From IDS reports
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and the Indianapolis Colts are working together to decrease prescription drug abuse by Indiana teens.
Zoeller and the Colts are asking high schoolers to sign up at bitterpill.in.govto take a pledge against abusing or sharing prescription drugs.
Students can sign up for the pledge challenge through Oct. 22.
The Indiana high school with the highest proportion of students taking the pledge will win $5,000 and a pep rally hosted by the Colts organization.
It’s an initiative by the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, or the RX Task Force, which was established by Zoeller two years ago this month.
The task force is made up of more than 80 legislators, law enforcement and members of the medical community, as well as volunteers, according to the official website.
“There is a false perception among young people that prescription drugs are safe,” Zoeller said in a press release. “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.”
One in five Indiana teens say he or she has abused prescription drugs, according to the attorney general’s office.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that deaths involving prescription painkillers quadrupled nationally between 1999 and 2013. The rise in deaths was closely correlated to an increase in prescriptions.
According to the same CDC report, Indiana’s overdose death rate in 2010 was 14.4 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to the national rate of 12.4.
Zoeller said in the release that the goal of the pledge challenge is to educate people, particularly teens, about prescription drug abuse in order to reduce those numbers.
“This is an exciting opportunity to engage young people in the fight against prescription drug abuse,” Colts COO Pete Ward said in the press release. “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.”