Dr. Kenneth M. Hale: The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery


The Higher Education Center Leadership team: Standing (left to right) – Kristin Dahlquist, Program Manager; John Clapp, Director; Ken Hale, Associate Director. Seated – Connie Boehm, Associate Director.

The Higher Education Center Leadership team: Standing (left to right) – Kristin Dahlquist, Program Manager; John Clapp, Director; Ken Hale, Associate Director. Seated – Connie Boehm, Associate Director.

College is a seminal time in a young person’s life. It’s a time for intellectual and social growth. It’s a time for the formulation of passions and future professional pathways. It’s an exciting time of experimentation, but there are also hazards on our campuses that sometimes derail students and disrupt the attainment of their great potential. High-risk drinking and the misuse of drugs are among these critical hazards, and our colleges and universities understand the need to create safe environments and educate students about the dangers of alcohol and drug misuse.

The new Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery has been established at the Ohio State University to support colleges and universities in this important work. This partnership between the Colleges of Social Work and Pharmacy and the Office of Student Life provides education and training, research and evaluation, technical assistance, and technology development to help colleges and universities prevent drug and alcohol misuse. We also have a strong emphasis in supporting the establishment of collegiate recovery communities.

The Higher Education Center actually replaces a similar organization that was established through the U.S. Department of Education but lost its funding in 2012. Dr. John Clapp led that effort, and he is the Director of the new Higher Education Center as
well. The Center is developing myriad resources to help college and HECAOD_iconcommunity leaders develop, implement, and evaluate programs and policies to reduce problems experienced by students related to alcohol and other drug misuse. A few examples of these efforts include the provision of educational webinars and development of innovative tools for screening, brief interventions and referral to treatment (SBIRT). The Center’s website is being established at HECAOD.osu.edu, and you can follow HECAOD on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Make plans now to join us at the inaugural Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery National Meeting, August 4-6, 2015, at Ohio State’s Blackwell Inn & Conference Center.

hale_150Dr. Kenneth M. Hale is Associate Director of the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery.

John Burke: Alcohol and prescription stimulants a dangerous combination

Photo courtesy of addictiontreatmentmagazine.com

Photo courtesy of addictiontreatmentmagazine.com

In our local paper a mother grieves the loss of her college son who has died due to a combination of abusing alcohol and one of the popular ADHD stimulants. The official cause of death is listed as alcohol toxicity in the coroner’s report.

Apparently what happened is while the student was devouring significant amounts of alcohol, he was also snorting the prescription stimulant at the same time. This allowed him the ability to ingest more alcohol than he could have normally consumed, due to the stimulant effect of the pharmaceutical.

He simply was not obtaining the true impact of the amount of alcohol he was taking due to the stimulant impact. However, once the alcohol blood level reached a certain point, even the stimulant could not keep him from a tragic death.

The stimulant was obtained either from a friend or dealer and, of course, is relatively a common method to be able to drink more at parties and other social events college aged students attend. Although pain relievers still rank the highest in college student abuse among pharmaceuticals (RADARS® 2014), the deadly combinations of stimulants or benzodiazepines mixed with alcohol may be just as dangerous.

Perhaps the most important thing lost in this article was that it seemed to consider the consumption of large amounts of alcohol to be the rite of passage for college students, with the true villain here being the prescription stimulant. There is probably no doubt that the student would not have died without taking the stimulant with the alcohol, but the opposite would also likely be true.

In 47 years of law enforcement I have seen the devastation of alcohol abuse. In my opinion, alcohol has caused more collaborative damage than all of the other illicit drugs combined, yet with it being legal, I think we all tend to consider it somewhat benign. Of course, taking alcohol in moderation with some common sense, as it is by many, can deter negative things from happening.

Prescription stimulant abuse is nothing new, as it has been used by college students for decades in order to focus on their studies. Much of the abuse we see today of these drugs comes from the parents of young ADHD patients who abused them in their college days and now see a readily available supply in their own children’s prescription. The parents may decide to suspend the doses for the child during summer vacation, but continue to refill if for their own use.

