BETHEL — North Carolina high school students can help fight prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths by entering a video contest sponsored by Attorney General Roy Cooper and the NC Department of Justice.
“Prescription drugs can be even deadlier than street drugs when abused, and they’re much easier for young people to get,” Cooper said. “We’re asking students to use their time and talents to help us fight this epidemic by spreading the word about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.”
On Wednesday, Cooper visited North Pitt High School in Bethel to encourage students to participate in the contest. Students also heard from Donnie Varnell, Special Agent in Charge of the NC State Bureau of Investigation unit that investigates prescription drug related crime, and Shannon Ruiz, a Kinston mother who lost her daughter, Kaitlyn, to a prescription drug overdose.
About the Stop Rx Abuse Contest
Cooper is partnering with the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, the North Carolina Parent Resource Center, and the Governor’s Institute on Substance Abuse to sponsor the third annual Stop Rx Abuse contest.
Students are asked to create 30 second public service announcement videos on the topic of teen prescription drug abuse. All students enrolled in grades nine through 12 in North Carolina are eligible to enter and the top three entries will receive prizes.
Last year’s winner was a student at Hough High School in Charlotte, and the 2012 winner attended City of Medicine Academy in Durham. Watch winning videos from 2012 and 2013 at ncdoj.gov and YouTube.
The student whose video is judged to be the best this year will win an Apple iPad, and the runners-up will receive an iPod Touch and an iTunes gift card. The top videos will be featured on the website for the NC Department of Justice as well as via the department’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.
The student video competition runs through April 15. More details including the contest application are available at ncdoj.gov. Information on the contest has also been sent to high school principals statewide.
Students who enter the contest early are eligible to receive a pair of tickets to watch the Carolina Hurricanes play the New York Islanders on March 25, courtesy of the Hurricanes.
Prescription drug abuse remains a deadly problem
Data from North Carolina and other states demonstrate that prescription drugs kill far more people than illegal drugs (See Health 2010 Study – The Burden of Unintentional Poisoning in NC). About 1,000 people die each year in North Carolina from overdosing on prescription drugs, according to the N.C. Division of Public Health. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that for each overdose death nationally, there are 825 people abusing prescription drugs.
The intentional abuse of prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives to get high is particularly a concern among teens. According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services national survey, among people ages 12-17, prescription drugs are the second most abused drug, behind marijuana. The survey also found that most people age 12 or older who abuse prescription drugs get them from a friend or family member for free.
“Most teens can find prescription drugs to abuse by simply opening the medicine cabinet or asking a friend,” Cooper said. “Just one pill used incorrectly can kill, and that’s why it’s so important that we get this message out in a way that reaches young people.”
To participate in the Stop Rx Abuse contest:
1. Produce an original video and upload it to YouTube.
2. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org that includes a link to the video, your name, grade level, and school name.
3. Complete the application and release form (available at www.ncdoj.gov) and submit them along with a transcript of the video.