“Downer” Drinks Causing Concern

February 23, 2010

 An anti-energy beverage named Drank is raising red flags with mental health experts who say the purple beverage is marketed to mimic homemade cough syrup drinks known as “purple drank.”

Several Dallas groups are trying to influence retailers — mostly convenience stores — to stop selling the beverage, which they say serves as a gateway drug for abusing cough syrup.

 According to the Dallas Morning News, Drank contains the hormone melatonin. Dr. Gregory Carter, clinical associate professor of neurology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, told the paper that the 1 milligram of melatonin in Drank is enough to make someone drowsy.

OP Social Media Up and Running

February 19, 2010

Yes, folks…You’ve followed our blog, and watched us on YouTube, and now Oregon Partnership will be expanding its drug prevention outreach via our Facebook page.  Check it out. More to come…



First Oregon Statewide Prescription Drug Turn-In March 13

February 18, 2010

What’s Still in YOUR Medicine Cabinet?

  With prescription drug abuse on the rise in Oregon and across the country, some two dozen Oregon cities are taking part in a drug turn-in program to collect unwanted and expired drugs.

While individual communities have sponsored similar turn-in events, this is the first statewide effort of its kind, hoping to attract thousands of people and increase awareness about the disposal of potentially dangerous and addictive drugs.

The March 13th turn-in is being coordinated by The Oregon Medical Association Alliance, Community Action to Reduce Substance Abuse (CARSA) and the drug prevention non profit Oregon Partnership.

“The whole idea is to prevent drug abuse by keeping these drugs out of the wrong hands and to discard them safely,” said Leanna Lindquist, President, Oregon Medical Association Alliance.  “We’re hoping that this event will shed light on the public safety and environmental aspects of discarding
prescription drugs that are no longer needed.”

Oregon Partnership’s alcohol and drug crisis line, HelpLine (1-800-923-HELP), now receives more calls about prescription drug abuse than any other drug, with the exception of alcohol. 

In Portland, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s Crime Prevention Program will partner with the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct to take back unused prescription medications at the parking lot of the Fred Meyer store at 7404 North Interstate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Other cities taking part are Albany, Astoria, Baker City, Coquille, The Dalles, Eugene, Fairview/Troutdale, Hillsboro, Keizer, Klamath Falls, Medford, Myrtle Point, Newberg, North Bend, Roseburg, Salem, Seaside, Springfield, Stayton, Warrenton, and Wilsonville.

Turn-in sites will collect (in original containers, if possible):

*Expired or unwanted prescription drugs
*Drugs no longer need
*Unknown tablets and capsules

The US Geological Survey and Oregon DEQ water quality samplings have found trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in Oregon’s surface water, and focused studies have found pharmaceuticals in groundwater.  Flushing unwanted drugs down the toilet – – at households, hospice and palliative care providers and long term care facilities – – are one way drugs reach wastewater treatment plants.

Today, the average American takes more than 12 different prescription drugs each year – – more than 3.8 billion prescriptions purchased annually, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. One recent survey estimated the amount of wasted drugs is as high as 45 percent.

Oregon ranks among the top states for non-medical use of pain relievers among 12-17 year olds.  Teens say prescription drugs are widely available from an array of sources, including their homes, friends and relatives.

Locking your meds is a household strategy that is gaining more popularity, as parents realize that most teens who abuse prescription drugs acquire them from medicine cabinets at the homes of parents, relatives, or friends.

Young people often perceive prescription drugs to be safer than illicit drugs to get high, leading them to casually share these drugs with friends.  These include painkillers (OxyContin), depressants (Xanax) and stimulants (Adderall and Ritalin).

More teens abuse prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), prescription drug abuse is higher among 18-25 year olds than in any other age group.
Although the use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs among youth has declined from 2002 through 2008, over this time many teens have turned to misusing prescription drugs, according to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
In fact, prescription drugs are misused more by this age group than any illicit drug, except marijuana. The nonmedical use of these medicines—the same drugs used to legitimately relieve pain, and treat conditions like anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, or ADHD in some people—is a growing and under-recognized problem that puts young lives at risk.


Founded in 1993, Oregon Partnership is a 501-3c non-profit organization whose mission is to end substance abuse and suicide.
OP is the state’s leading non-profit organization that promotes healthy communities through drug and alcohol awareness, prevention programs, and 24-hour crisis lines for treatment referral, crisis counseling, and suicide intervention.

OP’s crisis lines are now receiving more than 30-thousand calls annually, including an increasing number of calls for help from veterans and returning soldiers.  As a result, OP has recently begun offering more outreach and assistance to the military community in Oregon.

