2009: Communication is key!

Welcome to the National Council on Patient Information and Education's (NCPIE) 24th annual observance of "Talk About Prescriptions" Month (TAP Month). These on-line and downloadable planning materials enable site visitors to plan, organize, and conduct TAP activities in your local community through-out the year not just during the 31 days of October.

Consumers and caregivers are encouraged to download all of these complimentary resources and share them with family members and loved ones.

Please Help Us "TAP" to Better Communication for NCPIE's 24th Annual
"Talk About Prescriptions" Month

Our Theme

This October marks NCPIE's 24th annual "Talk About Prescriptions" Month. Our theme this year, "Communication is Key!" reflects the fact that better medicine communication between consumers and their healthcare providers can lead to safe and appropriate medicine use – and better health. Implicit in this year's theme is that high-quality communication about medicines – at every teachable moment – must occur to better ensure that consumers derive maximum benefit (and minimum risk) from their prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Our theme this year also is intended to recognize the great job that NCPIE member organizations are doing — as well as others — to improve the dialogue about medicines.

We are pleased this October – and beyond – to cast the spotlight on those organizations who are committed to safe and appropriate medicine use by deed and example, including NCPIE members and others. We encourage you review all the products, programs, or services available to help you support proper use of medicines all year long.

Below you will find articles, factoids, and links to several new NCPIE resources as well as medicine information and education resources/programs from a number of NCPIE members, partners and others committed to safe medicine use through better medicine communication. These include electronic media, PowerPoint presentations, new downloadable leave-behind handouts, and more. Please visit these sites and make use of the all the messages and materials that fit your organizational purpose and function.

These resources address the multiplicity of issues that arise when medicines (Rx or OTC) are part of the healthcare equation. For example, you'll find information about question asking about medicines; avoiding drug-drug interactions, safe use of pain medications, including acetaminophen safe use; methadone safety; proper medicine disposal best practices; promoting better medication adherence; and – a new NCPIE contribution to "Talk About Prescriptions" Month 2009 — how you can be a "Key Influencer" "Maximizing Your Role as a Teen Influencer: What You Can Do To Help Prevent Teen Prescription Drug Abuse," when it comes to helping teens make the right decision to avoid medication misuse and abuse.

What's New for TAP Month 2009

NCPIE and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — "Maximizing Your Role as a Teen Influencer: What You Can Do To Help Prevent Teen Prescription Drug Abuse," is a new, turn-key educational workshop complete with a Presenter's Guide, PowerPoint, and other tools (handouts, etc.) targeting the prevention of teen prescription drug abuse. This workshop, is intended as a mechanism for passing forward the important message to colleagues and workmates that every adult has a role to play and she/he can convey key drug abuse prevention information to teens - whether at home, in a medical setting, or at school. (Please Refer to the Section on this Program for Complete Information.)

Maximizing Your Role as a Teen Influencer

"Maximizing Your Role as a Teen Influencer:
What You Can Do To Help Prevent Teen Prescription Drug Abuse"
PowerPoint and Presenter's Guide


 This October, NCPIE is pleased to release a new educational resource to help improve the dialogue about medication safety and as a hands-on tool for addressing the growing problem of prescription medicine abuse by teens. Support to develop the program was provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) with additional support for implementation provided by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation and Purdue Pharma, L.P.

The Problem
  • 1 in 5 teens has abused Rx drugs.
  • 1 in 3 teens reports there is "nothing wrong" when using Rx drugs "every once and a while."
  • 1 in 3 teens report knowing someone who abuses Rx drugs.
  • Every day, almost 2,500 teens abuse a prescription drug for the first time.
  • Rx drugs are abused more than cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and methamphetamine combined.

With the help of an esteemed Project Advisory Team (PAT) NCPIE has developed a turn-key educational program designed for healthcare professionals, including prescribers, pharmacists, and nurses, and adults working or involved in school based settings, including teachers, counselors, coaches and PTA groups, for example. The workshop, which can be presented in one hour (or less) consists of the following components:

Dangers of Abusing Rx Drugs
  • Increases in blood pressure or heart rate
  • Damages brain and other organs
  • Overdose/poisonings
  • Physical dependence
  • Addiction
  • Disruption in breathing (respiratory depression)
  • Seizures
  • Death
  • Risks associated with mixing multiple drugs or combining with alcohol
  • Welcome and Introductions (10 minutes)
  • Presentation (25-30 minutes)
  • Role Playing Activity (15 minutes)
  • Wrap Up and Evaluation (10 minutes)

This new educational resource is a complete workshop module designed to educate and equip teen influencers — parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, community and school-based healthcare providers and others — with credible information about teen prescription drug abuse and effective strategies to take action. The goal is to empower teen influencers to provide consistent prevention messages wherever teens are: at home, at school, on the field or during health-related visits.

