During this hour-long CADCA-TV broadcast called Easy Access: The Abuse of Legal Drugs, learn what one community is doing to help fight the problem of prescription drug abuse using a school curriculum and other tools. Also, hear what people representing the pharmaceutical and over-the-counter industries are saying about what the companies they represent are doing to combat the problem of prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn what one community is doing to help fight the problem of prescription drug abuse
  • Hear what people representing the pharmaceutical and over-the-counter industries are saying
  • Find out what kinds of drugs are being abuse and who is abusing them
  • See how you can take simple steps to protect the people you care about

Originally Aired: November 20, 2008

This broadcast is produced in partnership between the Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training Program (MCTFT) at St. Petersburg College and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA).

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Sharon A. Brigner

MS, RN, Deputy Vice President for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA,)

Brigner is a Deputy Vice President for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade association in Washington, DC. She provides clinical expertise to executive leadership on legislation and policy positions for the organization, while also serving as a liaison and clinical expert to the forty member companies. Brigner also serves as adjunct faculty for the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University.

Prior to joining PhRMA, Brigner worked for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare as a senior health policy analyst and lobbyist for the seniors’ association. Other work experiences include: the General Accounting Office, the Congressional office of Senator Chuck Robb, the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics at George Mason University, and the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where she worked as a Neurology nurse.

Brigner attended nursing school at Texas Woman’s University in Houston and served as President of the National Student Nurses’ Association and President of the Texas Nursing Students’ Association. She also holds a Master’s degree in Health Systems Management.

Catherine Thatcher Brunson

Executive Director of the Metropolitan Drug Commission, Knoxville, TN

At the Metropolitan Drug Commission, Brunson’s primary responsibilities include strategic planning, fundraising, government relations and media development. Her priorities include working to prevent substance abuse in the workplace, brief screenings and early identification of abuse or addiction, promoting local, state and federal efforts to prevent the sale of alcohol products to minors and prescription drug abuse.

Brunson is a member of several organizations: Safe Policy Board, the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Advisory Board, Covenant Hospital Behavioral Health Council, State of Tennessee Lakeshore Mental Health Board of Trustees and the Knoxville Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. She was selected as a Leader Mentor for the National Community Anti-Drug Coalition (CADCA) Institute & and actively trains for the National Training Academy. Both Brunson’s organization’s programming and her advocacy efforts for the field have been highlighted in national publications.

Brunson was the recipient of the FBI’s Community Director’s Leadership Award in 2002. In 2006 received OJJDP’s Underage Drinking Laws Award for outstanding efforts to combat underage drinking and received a Presidential Appointment to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as Commissioner for the Drug Free Communities Advisory Commission. She was a member of the Leadership Knoxville Class of 2007. She has a B.S. in business from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Mimi Pappas

Director, Communications & Outreach, Consumer Healthcare Products Association

Pappas directs the association’s outreach efforts with external groups and assists in CHPA’s communications initiatives with the public. In her capacity at CHPA, Pappas has had a leading role in creating and executing campaigns and products to encourage the safe use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and to curb the abuse of OTC cough medicines.

She arrived at CHPA in 2000 with long experience in communications and publications, having worked at other trade associations, educational societies, and for-profit entities in Washington, D.C., and New York City.