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Mallori DeSalle
Indiana Prevention Resource Center

Charles Rondot
School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation

Tracy James
IU Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Young Indiana filmmakers take action against prescription drug abuse

May 30, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- More than 130 Indiana youths from six counties competed in the Indiana Prevention Resource Center's fourth annual Video PSA Contest, which is designed to raise awareness of prescription drug abuse.

The winning entries are featured on the website for public use.

"It's gratifying to know that students around the Hoosier state realize the importance of stopping the use of non-prescribed prescription drugs, and I'm amazed how skilled these young people have been at getting the message to their peers through this wonderful public service announcement competition," said Mike Morris, Food Network producer and contest judge. "The Indiana Prevention Resource Center is to be commended for getting these high-school-age students to not only think about this important issue, but also for encouraging them to get the word out to a targeted audience in such an effective way."

The Indiana Prevention Resource Center is part of the Department of Applied Health Science in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at IU Bloomington. In addition to the contest, the center's prescription drug abuse prevention efforts include educational programs, prescription drug drop-off events and research.

Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Indiana Prevention Resource Center's most recent Annual Youth Survey reported that 16 percent of Indiana 12-graders had used non-prescribed painkillers and nearly 15 percent of 12-graders also had used other prescription medications without a medical need.

"Prescription drugs continue to be an issue in our state," said Mallori DeSalle, the contest coordinator. "We know that young people are influenced by their peers; the contest lets students take charge and make an impact. The students did an excellent job expressing themselves and providing a strong message."

This year, Will Hanna and his classmate Mason Moody, both seniors at Jeffersonville High School in Jeffersonville, submitted the winning entry, "The Final Trip."

"I have truly enjoyed making videos for the PSA competition. It is quite an honor to win this year," Hanna said. "This is a great organization with a great message that helps to keep kids from misusing prescription drugs. I am so glad I have been a part of the effort to get the message out."

The PSAs created by the annual contest are one example of many free resources available at Created in 2008 by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center, the website is a free resource to all Indiana residents and serves to provide information about proper prescription drug use, with links for parents, youths and older adults. The website has tools to help identify prescription drug concerns as well as the most recent data about how prescription drug use is affecting Indiana and the United States.

Ruth Gassman, executive director of the Indiana Prevention Resource Center, said in August that the center's researchers will be releasing new data collected in 2011 about where students are obtaining prescription drugs to get high. This information will be available on the Indiana Prevention Resource Center website and at

2012 PSA winners:

  • Will Hanna and Mason Moody, Jeffersonville High School, "The Final Trip." Thier 60-second PSA depicts a family's loss when a young person overdoses on prescription medication.
  • Mac Burns, Jeffersonville High School, "Don't Slow Down Your Future." This 30-second PSA shows the effects of abuse on everyday life.
  • Josh Phelps, Jeffersonville High School, "Start a New Day." This 30-second PSA suggests making changes from abuse to recovery.
  • Brittany Abney, Jackson Nolting and Tyler Vanblaricum, Columbus East High School, "You Can't Take It Back." This 60-second PSA captures how one high school student would change his life by avoiding abuse of prescription drugs.
  • Christian Hicks, Jerrod Hess-Stevens and Curtis Lindenmayer, Sheridan High School, "Michael's Story." This 60-second PSA shares a story about an unsuspecting student who struggled with prescription drug abuse.

Videos were submitted by students in Morgan, Hamilton, Vanderburgh, Clark, Bartholomew and Fountain counties.

Several of the submissions for this year's PSA contest were created as class projects, giving students more exposure to knowledge about prescription medication misuse.

"I learned a lot by doing this project," Hess-Stevens said. "I didn't know about prescription drug abuse before this. I learned about the topic and about planning, shooting and editing videos."

The Indiana Prevention Resource Center's PSA contest has inspired local-level prevention efforts against prescription abuse across the state of Indiana.

"We heard about the contest from our local coordinating council, which works toward addressing alcohol and other drug problems," said Tom Gross, vocational TV teacher at Jeffersonville High School. "This led to our high school contacting a member of the recovery community to visit our school. After that, we were able to understand the issue better and provide insight for the students to prepare messages (for the contest)."

The PSA contest inspired a similar contest in California by the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse. The Indiana contest is highlighted on the national coalition's website. A drug-free community grantee in Carmel, N.Y., featured last year's winning PSAs on local television stations.

"Whether medication is prescribed by a doctor, or purchased on the street, everyone needs to be aware of the health consequences of misuse," said Daniel DeSalle, physician and contest judge. "The PSAs that caught my eye highlighted that point and showed a unique perspective that will hopefully influence their peers."

About and the IPRC was created by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center and funded by Family & Social Services Association/Division of Mental Health and Addiction. The IPRC is operated by the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and its Department of Applied Health Science. The center is funded, in part, by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, Division of Mental Health and Addiction, and financially supported through the HHS/Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.

About the School of HPER

IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation encompasses a broad spectrum of academic interests and professional fields. The School of HPER offers nearly 50 undergraduate and advanced degree programs through its departments of Applied Health Science, Kinesiology, Environmental Health, and Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies. To further its health and wellness initiative, Campus Recreational Sports provides sport and fitness services for the IU community and the public.

For questions related to the website or to the PSA contest, please contact Mallori DeSalle at 812-855-5735 or