CAMP HILL, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In an effort to help address adolescent drug abuse and misuse in Pennsylvania, The Rite Aid Foundation is bringing the Prescription Drug Safety program, an innovative digital course about prescription drug abuse prevention, to Scranton-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 Scranton area, at no cost. Representatives of The Rite Aid Foundation, U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s office, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s office, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright’s office and local community officials from the City of Carbondale announced the launch of the new program during a press conference and demonstration at Carbondale Area High School.
“Prescription drug abuse is a serious and growing problem across the United States. Every day 116 people die from opioid-related drug overdoses,” said Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation. “Our nation is in the midst of an unprecedented epidemic that threatens the health, safety and wellbeing of our young people. The Rite Aid Foundation is proud to introduce this important prevention education to Scranton-area students. We hope it arms them with the skills and knowledge to make smart decisions and prevent abuse before it occurs.”
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 and Prevention’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.
Pennsylvania is one of the states hardest hit by prescription drug abuse and the opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania is among the top five states with the highest rates of opioid-related deaths. In addition, the number of drug overdose deaths is increasing more rapidly in Pennsylvania than any other state in the nation.
“Prescription drug abuse and the opioid epidemic are serious public health and public safety challenges,” said Brian Bognatz, Carbondale Police Chief. “Collaboration is vital to reversing this disturbing trend. Law enforcement, state lawmakers, medical professionals, educators and community members need to join forces and partner on solutions that help prevent abuse before it occurs.”
Carbondale Area School District is implementing the six-lesson online Prescription Drug Safety program as part of the health education program. Carbondale Area High School is the first Scranton-area school to integrate the program into its curriculum. Over the next year, numerous other local high schools will activate the program.
“We pride ourselves in preparing our students for the world they will enter into after graduation. Prescription drug abuse and opioid addiction are important issues that impact every member of our community,” said Robert Mehalick, Superintendent, Carbondale Area School District. “We are grateful to The Rite Aid Foundation for helping us provide this meaningful program. We know it will empower our students to make healthy decisions and help our community overcome this growing epidemic.”
In addition to the activation in Scranton-area high schools, as part of its commitment to creating safe and healthy environments for children and teens, 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 Pittsburgh markets in Pennsylvania as well as several communities in Washington, California, Michigan, Oregon and Ohio. In all, The Rite Aid Foundation made a three-year, $1.7 million commitment to the Prescription Drug Safety program, which is expected to reach more than 400 high schools.
Through KidCents, members of Rite Aid's loyalty program, wellness+ rewards, can round up their in-store or online purchases to the nearest dollar and give their change to one of more than 440 nonprofit organizations focused on improving the health and wellbeing of children. For more information, visit www.kidcents.com.
Since its inception in 2001, The Rite Aid Foundation has awarded more than $36 million to nonprofit organizations. Additionally, Rite Aid, through the efforts of its customers, supplier partners and associates, has also raised more than $87 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across the country since 1994.
Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) is one of the nation's leading drugstore chains with fiscal 2017 annual revenues of $32.8 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company's website at www.riteaid.com.
The Carbondale Area School District is a small, suburban school district that provides education services to the children residing in the City of Carbondale and Fell Township in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania.
EVERFI, Inc. is the leading education technology company that provides learners of all ages education for the real world, through innovative and scalable digital learning. Founded in 2008, EVERFI has certified over 16 million learners in critical skill areas with more than 4,300 partners in all 50 U.S. States and Canada. EVERFI is an industry convener that builds Networks to tackle the toughest social issues, including the Campus Prevention Network, a coalition of higher education institutions committed to campus sexual assault and alcohol abuse prevention; and the Financial Capability Network, a coalition of industry leaders dedicated to improving financial outcomes for communities across the country. Some of America’s leading CEOs and venture capital firms are EVERFI investors including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter founder Evan Williams, TPG Growth, and The Rise Fund.