May 1, 2013
Good afternoon, Mr. Hayne.
I have been anticipating the opening of the new Urban Outfitters in downtown Knoxville, my hometown, for some time now—that is until I saw today a product on your website (noted below) of a shot glass replicating the image of a prescription pill bottle. Especially disturbing is the recommended quantity: “QTY: AS MANY AS YOU CAN STOMACH.”
Each day in the United States, 2,000 adolescents use a prescription drug non-medically for the first time (National Institute of Drug Abuse). Abuse of prescription drugs has reached epidemic proportions and overdose deaths attributed to opioid analgesics (pain killers) have surpassed that of cocaine and heroin overdoses, combined. In Tennessee, the rate of overdose deaths far surpasses that of the United States.
The impact of prescription drug misuse reaches beyond these unfortunate deaths. For every overdose death, 10 people are admitted into a treatment program for opioid misuse; 26 people visit an emergency department for misuse; 108 report their misuse or dependence; and 733 people report non-medical use of opioids. (Treatment Exposure Data; DAWN, NSDUH, 2010).
To further complicate matters, the prevalence of babies born addicted to these powerful drugs has increased 300 percent since 2005. East Tennessee seems to be a haven for babies born dependent on opiates (also known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome; NAS for short). Already, just through the end of April of 2013, 226 cases have been reported, 65 percent of which are in the East Tennessee region.
We take prescription drug misuse very seriously. It is a matter of life and death in this area. Please consider removing the availability of this product and others that glorify prescription drug misuse from your walk-in stores and online store—for the safety of our community. Lives in our region depend on it.
Stephanie Armbrister Strutner, MPH, CPS II
Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County
101 S. Main Street, Suite 465
Clinton, TN 37716-3622
(865) 457-3007 office