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 Harrisburg-area high schools. At an event at Harrisburg High School SciTech Campus on Thursday, the Rite Aid Foundation formally launched the program with Harrisburg School District, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Public Engagement Rob Reed and other governmental officials and community leaders.
Harrisburg School District is implementing the six-lesson online Prescription Drug Safety program as part of the health education program. Harrisburg High School SciTech Campus is one of the first Harrisburg-area school to integrate the program into its curriculum. Over the next year, numerous high schools in Cumberland, Dauphin, and York counties will be launching the program.
“This vicious cycle of opioid abuse is one that young people are falling victim to far too often,” said Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. “Our country is faced with an unparalleled crisis that is critically impacting the lives of our children. 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 pleased to introduce this incredibly important prevention education program to students in the Harrisburg region, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to prevent abuse before it starts.”
Pennsylvania is one of the states hardest hit by prescription drug abuse and the opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania is among the top five states with the highest rates of opioid-related deaths, with 5,388 deaths being attributed to opioid drug overdose in 2017.
“The opioid abuse epidemic is one of the worst public health crises in the state of Pennsylvania,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “I’ve made fighting this epidemic a top priority and I’m thrilled that The Rite Aid Foundation is bringing this critically important education program to students in our region to increase their awareness of dangers associated with prescription drug abuse and help alleviate the crisis.”