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AETN program examines teen prescription drug abuse Arkansas ranks first in nation for teen prescription pain reliever abuse; panel to discuss prevention, treatment

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policys Teens and Prescription Drugs report, Arkansas has the worst teen prescription pain reliever abuse problem in the United States. Arkansas has consistently ranked among the 10 states with the highest rate of non-medical use of pain relievers by 12 to 20-year-old individuals since state estimates of this measure first began in 2002. (SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, Short Report on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues - Arkansas, December, 2008)

The Partnership Tracking Attitude Study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug Free America found that the reasons teens use drugs include: dealing with the pressures and stress of school, feeling better about themselves, looking cool, dealing with problems at home, being high and having fun.

It is believed the Arkansas experience with easy access to prescription drugs at least mirrors the national experience, but may in fact be worse. Accidental drug overdose deaths in Arkansas rose 195 percent from 1999 to 2004, which reflects the fourth highest increase in the United States. Most of these overdoses were caused by prescription drugs, especially opioid pain relievers and sedatives. (Centers for Disease Control, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,  Feb. 9, 2007)

A panel of experts will discuss these adolescent drug use issues following a prevention video provided by the Hazelden Foundation and a five-part series produced by the.News>the.Medic.

Among those participating in the panel are: Fran Flener, State Drug Director; John Clay Kirtley, Pharm.D., Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy assistant director; Chief of Police Kirk Lane, Benton Police Department; Jennifer Bryan, parent; Rob Covington, Ph.D., director, Horizon Adolescent Treatment Center and the Drug and Alcohol Safety Education Program of the Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center; and Dr. Michael Mancino, M.D., program director, UAMS Substance Abuse Treatment Clinic.

Pamela Smith of KATV Channel 7 hosts.

Viewers are invited to submit questions and comments via phone, 800-662-2386, or e-mail, paffairs@aetn.org.

Healing Minds. Changing Attitudes. is sponsored by the Arkansas Mental Health Research and Training Institute, Division of Behavioral Health Services under the direction of Laurence H. Miller, M/D. who will also appear on the show.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansass statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit www.aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at www.aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).


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