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[ATG] AG Zoeller launches public awareness project & task force to fight Rx drug abuse
Start Date: 9/24/2012Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 9/24/2012End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS – Many roadside billboards across the state will soon feature an eye opening statistic – every 25 minutes someone dies from a prescription drug overdose in the U.S.

These billboards are part of a public awareness project launched by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller to combat the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, prescription drug abuse. Zoeller also created a new Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force – which met for the first time last week – to make recommendations for new rules, regulations and state statutes.

“Prescription drug overdoses and the non-prescription use of medication is an epidemic that continues to have a stronghold in our communities,” Zoeller said. “It’s critical everyone work together to break away from this trend. I believe any solutions will require a comprehensive approach that includes education, training, treatment, tracking and enforcement. That’s why the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force will aim to address these critical areas with the goal of saving Hoosier lives and families.”

Zoeller, chair of the task force, said the group is made up of state legislators, law enforcement, health officials, pharmaceutical representatives, state and local agencies and education providers. Members form committees focused on education, treatment and recovery, prescription drug monitoring, prescription disposal and take-back and enforcement. The full task force will publish a report of its findings and recommendations.

According to a report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, poisoning, primarily by drugs, kills more people than car accidents. The most recent data available from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) found that, during 2010, 654 Hoosier lives were lost to drug overdoses.  

"There has been a 500 percent increase in poisoning deaths in our state over the past 10 years," said Dr. Joan Duwve, Chief Medical Officer at the ISDH and co-chair of the task force. "And most of those are due to drug overdoses. This is a dangerous epidemic that is affecting every community in Indiana."  

To help warn consumers of the dangers of prescription drug abuse, Zoeller said a total of 10 billboards will appear in Allen, Jackson, Marion, Monroe and Scott counties. Zoeller thanked Lamar Outdoor Advertising for donated billboard space.

Signs will include the web address to which was launched today to help provide information to the public and provide updates on the task force.

The announcement comes on the heels of “Wake Up to Medicine Abuse Week” which began Sunday and runs through Saturday. This national effort will both encourage and help parents to take action: first, by talking with children about the dangers of abusing prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and second, by safeguarding and properly disposing of unused medications.

Hoosiers can safely turn-in their unwanted prescriptions Saturday during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To find the nearest collection site visit

Zoeller will also host the third annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Symposium on Dec. 19 in Indianapolis which will include presentations developed by Indiana’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force. The event will be attended by law enforcement, healthcare professionals, pharmacists, state regulatory agencies and other officials from across the state.


Contact Information:
Name: Erin Reece
Phone: 317.232.0168
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Goverment
  • Family & Health
  • Residents
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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