Urban Outfitters bows to pressure from anti-drug group

NEW YORK — Bowing to pressure from the Partnership at Drugfree.org, fashion retailer Urban Outfitters has agreed to pull merchandise made to look like prescription pill bottles, including prescription label flasks and pint and shot glasses, from its shelves.  

Urban Outfitters issued a statement to CNN late last week confirming that it was discontinuing the sale of products made to look like prescription drug paraphernalia. “In this extensive range of product we recognize that from time to time there may be individual items that are misinterpreted by people who are not our customer. As a result of this misinterpretation we are electing to discontinue these few styles from our current product offering," the statement read. 

The Partnership at Drugfree.org was alerted in May by the California Friday Night Live Partnership that the retailer, which counts teens among its catered shoppers, was carrying the controversial product offering. The organization immediately launched an advocacy campaign and circulated a petition requesting that Urban Outfitters remove the products from their stores and website. The petition, which received support from U.S. Representative Hal Rogers; Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Kentucky governor Steve Beshear and 22 state attorneys general, received more than 4,700 signatures.

“On behalf of The Partnership at Drugfree.org, our partners and the families across the country affected by the issue of prescription drug misuse and abuse, we commend Urban Outfitters for doing the right thing by discontinuing the sale of these products from their current offerings,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO, the Partnership at Drugfree.org, in a statement. “These products, which linked medicine and alcohol and were aimed at a high school and college-age audience, wrongfully glorified the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs. All teenagers — regardless of who they are or where they live — are subject to the lure of drugs and alcohol. For this reason, the Partnership at Drugfree.org continues to focus its efforts on educating, motivating, supporting and empowering families with the resources they need to help protect children from drug and alcohol abuse, most specifically in conjunction with the Medicine Abuse Project, our national initiative to prevent half a million teens from abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter cough medicine by 2017.”