3 Free Opioid Abuse Education Resources Pharmacists Should Know About

MARCH 12, 2018
Opioid abuse is an insidious epidemic that is plaguing the country, and pharmacists can play an important role in educating the public. According to the CDC’s latest Vital Signs report, opioid overdoses continue to increase in cities and towns across the United States.1 

There are a variety of free resources available for patient education, and pharmacists can truly make a difference throughout the community.  Additionally, many resources include complete lesson plans with talking points so that you can focus on getting the important message out to the community. Pharmacists can educate elementary, middle, high school, and college students about the dangers of drug abuse. Educational strategies include meeting with community leaders and teachers to put these resources to good use and starting a community-wide campaign. Speak at a school parent-teacher association meeting about opioid abuse, including warning signs, and appropriate storage and disposal of medications. 

Here are 3 opioid abuse education resources pharmacists should know about:

The Drug Enforcement Administration, and Discover Education have created a great resource for students in kindergarten through grade 12. The program includes digital classroom lessons available in both English and Spanish languages, and a parent toolkit with a family discussion guide on the warning signs of opioid abuse, and prevention strategies.

Operation Prevention's video challenge contest provides students with the opportunity to create a powerful message regarding the dangers of opioid abuse through a public service announcement, with a chance to win up to $10,000. Students can also take a virtual field trip to West Virginia to hear personal stories from teens that have been affected by the opioid epidemic.

The goal of this program is to educate teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. The NIDA contains more than 90 classroom lessons, interactive activities, and videos on the dangers of drug abuse for grades 6-12. Pharmacists can provide an educational program to high school students and use the opioid event toolkit. This includes facts about prescription drugs, videos, blog posts, the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge, and the science behind addiction. Free materials can also be ordered for your event.

Program registration for NDAFW begins August 2018, and your event will be listed on a US map available for public viewing. Pharmacists should consider participating in a National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) event January 22-27, 2019.

This organization encourages communication between parents, educators, and children to prevent prescription drug abuse. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids also started a national education campaign known as The Medicine Abuse Project, which includes advertisements that raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and educational resources. The educational resources include a fact sheet, parent’s guide with talking points, safe drug disposal information, and documentary films on drug abuse.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid overdoses treated in emergency departments. Vital Signs. . Accessed March 8, 2018.

Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, received her PharmD degree from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Pharmacy in 2006 and completed a 2-year drug information residency. She served as a pharmacy professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy for 6 years, managed the drug information center, and conducted medication therapy management reviews. Dr. Gershman has published research on prescription drug abuse, regulatory issues, and drug information in various scholarly journals. Additionally, she received the Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award for her collaboration with the Broward, Florida Sheriff’s Office to prevent prescription drug abuse through a drug disposal program. She has also presented at pharmacist and physician continuing education programs on topics that include medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and legal and regulatory issues. Dr. Gershman can be followed on Twitter @jgershman2