Cardinal Health Pledges $207,000 for Generation Rx Initiatives

Daniel Helfand
01/30/2014

The Cardinal Health Foundation Board has approved the Generation Rx Initiative’s request for $207,000 for 2014 to assist with projects to increase awareness of prescription drug abuse and medication safety. This agreement represents the fifth-straight year of Generation Rx’s partnership with Cardinal Health.

The funding from Cardinal Health will support the Generation Rx Lab at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI); the Generation Rx University Conference; programming events during the National Institute for Drug Abuse’s National Drug Facts Awareness Week; creation of short, educational videos; and a bevy of other programs.

“Cardinal Health’s support of this work has truly been a game changer,” said Ken Hale, assistant dean for professional and external affairs at the College of Pharmacy. “Through Cardinal Health’s support, Generation Rx has become a national brand, and the materials we have developed together have been used in every state in the country.”

Generation Rx was originally launched in 2007 as a purely academic endeavor to learn more about a rising trend in prescription drug abuse and misuse. Last year, about half of all Academy of Student Pharmacists (ASP) chapters in the country participated in Generation Rx activities.

The Generation Rx Lab at COSI, which opened in 2012 as a way to explain medication safety through science, has already reached more than 5,000 people. According to Hale, approximately 3.7 million people were reached by programs and activities related to Generation Rx.

Generation Rx helps inform a variety of audiences on the perils of medication abuse, including elementary school students, high school students, college students and elderly people through school visits, educational resources and partnerships with student organizations on college campuses.

“I am continually astounded by stories that I hear from students and parents of all ages about this problem,” said Clinical Assistant Professor Nicole Kwiek, who joined Generation RX around its inception to help integrate students into the program. “We are forever thankful to Cardinal Health for funding and guiding us on expanding this initiative to a national campaign, and the students who participate in Generation Rx have made it bigger than anyone could have imagined.”

 During the fall semester of 2013, Kwiek launched a massive open online course (MOOC) called, “Generation Rx: The Science Behind Prescription Drug Abuse.” The course reached more than 16,000 enrolled students from all six continents, and Kwiek was able to teach and learn about prescription drug abuse from an international perspective.

“When Generation Rx was first getting started, it was difficult for us to gain the trust and support of a lot of people; resources were an issue, so we had to come up with creative options,” said Kwiek. “But along the way, we were able to find ways to spread our message while addressing misconceptions about the issue.”

While Generation Rx has continued to grow and reach more people, the problem of abuse and misuse has continued to grow as well, which is why Hale believes Generation Rx must continue to improve.

“We knew from the beginning that prescription drug abuse is a catastrophic problem across the country. Communities were just starting to react to this problem when we founded the Generation Rx Initiative, so we felt that our ideas and educational resources could have an impact,” said Hale. “Cardinal Health has literally given wings to this work, and we have gone so much farther and faster with their help than we could have ever imagined.”

For more information about the Generation Rx Initiative and events and activities, view the following the link: http://pharmacy.osu.edu/outreach/generation-rx/. To learn more about the Generation Rx Lab at COSI, follow this link: http://pharmacy.osu.edu/outreach/generationrxlab/