Rex the Rx.
"In March 2018, a study published in the journal, Pediatrics indicated that the annual rate of hospitalizations for opioid poisonings in children doubled between 2004 and 2015,” explained Dr. Susan Bissett, WV DII President.
Additionally, we know that the average age of prescription or illicit drug (mis)use is between nine and twelve years old. This makes early education about medication safety so important—especially in West Virginia where we are ground zero for the nation’s opioid epidemic."
Pre-K and Kindergarten
Don’t Keep Rex Around™ Medication Safety Program
Co-created by our president, Dr. Susan Bissett
and Joe Murphy, CEO of Murphy Media in 2017,
the Don’t Keep Rex Around™ Medication Safety
Program is a curriculum and public health campaign
that utilizes evidence-based practices to teach
medication safety to pre-k and kindergarten students
throughout West Virginia.
Using a character developed by Murphy Media, Rex™ the Rx, student pharmacists, and prevention specialists talk to the children about medication safety using an educational coloring book designed to demonstrate three easy curriculum objectives: Cap Him, Know Him, and Throw Him. Rex™ is a live-action, real-time generated avatar (a pill bottle) operated by face recognition in a live streaming platform. This innovative approach to educating students about the dangers of misusing prescription medications provides opportunities for both in classroom and distance education and is based on WV Pre-K Education Standards. In addition to the presentation and interactive media, the WV DII provides each school with an allotment of medication disposal systems. A letter is sent home to parents informing them of this resource.
To date over 2,000 pre-k students in Kanawha and Putnam counties have been educated through the Don’t Keep Rex Around™ Medication Safety Program. In 2020, an additional five counties will be reached. And, the WV DII plans to expand the program to all 55 WV counties by 2022.
“It’s never too early to explain to children that certain substances are dangerous and not to be touched.” -The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, April 2018
According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse in April 2018:
93% annual rate increase in unintentional exposures among children 5 and younger between 2000 and 2009
Between 2013 and 2015, exposures to the opioids: fentanyl, oxycodone and buprenorphine increased among children 5 and younger
To date, opioids are the highest proportion of ED visits involving prescription drugs and children
9 of 10 unintentional childhood poisonings occur at home
Poison control centers receive 32 calls a day for children exposed to opioids (60% involved children under 5 years of age)
The WV DII, in collaboration with the University of Charleston, has partnered with both Kanawha and Putnam County Schools to implement and deliver a prescription abuse prevention initiative using Generation Rx. First and second-year pharmacy students are trained by peer-leaders and faculty to deliver Generation Rx Programming to third graders at over 40 elementary schools in Kanawha and Putnam County each year. This training is embedded in UCSOP’s first-and-second year curriculum and supported by the school’s chapters of the Association of Student Pharmacists-APhA. Over 1,600 third graders are educated each year on prescription and over-the-counter medication safety and proper asthma inhaler use.
About Generation Rx:
Generation Rx is an evidence-based program developed in collaboration with The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, the Cardinal Health Foundation, and the American Pharmacists Association. The program is designed to increase public awareness of prescription drug abuse and better equip children, youth, teens, and adults to address and actively prevent prescription drug misuse.