During this hands-on program, participants will:

  • Learn about prescription (Rx) drug abuse.
  • Dispel common myths.
  • Reinforce your position as a role model.
  • Provide tips for communicating with teens.
  • Empower you to take an active role to reduce prescription drug abuse.
Who Can Make A Difference?
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Teachers
  • Coaches
  • School administrators
  • Guidance counselors
  • School nurses
  • School resource officers
  • Community-based healthcare professionals - including prescribers, pharmacists, nurses

Your Role as a Presenter
You don't need any special training to give this presentation. Nor do you have to be a healthcare professional or an expert on teen prescription drug abuse. Simply review the materials, follow the steps outlined in this guide, and you'll be well prepared to conduct an engaging and informative presentation about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and what adults can do to prevent it. By giving this talk, you will help educate other teen influencers about the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and provide them with useful information and tools to enhance their outreach efforts.

Getting Started
NCPIE has provided everything you need to get started. The Presenter's Guide includes everything you'll need to plan a one-hour presentation for a group of teen influencers in your community. It will walk you through the steps needed to plan and promote a workshop in your community, school, clinic or other setting.

In addition to the Presenter's Guide, the "Maximizing Your Role as a Teen Influencer" program includes:


These Days, It's not just PB&J Sandwiches that Kids are Trading — One in Five Teens Share Their Prescription Drugs with Friends (Join Together, 8/24/09)

  • A survey of 12- to 17-year-olds in the U.S. has found that about 20 percent said they have given their prescription drugs like OxyContin and Darvocet to friends or obtained drugs the same way.
  • Allergy drugs, narcotic pain relievers, antibiotics, acne medications, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications were the most commonly shared.
  • Three-quarters of those who borrowed drugs from friends said they did so in lieu of visiting a doctor.
  • About one-third of those who borrowed medications said they had experienced an allergic reaction or other negative side-effects as a result.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — NCPIE is pleased to team up with the FDA to share the following important updated information and public education messages/materials on the Safe Use of Over-the Counter Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers (Acetaminophen pain relief products):

The University of Maine Center on Aging — Along with a multi-stakeholder consortium of in-state and national groups, including NCPIE, a member of the project advisory committee, has launched The Safe Medicine Disposal for ME Program. This comprehensive effort uses the mail to return unwanted, unused, and expired medicine to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency for proper disposal. The program provides a safe and anonymous method of drug disposal for Maine residents. The program is the first of its kind in the country. See Detailed Program Fact Sheet.

The Partnership for a Safer Maryland was formed September 2005 in response to the Center for Health Promotion receiving a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Core Injury Grant. This five year grant supports the State's Capacity to address injury and violence in Maryland and seeks to establish a self-sufficient injury program that will continue to address the safety needs of Maryland residents long into the future. The mission of the Partnership is to advocate for injury and violence prevention and promote education and surveillance in Maryland through statewide partnerships. NCPIE has been invited to participate in the Partnership. The Partnership is participating in this year's "Talk About Prescriptions" Month, by spotlighting NCPIE "Key Influencer" messages and resources "Maximizing Your Role as a Teen Influencer: What You Can Do To Help Prevent Teen Prescription Drug Abuse," in their October, 2009 electronic newsletter.

