Drug Diversion and Abuse: Generation Rx Initiative: The OSU Project

Cmdr John Burke
Published Online: Tuesday, February 18, 2014
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Cmdr Burke connects with the OSU College of Pharmacy's program for reducing prescription drug abuse.
I had the great pleasure of having lunch with Dr. Ken Hale and Dr. Nicole Kwiek of The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Pharmacy. We were coming together to see how their organization and the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) could collaborate in the future.

Although I don’t purport to have learned everything there is to know about their project, The Generation Rx Initiative, I gained enough knowledge to know that this is an outstanding endeavor—and it is all going on a mere 100 miles from my home!

Their program is diversified, as the organizers attempted to reduce prescription drug abuse in a variety of ways, and they have spent some resources trying to educate the collegiate population at OSU and students across the country. For example, The Generation Rx Initiative recently participated in a candlelight vigil to recognize those who have died of prescription drug abuse and to educate others about the potential dangers of misusing pharmaceuticals.

The Center of Science and Industry (COSI), located in the center of Columbus, Ohio, is one of the newer endeavors of Generation Rx. Cardinal Health, a Partner in all of this, helps to provide a meaningful experience, especially for the younger generation. Several educational videos are featured on the Web page at http://pharmacy.osu.edu/outreach/generation-rx-initiative home. I especially enjoyed the one featuring COSI and some very young “scientists” working in the lab learning about prescription drug abuse. I encourage you to take a look!

When you peruse the website, you will see resources that target elementary school, middle school, high school, and college students. Plus you will find resources for communities and a link to better understand how to dispose of unwanted or out-of-date pharmaceutical drugs.

Another impressive part of Generation Rx is the tool kits. These are free resources for anyone to use, and I especially like the information provided to patients who are taking potential medications of abuse. Generation Rx, like NADDI, recognizes that pharmaceuticals are a necessary and crucial part of everyday life for thousands of Americans who suffer from a variety of diseases, but especially for individuals with chronic and cancer-related pain. Safeguarding medications, while making efforts to reduce diversion, is paramount. Tool kits also exist for high school and college students, the community, and senior citizens.

This year, on August 5-7, 2014, this organization is sponsoring the third annual Generation Rx University Conference. The group has expanded the agenda to 3 days this year, with the first day tentatively scheduled for discussing prescription drug abuse, the second day focusing on alcohol and other drug issues, and the third day slated for discussion of “Collegiate Recovery Communities.” Registration and speaker identification will be coming soon, so watch the website for more information.

Cmdr Burke is a 40-year veteran of law enforcement and the current president of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. He can be reached by e-mail at burke@choice.net or burke@naddi.org or via the website www.rxdiversion.com.

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