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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."

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Pre-K and Kindergarten

Don’t Keep Rex Around™ Medication Safety Program


About Rex™

Co-created by our president, Dr. Susan Bissett
and Joe Murphy, CEO of Murphy Media in 2017,
the Don’t Keep Rx 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
and their families throughout West Virginia. 

Using an animated character developed by Murphy Media, Rex™ the Rx, WV DII staff visit elementary classrooms across the state to talk to children about medication safety. 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 curricular materials and allotment of medication disposal systems.


To date over 4,000 pre-k students in six counties have been educated through the Don’t Keep Rx Around™ Medication Safety School-Based Program. Due to COVID-19, WV DII worked with Murphy Media to re-engineer the program to a virtual platform reaching over 40,000 households in 13 of West Virginia’s 55 counties in Spring 2020. We are planning to continue both school-based and online engagement in the coming academic year.

“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)

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