Published August 29, 2013
Is drug use becoming fashionable?
The California-based retail chain Kitson seems to think so. The clothing company recently debuted a new line, featuring jersey-like T-shirts and sweatshirts with prescription drug names on the backs.
The shirts showcase the names of three drugs: Adderall, Xanax and Vicodin, some of the most frequently abused prescription pills. The shirts cost $58; sweatshirts cost $98. The tagline for the collection, posted on Kitson’s website, reads: “Pop one on and you'll feel better. Doctors orders.”
Kitson claims a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the collection will be donated to the Medicine Abuse Project, according to the website. But the project's parent organization, DrugFree.org, said it has yet to receive any donations.
"We were surprised to see them saying they were donating a portion of the proceeds to us because they never contacted us," Josie Feliz, a rep for DrugFree.org, told FOX411. "We don’t know about any plans they have to donate in the future because we have yet to hear from them."
Kitson told FOX411 it plans to donate "100 percent of the profits" from the collection to DrugFree.org's campaign.
"We intend to make one sizable donation, rather than several, unless the merchandise continues to sell over time, in which case we will make them at appropriate intervals," the store stated.
But DrugFree.org has called on the company's CEO to pull the merchandise from clothing racks.
“These products make light of prescription drug abuse, a dangerous behavior that is responsible for more deaths in the United States each year than heroin and cocaine combined,” the organization said in a blog post published on Wednesday.
The post also calls on DrugFree.org users to take action, asking them to write to the store via their Facebook page, “to let them know that the epidemic of prescription drug abuse is no laughing matter and you want these products removed now.”
Many users have responded, flooding Kitson’s Facebook page with criticism.
Meanwhile, the drugs’ manufacturers are also peeved by the use of the meds names on the clothes.
“We are taking this unauthorized use of our trademark very seriously and are considering all possible courses of action,” Pfizer, who manufactures Xanax, told FOX411 in a statement. “Pfizer has no relationship with the designer of this clothing line or the store in which this clothing is being sold and had no involvement in the development or marketing of this clothing line.”
Reps Shrie, the company that manufactures Adderall, had a similar statement: “The use of ‘Adderall’ by Kitson in this manner represents an unauthorized use of Shire’s ‘Adderall’ trademark. Further, the use of ‘Adderall’ in this fashion gravely concerns Shire as it glorifies the misuse and diversion of a federally controlled prescription drug for the treatment of ADHD… Shire is currently assessing its options to address this unauthorized use of the Shire trademark ‘Adderall.’”
Reps for the drug Vicodin could not immediately be reached for comment, but according to TMZ, they are determined to take legal action.
"Prescription drug use should not be trivialized. It is a serious issue and we will be taking legal action to stop the clothing company from trying to sell such a product," reps for the drug told the gossip site.
For now, it seems Kitson is standing behind its new fashion statement and plans to continue to sell the merchandise. The store, which boasts on its website that its celebrity clientele includes the Kardashians, Heidi Klum and Channing Tatum, told FOX411 it was currently "unaware of any pending litigation."
Kiston also posted a message on Facebook on Sunday from the collection's designer Brian Lichtenberg.
“I have created a collection of T-shirts that are a parody of pop culture,” the statement explained. “This particular collection of prescription tees is simply a commentary on what I see happening in our society… A large percentage of Americans are prescribed these drugs by doctors every day for legitimate reasons. These are not illegal substances. These tees are not meant to encourage prescription drug abuse, but if they open the door to a much-needed dialogue, as they seem to be doing now, then mission accomplished.”