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Cardinal Health introduces opioid action programme to support drug abuse prevention & education in Appalachia

Dublin, Ohio
Saturday, November 18, 2017, 14:00 Hrs  [IST]

Cardinal Health has launched its new Opioid Action Programme, aimed at helping communities in four of the nation's hardest-hit states across Appalachia combat the opioid epidemic. The pilot programme will deliver much needed front-line tools to help prevent opioid abuse and support first responders in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The Opioid Action Programme has four elements, each cited by leading experts as critical to the fight to reduce opioid abuse and casualties.

Specifically, Cardinal Health will: Purchase approximately 80,000 doses of the overdose-reversing drug, Narcan (naloxone HCI) Nasal Spray 4mg, for distribution free-of-charge for first responders and law enforcement officials in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Significantly ramp up its existing support for successful drug 'take back' and education programs. This initiative continues the work done, for several years, through the Cardinal Health Foundation's partnership with The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, including take back events to occur in collaboration with local business and law enforcement in 13 communities across Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia where Cardinal Health has employees.

Invest $3 million to expand grants focused on youth prevention education, prescriber opioid awareness and reduction efforts and community responses to the epidemic in the four Appalachian states.

Partner with the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University to share medical school curricula that addresses opioid misuse and treatment through a collaboration with medical schools located in Appalachia and throughout the country.

Cardinal Health will evaluate the success and impact of this pilot program and seek opportunities to expand it into additional states and communities. The company will actively look to partner with others willing to support programs that prevent drug addiction. The four pilot states were selected based on a combination of factors, including need around this devastating issue, proximity to Cardinal Health's headquarters in Ohio and the company's existing operational presence that will provide opportunities for engagement from Cardinal Health employees.

George Barrett, chairman and chief executive officer of Cardinal Health, said, "Opioid addiction and abuse has harmed too many people in our home state of Ohio, across Appalachia and around the country. The men and woman of Cardinal Health are committed to being a part of the solution and we believe our Opioid Action Program will have a meaningful and positive impact. This program is intended to build on the important work we have done over the years to bring more resources to communities that need them, with a focus on known solutions that will help families and communities combat this epidemic. We look forward to partnering with other companies and organizations to leverage our commitment to help solve this complex public health crisis."

The Opioid Action Programme builds on Cardinal Health's decade-long efforts to combat abuse and addiction and is designed to provide scalable solutions that the company can share with other companies and organizations. Nearly a decade ago, the Cardinal Health Foundation partnered with The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy to create the Generation Rx educational program to raise awareness and knowledge about the dangers of prescription drug misuse. Since that time, the Cardinal Health Foundation has invested millions of dollars and reached over one million people through partnerships and grants with non-profits across the country. The Opioid Action Program represents an important next step in combatting this tragic epidemic.

Dr. Ken Hale, clinical professor, Pharmacy Practice and Science, The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, said: "We have worked with the Cardinal Health Foundation to develop and expand Generation Rx and its educational materials and programming for nearly ten years. I am proud of the work we have done together to reach and educate people of all ages about the hazards of prescription drug misuse. The Opioid Action Program is a major expansion of the existing Generation Rx program and will enable our educational materials to reach even more people in communities that are fighting the opioid epidemic."

Dr. Nick Hagemeier, associate professor at the Gatton College of Pharmacy, East Tennessee State University, and Research Director of ETSU's Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment, said: "Combining multiple evidence-based approaches, and using them simultaneously, can help turn the tide of the opioid epidemic. Cardinal Health's Opioid Action Program does just that – by expanding their work in prevention education and provider education, donating life-saving Narcan and increasing support for community drug take-back events."

Dr. Jeff Gray, associate professor at the Gatton College of Pharmacy, East Tennessee State University, Adjunct Professor, Department of Community & Behavioral Health, College of Public Health and co-principal investigator on a multi-year National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) grant focused on medication storage and disposal, said: "We're proud of the work we've done with the Cardinal Health Foundation in helping develop the Generation Rx drug disposal grant program. Cardinal Health's Opioid Action Program will build upon that effort, providing increased support for drug take back events that help remove unwanted or expired medications from the home while also giving communities the opportunity to educate consumers about the importance of proper disposal."


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