CEDARVILLE — It started with Generation Rx. Now Cedarville pharmacy students are back on the front lines against the opioid epidemic hoping to eliminate the use of opiates in the Dayton region.
First-year professional pharmacy students at Cedarville are working with Miami Valley pharmacies to distribute opioid disposal bags to patients so they can easily throw away leftover pain medicines. So far, 20 pharmacies have approved the project, including Charleston Pharmacy, CVS Springfield, West End Pharmacy and Fayette Pharmacy.
Caleb Tang, a third-year professional pharmacy student in Cedarville’s Doctor of Pharmacy program, has partnered with Michael Holbrook, a third-year medical student at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, to lead the effort.
“People often start on opioids by going into their family’s storage supply of leftover pain medications,” Tang said. “By doing this we’re preventing that temptation for people to start in the first place.”
The bags make it simple for people to dispose of unused medications in a safe and environmentally friendly way by placing pills inside, adding warm water and mixing the contents of the bag for a few seconds. This deactivates the drugs, making them safe to throw away in the trash.
This effort is not the only way Cedarville students are fighting the opioid epidemic, said Dr. Brenda Pahl, director of experiential programs and assistant professor of pharmacy practice. In addition to this project, many of Cedarville’s pharmacy students are involved in Generation Rx, a program where they visit local schools to talk about the dangers of substance abuse.
“We understand the importance of teaching at a younger age to avoid this so it doesn’t even start,” Pahl said.