DUBLIN, Ohio, April 8 Today, prescription medication abuse is a significant societal health issue, with more Americans abusing prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined(1) and one in five teens abusing a prescription medication at least once in their lifetime(2).
A new online toolkit, developed by The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy with funding from the Cardinal Health Foundation, now aims to help pharmacists work with concerned citizens, local schools and civic organizations to fight this growing social health problem in their communities.
The new Generation Rx toolkit, available for free public download at www.cardinalhealth.com/generationrx, is a key component of a broader partnership between the two entities to increase public awareness of prescription medication abuse and to encourage health care providers, community leaders, parents, teens and college students to actively work to prevent it.
"The abuse and misuse of prescription drugs is second only to marijuana use as the nation's most prevalent drug problem(3). More than 6 million Americans age 12 and older have taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, sedative or stimulant for non-medical reasons in the past month(4), and nearly 7,000 people in the United States do so for the first time every day," said 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. Through the Generation Rx toolkit 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 Generation Rx toolkit 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 this problem, and action steps to prevent it.
"The new Generation Rx toolkit 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," said Shelley Bird, executive vice president of Cardinal Health and chairperson of the Cardinal Health Foundation. "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 toolkit to educate their local communities about prescription medication abuse.
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 non-profit organizations in the four cities that have the highest number of Cardinal Health employees - Albuquerque, N.M., Central Ohio, Houston, Texas and Radcliff, Ky. - to submit grant requests for local programs that increase awareness of prescription medication abuse. Recipients of those grants are expected to be announced in Spring 2010.
About the Cardinal Health Foundation
The Cardinal Health Foundation supports local, national and international programs that improve health care efficiency, effectiveness and excellence and the overall wellness of the communities where Cardinal Health's (NYSE: CAH) 30,000 employees live and work. The Cardinal Health Foundation also offers grants to encourage community service among its employees and works through international agencies to donate much-needed medical supplies and funding to those who need them in times of disaster. To learn more, visit CardinalHealth.com/community.
(1) 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
(2) 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study
(3) 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
(4) 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
SOURCE Cardinal Health Foundation