The Rite Aid Foundation, based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, is bringing a prescription drug safety program to Scranton-area high schools. The program is a digital course about prescription drug abuse prevention to help address adolescent drug abuse and misuse in Pennsylvania.
The program, developed by Everfi, an education technology company whose technology is used in one in seven schools nationwide, will be made available to high schools in the Scranton area at no cost.
“Prescription drug abuse is a serious and growing problem across the U.S. Every day 116 people die from opioid-related drug overdoses,” said Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation. “Our nation is in the midst of an unprecedented epidemic that threatens the health, safety and well-being of our young people. The Rite Aid Foundation is proud to introduce this important prevention education to Scranton-area students. We hope it arms them with the skills and knowledge to make smart decisions and prevent abuse before it occurs.”
The prescription drug safety program uses an evidence-based, public-health approach to empower high school students with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and healthy decisions about prescription drugs. Through interactive scenarios and self-guided activities, students learn the facts about drugs, how to properly use and dispose of them and how to step in when faced with a situation involving misuse. The course is aligned with the CDC’s National Health Education Standards and state academic standards.
According to the CDC, Pennsylvania is among the top five states with the highest rates of opioid-related deaths. The number of drug overdose deaths is increasing more rapidly in Pennsylvania than any other state in the nation.
“Prescription drug abuse and the opioid epidemic are serious public health and public safety challenges,” said Brian Bognatz, Carbondale police chief. “Collaboration is vital to reversing this disturbing trend. Law enforcement, state lawmakers, medical professionals, educators and community members need to join forces and partner on solutions that help prevent abuse before it occurs.”
Carbondale Area School District, a small, suburban school district that provides education services to the children residing in the City of Carbondale and Fell Township in Lackawanna County, is implementing the six-lesson, online prescription drug safety program as part of its health education program.
“We pride ourselves in preparing our students for the world they will enter into after graduation. Prescription drug abuse and opioid addiction are important issues that impact every member of our community,” said Robert Mehalick, superintendent, Carbondale Area School District. “We are grateful to The Rite Aid Foundation for helping us provide this meaningful program. We know it will empower our students to make healthy decisions and help our community overcome this growing epidemic.”
Since its inception in 2001, The Rite Aid Foundation has awarded more than $36 million to nonprofit organizations and has raised more than $87 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country since 1994.