BOISE – Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in Idaho. In fact a recent study says only three states are worse when it comes to teenagers abusing prescription medication.
"It's something that's worked its way over to Idaho and it's something that we just want to nip in the bud before it becomes a bigger problem," said Gina Heideman, the Executive Director of the Idaho Meth Project.
To begin the process of bringing awareness to this issue, the Idaho Meth Project and the Idaho Office of Drug Policy hosted a special screening Tuesday night at the Flicks in Boise.
The documentary is called “Out of Reach.” It shows what prescription drug abuse, by teens, looks like in small cities across America.
National studies show one in four teens will abuse prescription medications, without a prescription, in their lifetime.
Those who study this type of abuse say it is still fairly new. That's why they want to get the word out to stop it before it gets worse.
The teen filmmaker, who put it all together with the assistance of an entertainment company, traveled the country talking to fellow teens about prescription abuse.
"What we've really seen among teen girls is that they do this as an escape behavior. They're having trouble dealing with the pressures of everyday life," said Courtney Gallo with The Partnership at Drugfree.org.
The Partnership at Drugfree.org pushed this project forward, wanting to bring attention to something that before, was only talked about in the shadows.
It's for that reason that the Idaho Office of Drug Policy and the Idaho Meth Project worked to bring this film to Idaho.
"It's kind of a new topic in Idaho that parents don't really know about, as much as they do other drugs and they don't realize how nonchalant teens are about abusing prescription medicine that has not been prescribed to them," said Gina Heideman, Executive Director of the Idaho Meth Project.
According to a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Idaho is fourth in the nation for non-medical prescription pain reliever abuse for ages 12 and older, which means only three states abuse prescriptions more than Idaho.
"That's a startling statistic for Idaho, and something we want to fix," said Heideman.
And that starts with this film.
"I think the first step is just starting the conversation and giving them some tools to walk away with," said Heideman.
After the free screening, there was a panel discussion talking about what parents can do to keep their kids from going down this path of abuse.
The Idaho Office of Drug Policy also launched a new campaign called Lock Your Meds. The campaign urges parents to keep the prescription meds out of reach.
If you want more information on prescription drug abuse and where you can go to get answers click here.
There you can also sign a pledge to lock up your meds and talk to your family about prescription drug abuse.