Connecting Students to the Real-World of Substance Misuse Prevention by Uniting Educators and Pharmacists

Connecting Students to the Real-World of Substance Misuse Prevention by Uniting Educators and Pharmacists

Friday, October 30, 2020 - 9:05am

CONTENT: Blog

Amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic, families and communities across the United States still battle another challenge: substance misuse. While headlines often focus on the pandemic, substance misuse nevertheless remains a vexing topic.

Prasanna Angle, a pharmacist and District Leader for CVS Health in Detroit says the real issue is no one thinks it can happen to them. “Everyone thinks it won’t happen, but it could happen, and we need to be realistic.” 

Prasanna knows firsthand the impact substance misuse has on the community. A classmate of her son died of an overdose in college. “It was a life gone so early, at 21 years old. He had the whole world in front of him,” she says.

This experience motivated Prasanna to participate in CVS Health’s Pharmacist Teach program, which recently expanded to include new resources for pharmacists and teachers, called Dose of Knowledge – digital curriculum that is available at no cost to schools nationwide. Dose of Knowledge empowers educators and pharmacists to discuss the facts about prescription and illicit drug misuse with students in either a classroom or virtual learning setting. 

“I reached out to local schools and was pleasantly surprised to find the teachers were excited to partner with me. As it turns out, we all have the same goal: to make life as good as possible for our kids,” said Prasanna.

For participants in the Dose of Knowledge program, awareness-raising comes down to two factors: connection and access. Making those connections require meeting the students where they are and ensuring they consider the consequences of their actions. 

“We all can play a role and every action can make a difference,” says Prasanna. “There are so many misconceptions out there and we need to combat those with awareness and knowledge.”

The Dose of Knowledge program brings information to the students wherever their learning is taking place. Equipped with meaningful digital content and aligned to national educational standards, pharmacists can team up with an educator to share critical lessons about prescription and illicit drug misuse, helping to ensure that students have access to resources that can help them lead healthy lives. 

That’s how Prasanna met Beth Plumridge, the Head of Physical Education Department at Renaissance High School in Detroit. Prasanna and Beth partner throughout the year to discuss the importance of healthy lifestyle choices with students. Their approach is to build a safe zone for students, whether virtually or in person, where a beloved teacher and a community pharmacist give students the space to be curious, seek answers, and understand the issue. 

According to Beth, the content covered in the Dose of Knowledge digital lessons and resources give students real-world examples to build interactions framed around positive experiences. “The resources give my students the opportunity to ask ‘how’ and ‘why’. We know it’s making an impact because you can see it in their faces,” she said.

Like most teenagers, Beth’s students may not be eager to articulate all of their feelings immediately, but she notices the impact the program has made on them over time. “The ‘aha’ moments come later on, after the students have had time to reflect. You see that connection to the resources grow from a look on their face to how they act,” says Beth. 

And that, according to Beth and Prasanna, makes it all worth it, knowing that the conversations and experiences shared through Dose of Knowledge helped that student. At the end of the day, community members – like teachers, pharmacists, and families – all play a role in helping each student make healthier decisions for themselves and their communities.

Learn more about the Dose of Knowledge program and access all the resources to raise awareness about substance misuse prevention in your area at DoseOfKnowledge.com. All lessons feature a pre-recorded video vignette of a CVS pharmacist.  Educators can independently deliver the lessons to students. They can also inquire about scheduling a session with a pharmacist by reaching out to PharmacistsTeach@CVSHealth.com. For Discovery Education Experience users, find all the Dose of Knowledge content in the Corporate Education Partnerships channel.

CATEGORY: Education