Camp Hill, Pa. (March 22, 2018) - In an effort to help address adolescent drug abuse and misuse in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Rite Aid Foundation, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro are teaming up to bring the Prescription Drug Safety program, an innovative digital course about prescription drug abuse prevention, to Pittsburgh-area high schools.
The program, developed by EVERFI, the nation's leading technology innovator used in one-in-seven schools nationwide, will be made available to high schools in the greater Pittsburgh area at no cost. Representatives of The Rite Aid Foundation, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and the Attorney General's office formally announced the partnership today at a press conference at Pittsburgh Brashear High School.
"Prescription drug abuse and misuse is a growing issue that poses a serious threat to the health, safety and well-being of our nation's young people," said Kermit Crawford, president and chief operating officer of Rite Aid Corporation and president of The Rite Aid Foundation. "The Rite Aid Foundation is proud to help introduce this important prevention education initiative to high school students so they can gain awareness and have the knowledge they need to stay safe and prevent abuse before it occurs."
In addition to the activation in Pittsburgh-area high schools, as part of its commitment to creating safe and healthy environments for children and teens, this year, The Rite Aid Foundation, through its KidCents program, will also fund the introduction of the Prescription Drug Safety program to high schools in the Harrisburg/York/Lancaster/Lebanon and Wilkes Barre/Scranton markets in Pennsylvania as well as several communities in Ohio, Washington and Oregon. In all, The Rite Aid Foundation is making a three-year, $1.125 million commitment to the Prescription Drug Safety program.
"The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation is committed to ensuring our young people have vibrant and healthy futures," said Dave Soltesz, president, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation. "Teaching students about prescription drug abuse and providing them with skills to prevent abuse before it occurs are critical components to advancing that mission."
"Eighty percent of heroin users begin their substance use by abusing prescription drugs, so educating our children about the dangers of drug abuse is critically important," said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. "I want to commend The Rite Aid Foundation, the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, and EVERFI for bringing this prevention curriculum to children and young people in our schools. Fighting this epidemic is my top priority and I'm proud to partner with you in this important effort."
The Prescription Drug Safety program uses an evidence-based, public health approach to empower high school students with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and healthy decisions about prescription drugs. Through interactive scenarios and self-guided activities, students learn the facts about drugs, how to properly use and dispose of them, and how to step in when faced with a situation involving misuse. The course is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control's National Health Education Standards and state academic standards. There is also a microsite with additional resources including parent guides and information on local safe medication disposal.
The digital prescription drug abuse prevention course is the flagship initiative of the Prescription Drug Safety Network, the nation's first public-private initiative to combat prescription drug abuse by providing prevention education to schools. The Rite Aid Foundation, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Attorney General Shapiro are partners in the nationwide coalition, which is committed to empowering Americans with the skills to make safe and healthy decisions about prescription drug use for themselves, their families, and their communities.