The ample diagnosis of ADHD, and even the strong suggestion of some elementary schools that particular students need to be prescribed the drug before returning to class, helps to fuel the availability of these drugs in America’s medicine cabinets.

Alcohol and the combination of many illicit and pharmaceuticals can be a recipe for disaster. Knowing the dangers of stimulant prescription drugs and alcohol combinations is something all college students should consider before a night on the town.

BurkeNEWCommander John Burke is president and owner of Pharmaceutical Diversion Education Inc. (www.rxdiversion.com) and president of National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) (www.naddi.org). He has served as a law enforcement officer for more than 45 years.

Gary Martin: NOPE Task Force Brings Anti-Drug Message To Colleges

Not long after Narcotic Overdose Prevention and Education (NOPE) Task Force was created in 2002, we decided to bring our anti-drug messages to college campuses.

The reason was simple.

Both the national data (ACHA Surveys) and our anecdotal experience in partnering with law enforcement and other agencies indicated that college students were at high risk for overdose death.

We were aware that college students were misusing prescription drugs, but most concerning was the number of students who were hospitalized for combining these drugs with alcohol— which created particularly dangerous situations.

Often, as a result of students’ privacy concerns, the students’ parents were not made aware of these near-death experiences. As a result, NOPE decided to tackle the problem by raising awareness within the college population directly.  We set out to present at colleges across Florida and beyond. We needed to bring our messages to the students on their campuses and on their terms.

Our first presentation was in 2007 at Lynn University in Boca Raton during National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW). To date, we have done presentations at nearly 15 colleges, including Florida Atlantic University, Barry University, Florida Gulf Coast University, and University of North Florida.

We also have presented at American College Health Association’s (ACHA) Annual National Conference in Philadelphia, the Generation Rx University Conference at The Ohio State University, and National Association of Behavioral Intervention Team (NABITA) National Conference in Naples.

The life-threatening overdose incidents at colleges were the impetus for nationwide College Amnesty policies and eventually the 911 Good Samaritan law in Florida and other states.

Over the years, our presentations at colleges have been mostly well-received. We work hard to steer away scare tactics in favor of providing straight-forward, data-driven messages and real life cases/circumstances without judgment.  We strive to provide answers to tough questions such as the following (see the answers here):

  • How quickly can I become addicted to a drug?
  • How do I talk to my parents about getting help? What should I say?
  • Isn’t becoming addicted to a drug just a character flaw?
  • Shouldn’t treatment for drug addiction be a one-shot deal?
  • If drug addiction is a disease, is there a cure?

At our presentations, students often open up deeply about their friends’, their family members’, or their own experiences with drugs. When that happens, we offer them information and support to get the help they need.

Still, getting students to attend our presentations is challenging. As a result, at schools like Lynn University, trained students have delivered similar messages to their peers.

While prescription drug misuse and overdose deaths remain a national health and safety issue, we’ve made tremendous in-roads at educating thousands of college students about the dangers of drugs. NOPE will continue delivering our messages to college students for as long as the disease of addiction remains a problem in the communities we serve.

image_thumb_2xGary Martin is Vice President of NOPE Task Force and Dean of Students at Lynn University. 

Amelia Arria: Staying active and engaged in classroom vital to success in college

Photo courtesy of studyinthestates.dhs.gov

Photo courtesy of studyinthestates.dhs.gov

As students arrive back on campus, students are busy organizing their schedules, managing any changes to their housing situations, and having meetings with advisers. Winter break is, for most, a great time to relax with family and friends. Some students might have traveled; others might have worked to make some extra money. But one thing is for sure – starting a new year is the best time to make a fresh start – a time to reflect on how you did things last semester, and think about how you could do it differently this semester. Think about it as a “re-boot” to work better and more efficiently.

