PhRMA President and CEO Tauzin
Applauds Drug Prevention Week
Washington, D.C. (February 19, 2008) — Senate Resolution 434 creates National Drug Prevention and Education Week to highlight abuse of prescription medicines - a problem that America's pharmaceutical research companies are committed to fighting.
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America President and CEO Billy Tauzin lauded this week’s Senate Resolution (S. Res. 434) designating February 10-16, 2008 as National Drug Prevention and Education Week.
The resolution “serves to highlight an important problem in America – the growing abuse of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines,” he said. “This is a problem that America’s pharmaceutical research companies are committed to fighting.”
According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use, some 6.4 million American children 12 or older have reported using prescription drugs for a non-medical use. In addition, youth are not the only abusers of prescription drugs: The U.S. Justice Department has found that seven million Americans abuse prescription drugs – more than the number of those abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and Ecstasy combined. In just six years, abuse of prescription drugs has increased 80 percent.
Speaking to this, Tauzin said, “The rise in prescription medicine abuse requires action, and that is why we have been working with other national organizations to develop, for example, new, specialized tools and support programs that prevent and address the problem of legal-drug abuse among elementary school children. We are proud to be part of these efforts to protect America’s youth.”
For example, in October, PhRMA was awarded the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Champion Award for its assistance in providing funding and expertise to help develop the D.A.R.E. America curriculum for children in grades five, seven, nine and 12. The educational materials are intended to raise awareness among teachers, parents and students about the dangers of abusing any drug, including legal medicines. PhRMA is also a supporter of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America as well as the campaign against prescription drug abuse recently launched by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Tauzin said, “In focusing national attention on the critical role of prevention and education in the fight against drug abuse, the Senate has taken a critical and welcome step in helping our country’s children understand that legal medicines are good, but that using them to get high is dangerous.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $43 billion in 2006 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $55.2 billion in 2006.