CEDARVILLE — At a time when the United States is facing a growing opioid epidemic, and Ohio has become one of the most highly affected states with an estimated 200,000 addicts, Cedarville University students are working to make a difference.
Students from Cedarville’s School of Pharmacy are visiting local middle and high schools to educate students on drug abuse through a student-led initiative called Generation Rx.
Generation Rx uses discussion, videos from former drug abusers and family members, and games to draw attention to statistics and a general overview of the dangers of abuse in a fun, yet educational format.
The initiative has experienced steady growth since its founding in 2014, and students now visit several different schools in the Miami Valley area, completing about 40 presentations each semester.
The students spent the day at Bellbrook Middle School March 17.
One of the group’s goals is to increase the number of people they can influence, said Samantha Yates and Rachel Bull, third-year professional pharmacy students in Cedarville’s Doctor of Pharmacy program and co-chairs of Generation Rx. They have seen that happen this year as Generation Rx has grown beyond local schools to include Families of Addicts (FOA) support groups and H.O.P.E. Ministries, an organization that supports and trains at-risk youth in the Miami Valley.
While participating in the initiative helps them fulfill required service learning hours for the pharmacy program, for Yates and Bull, the greatest benefit of Generation Rx is that they are able to address the problem of drug abuse at an early age.
With one in nine heroin overdoses across the U.S. taking place in Ohio, Yates and Bull see a real need for Generation Rx to counter the epidemic through educating students about drug abuse. They also recognize the influence they have as college students talking with younger students and setting a positive example for them.
“What I really appreciate about Generation Rx is that it gives us the opportunity to educate teenagers from more of a peer level,” Bull said. “With us being in our early 20s and talking to 15- to 18-year-olds, I think they’re a lot more receptive to hearing what we have to say.”
Content provided by Cedarville University.