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Tampa Bay High Schools Undergo 3-week Takeover To Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

Early Results Are In for Survey of 1,000 Florida High School Students

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Teen prescription drug abuse and addiction has become a national epidemic, and Tampa Bay students are in as much danger as other teens across the country. Two Tampa Bay schools, Shorecrest Preparatory School and Canterbury School of Florida are taking part in the national teen prescription drug abuse awareness campaign, called WAKE UP!, in an effort to educate students on the repercussions of prescription drug abuse. Many believe that prevention of first-time use by young people is the only answer to combat the epidemic.  Statistics from a preliminary survey released this week, confirm that rising incidences of teens abusing prescription drugs is prevalent among the students in both schools.

Out of nearly 1,000 Tampa-bay area students surveyed (9th through 12th grade):

  • 58% say the students they know who use prescription drugs recreationally do it because of pressure from other friends 
  • 43% of students did not know that a brain is still developing into the mid-20's and because of that young people are at high risk for developing addiction 
  • 51% say they are worried about a friend's or their own drug use

Science has demonstrated that the human brain continues to develop until age 24, placing teens at a significant increased risk of addiction.  Abuse of prescription drugs can have permanent, negative affects on the teen brain.  Despite these alarming facts, a majority of teens and adults in this country still believe prescription drugs to be safer than illicit street drugs. The program's mission is to WAKE UP! communities to this serious public health issue. The WAKE UP! program uses science to teach, not preach the consequences of prescription drug abuse. The program deploys a "takeover" approach by providing a massive on-campus presence utilizing graphics, multi-media, curriculum, social media (yup – there's an App for that), creative expression contests, and interactive events. The program has received national recognition for its efforts, and just this week was given the thumbs up by Florida's Attorney General, Pam Bondi

Part of the WAKE UP! program is a Multi-Media student assembly teaching the dangers of misusing and abusing prescription drugs, teaching the science behind teen addiction and the development of young brains using music, video, graphics and student interactivity.  Saint Petersburg physician and resident, Lora Brown, MD lead the discussion, which included a visit by special guests, Sherrie Rubin & son Aaron Rubin. During the program launch in California earlier this year, Aaron, a teen addict who is now a quadriplegic and unable to speak due to an accidental overdose, and his mom joined forces with WAKE UP! They flew in from California to discuss this serious issue with the students.          

WAKE UP! will host a community town hall meeting on teen prescription drug abuse, this weekend.  All parents and residents are encouraged to attend.


Thursday, November 15th – 7:00 PM:

Shorecrest Preparatory School Auditorium 
5101 First Street Northeast, St. Petersburg, FL 33703


Interview Opportunities / On Site or In Studio
Lora Brown, MD - St. Petersburg physician, and resident. Medical Director of WAKE UP!  and, 7-year member of the State of Florida's Drug Task Force

CORE Student Ambassadors - local students working behind-the-scenes to help educate their peers 

School Principals 

To view the multimedia assets associated with the launch of the WAKE UP! campaign, please click:

About WAKE UP!:
WAKE UP! is an in-your-face educational campaign established by The Pain Truth, a Florida 501 (c) 3, to combat the increase in prescription drug abuse among teenagers. It is designed to use science to educate teenagers of the effects and dangers of prescription drugs.  The program uses a school take-over approach that includes a series of public service announcements, curriculum-based tools, promotional materials, social media, and community events.


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