Turn To Help® Initiative Launched to Increase Awareness and Treatment for Opioid Painkiller and Heroin Dependence in Response to Growing National Epidemic
Sports analyst and former pro-football star Ray Lucas shares his recovery story to motivate others in need of help
RICHMOND, VA. (July 25, 2012) /PRNewswire/ — Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. today announced the launch of an initiative through Turn To Help® to increase public awareness of opioid dependence, and to provide much needed resources to people living with this chronic medical condition. Opioid dependence from prescription painkillers and heroin is a disease with many faces — from those who are ready to tackle their problem but are too ashamed to reach out to those around them; to those who may recognize they have a problem but have no idea where to find help; to the family who sees changes in a loved one, but aren’t sure it’s opioid dependence. Turn To Help® was created to help motivate the wide range of people who struggle with opioid dependence each day and are looking for meaningful solutions. The initiative will reach the public through a series of television, radio, print and digital media, as well as a dedicated educational website at TurnToHelp.com.
“I know firsthand how overwhelming it can be to determine a clear path forward. I became addicted to prescription painkillers after undergoing numerous surgeries for my sports injuries,” said Ray Lucas, a sports analyst and former pro-football quarterback in recovery who is lending his voice to the Turn To Help® initiative. “Seeking medical help was the best thing I ever did as I went from a man who lost his job and home, to reclaiming my place in life again as a husband, father and professional. I want people to know that there are resources available, like TurnToHelp.com, to help people start their road to recovery.”
The centerpiece of the initiative is TurnToHelp.com, an educational website created to help inform the public what opioids are, how they affect the brain, risk factors for developing this disease and how dependence can begin. The website was designed to deliver information and resources to empower people to take action by helping them recognize the signs of opioid dependence and learn about the various treatment options available to start their recovery process. Included is a brief, 10-question screening test to assess risk of opioid dependence. Additionally, as opioid dependence is a long-term, chronic disease, similar to diabetes and asthma, that can benefit from treatment in partnership with a healthcare professional, a doctor locator tool that will help people find a local physician who treats and understands opioid dependence is available on the website.
“Opioid dependence is a serious epidemic that affects millions of Americans from all walks of life,” said Shaun Thaxter, CEO of Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. “Through the Turn To Help® initiative, we are hoping to encourage people to take action by helping them recognize the signs of opioid dependence and learn about a variety of treatment options, including those available in the privacy of a physician’s office, so that they can identify and access the treatment that is right for them.”
About Opioid Dependence
Opioid dependence is a chronic and progressive medical condition caused in part by the changes in the chemistry of the brain that can result from regular opioid drug use. Dependence on opioids has been defined as a chronic (long-term) brain disease by the World Health Organization and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Once opioid dependence develops, it is a chronic condition that left untreated can be fatal.
Approximately two million Americans abused or were dependent on opioid prescription painkillers in 2010. In the same year, nearly 400,000 people abused or were dependent on heroin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in November 2011 issued a report that showed prescription painkiller overdose has reached epidemic levels in the United States, as deaths resulting from prescription painkiller overdose exceeded the number of deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. In fact, the report revealed that on average, more than 40 people die each day from prescription painkiller overdoses, representing an annual death toll of more than 15,000 people in the United States. Furthermore, taking prescription painkillers without a medical need increased 75 percent from 2002 to 2010. A total of 12 million Americans reported misusing prescription painkillers in 2010. Men and individuals ages 26-49 saw the largest increase in nonmedical use of prescription painkillers, taking the drugs 200 or more days a year.
About Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company committed to expanding education and access to medical therapies for patients suffering from the chronic, relapsing brain disease of opioid dependence. The company manufactures and markets medications that, in conjunction with counseling and psychosocial support, treat opioid dependence. Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reckitt Benckiser Group plc, a global company publicly traded on the UK stock exchange.
Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Dependence
Ray Lucas Patient Profile