DUBLIN, Ohio — A free online tool kit developed by The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy with funding from the Cardinal Health Foundation aims to help pharmacists work with citizens, local schools and civic organizations to fight prescription medication abuse.
Cardinal said Thursday that the Generation Rx tool kit, available for download at cardinalhealth.com/generationrx, is part of a broader partnership between the foundation and the college to raise public awareness of prescription drug abuse and encourage health care providers, community leaders, parents, teens and college students to actively work to prevent it.
Today, more Americans abuse prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined, and one in five teens abuse a prescription medication at least once in their lifetime, the foundation and the college reported.
"The abuse and misuse of prescription drugs is second only to marijuana use as the nation’s most prevalent drug problem. More than 6 million Americans age 12 and older have taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, sedative or stimulant for nonmedical reasons in the past month, and nearly 7,000 people in the United States do so for the first time every day," stated Ken Hale, assistant dean for professional and external affairs at the Ohio Sate University College of Pharmacy.
"It’s clear that more needs to be done to combat this growing societal issue," Hale noted. "Through the Generation Rx tool kit and other community education efforts, we’re proud to work in partnership with the Cardinal Health Foundation to help more Americans understand prescription medication abuse and how to prevent it."
Developed with input from pharmacists, the tool kit contains all of the communications materials needed to educate local schools and community organizations about the scope and consequences of prescription medication abuse and misuse. It also shares information about how to safely store and dispose of prescription medications, how to learn more about the problem, and action steps to prevent it.
"The new Generation Rx tool kit empowers pharmacists to leverage their role as trusted, local health care experts to help patients, teens and their broader communities understand the pervasiveness of prescription medication abuse and what they can do to prevent it," Shelley Bird, executive vice president of Cardinal Health and chairperson of the Cardinal Health Foundation, said in a statement. "We’re grateful to The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and to the many local pharmacists who provided the expertise and insight to develop such a comprehensive educational resource."
Cardinal Health is also encouraging its employees to partner with local pharmacists to use the Generation Rx tool kit to educate their local communities about prescription medication abuse. And after an initial pilot rollout in Ohio, Cardinal Health and the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy plan to make these educational materials available for use nationwide.
In a related effort, the Cardinal Health Foundation also recently invited local nonprofit organizations in the four markets that have the highest number of Cardinal employees — Albuquerque, N.M.; central Ohio; Houston; and Radcliff, Ky. — to submit grant requests for local programs that boost awareness of prescription medication abuse. Recipients of the grants are expected to be announced this spring.
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