CAMP HILL, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Today, a year after the Prescription Drug Safety program was rolled out in high schools in Western Pennsylvania, The Rite Aid Foundation, the Office of the Attorney General and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation led a special training session for 50 additional teachers in Western Pennsylvania on the program, which is an innovative digital course about prescription drug abuse prevention. The training is part of ongoing efforts by The Rite Aid Foundation, the Office of the Attorney General and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation to combat adolescent prescription drug abuse and misuse in Pennsylvania.
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The Prescription Drug Safety program, developed by EVERFI, the nation’s leading education technology innovator used in one in seven schools nationwide, is available to high school educators at no cost through funding from the members of the Western Pennsylvania Coalition, including The Rite Aid Foundation, The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, and the Office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
The Prescription Drug Safety program officially launched in March of 2018 at Brashear High School in the city of Pittsburgh. Since then, more than 150 teachers across Pennsylvania have implemented the curriculum, at more than 115 high schools, reaching over 11,700 students.
The program equips students with the knowledge and skills they need to interact with prescription medications in a safe and healthy manner. Pennsylvania students who have participated in the course, on average, experienced a 44% knowledge-gain based on data from pre to post assessment scores.
“The abuse and misuse of opioids is an unprecedented crisis that is gripping the country, including our nation’s young people,” said Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. “To help combat this crisis and to help educate children in our communities, The Rite Aid Foundation is proud to partner with EVERFI, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro to implement the Prescription Drug Safety program into schools in the Pittsburgh-area. Coming together a year later with the teachers who are leading students in prescription drug safety education, we’re happy to continue to support this program that equips students with skills and knowledge they need to prevent abuse and misuse before it starts in schools around the country.”
During the training session, hosted at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, teachers were trained on the program and heard remarks from April Hopper, manager of drug information at Rite Aid, Executive Deputy Attorney General of Public Engagement Rob Reed and Dave Soltesz, president of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, on the need for prevention education in the classroom. Teachers worked with EVERFI representatives to learn how to use the program’s features on their instructor dashboards, including real-time reports and supplemental extension lessons. They also discussed best practices for implementing digital tools in the classroom and learned new skills for providing positive lessons and education to their students on prescription drug abuse and misuse.
The course uses interactive scenarios and self-guided activities to help students learn about a range of topics, including the science of addiction, how to properly use and dispose of prescription drugs, and how to intervene when faced with a situation involving drug misuse.
The Rite Aid Foundation, through its KidCents program, has led program launches in Pennsylvania as part of its commitment to creating safe and healthy environments for children and teens. In addition to the activation in Pittsburgh-area high schools, the program launched in high schools in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Harrisburg in Pennsylvania, Akron, Ohio and Seattle, Washington. The Rite Aid Foundation’s $1.7 million commitment to the Prescription Drug Safety program, is expected to reach more than 400 high schools in several more communities in Washington, California, Michigan Oregon, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“Educators have a unique role to play in fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic by providing students with critical information about drug addiction prevention,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “I’m grateful to the teachers who have stepped up to participate in this training and I’m encouraged by the positive impact that the program has had among our educators and students so far. I’m proud to partner with EVERFI, the Rite Aid Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Penguins to bring this critical program to our schools in Western Pennsylvania.”
During the training, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation President Dave Soltesz announced his commitment to continue to provide funding for the program for 2019-2020 academic year to expand the impact of the program.
“The abuse and misuse of prescription drugs takes the lives of individuals in our community every day. It is a widespread issue that needs to be addressed immediately,” says Dave Soltesz, president, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation. “With this evidence-based curriculum teaching kids how to make healthy life choices in midst of drug related situations, it will bring awareness to substance abuse prevention education to our youth. The Pens Foundation is glad to be a part of the Prescription Drug Safety Program for the second year to ensure that kids are and will remain the future.”
"The program is a wonderful resource to help encourage students to learn more about the effects of opioids and other drugs. The students can apply this education to reach out to others in the school or community and help them avoid seriously harmful effects of drug abuse," said health teacher Chris Whalen.
Through the KidCents program, members of Rite Aid's loyalty program, wellness+ rewards, can round up their in-store or online purchases to the nearest dollar and donate their change to KidCents. Members can also choose to direct their change to a specific KidCents charity by visiting www.kidcents.com. Through KidCents’ Step Up Fund, The Rite Aid Foundation provides a matching donation of $500 for every $500 a charity raises in contributions through the wellness+ rewards program, up to a maximum of $5,000. For more information, visit www.kidcents.com.
Since its inception in 2001, The Rite Aid Foundation has awarded more than $52 million to nonprofit organizations. Additionally, Rite Aid, through the efforts of its customers, supplier partners and associates, has also raised more than $92 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across the country since 1994.
Rite Aid Corporation (RAD) is one of the nation's leading drugstore chains with fiscal 2018 annual revenues of $21.5 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company's website at www.riteaid.com.
Founded in 2010, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation is the 501c3 philanthropic hand of the 5X Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. With the belief that "Kids Are The Future," the Penguins Foundation focuses its efforts on making an impact on the lives of the littlest fans of the Penguins team and organization. Through programs related to the Penguins Foundation's pillars of playing, growing, helping and learning, the Foundation has been able to make countless assists to the community in just a few short seasons including an overall contribution of $30 million to charitable causes since 2010. For more information, visit: www.pittsburghpenguinsfoundation.org.
EVERFI is the leading education technology innovator that provides learners of all ages education for the real world through scalable digital learning platforms. Founded in 2008, EVERFI is fueled by its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription model and has certified over 25 million learners with more than 3,500 partners across 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. EVERFI is an industry convener that builds Networks that tackle the toughest social issues. These Networks include the Prescription Drug Safety Network, Campus Prevention Network, and the Financial Capability Network. Some of America's leading CEOs and venture capital firms are EVERFI investors including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter founder Evan Williams, TPG Growth, The Rise Fund, Advance Publications, Rethink Education and Rethink Impact. To learn more about EVERFI visit everfi.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter @EVERFI.