You could be a drug dealer and not even know it

Over the past four years the American Medicine Chest Challenge has become the largest non-governmental public health response to the epidemic of prescription drug abuse. And, today that response continued as we gathered with law enforcement and the medical community at the Do No Harm symposium – a meeting to discuss solutions to the epidemic of prescription frug abuse.

The American Medicine Chest Challenge www.americanmedicinechest.com is a not-for-profit organization that has collaborated with the leaders of law enforcement, prevention, corporate and media organizations throughout the country with proven extraordinary results as evidenced by the Rutgers University independent study on the impact of the AMCC media campaign. This community driven program provides, free of charge, all of the tools necessary for local coalitions to coordinate a multi-media and multi-lingual public awareness campaign to their community. It also empowers them to partner with local law enforcement to host a day of disposal of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine.

This initiative challenges New Jersey residents to take the Five-Step American Medicine Chest Challenge:

·    Take inventory of your prescription and over-the-counter medicine.

·    Secure your medicine chest.

·    Dispose of your unused, unwanted, and expired medicine in your home or at an American Medicine Chest Challenge Disposal site.

·    Take your medicine(s) exactly as prescribed.

·    Talk to your children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently labeled prescription drug abuse an epidemic, reporting that the death toll from overdoses of prescription painkillers has more than tripled in the past decade and more than 40 people die every day from overdoses involving narcotic pain relievers. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, 70 percent of people who abuse prescription pain relievers obtained them from friends or relatives, and, there has been a 400% increase in substance abuse treatment admissions for people abusing prescription drugs.

The AMCC is designed to bring to light the dangers of prescription drug abuse and the easy accessibility within the home by generating unprecedented media attention to the issue of prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse, to create a way for adults to anonymously, legally, and safely dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine, and to encourage families to take the five step American Medicine Chest Challenge. Prescription pills are easily accessible to teenagers, and a "gateway drug" to heroin." 

AMCC is based on the success of the nationally recognized Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey (OMC-NJ). OMC-NJ was the first in the nation statewide day of disposal, held in November 2009 with a one day, four-hour, state-wide event that netted over 9,000 lbs. of medicine, with a street value of over $35 million, while simultaneously garnering over a million dollars in in-kind media attention on the issue of prescription and over the counter drug abuse. The program was recognized in the 2010 Drug Strategy of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the New Jersey Ad Club, Jersey Shore Public Relations and Advertising Association, the Public Relations Society of New Jersey, and the National Association of Government Communicators.

AMCC, along with its local partners, has successfully held two (3) national days of collection and a fourth annual event is planned November 9, 2013. In a continuing effort to provide the public with access to safe disposal options, AMCC launched a National Directory of Permanent Rx Collection Sites featured on www.AmericanMedicineChest.com’s interactive national map.

Based on the overwhelming response to the National Directory of Permanent Rx Collection Sites, AMCC, in conjunction with GPhA, proudly announced the debut of a smartphone app (iPhone/iPad/Android) called “AMCC RxDrop” that allows anyone with a smartphone to find a permanent Rx collection site. The app will allow people to search by zip code or their current location.

AMCC is being supported by numerous organizations in New Jersey including the New Jersey Broadcaster’s Association, the New Jersey Department of Human Services, and the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.  National sponsors include PhRMA, The Partnership at Drugfree.org, the American College of Emergency Room Physicians, New Jersey Prevention Network, Covanta Energy, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, and Generic Pharmaceutical Association. The parent organization of AMCC is the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey

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