Shannon panther accepts awardThis November, the WSU College of Pharmacy was selected to receive the Cardinal Health Generation Rx Champions Award from the Washington State Pharmacy Association. This award recognizes excellence in community-based prescription drug abuse prevention.

Funds were awarded to the WSU College of Pharmacy to develop a prevention and awareness program to battle prescription and opiate drug abuse that can be duplicated and repeated across the country. Shannon Panther, a registered pharmacist in Washington and four other states and clinical assistant professor of pharmacotherapy at WSU, was the lead developer for this project.

Modeled after similar overdose programs nationwide (stopoverdose.org), this program targets people who are in non-healthcare positions within the community, educates them about opiate drug overdose and teaches interested participants how to save the life of an individual who is experiencing an overdose.  At the end of the program, each participant is provided with a lifesaving tool kit.

Naloxone has been proven to be effective to reverse an opiate drug overdose, most commonly triggered by hydrocodone, oxycodone or heroin.

The next piece of the project will be surveying participants and measuring participant change in knowledge and perceptions to determine the long term effectiveness of the program. Once Panther and her team demonstrate success for this large group education and delivery model, the program will be used as a template for future intervention programs that will target community groups at high risk for exposure to a drug overdose event.

[November 25, 2014] Lori J. Maricle