Generation Rx fosters community response to opioid crisis

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Generation Rx fosters community response to opioid crisis

By David Salazar - 05/29/2018
As expert healthcare providers in their communities, independent pharmacists are part of the front lines of care to help combat the opioid crisis. Through its Generation Rx program, created in partnership with The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy in 2009, the Cardinal Health Foundation partners with pharmacists and their communities in this fight by extending its prevention education reach and providing support for drug take-back initiatives, safe prescribing practices and strengthening community collaborations.

At Cardinal Health RBC 2018, Generation Rx will offer attendees a ‘drug take-back in a box’ toolkit that pharmacists can use to organize take-back events.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for retail independents to host take-back events, or partner with others in their communities to do so,”Betsy Walker, director of Community Relations at Cardinal Health and co-director of Generation Rx explained. “The resources we’ll provide include planning considerations, promotional materials, media release templates and other communication tools. All the materials are designed to help pharmacists effectively market their events locally.”

As the opioid epidemic has grown, Walker says, many pharmacists have increased their efforts to fight it, and Generation Rx has added new initiatives to support their work.

For example, with studies showing that roughly 54 percent of people who have misused prescription drugs received them from a friend or a relative, pharmacies nationwide are focused on drug take-back initiatives as a critical response to widespread misuse. Recently, Cardinal Health and the Cardinal Health Foundation supported more than 120 pharmacy locations across the country as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

“In addition to getting unused or expired medications out of the home, take-back events provide the opportunity to highlight the issue of misuse, and educate the community about prevention,” Walker said.


Another key area of focus for Generation Rx is safe prescribing practices and pain management. Through a Best Practices in Pain Medication Use and Patient Engagement grant program, Generation Rx is supporting healthcare organizations as they work with clinicians to reduce the use of opioids for non-cancer pain, and, at the same time, improve patient outcomes.

To help guide the work of the grantees, the Cardinal Health Foundation has engaged pharmacists who are pain management experts with the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania. These pharmacists have worked with clinicians in both inpatient and primary care to reduce the prescribing of opioids and help chronic pain patients understand how to better manage their pain.

“All of these grantees have found that changing prescribing practices and engaging patients requires a multi-disciplinary approach, with clinicians and pharmacists working closely together,” said Molly Culbertson, manager of Community Relations at Cardinal Health.

The Cardinal Health Foundation also recently awarded its Generation Rx Community-Level Response grants to eight communities in Ohio, to support collaborative work that engages multiple community sectors around fighting the opioid epidemic.

“Pharmacists play a key role in this work,” Culbertson said. “Each grantee is engaging in multiple tactics to fight the opioid epidemic over an 18-month funding period. These coalitions are doing the kind of multi-pronged, community-based work that the Cardinal Health Foundation hopes to foster.”

“Experts tells us that no one entity or single tactic can end the opioid epidemic,” Culberston said. “But there is evidence that outcomes are possible when communities come together to work on multiple initiatives to combat this crisis.”

Generation Rx resources — which encompass multiple age groups and can be used by pharmacists and concerned community members alike — have helped educate more than 1 million people across every state.

Two Generation Rx CEs will be offered at RBC 2018:
Thursday, June 28 from 4:00-5:30: How Community-Based Pharmacists Can Partner with Clinicians in Reducing Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain
Friday, June 29 from 2:45-4:15: Effective Prevention Messages and How Pharmacists Can Lead Prevention Education in the Community

To register for the tradeshow, please click here.