The Rite Aid Foundation Launches Prescription Drug Safety Program in Portland-area Schools
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 Portland-area high schools. At a press event at Centennial High School today, the Rite Aid Foundation formally launched the program with Centennial School District, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer and community leaders.
As part of its mission to create safe and healthy environments for children and teens, The Rite Aid Foundation, through its KidCents program, has made a $1.7 million commitment to the Prescription Drug Safety program, which is expected to reach more than 400 high schools.
Centennial High School is implementing the six-lesson online Prescription Drug Safety program as part of its health education program. Over the next year, at least 20 high schools in Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties will be launching the program.
“The rise of prescription drug misuse and abuse is one of the fastest-growing drug problems in the United States, and it’s having an adverse effect on the physical and mental health of our nation’s young people,” said Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. “We are proud to bring this important prevention program to Oregon students to educate them on the risks of prescription drug misuse and abuse and help combat this growing epidemic.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2016, 3.6 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 reported misusing opioids, over twice as high as older adolescents. While the number of deaths from opioids are decreasing, the rate of overdose among adolescents is increasing. In Oregon, a state audit recently completed by Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, revealed Oregon ranks sixth for teen opioid drug use.
“The opioid crisis continues to harm communities large and small across America,” said U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), a member of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on Health. “Every day that we delay addressing this epidemic, communities decline, families unravel, and lives are lost. We need to help our children understand prescription drug abuse and misuse in order to prevent it before it starts.”