May 30, 2014
#PharmacyFutureLeaders - Segment
Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2016
Generation Rx Co-Chair
Lambda Kappa Sigma Community Service Chair
NCPA Business Plan Chair
About - GENERATION Rx
Who: Generation Rx was started by The Ohio State University and is funded by the Cardinal Health Foundation. Currently, at Temple University School of Pharmacy, there is a group of 4 students who work to create events prompting our message.
What: Generation Rx is an initiative to reach out to students, parents, communities, and health care providers to speak about medication safety and prescription drug abuse. It is an education program to increase public awareness of prescription medication abuse. We also do poison prevention and safe disposal of medications.
Why: Generation Rx has a special place in my heart. Growing up with an alcoholic father was not easy, but why sit around and dwell on the past when I can get out there and affect the lives of others. Even if people don’t listen or doze off during a presentation, one person maybe affected. Addiction in general is something that is becoming an epidemic and no one is talking about it. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, everyday approximately 2,600 young people between 12 and 17 years of age abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time. Prescription medication abuse is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Not only are these teens just taking pills, but also mixing it with alcohol. People need to realize the danger of it and how it can affect your whole life.
Another aspect of Generation Rx is safe disposal of medications. A lot of people don’t know what to do with their medications, so they simply flush them down the toilet. We counsel people about proper disposal, such as placing medications in coffee grinders and placing it in the garbage.
For poison prevention, we go around and talk to local children about medications that look like household products and we pass out “Mr. Yuck Stickers.”
This past semester was a success! Our first event was a Brown Bag Event where we were able to counsel over 500 people. We answered any questions they had about their medications. It was really awesome to see how much of an impact pharmacists can have on their community.
Giving Back to Temple: This is a local health fair that is hosted on Temple Universities Main Campus. There were many different groups there like Operation Heart, Generation Rx, Operation Diabetes, ect. Students and Faculty could come up to the tables and pick up different handouts about topics of their choice. Overall, 500+ people came through to stop by the health fair.
On 10/16/13, we had a guest speaker come in to talk to Temple University School of Pharmacy about his journey as a recovering pharmacist. I first heard Jake speak at the University of Utah’s school of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. Jake’s story was just moving and I had to have him come speak to fellow students. His drug addiction started during his years in pharmacy school where he was offered stimulants to "help study." This is a major issue among all colleges where students are taking stimulants to receive better grades and to stay up late. Jake Nichols now specializes in addiction medicine, specifically in medication treatment options for opioid dependency. Jake received his Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in 2000. He later when on to receive his Master's in Business Administration from UMass Boston in 2007. He also is Board Certified in Pharmacotherapy Specialist and maintains an academic appointment at Northeastern University. Jake has spoken throughout the country about his fifteen-year struggle with drug addiction. He was recognized at the University of Utah conference, which is sponsored by APHA. It was an AMAZING turn out! We had over 100+ students from Temple University School of Pharmacy come out to listen to him and many faculty came out too. It was such a great event, that I am very proud of!
On 10/19/2013 Generation Rx participated in “Healthy Palooza” which was a health fair located at a Vietnamese Church. Over 200+ people from the community came out to get their health care questions answered. This was a very exciting day because we got to talk to a lot of parents about teenage drug abuse. We also got to talk to a lot of people about proper disposal of their medications!
On 10/24/2013, Generation Rx held Red Ribbon Day. It was to go along with Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon week is the oldest, and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. It serves as a vehicle for communities and individuals to take a stand against drug abuse. This years theme was, “The Best Me is a Drug Free Me.” We had a wear red to school day in honor of being a drug free me. A few students helped me spam cars throughout Temple’s campus with a flyer explaining the purpose of Red Ribbon Week. We also talked to local people at the Rite Aid right by school and passed out flyers on the street.
On 10/26/13, we held DEA Drug Take Back Day. This event was held at a local Giant in Philadelphia. This event took a lot of time and planning because we wanted to reach out to as many people around us that they could bring back their old medications. Over 200+ people brought back unwanted medications, which is awesome! The next
On 10/26/2013 we had our first presentation of the semester at Temple University’s Kiva Auditorium. We spoke to group of high school students (30-40) about the facts and myths of prescription drug abuse. This event was very challenging and a learning experience. The group we were talking to just didn’t get why popping a Percocet is bad for you. One boy even raised his hand and said, “When my friends and I are bored we just pop a Percocet.” This has become mainstream media to children of all ages because you hear it in our rap music and see it on TV.
Where we are going: Spring semester of 2014 is approaching fast and we are planning for an even bigger and better semester. I am meeting with one of my teachers next week who is going to be our “Generation Rx Advisor and coach.” She worked on Generation Rx at UFC and is going to be a big part of it! Drug Facts Week is coming up on January 27-Febuary 1st, so that will be the first event of the semester! We are planning for more health fairs and more community events. I really want to try to get into different pharmacies throughout Philadelphia and hand out flyers. I am dreaming big, but I would really like to have a wear Red Philadelphia event.
Why you should pick me to speak on the podcast: Generation Rx is my baby. I am involved in other organizations at school, but I really love Generation Rx. I am a firm believer that if you find something you are passionate about, you can help change the world. That’s exactly what I want to do, even if I only get to a few people in my lifetime, I would help them. I strive to learn more and more about addiction each day. Weather its prescription drug abuse or a heroin user or an alcoholic, it is all the same thing. I went to the University of Utah’s conference on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction this past summer. I knew why I went to Utah, but I didn’t really know why until one day I received a Facebook message from a kid I knew from high school. I didn’t talk to him in years, and he messaged me about his girlfriend and her drug addiction. At that moment, I knew that I could help the world. Even if you aren’t suffering from addiction, someone you know may.
I am starting research this semester on some topic in addiction (it’s yet to be decided what project I will be on). I volunteer for Prevention Point Philadelphia, which is a needle exchange program where addicts can come and get clean syringes to help spread disease. I do this so I can see the other side of the world. I grew up with an alcoholic father and I like to be reminded how blessed I am that I can move on from that start my own life. I really believe in the power of people helping people.
I go to conferences at any chance I get to expand my skill set knowledge and to become a leader in pharmacy. I am passionate and I have drive. I know I will be successful and I know I can change the lives of others!