Our research during the last decade has taught us a lot about college students. Based on our findings in the College Life Study, here are a few tips to consider. We find that the percentage of classes skipped is highly predictive of grade point average in college. Perhaps even more important than the number of hours you study outside of class. I hear a lot of students say that they go to class to make sure they know what they need to study later when they are by themselves or in their study group. What they fail to recognize is that the most important learning is going on right there in the classroom. In order for the material in class to seep into your brain, you’ll not only need to just show up, but you’ll have to be engaged in class. And that requires that you get enough sleep, and that you keep up with the assigned readings little by little.

There’s a message here for faculty too – as a new member of the teaching faculty, I’m very interested in learning how I can make classes more engaging and more interactive to make sure that learning during class is maximized. Reaching out to students who chronically miss class might be a good strategy too, rather than waiting until the end of the semester to discuss the possibility of a failing grade.

And while a lot of things affect your academic performance, there is no doubt that being hung over from a night of heavy drinking or using other drugs can undermine your ability to learn and remember things. In their fourth year of college, when students are asked about significant barriers to their success, excessive partying ranks high on their list. And although some students might try to compensate by taking someone else’s prescription stimulants to help them study for an exam or complete an assignment, our research shows that this is a not an effective shortcut. In fact, those students tend to earn significantly lower grades compared to students who choose not to take drugs unless they are prescribed for them. And if you think you are the only one choosing not to partake, we’re happy to set you straight: most students are not using other people’s prescription drugs.

So here’s to a new year – and a new and improved outlook on managing all the responsibilities and challenges of life as a college student, and reaping the rewards!

Amelia Arria, Ph.D. is Director of the Center of Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and an associate professor with the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. She is principal investigator of the College Life Study, a study of college students’ health-risk behaviors.

Lane Wallace: History and regulation have shaped evolution of non-medical drug use

Photo courtesy of moritzlaw.osu.edu

Photo courtesy of moritzlaw.osu.edu

I am very favorably impressed by the work that the Generation Rx groups are doing. Through my study of the neurobiology of addiction, I am convinced that education and life skills are crucial activities for optimizing use of medications to enhance wellness and to minimize addiction.

In this opinion piece, I will share some thoughts relative to the history of regulation of non-medical drug use.

By many measures, the most restrictive regulation in the United States was the 18th amendment to the US Constitution, enacted in January 1919. Manufacture, sale, and distribution of alcohol were prohibited. While the law initially decreased use of alcohol somewhat, the overall effect of Prohibition was a black market for manufacture and distribution of alcohol and a substantial expenditure of dollars and manpower to attempt to enforce the law. This law was repealed in 1933 by the 21st amendment to the constitution. An important lesson from this social experiment is that enterprising individuals will find a way (legal or illegal) to make money by meeting demand for a product.

The current law regulating non-medical use of drugs sets up regulatory schedules for drugs with abuse potential. Drugs that do not have a Food and Drug Administration-approved therapeutic use and that have high addiction potential are assigned to Schedule I. It is illegal to possess these drugs without special permission from the Drug Enforcement Administration. A strategy to skirt the law is to make designer drugs. These are pharmacologically active analogs that are chemically similar but not identical to the illegal drug. The “bath salt” drugs are designer drugs that are chemically similar, but not identical, to amphetamine and ecstasy. The major known “bath salt” drugs were assigned as Schedule I drugs in 2011. The number of seizures/arrests associated with these drugs has been declining since that time. However, this is offset by an increase in seizures of new designer drugs. The pharmacology of these drugs is currently under study. Results to date suggest a high probability that these drugs have similar addiction potential to those they are replacing. These events reinforce the concept that enterprising individuals will find a way (legal or illegal) to make money by meeting demand for a product. Thus, lessons from history inform us that regulations have their place but do not eliminate demand for drugs.