The Philadelphia Partnership for Pharmaceutical Pollution Prevention (P5) — In June 2008, a group of mostly Philadelphia regional professionals encompassing three states met to discuss pharmaceutical waste. A subgroup of attendees has continued working together to consider moving the issue "upstream" by developing educational interventions for a variety of stakeholders. The Women's Health & Environmental Network (a P5 member) is currently conducting a research study targeting four constituencies of stakeholders: health care providers (prescribers), pharmacists (dispensers), insurers (payers), and consumer advocacy groups (consumers) to identify/assess the process of prescribing, dispensing, and paying for pharmaceuticals. A preliminary report will be available to begin designing an intervention(s) by late Fall 2009.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative (PSPC) – The HRSA PSPC was created to improve the quality and access of healthcare in the U.S. by integrating evidence-based clinical pharmacy services into the care and management of high-risk, high-cost, complex patients in more than 100 federally-funded health centers through a patient-centered, primary health-home. Now, in its second year, the Collaborative has successfully and clearly demonstrated the value of advancing medication adherence and improving patient safety with the end result of achieving positive health outcomes as outlined in several of the 10 recommendations of the 2007 NCPIE report "Enhancing Prescription Medicine Adherence: A National Action Plan." NCPIE is extremely pleased to be invited to serve as a partner organization in the PSPC Leadership Coordinating Council (LLC).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — have launched "Follow Directions: How to Use Methadone Safely," a collaborative public awareness campaign to deliver the message to consumers that methadone is a safe and effective treatment for opioid addiction and pain management when taken as directed. NCPIE is pleased to be a campaign outreach partner. The campaign will educate consumers, healthcare professionals and clinics about how methadone's complex pharmacology can have life-threatening interactions when taken with other medications or not as prescribed. Campaign materials include a brochure, poster and fact sheet, in both English and Spanish, as well as a Point of Sale piece that will be distributed by pharmacies to patients prescribed methadone.

The New England Health Care Institute (NEHI) — has swung the spotlight that NCPIE brought in 2007 to the issue of medication nonadherence with release of its report, "Enhancing Prescription Medicine Adherence: A National Action Plan," back to this major health challenge with the release of new research "Thinking Outside the Pillbox: A System-wide Approach to Improving Patient Medication Adherence for Chronic Disease," showing that patients who do not take their medications as prescribed cost the health care system $290 billion each year in otherwise avoidable medical spending. The report underscores the particular vulnerability of chronic disease patients to nonadherence and its repercussions.

The Delmarva Foundation — recently released a Warfarin Alert Card and Key Fob. Both items are available for Medicare Part D participating health plans, pharmacies, and beneficiaries to utilize in an effort to improve warfarin therapy efficacy and safety.

The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) — recently released, "Blood Thinner Pills: Your Guide to Using Them Safely," an easy-to-read booklet that educates people about blood thinners. It offers basic information about the medication, including reasons why a clinician might prescribe it. It also includes tips on diet, medicines and foods to avoid, important precautions for some daily activities, and when to seek help. Download print version in both English and Spanish.

In addition, Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), offers brief, easy-to-understand advice columns for consumers to help navigate the health care system. In her latest column, Dr. Clancy explains how individuals who take blood thinner pills can ensure they get the benefits of their medicine by making a few changes in their lifestyle.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) offers ConsumerMedSafety.org a new free website dedicated to helping prevent medication errors that could harm health care consumers. The website is exclusively designed to bring the message of medication error prevention directly to consumers. Read more about the ISMP.

McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions (MPRS) — MPRS supports patients in improving and maintaining their health by strengthening their relationships with doctors and pharmacists. Read more about their initiatives and programs related to adherence improvement.

National Consumers League — Answering NCPIE's call for awareness building, as set out in the 2007 NCPIE report "Enhancing Prescription Medicine Adherence: A National Action Plan," the National Consumers League — with planning funds from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality — is developing a National Medication Adherence Campaign to help raise the level of awareness about the importance of adherence among consumers. The campaign will broadly make consumers aware of the importance of taking their medications as prescribed.

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), in collaboration with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association — has developed a "National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month Toolkit" to help you plan local activities. Download it at: StopMedicineAbuse.org. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in 10 teens reports having abused over-the-counter cough medicine to get high and 1 in 5 teens has abused prescription drugs to get high. In response to this growing epidemic, the U.S. Senate introduced a resolution designating October as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month (NMAAM). This annual observance offers an opportunity for communities to educate parents and youth of the potential dangers associated with prescription drug abuse and medicine abuse. There are number of ways to get involved, such as by hosting a town hall meeting on medicine abuse or launching a community-wide medicine abuse educational campaign.

“Talk About Your Medicines” Month Archive