In an effort to continue to address abuse and misuse of drugs by adolescents in the country, The Rite Aid Foundation is bringing the Prescription Drug Safety program to Akron-area high schools. At an event at Firestone Community Learning Center today, the Rite Aid Foundation formally launched the program with Akron Public Schools, Congressman Tim Ryan and other governmental officials and community leaders.
The six-lesson, online program is being rolled out to Akron Public Schools first as part of the health education program, with Firestone Community Learning Center being the first. Over the next year, the goal is for twenty local high schools to activate the program.
“The abuse of prescription drugs and opioids is a serious national crisis that threatens the health, safety and wellbeing of our young people,” said Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. “One of Rite Aid’s core values is to be a caring neighbor, involved in meaningful ways in the communities we serve, especially if it involves improving the health and wellbeing of children. We are proud to introduce this critical prevention education program and provide Akron-area students with the skills and knowledge to prevent the dangerous cycle of abuse before it occurs.”
Ohio is arguably one of the states hardest hit by prescription drug abuse and the opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio is among the top five states with the highest rates of opioid-related deaths. In 2017, there were 5,111 opioid-related overdose deaths in Ohio—more than double the national average. To help combat the opiate crisis, Ohio is investing more than $1 billion a year to help battle drug abuse and addiction at the state and local levels.
“There isn’t a community in the United States that hasn’t been touched by the opioid crisis. Every day, I am reminded of the horrible suffering that this epidemic is inflicting on our neighbors, relatives and friends,” said Congressman Tim Ryan, co-chair of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus and member of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic. “I have made it my priority to educate and raise awareness about the dangers of heroin and opioid abuse. Community partnerships with organizations like The Rite Aid Foundation and innovative initiatives like the Prescription Drug Safety program are vital components to combatting this unprecedented national crisis.”
Akron Public Schools is implementing the six-lesson online Prescription Drug Safety program as part of the health education program. Firestone Community Learning Center is the first Akron-area school to integrate the program into its curriculum.