Political leaders join Urban Outfitters initiative
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Political leaders in Kentucky are calling on retailer Urban Outfitters to stop selling flasks, shot glasses and pint glasses that look like prescription pill bottles.
U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, the Kentucky Republican who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee, complained that the products trivialize the pain and suffering of people struggling with addiction.
"I fear the sale of these items could have the unfortunate consequence of leading more teens to seek out prescription meds, or even worse, an increase in prescription drug-related overdoses," Rogers said in a letter to the company. "I would encourage you to remove these items from the shelves immediately so as not to contribute to this epidemic."
Urban Outfitters, a clothing retailer that caters to teens and young adults, didn't respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment.
The anti-drug group, The Partnership at Drugfree.org, initiated the push to try to get the shops to stop selling the items. Political leaders in prescription-drug ravaged Kentucky, where people now die from drug overdoses than car wrecks, began signing on this week.
Rogers represents a largely rural area of Kentucky where prescription painkiller abuse is an epidemic.
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway joined the cause on Wednesday.
"These products make light of an epidemic that kills more than 1,000 Kentuckians each year and is responsible for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined," said Conway, co-chairman of the Substance Abuse Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General. "Combined with alcohol, the misuse and abuse of prescription medications can be deadly, making the Urban Outfitter Rx pint and shot glasses and flasks even more disturbing."
Conway said prescription drugs are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and he said too many teens are experimenting with them, believing that they're safer than street drugs.
The Urban Outfitters' products, he said, could reinforce that belief.
"This type of cavalier attitude puts more teens at risk," Conway said.