UW Part Of Campaign That Targets Prescription Drug Misuse Among Wyoming’s Young

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WYOMING — In Wyoming, a leading form of drug abuse in 12-25-year-olds is prescription painkillers, such as hydrocodone or oxycodone.

A new education campaign presented by the Wyoming Rx Abuse Stakeholders (RAS) — co-chaired by two University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy administrators — is aimed at helping prevent prescription drug misuse/abuse by teens and young adults across the state.

RAS is co-chaired by Aimee Lewis, Wyoming drug utilization review manager, and Antoinette Brown, coordinator of experiential education, both in the School of Pharmacy.

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Titled “They Didn’t Know,” the educational campaign targets Wyoming residents 12-25 years of age with an attention-getting approach that uses several types of digital media. The campaign message and materials can be viewed in a slideshow.

“The Rx Abuse Stakeholders is excited to release our statewide educational campaign,” Brown says. “We feel the educational message it delivers is so important and timely, and will go far in educating young adults and their families about the appropriate use of prescription medications, especially pain medications, and both the short- and long-term risks of abusing them.”

“We want to help people learn about the importance of proper drug use, as well as safe storage and disposal,” Brown adds.

Some of the information includes:

  • Many teens believe that prescription drugs are actually “safer” than street drugs. But, overdose statistics show otherwise.
  • Many people don’t know that misusing prescription painkillers can dramatically slow, or completely stop, their breathing. This results in a lack of oxygen to the brain and causes unintentional, but completely permanent brain damage.
  • People who live in rural counties, as is much of Wyoming, are twice as likely to overdose on prescription painkillers as people who live in bigger cities.

The RAS is a statewide volunteer group with representatives from health, substance abuse, law enforcement and social services agencies who have worked on issues stemming from prescription drug abuse and other opioid abuse. To learn more, visit the group’s website at www.wyrxabusestakeholders.com/.

For more information about the campaign, call Laura Griffith, Recover Wyoming executive director, at (307) 421-7261 or email wyrxabusestakeholders@gmail.com.