Morrilton students get their first look at Prescription for Life
MORRILTON – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today continued to promote the first-in-the-nation education initiative called “Prescription for Life” at Morrilton High School. Prescription for Life was created by the Attorney General’s office and features a digital platform to help high school students in the State understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse.
The Attorney General’s office is covering the cost of the program, which means Prescription for Life comes at no cost to participating schools in Arkansas. Since the program launched in September, it is now operating in 32 schools across the State and more than 2,100 Arkansas students have participated in Prescription for Life.
“Prescription for Life has started a conversation in many high schools across Arkansas about the dangers of abusing and misusing prescription medications,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Through this program, teachers and administrators are showing a commitment to tackling the opioid epidemic. It is my goal that this educational program will become a model for other states that will no doubt help save lives.”
Rutledge observed a health class of students going through the 30-minute course, which was followed up with a post-assessment survey to measure changes in students’ attitudes and behavior.
“We are excited to have Attorney General Rutledge to present her Prescription for Life program,” said Principal Danny Ketcherside. “I think it will greatly benefit our students and our community overall. The students and staff are excited about the new program and think it is going to be beneficial for them in the future.”
Using an evidence-based public health approach, the digital course empowers high school students with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and healthy decisions about prescription drugs. The course is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Education Standards and State academic standards.
The self-paced modular course uses video, animations, simulations and interactivity to deliver a personalized, self-guided learning experience. The real-life simulations demonstrate the impact misuse can have on students’ physical and mental health, relationships and future goals while the scenario-based exercises help students practice how to support other students in their choices regarding the safe use of prescription drugs.
Educators from the Attorney General’s office are also available to conduct teacher in-service trainings in person and through webcasts and give presentations to parent and community groups throughout the State about how to talk with young people about risks associated with opioid use and how to recognize signs that their loved ones are abusing drugs.
The curriculum is part of the Attorney General’s already robust prescription drug abuse prevention initiative. During 2017, more than 160 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at Attorney General Mobile Offices across Arkansas.
Drug overdose deaths are on the rise in Arkansas, increasing from 287 in 2015 to 335 in 2016, according to data from the State Crime Lab. More than 40 percent of teenagers in Arkansas have tried prescription drugs and more than half of all teens report that it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that between 59,000 and 65,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, up from 52,404 in 2015 and double the death rate a decade ago. That is more than the number of deaths from car accidents in 2016. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, the majority of drug overdose deaths – six out of 10 – involve an opioid.
Find more information about the program and how to bring it to schools or other settings at ArkansasAG.gov.