P4 student Lindsey Montambault shared with me her project and the story behind it. She wrote this article to share with others what she has done.
On February 1st 2013 my life changed forever. My brother was an officer for Conway Police Department in Conway, Arkansas. He was hit by a car while directing traffic around the scene of an accident. The driver of the vehicle was driving under the influence of prescription medications. He succumbed to the injuries he sustained the next day, February 1st. This was just 2 weeks before my first interview for pharmacy school. When starting school I had not really grasped how my personal experience was going to impact my career as a pharmacist.
Throughout the last 4 years I have gravitated to pharmacy service learning opportunities that were centered around the awareness of prescription drug abuse or drug take back programs. When trying to decide on a health & wellness project that I wanted to complete my 4th year, I knew it would be focused in that area.
In my third year of pharmacy school I had the opportunity to help with the Generation Rx Red Ribbon Week campaign that our APhA – ASP chapter did at local elementary schools. Generation Rx is an initiative that was put together by the Cardinal Health Foundation and Ohio State College of Pharmacy. They provide education and awareness materials for kids, teens, college-aged students, adults, seniors, patients and coworkers on prevention of the misuse of prescription drugs.
This month my focus was to host booths and give presentations at various college campuses across the state. I was able to go to Arkansas State University – Beebe, Harding University, Lyon College, Pulaski Tech and the University of Central Arkansas. My hope was to speak to at least 10 students individually at every college campus. Due to the nature of the topic as well as the different sizes of universities, I felt as though that was a realistic goal. I have been able to speak to 164 students through this month.
My main talking points for the month have centered on “The Other Freshman 15” materials provided by Generation Rx. This program has 15 facts about prescription drug misuse that I presented to the university student including, “Unintentional drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with an average of 100 people dying everyday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” I focused on these facts to raise awareness of just how big of a deal prescription drug misuse can be, what it can lead to and safe medication practices to prevent it.
This project became more than what I would have ever expected it to be. I thoroughly enjoyed giving these presentations as well as speaking one on one with students. Prescription drug misuse is not going away anytime soon. As a pharmacist, it will be my job to educate my patients on how to appropriately use their prescriptions. This program has given me the extra tools to be able to do that in the future.