Like most people their age, Indian Trial Intermediate School fifth-graders Clayton McKenzie and Libby Story had no idea people could get hooked on prescription drugs.
“I didn’t know that you could get addicted to, like, over-the-counter medications and stuff like that,” McKenzie said Friday morning following a presentation by Generation Rx Initiative students from the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy.
Generation Rx is a national program that educates the public about prescription drug abuse. It was founded at The Ohio State University and is supported by the Cardinal Health Foundation.
Indian Trail students in David Nutter’s health class were getting an education about the dangers of prescription drug abuse as they prepare to start a new unit on substance abuse.
“I learned that it only takes one time to get addicted,” Story said.
That’s the kind of reaction Generation Rx students were hoping for as they educated the young people about the good and bad that comes with prescription medication.
“By coming out and educating the kids about it, we’re able to give them the positive influence in their life and those ways to make the right decisions so they can know about it and then go through their lives to make those right choices,” second-year pharmacy student Jacob Peters said.
Since starting the program in May, Peters said nearly 3,000 people have been educated in Johnson City and its surrounding areas about the dangers of prescription drugs.
“We’ve hit the ground running with it and we’ve really been encouraged by being able to go to different schools and other youth groups and just educating them that this is a problem but there are solutions for it,” Peters said.
Both McKenzie and Story said the presentation led by pharmacy students was interesting and they learned a lot about an issue that plagues many people.
“It’s basically saying, ‘I don’t care if I die. This is just cool.’ But it’s not,” McKenzie said.
The fifth-graders said the presentation made them want to refrain from abusing prescription drugs or trying any other types of drugs in the future.
“I would never anyway,” Story said.