Banking & Finance, Education, and Health Care

Insurer brings Rx drug safety course to high schools

Farmers Insurance is partnering with EVERFI to bring online curriculum to Grand Rapids-area students.

November 8, 2019
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The misuse of prescription drugs is highest among people between the ages of 18 and 25, according to EVERFI. Courtesy iStock

Farmers Insurance announced last month a new local initiative in keeping with its “commitment to communities and education.”

The Woodland Hills, California-based insurer with a dozen-plus local offices is working with Washington, D.C.-based e-learning provider EVERFI, to help bring an interactive prescription drug safety course to area schools. 

Jennifer Edgerly, senior director of communications for EVERFI, said “all schools” in the greater Grand Rapids area — defined by EVERFI as Kent, Barry, Ottawa and Montcalm counties — will be given access to the online courses and supplemental training to support teachers who want to teach them in their classrooms.

The free course, developed by EVERFI, is called “Prescription Drug Safety” and is designed for students in grades nine through 12. It was created to arm high school students with the knowledge and tools they need to help make healthy, informed decisions when it comes to prescription medications.

According to the National Safety Council, opioid abuse is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. 

Earlier this year, Farmers Insurance CEO Jeff Dailey joined other CEOs in pledging to help end the opioid crisis.

“Farmers has a proud history of investing in education and supporting our communities,” Dailey said. “Empowering students to make healthy decisions through education is the first step to helping create a substance-free future for our youth.”

The course uses interactive scenarios and self-guided activities to help students learn the facts about prescription drugs, how to properly use and dispose of them, and how to step in when faced with a situation involving misuse.

It 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.

Tom Davidson, CEO of EVERFI, said the goal behind creating the course was to focus on proactive prevention of prescription drug abuse.

“As students grow older, their access to prescription drugs and opportunities for misuse or abuse grows,” he said. “With the misuse of prescription drugs being the highest among young people ages 18 to 25, reaching students early is now more important than ever.”

The course uses “an evidence-based, universal public health approach to learning” wherein realistic scenarios reinforce the learning objectives. An important component of the course is teaching students how to deal with situations involving misuse. Participating students will “explore the thoughts of their peers and debunk common myths,” according to EVERFI. They also will “step into the shoes of a student engaging in misuse” and get to see “the real results of their choices.”

Farmers Insurance provides automobile, home, small business and a wide range of other products to more than 5 million households.

Founded in 2008, the EVERFI technology company is dedicated to “driving social change through education” to address “the most challenging issues affecting society,” from financial wellness to prescription drug safety to workplace conduct. 

The courses it provides are powered by its software as a service (SaaS) community engagement platform, and they have reached more than 30 million learners globally. 

Its investors include Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Chair Eric Schmidt, Twitter founder Evan Williams, Advance Publications, Rethink Education and Rethink Impact.

Michigan’s opioid crisis

  • 863 babies exposed at birth in 2016

  • 1,616% increase in overdose deaths from 1999-2016, from 99 deaths to 1,699 deaths

  • 1,941 deaths from opioid overdoses in 2017

  • 1,295 deaths from synthetic narcotic overdoses, including fentanyl, in 2017

  • 699 deaths from heroin overdoses in 2017

Positive strides

  • 10.7% decrease in opioid prescriptions since 2015

  • 269% increase in physicians and pharmacists registered to use Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) to check patient history from 2017-18

  • 803% increase in times physicians/pharmacists check patient prescription history using MAPS since 2016

Source: michigan.gov/opioids

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