Pharmacy Students Fight Opioid Epidemic

by Michaela Carpenter, Public Relations Writer

At a time when the United States is facing a growing opioid epidemic, and Ohio has become one of the most highly affected states with an estimated 200,000 addicts, Cedarville University students are working to make a difference.

Students from Cedarville’s School of Pharmacy are visiting local middle and high schools to educate students on drug abuse through a student-led initiative called Generation Rx. The initiative has experienced steady growth since its founding in 2014, and students now visit several different schools in the Miami Valley area, completing about 40 presentations each semester.
One of the group’s goals is to increase the number of people they can influence, explained Samantha Yates and Rachel Bull, third-year professional pharmacy students in Cedarville’s Doctor of Pharmacy program and co-chairs of CU's chapter of Generation Rx. They have seen that happen this year as Generation Rx has grown beyond local schools to include Families of Addicts (FOA) support groups and H.O.P.E. Ministries, an organization that supports and trains at-risk youth in the Miami Valley area.

While participating in the initiative helps them fulfill required service learning hours for the pharmacy program, for Yates and Bull, the greatest benefit of Generation Rx is that they are able to address the problem of drug abuse at an early age.

With one in nine heroin overdoses across the U.S. taking place in Ohio, Yates and Bull see a real need for Generation Rx to counter the epidemic through educating students about drug abuse.  They also recognize the influence they have as college students talking with younger students and setting a positive example for them.

“What I really appreciate about Generation Rx is that it gives us the opportunity to educate teenagers on more of a peer-to-peer level,” Bull explained. “With us being in our early 20s and talking to 15-18 year olds, I think they’re a lot more receptive to hearing what we have to say.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,760 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.