The question then arises as to what activities might decrease demand for non-medical use of drugs. This is a difficult question. Despite increased regulation over the last 44 years, the percent of the US population identified as having an addiction to an illicit drug has remained constant. What has changed is the particular drug(s) in highest demand. For example, 35 years ago, methaqualude (Sopors) was the most commonly used illicit drug on campuses. Few students in my recent classes have ever heard of this drug. This suggests that desire to use drugs for non-medical purposes has more to do with human behavior than the “captivating” power of a particular drug or class of drugs. This brings us back to the activities of Generation Rx groups. High quality, accurate information presented in ways that capture the attention of recipients has the potential to decrease demand for non-medical use of drugs. Furthermore, these same activities have the potential to help people be smarter in their medical use of drugs.

wallace_lane_web_150Lane Wallace is a professor and chair of pharmacology at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. He specializes in neuropharmacology and mechanism of action of addicting drugs.

Kyle Simon: Collegiate Recovery Communities – Bringing Substance Use Disorders Out of the Shadows and Into the Sunlight

Prescription drug-related overdose deaths claimed more than 16,000 lives in 2011,1 prompting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to deem prescription drug abuse an epidemic.2 This epidemic does not discriminate – it has affected Americans of all ages, education, income level, gender, and ethnic background.

The epidemic has been particularly widespread on college campuses. Between 1993 and 2005, the number of college students abusing opioid pain medications like oxycodone and hydrocodone increased by 343 percent, while stimulant abuse (e.g., Adderall) increased by 93 percent.3 A recent news report found that about 2 in 3 college students are offered prescription drugs by their senior year, with approximately one-third of them abusing prescription drugs during their college career.4 Furthermore, nearly one out of five college-aged (18-25) Americans has a past-year substance use disorder.5

Policy makers in Washington and state capitals across America are addressing prescription drug diversion and abuse through legislation and regulations, but this alone will not be the panacea. Local, peer-to-peer support organizations focused on prevention, treatment, and recovery play a critical part of a unified effort to reducing prescription drug abuse. Collegiate recovery communities are taking a leading role in doing just that. Collegiate recovery communities are campus-based, student-run organizations that focus on prevention as a public health initiative.

Although cultural norms view drinking and drug use in college as a “rite of passage,” many young adults do not age out of their substance use disorder. Collegiate recovery communities’ peer and professional support and other services such as counseling, substance-free housing, and social activities have helped to prevent enormous personal, social, and economic harm one person at a time. According to the not-for-profit Association of Recovery in Higher Education, the average national relapse rate of collegiate recovery program participants is 5 percent, which means that approximately 95 percent of the students who participate in these programs maintain their recovery through complete abstinence from drugs and alcohol.6 This data is a credit to collegiate recovery programs as relapse rates among the general population range between 40 and 60 percent.7

In society at large, dozens of collegiate recovery communities nationwide are promoting prevention and treatment through raising awareness of substance use risks and the harmful stigma and stereotypes around the disease of addiction, treatment, and recovery. Beyond promoting prevention, treatment, and recovery on campuses, it is incumbent upon collegiate recovery community members to mobilize and gain influence to break stereotypes and stigma.

Not unlike the AARP, arguably the most powerful senior citizens interest group totaling 37 million members, collegiate recovery communities have the enormous potential to expand beyond campuses and effectively change our culture to value prevention and health-focused norms. The expansion of the collegiate recovery community model into a larger scale organization that mirrors the AARP’s capacity and represents people in recovery and their allies has the potential to upend cultural norms and save lives.

So how do you do it? Start by sharing your story, whether it is among peers on campus or with policy makers. Personal testimonials are an effective way to compel action from others, and real stories increase your credibility as you seek to make a difference in the lives of others. By using your voice, you have the potential to build a grassroots movement that will grow the footprint of your collegiate recovery community and inspire others to step up to the plate and be leaders on substance use and addiction beyond graduation.

Collegiate recovery communities are fostering a healthier and more prosperous future for America one person at a time. It is time to expand collegiate recovery communities into a national recovery community organized to promote programs and policies advancing prevention, treatment, and recovery so that no more lives are lost due to substance use disorders.

Kyle Simon is Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence (CLAAD).


