Atlanta – Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) Commissioner Frank Berry joined members of the Georgia Legislature and youth from Catoosa and Gwinnett Counties today at the Georgia Capitol to launch the Generation Rx (GEN Rx) Project. GEN Rx is a response to the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse among youth and adults aged 12 – 25 in Georgia. GEN Rx is funded by a $2.6 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and DBHDD has contracted with providers in Catoosa, Early, and Gwinnett Counties to implement the project.
Commissioner Berry said, “The abuse of prescription drugs by youth in Georgia and across the country has grown substantially since the 1990s. Every day, 2,500 youth aged 12 to 17 abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time, and nearly 20 percent of teens report abusing medications that were not prescribed to them.”
GEN Rx is fighting prescription drug abuse through a four-pronged approach that includes education and awareness about the dangers of abuse; promoting the utilization of Georgia’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; education about the proper disposal of unused and expired medications; and collaboration with law enforcement to eliminate improper prescribing practices.
Frank Berry has served as commissioner of DBHDD since August, 2012. The DBHDD is the state agency that focuses solely on policies, programs, and services for people with mental illness, substance use disorders and developmental disabilities. The department’s mission is to help the people it serves live a life of recovery and independence.