To learn more, visit www.orpartnership.org

Oregon Partnership: Advertising Happy Hour Bad Idea

February 10, 2010

Oregon Partnership’s Pete Schulberg testified at yesterday’s OLCC hearing on a proposed rule that would relax advertising on happy hours:

Just last week, I was here for the hearing on the liquor store advertising rule change.  My focus then…and as it is now for the rule change on happy hour….is that advertising of alcohol is at an all-time high.  That advertising of hard liquor is more pervasive and effective than ever.

And we certainly appreciate how the economy is impacting bars and restaurants.  And it’s tough not to be sympathetic to the folks trying to operate a successful business and employing local folks.  But enticing or luring people with cheaper drinks through advertising is something Oregon Partnership opposes.

It is an inducement to heavier consumption and all the problems and expense that come with it.  More DUI’s.  More domestic abuse…more accidents…more health hazards.

As I said at last week’s hearing, there is study after study that show the direct correlation between the amount of alcohol advertising and how often and how much young people drink.  And that’s why some states – Illinois is a good example – that disallows establishments to lower alcohol prices at certain times of the day or night.

Those most sensitive to price reduction are young and underage drinkers….and problem drinkers.

For all those reasons, Oregon Partnership is against the concept of happy hour, and we certainly oppose the advertising of it. 

Oregon Partnership’s position is in support of advertising food specials but we oppose the advertising of discounted drinks, drink specials, temporary price reductions, and prices of alcoholic drinks period.

And we understand the proposed rule does ban happy hour advertising when it does include a specified time period along with prices and price reductions.  But that, after all,  is what happy hour is.  And so because of that, we object to the promotion of it.

We have no objection to an establishment posting the menu with prices in the window or on the premises of the establishment.  That’s consumer information, not advertising.

There are enough ways now– more than ever – for consumers to find bargains, find out prices, and get deals – on happy hour without loosening rules that are already in place for a reason.

Liquor Store Advertising: Oregon Partnership’s Warnings

February 5, 2010


Pete Schulberg, Communications Director of Oregon Partnership, testified this week before a hearing of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission on an amendment of  a rule governing the liquor store advertising.

Schulberg warned that liquor advertising is “a run-away train” that doesn’t need more support from the state:

Having been involved in advertising in one way or another for most of my professional life, I’d like to just make it clear: 

Although the proposed amendment to the Retail Liquor Store Advertising rule is relatively specific about what the stores can do or can’t do and how they must be based on the standards contained in the Retail Operations Manual….I think we must all remember that advertising is a moving target. And just when we think we have it figured out, here comes the online universe. 

Advertising distribution has never been more diverse thanks to the social media…but I guarantee you, next year, we’ll be sitting here and Twitter will be old hat.  The digital media is moving so fast that no one can keep up.

So my point is that advertising of alcohol has never in the history of the world been more diverse, more effective, and more pervasive in our society.  Distilled spirits are being advertised all across cable TV.  And that old message of parents should control what their kids are watching: Forget about it. I’m watching a sporting event with my kids, and we are deluged with commercials for everything from vodka to whisky.

At Oregon Partnership, we have had some great relationships with Oregon’s liquor store agents.  We have partnered with them and with the OLCC..and certainly, they should be allowed to have signage near their stores….and even the products they sell on their websites.

But beyond that, we should all realize that the research about alcohol advertising and marketing is a slam dunk and clearly shows that alcohol advertising and marketing have a significant impact on decisions to drink by teenagers and underage drinkers.

The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth can show us study after study of the direct correlation between the amount of alcohol advertising and how often and how much young people drink.

And I don’t have to tell you where young people, those who are under 21, college students – are getting their information, are seeing the ads, are reading the posts…..ON THE INTERNET.  And in addition to problem drinkers, the demographic that is the most price-sensitive to deciding what alcohol to buy…is the under-21 demographic.

 So when we hear that prices may be included on liquor store websites, we at Oregon Partnership say that’s going to be more teens checking it out on line…more teens shopping for alcohol on line…and more problems for all of us ahead. And who more than anyone is going to be shopping for alcohol prices on line: College students….18, and 19 and 20 year old college students.

Again, there is more advertising of alcohol than ever.  It is more effective and pervasive than ever.  So when we can realistically and legally somehow put a halt to this runaway train, we should.

Oregon Partnership Annual Fundraiser Set for April 16

February 3, 2010

One of Portland’s top social events of the year happens April 15th at the Portland Art Museum, and according to Oregon Partnership, this one proves to be a “don’t miss.”

So go to your calendar, and fill in the date.

We’re talking Oregon Partnership’s annual fundraising dinner and auction – A Night at the Museum –  featuring awesome auction items, great entertainment, and a full course dinner.

The need for our services has never been greater, and OP is hoping to fill the museum with supporters and newcomers alike.

Among the featured auction items will be “Seats to Save Lives,”   children chairs wonderfully and creatively  painted by Portland artists.

So mark it down: Friday, April 16, 2010, 5:30 p.m. at the Portland Art Museum.  Go to www.orpartnership.org to register.