1. Press Release, CDC, Opioids Drive Continued Increase in Drug Overdose Deaths (Feb. 20, 2013), http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0220_drug_overdose_deaths.html.
2. CDC Grand Rounds: Prescription Drug Overdoses – a U.S. Epidemic, CDC (Jan. 13, 2012), http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6101a3.htm.
3. A Rising Epidemic on College Campuses: Prescription Drug Abuse, Clinton Found. (Jan. 12, 2014), http://www.clintonfoundation.org/blog/2014/01/12/rising-epidemic-college-campuses-prescription-drug-abuse#sthash.bxyCN6x6.dpuf.
4. Zadrozny, Brandy. “7 Things You Need to Know About Adderall.” The Daily Beast/Newsweek. Accessed April 22, 2014
5. Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Servs. Admin. (2013), http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2012SummNatFindDetTables/NationalFindings/NSDUHresults2012.pdf.
6. Frequently Asked Questions, Collegiate Recovery, http://collegiaterecovery.org/resources-2/frequently-asked-questions/ (last visited Oct. 3, 2014).
7. The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction: The Basics, Nat’l Inst. on Drug Abuse, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/science-drug-abuse-addiction-basics (last updated Sept. 2014).

Ray Bullman: October is ‘Talk About Your Medicines Month’

October is Talk about Your Medicines Month, giving us the opportunity to recognize the importance of addressing prescription drug abuse. The National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) has long been about addressing prescription drug abuse and the role of treatment and a recovery-oriented system of care – as well as developing educational resources to support engagement at the community level.  We’ve learned that it’s not enough to say, “Don’t abuse these medicines,” which marginalizes consumers, not giving them the credit they deserve. 

HBCU Campus Dialogue on Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment & Recovery

In March 2014, NCPIE convened the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Campus Dialogue on Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment & Recovery, an opportunity to gain a better understanding of this issue from faculty, staff and students. With support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, we convened over 40 participants for this two-day meeting. Attendees affirmed that the abuse of certain prescription medications has been normalized on some college campuses.

While the Campus Dialogue represented a microcosm of colleges and universities, we suspect that you may likely find similar findings on your campus. See if you observe yourself nodding, “yes” to the following cycles of influence that participants attributed to prescription drug abuse and addiction.


  • Misaligned Economic Incentives: When young adults enter college they are keenly aware of our country’s challenging financial conditions. There is a perception of a financial gain to selling medications. “A pill can sell for $30-$40, and a bottle of Promethazine with codeine can go for $400-500.00. Money now trumps problems later.”
  • Availability or Overprescribing: “There’s a pill for every ill. We’ll give you something to fix you, and we’ll fix you from the inside out.”
  • Misinformation: The integration of images and words, portraying drug abuse as “big fun,” can give students the mistaken impression that, “Everyone is doing it; why not try it; how could these medicines be so bad?”
  • Peer pressure: “When students find themselves at parties, and everyone is getting high, some may think that they are outside of the loop if they are not using.”
  • Transitional stress: Parental and personal pressure of making good grades, being independent, fear of the unknown, being in a fast-paced environment and absence of treatment and recovery services can make medication abuse a “go-to solution.”
  • Racial disparity: Drug abuse and addiction are taboo. “Families are closed about drug abuse and addiction, and there are perceptions of denial.”

Bring Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction Out of the Shadows

ray bullman ray bullman 2

What began as a discussion about prescription drug abuse on HBCU campuses provided a platform for students, staff and faculty to address much bigger challenges including transitional stress, cultural disparity, poor economy, the role of social media and institutional bias. These academic and social pressures are reinforced by the perception that prescription medications can help some students get through the day, from studying and sleeping to socializing. The two days of discussion generated strategies for creating on-campus change – recommendations that could be implemented today and in the future, including the following:

  • Monthly seminars
  • Comprehensive RA training and integration of mentors
  • Instituting the practice of forming smaller classes
  • Launching an “unplugged day” twice a year
  • Investing more research dollars into alternative medicines

Raise the Level of Awareness on Your Campus 

Dialogue participants concluded that we should begin by picking one provocative possibility and then exploit conditions to “viralize” change. So this October, make a commitment to raise the level of awareness about prescription drug abuse, treatment and recovery among students, faculty, staff and parents. Check out the following resources as you build and enhance your prevention and intervention efforts:

To learn more about the HBCU Dialogue and safe medicine use, contact Ray Bullman at NCPIE, 301.340.3940, bullman@ncpie.info, or check out www.talkaboutrx.org.

