[Baltimore, MD, April 1, 2019] – Today, the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Maryland, an alliance of local, state and national organizations committed to addressing the opioid epidemic, announced the launch of an innovative digital learning program for Maryland high schools that helps educate students about the proper use, storage and disposal of prescription medicines. The program supplements RALI Maryland’s ongoing work with partners to address the state’s epidemic of substance and opioid misuse, which took the lives of 2,247 Marylanders in 2017.
“The magnitude of the opioid epidemic calls for new solutions that preserve the future for our young people,” said State Senator Katherine Klausmeier. “This educational program helps fulfill the promise we made to Maryland students in 2017 with the ‘Start Talking Maryland Act,’ which calls for instruction on opioid addiction and prevention in our schools.”
The learning program was developed by the Prescription Drug Safety Network, a public-private partnership formed to bring effective prevention education solutions to communities nationwide. The course takes a public health approach to empower high school students with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and healthy decisions about prescription medicines. Schools in Maryland will have access to the evidence-based course at no cost through support from RALI Maryland.
“As we come together to combat the opioid crisis in our state, we have a responsibility to teach our young people about the risks of misusing medications and the tools available to facilitate proper storage and disposal of prescription medicines,” said Bob Atlas, President & CEO, Maryland Hospital Association, a RALI Maryland partner. “We’re proud to be part of this important initiative and hope to make a difference in communities through prevention education.”
The Prescription Drug Safety Network utilizes interactive scenarios and self-guided activities to teach high school students the importance of following health care providers’ instructions when taking medications, methods for proper use and disposal, and ways to effectively intervene when faced with a situation involving misuse. The course is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Health Education Standards and Maryland state academic standards.
“Students hear about the opioid epidemic every day – and many of them experience it first-hand when friends or family members struggle with addiction,” said State Delegate Eric Bromwell. “To address the crisis, my colleagues and I in the Maryland General Assembly have taken a number of steps that span prevention, treatment and recovery. The partnership between RALI Maryland, the Prescription Drug Safety Network, and Maryland high schools will help engage students in this important topic that impacts their own health, the health of their fellow Marylanders and the prosperity of our state.”
The approximately 45-minute course is being implemented in Maryland schools this semester. Training and implementation support from the Prescription Drug Safety Network is available at no cost for school districts and teachers interested in utilizing the resource.
About RALI Maryland
The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) Maryland is an alliance of more than 20 local, state and national organizations that are committed to finding solutions to end the opioid crisis in the state. More information is available at www.ralimd.org. Members of RALI Maryland include:
• Addiction Policy Forum
• Beloved Community Services Corporation
• Ministers' Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity
• Cecil County Community Drug Coalition
• Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
• Hospice & Palliative Care Network of Maryland
• Maryland Association of Chain Drug Stores
• Maryland Chamber of Commerce
• Maryland Fraternal Order of Police
• Maryland Hospital Association
• Maryland Pharmacists Association
• Maryland REALTORS
• Maryland Rural Health Association
• Maryland State Grange
• MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society
• National Black Nurses Association
• National Consumers League
• Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
• Professional Fire Fighters of Maryland
• Southern Baptist Church
• Union Baptist Church
• Veterans Health Council
• Vets Against Drugs
• Vietnam Veterans of America