LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In an era when opioids and addictive psychotropic medications are bringing about more overdose deaths than any other form of drugs, Nancy Cartwright, the Emmy Award-winning voice-over actress best known as the voice of Bart Simpson, has joined forces with concerned parents and consumer advocates to form the KNOW MORE ABOUT DRUGS ALLIANCE (KMAD). The sole purpose of the Alliance is to educate parents on the existence of FDA Medication Guides (MedGuides), in order to make informed decisions when it comes to these drugs and their children. The MedGuide information is extremely relevant given a 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report which found a full two-thirds of the top 15 drugs attributed to overdose deaths were legally prescribed psychotropics and opioids, many of which are being prescribed to children.
To drive this message, KMAD has launched a four-week outdoor billboard campaign in Los Angeles featuring Cartwright’s poignant artwork from her art exhibition Reverse Effects. The paintings depict some of the salient risks of psychotropic drugs and prescription opioids that the FDA MedGuides warn about for children and teens, such as the fact that prescription opioids put anyone “at risk for overdose and death”; that antidepressants can cause suicidal thinking and action in a percentage of children; and, that many psychotropic stimulants (ADHD drugs) “are federally controlled substances that can lead to dependence”—meaning the U.S. DEA classifies such psychotropics as having the same “abuse potential with severe psychological or physical dependence liability” as prescribed opioids such as OxyContin.
The campaign also stresses the profound social issue that parents are not always informed of the risks and dangers of these drugs before being dispensed to their children.
The MedGuides are simple, non-technical and easy-to-read online fact sheets about prescription drug side effects, and despite the fact that the FDA website states, “The Food and Drug Administration wants you to know the importance of reading Medication Guides,” the vast majority of parents and consumers have never heard of them and don’t know they exist.
The nearly three hundred billboards, bus shelters and bus boards refer parents to KnowMoreAboutDrugs.com—a new website designed by the alliance to raise awareness of the MedGuides, which clearly delineate the most harmful and egregious side effects a child, teen or young adult can experience from taking any particular psychotropic drug or prescription opioid. This gives crucial information any parent needs to have an educated conversation with their doctor before administering these drugs to their children.
Cartwright became inspired to do all she can to inform parents after personally meeting Mathy Downing, a mother whose 12-year-old child, Candace, hanged herself several months after she began taking an antidepressant. Downing was unaware of the FDA MedGuides which explicitly state that this antidepressant can cause suicidal thoughts and actions in children and young adults. Candace had no history of depression nor anxiety, save for the fact she got very nervous while taking tests at school. Her parents were never informed by her doctor of any dangerous side effects, and only reassured of its safety and efficacy.
As Cartwright delved further into the issue, she met others with similarly tragic stories; many of whom were also unaware of the documented risks and addictive nature that psychotropic drugs and prescription opioids pose to children. It was at that point she began using her artistic talents as a force for positive change, and surrounded herself with experts who know the issue.
ABOUT THE KNOW MORE ABOUT DRUGS ALLIANCE:
Nancy Cartwright recently formed the Know More About Drugs Alliance—a group of doctors, child advocates and parents who champion the right of parents to be informed about the most serious side effects of prescribed psychotropic drugs and opioids. The sole purpose of the Alliance is for every parent to know about and have the opportunity to consult the FDA MedGuides to have all the information they need in order to make an informed decision.
Founding Members of the Alliance include Nancy Cartwright; Mathy Downing; Kim Witczak—Consumer Representative on the FDA Psychopharmacologic Drug Advisory Committee whose husband took his own life five weeks after being prescribed an antidepressant for sleeping problems (prior to taking the drug, he never expressed suicidal thoughts nor suffered from depression); Bradley DeHaven—author of the book Defining Moments: A Suburban Father’s Journey Into His Son’s Oxy Addiction, whose teenage son’s Vicodin prescription for a broken arm lead to full-blown heroin addiction; Kevin P. Miller—the documentary filmmaker whose most recent film, Letters from Generation Rx, was narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Tilda Swinton and documents how we as a nation are simply not providing families and teens with the kind of complete information they need in order to make an informed decision about psychoactive drugs—and that many resultant deaths could have been prevented; and, Dr. Toby Watson—a clinical psychologist who has provided expert testimony to the FDA regarding prescription drug risks and medical device dangers.
For more information, visit: KnowMoreAboutDrugs.com