Photos courtesy of Ray Bullman.

October is “Talk About Your Medicines” Month!

The National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) has been working toward advancing the safe and appropriate use of medicines since 1992. This October marks NCPIE’s 29th annual “Talk About Your Medicines” month (originally called “Talk About Prescriptions” Month). This year’s theme is “Let’s Get in Sync.” NCPIE will be in partnership with the American Pharmacists Association Foundation to launch a consumer education campaign encouraging more communication between pharmacists and patients and/or caregivers. The campaign will be looking at areas where there can be more interaction – including pharmacists providing medication counseling and medication synchronization services (in which multiple medicine refills would be available at the same time each month). Synchronization works by utilizing the Appointment Based Model (ABM) and is designed to improve patient adherence. Utilizing this tool allows pharmacists and pharmacy staff members to do medication reviews every month to be aware of therapeutic and adherence issues patients may be facing. This model can help patients achieve better health outcomes – particularly those who have multiple health conditions, are taking multiple medications, and are seeing multiple health care providers. Research has shown better patient adherence with this model, and this model allows the patient to be at the center of the healthcare team.​

A post regarding this topic will be coming later this month!

(Adapted from the National Council on Patient Information and Education, talkaboutrx.org)

Chris Stankovich, PhD: Student Athletes at risk for Prescription Pain Pill Abuse


These days it is not uncommon to hear about professional athletes getting caught up abusing pain pills, as these stories have almost become commonplace in sports.  Some athletes will do whatever necessary to stay on the field, and pain pills are becoming more widely used to mitigate sports injury discomfort. Unfortunately, while pain pills might work in the short run by allowing athletes to quickly play again, they are also highly addictive and can lead to future problems much bigger than the original injury.

Pain pills in sports

While it may be understandable why professional athletes turn to pain pills (since their careers depend on being healthy enough to play), it is more troubling to see youth athletes using these drugs.  In fact, in too many cases today young athletes who are originally prescribed pain pills from their physician later turn to the streets to buy black market pain pills when their scripts expire.  If black market pain pills become too difficult to find, or cost-prohibitive, heroin then becomes the drug of choice since it is more widely available and cheaper.  Ironically, young athletes who become addicted to pain pills (or heroin) almost always start out by using simply to get back on the field, only later do they become addicted to the drugs due to lacking medical oversight and/or relatively fast physiological addiction.

Possible reasons for this paradigm shift pertaining to more pain pill usage in sports include new norms in sports when it comes to pain management, group dynamics (pressures from teammates to quickly play again), fear of loss of starting position, or fears associated with missing future college athletic opportunities because of injuries that otherwise could be controlled for by using pain pills.  These new pressures, group dynamics, and future sport goals sometimes converge to create a “perfect storm” where otherwise healthy, level-headed kids uncharacteristically consider using dangerous pain pill drugs.

The race for athletic scholarships

Many young athletes (and their parents) begin the journey very early on when it comes to the pursuit of a full-ride DI athletic scholarship.  Though only about 3-4% of all high school student athletes will ever earn a full-ride, hundreds of thousands more will try their best with the hope of being one of the lucky few.  Along the way, it is almost inevitable that injuries will occur, and in some cases the injuries will be so severe that they jeopardize the chances of earning a full-ride.  It is in these instances where some kids (sometimes with parental influence) elect to do whatever is necessary so that the injury is quickly addressed — even if this means abusing pain pills.

