Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention in East Tennessee: Engaging Communities to Impact an Epidemic
Prescription drug abuse (PDA) is an epidemic nationwide and has disproportionally impacted the Southern Appalachian region. Situated within a geographic area known for pervasive PDA and its consequences, The Gatton College of Pharmacy and Academic Health Sciences Center (AHSC) at East Tennessee State University are proactively engaging the Region and its health professions students to address the problem. Over the College’s six-year history of community engagement in PDA, efforts have focused on primary prevention activities, PDA treatment, awareness, education, and interprofessional collaboration as the key impact sectors. Notable programs include Generation Rx, Operation Rx Disposal, continuing education (CE) programming, and establishment of the ETSU Diversity-promoting Institutions Drug Abuse Research Program. In 2013-2014, 3 faculty and 38 Generation Rx pharmacy students engaged 4000 children and adolescents in PDA prevention education. Operation Rx Disposal employed 5 faculty members and 35 student pharmacists to assist more than 1000 households in removing unwanted medication from their homes through conduction of drug take-back events. Over 2000 health care providers from regional communities participated in PDA CE events conducted by 3 pharmacy faculty members. Additionally, 3 externally funded, PDA-specific grants totaling $2.26 million were awarded to pharmacy faculty members to engage communities, health care professionals, and students in innovative PDA prevention research. The College’s efforts have been nationally recognized by peers, professional organizations, state boards of pharmacy and within the evidentiary literature.
Gray, Jeffrey A.; Hagemeier, Nicholas E.; and Melton, Sarah. 2014. Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention in East Tennessee: Engaging Communities to Impact an Epidemic. Poster presentation. American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Annual Meeting, Grapevine, TX. https://doi.org/10.5688/ajpe785111