by Nathan Pilling
In 2008, drug overdose overtook motor vehicle traffic accidents as the leading cause of death from injuries in the U.S. The jump can largely be attributed to increases in prescription painkiller abuse, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of government data. Prescription drug abuse occurs when a person takes a drug prescribed for someone else or in a way it was not intended.
The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that approximately 2.4 million Americans used prescription drugs for a recreational purpose for the first time in the past year. According to an analysis of government data done by Phillip Thornton, Ph.D., vice chair of experiential programs and associate professor of pharmacy practice, more alarming is the fact that adolescents are increasingly abusing drugs, with a 300 percent increase in misuse of prescription drugs since 1994.
With statistics confirming this growing problem in the United States, the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy is addressing the situation through direct public education. Beginning in 2013, pharmacy faculty members and student pharmacists will visit schools, service organizations, churches or wherever they can share the alarming news and communicate the common misperceptions about prescription drug abuse.
“Our plan is to go out to high schools and to any organization that will welcome us to have discussions to make people aware of the challenge,” said David Ormsbee, assistant dean of the School of Pharmacy. “It’s like any other abuse situation: you first need to make people aware of the potential dangers.”
In addition to hearing from Cedarville faculty members who are experts in the area of the effects of drugs on the body, attendees will hear testimonials from individuals with past prescription drug abuse experiences. The main emphases for the discussions will include the problems from prescription drug abuse and the dangers of such misuse. Each presentation is expected to last 30-45 minutes. “We want to confront this challenge head-on,” Ormsbee said. “We ultimately want these talks to decrease the number of accidental deaths and save lives.”
Cedarville University is currently seeking venues to engage both teenage students and the public at large on these topics. Requests for these presentations can be made by calling the School of Pharmacy at 800-233-2784.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Celebrating 125 years of inspiring greatness, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at www.cedarville.edu.