Butler’s campus has seen an increased interest regarding the prevention of prescription drug abuse.
One year ago, the awareness group Generation Rx had about six members working toward the goal of spreading awareness and stopping prescription drug abuse on campus. According to Generation Rx campaign coordinator Miranda Arthur, the group has now added about 40 more members.
“This is an issue that isn’t really talked about,” Arthur said. “We’re trying to bring this issue home to Butler, because it does happen here.”
Ten percent of Butler students admitted to abusing prescription drugs at some point, in data collected for the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
“On a campus of 4,000, 10 percent would be 400 students,” Arthur said. “So with those numbers, we could fill up Jordan Hall two or three times with all of the students who abuse prescription drugs on campus.”
The most commonly used prescription drug son Butler’s campus is Adderall, a medicine meant to treat Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Arthur said. Other drugs found on campus include painkillers such as Vicodin and sedatives such as Valium.
Through this Friday, Generation Rx is celebrating Drug Facts Week, a national awareness week sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This is the first time Generation Rx has done programming for Drug Facts Week.
“We’ve seen what success weeks like Fat Talk Free Week have had on Butler’s campus with different programming, so we wanted to try for ourselves,” Arthur said.
Last school year Generation Rx hosted a “take-back day,” where students could bring unwanted prescription drugs to Butler University Police Department where they would be disposed properly.
In September 2012 during the week before the take-back day, BUPD Assistant Police Chief Andy Ryan said he wanted to create two drop-off stations on Butler’s campus for the proper disposal of prescription drugs. At this time, no station has been created.
Butler P3 pharmacy student Rachel Barenie has been a member of Generation Rx since the group’s creation in the fall of 2012. She said this cause relates closely to her studies and future career.
“After attending a substance abuse conference at the University of Utah, I realized that drug dependencies really do affect a group of students on Butler’s campus,” Barenie said.
Arthur, also a pharmacy major, said the majority of Generation Rx consists of students in the pharmacy, physician’s assistant or health sciences fields.
The last day of Drug Facts Week is geared toward health professionals with a speaker from the Pharmacist Recovery Network. The talk will take place at 7 p.m. in PB150.
Tomorrow’s event, a showing of the documentary “Out of Reach,” is not geared just toward health professionals specifically and will take place in PB150 at 7 p.m. The teen-made documentary shows interviews of high school students regarding prescription drug abuse and the filmmaker’s own personal connection to drug abuse.
For more information about Generation Rx or Drug Facts Week, follow @BU_GenRx on Twitter or like ButlerUGenerationRx on Facebook.
Barenie said the group is always accepting new members.
“We’re open to anyone in any program who has a passion for spreading awareness about prescription drug abuse,” she said.