partnership at Drugfree.org works with parents and other influencers to help them prevent and get help for drug and alcohol abuse by teens and young adults. The organization depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and the public sector, and is thankful to SAG-AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity. Learn more at www.drugfree.org.
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