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Attorney General Hunter Partners with Walmart, EVERFI to Launch Prescription Drug Safety Program

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

Attorney General Mike Hunter today joined executives from Walmart, EVERFI, students and administrators from Capitol Hill High School and the superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools to launch an interactive prescription drug safety course designed for high school students.

The program, Prescription Drug Safety, is an innovative digital course that provides high school students with the knowledge and tools to make healthy, informed decisions related to prescription medications. Through interactive scenarios and self-guided activities, students learn the facts about drugs, how to properly use and dispose of them and how to intervene when faced with a situation involving misuse.

Created by international leading social-impact technology innovator EVERFI, the program is being made initially available to 26 counties across the state at no cost through support from Walmart. The Attorney General’s Office aims to support expansion of the prevention program to all 77 counties in the coming years.

Conversations about Walmart sponsoring the software in Oklahoma started after Attorney General Hunter participated in Walmart’s 2019 Conference on American Life that was hosted in Bentonville, Ark. The conference brought together thought leaders from business, media and government to discuss challenges facing American families and potential policy solutions.

The attorney general participated in a panel on the state’s response to the opioid epidemic.

“Prevention education for Oklahoma’s youth surrounding the dangers and addictive qualities of prescription drugs is vital to overcoming our current opioid crisis,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Thanks to this interactive, evidence-based course, students across the state will learn about the dangers, proper use, and safe disposal of prescription drugs. I appreciate Walmart for their dedication to solving the crisis by providing the funds to make this course available. Thanks also to EVERFI for continuing to develop state-of-the-art technology that is making the world smarter and safer.”

The evidence based program includes six learning modules that cover topics such as the principles of addiction, and the medical uses and potential dangers of using different types of drugs, including opioids, stimulants and depressants without a prescription.

“Walmart is incredibly proud to partner with Attorney General Hunter, the Prescription Drug Network and EVERFI to bring this powerful tool for prescription drug abuse prevention to 26 counties in Oklahoma,” said Market Health and Wellness Director for Walmart Robyn Janaway. “We believe equipping young people with the knowledge to make good choices is a fundamental part of building resilient, healthy communities in Oklahoma and across the country.”

Today’s announcement marks another positive step in Walmart’s efforts to partner with Attorney General Hunter to combat the state’s opioid epidemic, through its Opioid Stewardship Initiative. Other efforts included the announcement that the company would begin providing the safe disposal tool, DisposeRx, to all of its pharmacies statewide, free of charge to customers. Walmart officials have also presented in front of the attorney general’s Commission on Opioid Abuse about the company’s ongoing efforts to stem the opioid epidemic nationwide.

"Today’s event and this outstanding program are yet another example of the power of partnerships,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sean McDaniel. “We are so grateful to our friends at Walmart and EVERFI and to Attorney General Hunter for shining a light on this important issue and for helping the students at Capitol Hill High School make healthy, informed decisions when it comes to prescription medications. As a father and educator, I believe deeply in the power of prevention education, and OKCPS is committed to working alongside our partners to help create safe and healthy communities.”

While Prescription Drug Safety is new to Oklahoma schools, the program has reached over 425,000 students nationwide since 2017. The course uses an evidence-based, universal, public health approach to learning along with interactive, true-to-life scenarios that reinforce key learning objectives. Students explore the thoughts of their peers and debunk common myths. They also step into the shoes of a student engaging in misuse and get to see the real results of their choices.

Statistics on Oklahoma’s Opioid Epidemic

Oklahoma leads the nation in non-medical use of painkillers, with nearly 5% of the population ages 12 and older abusing or misusing painkillers;

Drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma increased eight-fold from 1999 to 2012, surpassing car crash deaths in 2009;

In 2018, out of the more than 3,000 Oklahomans admitted to the hospital for a non-fatal overdose, 80% involved a prescription opioid medication. Additionally, nearly 50% of Oklahomans who died from a drug overdose in 2018 were attributed to a pharmaceutical drug; and

In 2014, Oklahoma’s unintentional poisoning rate was 107% higher than the national rate.