Today, Attorney General Sam Olens announced at George Walton Comprehensive High School in Marietta, Ga., the winners of the “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” video contest aimed at preventing prescription drug abuse among teens. The winning video was produced by Walton students Megan Bongiovanni, Kennedy Howard, Adam Schimdt and Vaughn Smith. The runner-up was produced by River Ridge High School students Logan Case and Raven Anthony. The people’s choice award winner was produced by Columbus High School student Ekta Parab.
“Congratulations to all of the winners of the ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ video contest,” said Attorney General Olens. “We received many excellent entries, and I know the judges had a difficult task in choosing a winner. The winning video sends a strong message that abusing prescription drugs is not a game and can turn deadly quickly.”
The “We’re Not Gonna Take It” video contest launched by Attorney General Olens in September was open to all Georgia high school students. Students were challenged to produce a 30-second video encouraging their peers to live a healthy lifestyle by rejecting prescription drug abuse.
Through a partnership with the Georgia Broadcasters Association (GAB) and the Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA), the winning video will be aired on television stations across the State of Georgia.
“HDMA applauds Attorney General Olens for his leadership in addressing prescription drug abuse, and we congratulate the students who devoted their time and immense creativity to make the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” video contest a huge success,” said HDMA President and CEO John M. Gray. “Education is the most important tool our nation has to slow the growth of prescription drug abuse, especially among high school students, and nothing is more effective than teens talking to teens. The ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ wining videos communicate peer-to-peer messages about the risks of prescription drug abuse, and HDMA is proud to support the effort to share these powerful messages throughout Georgia.”
“The Georgia Association of Broadcasters is thrilled to be a part of this project,” said Lauralyn Mustaki, GAB Director of Accounts and Members Services. “It was so great to see these videos from the contest, and the amazing work our talented high school students produced for a 30 second Public Service Announcement. The message ‘We're Not Gonna Take It’ is so important to our students, and the GAB is excited to be the media partner to distribute it to our TV stations throughout Georgia!”
The winning video and the runner-up were chosen by a panel of judges made up of television reporters around the state: Diane Dean, WALB; Don Logana, WTOC; Sheera Poelman, WMAZ; Phil Scoggins, WRBL; Linda Stouffer, WSB-TV; and Laura Warren, WRDW. The people’s choice award winner was determined by the video which received the most “likes” on the contest Facebook page. Almost 200 videos were entered in the inaugural contest. The 2015 contest will take place next fall.
Prizes, which included an iPad for the winner and gift cards for the runner-up and people’s choice award winner, were provided by the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation (MAG Foundation).
“The Medical Association of Georgia Foundation applauds Attorney General Olens and every student who participated in this video contest for addressing Georgia’s prescription drug abuse epidemic,” said MAG Foundation President Jack M. Chapman Jr., M.D. “This effort is fully aligned with the MAG Foundation’s ‘Think About It’ campaign to reduce prescription drug abuse – which reminds people that they should only take their medicine as its prescribed, they shouldn’t share their medicine, they should store their medicine in a safe and secure place, and they should properly dispose of any unused medicine.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 259 million prescriptions for pain medications were written in 2012. That’s enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills. The CDC has also found that one in five high school students has taken a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription. In Georgia, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) reports that in 2013, prescription drugs played a role in the deaths of 524 Georgians in the 152 of 159 counties for which it performs autopsies.
Safe storage and secure disposal of prescription drugs is critical to reining in the drug abuse epidemic. A federal government survey revealed that more than 70 percent of Americans who abuse prescription pain medications get them from friends or family members.
The winning videos can be viewed at www.law.ga.gov/videocontest.
Attorney General Olens’ video competition was held in partnership with the Council on Alcohol and Drugs, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Drug Free Coalition of Hall County, the GBI, the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, the Georgia Medical Composite Board, and the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation “Think About It” Campaign.