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Attorney General, Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force Team Up With The Colts To Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse
Updated October 7, 2014 7:01 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force have teamed up with the Indianapolis Colts in a new initiative to prevent prescription drug abuse among youth.

Zoeller and his partners are urging Indiana high school students to take an online pledge against abusing or sharing prescription drugs. The school with the highest percentage of pledges will win a $5,000 award from the Colts, which will be presented by the organization during a pep rally held at the school. Additionally, the winning school will be featured across Colts media and recognized as a proactive community leader in combating prescription drug abuse.

One in five Indiana teenagers has admitted to abusing prescription drugs. Zoeller said the goal of the pledge challenge is to educate young people about the dangers associated with prescription drug abuse and reduce this troubling statistic.

More people die of prescription drug overdoses in Indiana than heroin, cocaine and inhalants combined. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Indiana is currently listed as one of the top 10 states for prescribing narcotics.

"There is a false perception among young people that prescription drugs are safe," Zoeller said. "This belief is largely a result of how easy it is to access these medications and the alarming number of people abusing them. We need to dramatically change the conversation about these drugs, and make sure Indiana's teens are not engaging in behaviors that could lead to a lifetime of addiction, or worse - an accidental overdose death."

The Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force is reaching out to high school athletic directors and school administrators across the state, encouraging them to involve their school and students in this challenge. Recent studies have found that high school football players are more likely to abuse prescription drugs than other athletes.

To take the pledge, students can visit www.Bitterpill.IN.gov and click on "Take the Pledge" under the "Getting Involved" tab. The pledge challenge will run through Oct. 22.

"This is an exciting opportunity to engage young people in the fight against prescription drug abuse," said Pete Ward, Chief Operating Officer of the Indianapolis Colts. "The Colts organization is proud to be a part of this effort and take an active role in reducing teen substance abuse, especially among youth athletes."

In July, the Attorney General's Office announced its sponsorship of the 2014-2015 Colts season, which allows the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse during Colts home games, Colts special events and Colts radio and TV programming.

The Task Force - made up of more than 80 members including state legislators, law enforcement, professionals in the medical community, health officials, pharmacists, state and local agencies and education providers - was launched by Zoeller in 2012. The goal of the Task Force is to significantly reduce the abuse of controlled prescription drugs and to decrease the number of deaths associated with these drugs in Indiana.

Following the creation of the Task Force, the Attorney General's Office launched a statewide public awareness campaign highlighting the dangers of prescription drug abuse which included radio, television, print and the website, www.Bitterpill.IN.gov.



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