Coincidentally, even young athletes with little to no hope of ever earning a full-ride scholarship are also at-risk for unforeseen drug abuse and dependence, mostly because prescription pain pills have almost become commonplace for rehabilitation recovery protocols.    Ironically, this new wave of drug addicts are very different than the traditional recreational drug addict who voluntarily chose to use street drugs to get high — in the case of the addicted athlete, the addiction occurs not because the athlete wants to get high, but instead because of the perceived value in these drugs as they apply to quickly getting back on the field again. 

West Catholic Allendale Football

Train healthy & allow time to heal

Healthy training and injury recovery methodologies in sports need to be closely examined and scrutinized, especially at the youth sport level.  Please check with your physician about the many ways to control for pain aside from prescription pain pills, including relaxation techniques, imagery, physical therapy, and proper rest.  Coming back from sports injuries too soon may cause bigger problems with pain pills and addiction, and might also send an athlete back on to the field too soon (which, ironically, may lead to more permanent long-term damage).

For more information about healthy training in youth sports please visit www.drstankovich.com or follow me on Twitter @Drstankovich.

Photos courtesy of Chris Stankovich.

About Generation Rx University Voices


I believe that colleges and universities have an obligation to educate students about medication safety. We live in a culture in which medications are used at an unprecedented rateDr. Hale post pic 1 Dr. Hale post pic 3(Dr. Hale post pic 2approximately 4 billion prescriptions per year). We see advertisements for prescription drugs on television (one of only two countries in the world to allow this) and in other media communications. We expect quick fixes to life’s myriad problems, and we often use a medication as that “fix.” This “pharmaceuticalization” has become normalized in our society, a phenomenon which is both good and bad. Modern medicines have provided many benefits, as we are living longer and healthier lives because of them. Many diseases that were once fatal are being prevented, converted to chronic conditions, or cured. But there is a dark side to this drug-taking culture as well. Adverse drug events (e.g., side effects, adverse drug reactions, medication errors) now consume more of our healthcare resources than the cost of the drug products. And the misuse and abuse of prescription medications has become a serious public health problem. The abuse of pharmaceuticals now exceeds that of all other substances except marijuana, and those first abusing a prescription medication (painkillers, sedatives and stimulants combined) far exceed those who first use marijuana. This has produced an epidemic in which emergency department visits and drug treatment center admissions relating to prescription drug abuse are escalating, and drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. On average, over 100 people die each day or one person every 15 minutes!

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the average age when prescription drug abuse starts is around 22, so there is a dire need to help college students adopt safe medication-taking habits. As healthcare consumers, they will be exposed to pharmaceuticals throughout their lives. We need to help them use these medications in a safe and effective way. The Generation Rx Initiative and the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention & Recovery at the Ohio State University have been implemented to do just that, and this blog is being launched to give a “Voice” to those who seek to prevent the misuse and abuse of prescription medications in our colleges and universities. We encourage you to use the resources provided in the Generation Rx University toolkit which are provided free-of-charge due to the generous support of the Cardinal Health Foundation and share your efforts to prevent prescription drug abuse with others.Dr. Hale post pic 6 Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the word; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” We implore you to “change the world” on your campus by implementing educational strategies to prevent the misuse and abuse of prescription medications. In the process, we will save lives and help our students get the best results from prescription and non-prescription medicines.

We all need to hear your “Voice” as you help prevent the misuse and abuse of medications among college students. To get us started over the next few weeks, students from the American Pharmacists Association’s Academy of Student Pharmacists chapters at East Tennessee State University, the University of New Mexico, and the University of North Carolina who have received national Generation Rx awards will describe their amazing work. But we want to hear from YOU! Please send stories, photos, videos, etc. to me at hale.3@osu.edu – we would love to share some of these in future “GenRxU Voices” blog posts!

Many thanks to Julia Lawrence, a student at the University of Kentucky, for helping us launch this new initiative!

Dr. Kenneth M. Hale

Dr. Kenneth M. Hale

genrxulogoDr. Kenneth Hale

Clinical Professor, Pharmacy Practice and Administration

Co-Director, the Generation Rx Initiative

Associate Director, Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention & Recovery

The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy