WASHINGTON (WEAU) — It was a simple answer to a very difficult question.
“Not long ago in Oakland California I was asked by a group of children of what to do if they were offered drugs and I said, ‘just say no’,” Nancy Reagan said in 1986.
Just like that First Lady Nancy Reagans’ anti drug campaign was born. Reagan dedicated much of her time in the White House to fighting drug abuse. It’s an issue that is still just as urgent today as it was in the 1980s.
“That’s been 30 years since we had a concerted, national, educational public relations campaign to try and sway Americans particularly our young people from taking and abusing drugs,” Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson remembered the late First Lady as we talked about a new effort in Congress to fight back against the epidemic. He signed on to the CARA Act, legislation that is getting unanimous bipartisan approval from the Senate. It’s a problem that can be found in each one of the Senators’ states.
Cynthia Reilly, a pharmacist and director of Pew Trust’s prescription drug abuse project focused on the importance of the CARA legislation on the elderly population.
“A patient with osteoporosis may be at greater risk for falls and fractures due to the sedative affect of these medications,” Reilly said.
Reilly says the bill provides a valuable tool to Medicare programs to make sure doctors practice the correct prescribing of medications, which could lead to more lives saved.
“It is a very positive step in the right direction,” she added.
Although this legislation will take time to become enacted and until we start seeing results, Johnson and Reilly said one thing is does right away is raise awareness.
A step in continuing the important work that Nancy Reagan had started many years ago.
“There’s a big wonderful world out there for you, it belongs to you, its exciting and stimulating and rewarding, don’t cheat yourselves out of this promise.,” Reagan said.
She continued, “say yes to your life and what it comes to drugs and alcohol, just say no.”
CARA now moves to the House. If approved it will make its way to the Presidents desk. Reagans ‘Just Say No’ campaign has become known as her most memorable achievement.