The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy Receives $35,000 Grant from Cardinal Health Foundation to Help Fight the Opioid Epidemic in West Virginia

6/20/2018

Charleston, WV – The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy’s (UCSOP) proposal, West Virginia Partnership for Generation Rx Expansion & Statewide Media Campaign, has been selected as a 2018 Cardinal Health Foundation’s Generation Rx Prescription Drug Misuse Prevention Education for Youth Program grantee and approved for funding in the amount of $35,500.00.

The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy was one of more than 40 organizations across Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia to receive a prevention education grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation. As part of Cardinal Health’s Opioid Action Program, the Prescription Drug Misuse Prevention Education for Youth grants are designed to expand medication safety education for thousands of students in K-12 schools and universities, using Generation Rx educational materials. Over the next year, each of the recipient organizations will engage students and parents in these interactive prevention education sessions, and meet regularly with each other in a learning collaborative to share their progress, lessons learned and best practices.

Generation Rx is an evidence-based program developed in collaboration with the Cardinal Health Foundation, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and The Ohio State University School of Pharmacy. The Generation Rx curriculum is designed to increase public awareness of prescription medication abuse and medication safety.  The program also encourages healthcare providers, community leaders, parents, teens, and college students to actively work to prevent abuse.

Since 2016, UCSOP has worked with Kanawha Communities that Care (KCTC) and Kanawha County Schools (KCS) to train more than 200 UCSOP student pharmacists to deliver the Generation Rx curriculum to more than 650 elementary-aged students on the issue of prescription medication use and abuse.

With this grant, UCSOP will continue to work with KCTC and KCS to expand upon and strengthen its current Generation Rx outreach initiatives. This will include expanding outreach to more classrooms throughout Kanawha County, development of a state-wide media campaign to educate the children and the public on safe medication use, and materials to emphasize the dangers of misusing prescription drugs. Funds will also allow for expansion of middle-school SADD (students against destructive decisions) chapters and the identification of additional partners to strengthen the programming and its’ evaluation. UCSOP is one of only 70 organizations in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee who have received grant monies through the Cardinal Health Foundation’s Generation Rx Prescription Drug Misuse Prevention Education for Youth Program.

“The opioid overdose death rate in West Virginia is more than double the national average and has increased 605% between 1999 and 2010. In addition, nationwide more than 5,700 people ages 12 and older misuse prescription pain medication for the first time every day,” said Dr. Susan Gardner Bissett, UCSOP assistant dean for professional and student affairs, who is serving as the primary grant administrator. “We also know that the average age for first (mis)use of prescription or illicit drugs among program participants is 9-to-12 years of age.”

“In an attempt to reverse the rapid increase of drug abuse in our region, the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (UCSOP) partnered with Kanawha County Schools (KCS) and Kanawha Communities that Care (KCTC) to implement a prescription abuse prevention initiative using Generation Rx. First and second year pharmacy students are trained by peer-leaders and faculty to deliver Generation Rx Programming to elementary students throughout Kanawha County (West Virginia),” said UCSOP Dean, Dr. Michelle Easton. “This grant will allow for the expansion of our Generation Rx outreach.”

The Cardinal Foundation has engaged experts with The Ohio State University to provide additional support to program grantees including the Community and Youth Collaborative Institute (CAYCI), the College of Social Work and Youth to Youth International to provide additional support and subject matter expertise when engaging West Virginia youth in this program.