Friday, October 17, 2003
Contact: Tom Hunter, Office of Communications (304) 746-2078

Purdue Pharma Joins Forces with MU, WVPRC to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Marshall University President Dan Angel today joined officials from The West Virginia Prevention Resource Center (WVPRC) and Purdue Pharma L.P., a leading pharmaceutical company, in announcing the establishment of a prescription drug abuse prevention effort in three southern West Virginia counties.

Through the partnership, the WVPRC is working with STOP, a non-profit community-based organization in southern West Virginia, to develop and implement a community-based awareness and education program specifically addressing prescription drug abuse. Purdue has provided a $126,000 grant to support this effort.

“Purdue Pharma met with us more than a year ago to discuss ways to combat prescription drug abuse in the state,” Dr. Wayne Coombs, WVPRC director, said. “We all were well aware of the devastating effects of prescription drug abuse. However, we didn’t have a sustainable program created, let alone in place, to fight this type of abuse.”

The WVPRC chose to pilot the project in Mingo, Logan and Wyoming counties. Coombs said these counties were chosen because they have each experienced significant problems with prescription drug abuse during the past several years. Also, the communities in each of the counties had mobilized around the issue and were already active in developing responses to the abuse problems in their areas. The project’s objectives in these three counties are to provide training and technical assistance in building a focused prescription drug abuse effort; increase awareness of prescription drug abuse through proven social marketing efforts; and measure the effect of these local efforts.

“The project is the result of what happens when a corporation recognizes a need and partners with a state organization and local community leaders to take action and bring about meaningful solutions,” Coombs said. “We want to work within these counties to create a lasting program. The grant plants the seed and our goal is to have the project grow stronger and evolve each year.”

The project also includes the use and dissemination of Painfully Obvious™ educational materials to community leaders in the counties and throughout the state. Painfully Obvious™ is a provocative program, created by Purdue Pharma, which describes the effects of the misuse of prescription medication on the body, in language that reaches teens. This project will be complemented by a statewide media campaign, funded by Purdue Pharma, through which paid advertising and public service announcements will air on top-ranked radio stations reaching teens and their parents.

“We are very pleased to partner with the Prevention Resource Center for this project,” Purdue Pharma Director of Community Partnerships Clay Yeager said. “They are very knowledgeable of the prescription drug abuse problem in West Virginia and can work at the local level with community groups to combat this problem. Together, we are working to educate the public about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, especially among teens.”

The West Virginia Governor’s Cabinet on Children & Families chartered the WVPRC in March 1998. The concept for the WVPRC had grown out of C.R.E.A.T.E. for a Drug-Free WV. C.R.E.A.T.E. stands for Coordination or Rehabilitation, Education, Awareness, Treatment, and Enforcement and is a collaborative council comprising representatives from state government agencies who have been meeting since the late 1980s to plan programs and projects aimed at developing a drug-free West Virginia.

The WVPRC is a jointly owned and controlled public/private partnership administratively housed at the Marshall University Graduate College and fiscally administered by the Marshall University Research Corporation. More information about the WVPRC is available at

Purdue Pharma L.P. and its associated companies are privately held pharmaceutical companies known for pioneering research on persistent pain. More information about Purdue Pharma is available at More information about Painfully Obvious™ and prescription drug abuse is available at

For further information, contact:  Office of University Communications
Marshall University | 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090
Fax: (304) 696-3197