Today at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, UnityPoint Health announced its sponsorship of a national education program for high school students about the dangers of prescription drug misuse aimed at combating the national opioid epidemic.
UnityPoint Health is the first health system in the U.S. to join the Prescription Drug Safety Network, a nationwide coalition committed to empowering Americans with skills to make safe and healthy decisions about prescription drug use for themselves, their families and their communities.
“One hundred and fifteen people die each day from opioid overdose, and it’s estimated that 21 million people in the United States have a substance abuse disorder. If we are going to identify a long-term solution to end this epidemic, we must work together,” said David Stark, president and chief executive officer of UnityPoint Health – Des Moines. “UnityPoint Health is proud to be the first health system in the country to join the Prescription Drug Safety Network, and we are pleased to partner with Des Moines Public Schools to launch this important program in Iowa.”
The launch – which coincides with Red Ribbon Week, a national observance to promote drug prevention – introduces a new prescription drug safety course developed by EVERFI, the nation’s leading education technology innovator, used in 1 in 7 schools across the country. UnityPoint Health is providing the digital curriculum to high schools in communities it serves across the state at no cost to participating schools. During the first year of its three-year sponsorship, UnityPoint Health will offer the program to area high schools in Central Iowa, Sioux City, Fort Dodge, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities, with plans to expand to more communities over the next two years.
“Prescription drug abuse has dealt a devastating blow to communities across the country, yet there are few initiatives aimed at positively preventing the abuse before it occurs,” said EVERFI chief executive officer Tom Davidson. “Through the Prescription Drug Safety Network, we are bringing together state officials, policy leaders, industry leaders, educators and community organizations committed to combating abuse by investing in prevention education. Everyone needs to be at the table to help solve this crisis.”
As the state’s largest health system, UnityPoint Health is committed to helping resolve prescription drug misuse and abuse with the goal of improving the health of Iowa communities. Focus areas have included educating its physicians and clinical staff on safe prescribing practices, improving access to addiction treatment, and working with lawmakers on legislation that supports prescription monitoring.
Now, through its involvement with the Prescription Drug Safety Network, UnityPoint Health is using prevention education as another important solution to help combat opioid addiction in Iowa.
“By investing in this program for Iowa’s high school students, we are reinforcing our mission of improving the health of the people and communities we serve,” added Stark. “Reaching Iowa’s youth is an important next step toward ending drug misuse and abuse and creating a healthier state for all Iowans.” To learn more about the program, visit UnityPoint.org/DrugSafety.
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About UnityPoint Health
UnityPoint Health is the nation’s 13th largest nonprofit health system and the fourth largest nondenominational health system in America, providing care throughout Iowa, western Illinois and southern Wisconsin. As an industry leader in the Midwest, we put people first — they're what we care about most, and why we do what we do. Our 30,000 team members are committed to giving each person the type of experience we'd want for our own loved ones. We believe everyday moments are worth celebrating, and as your partner in health care, we're dedicated to making it easier to live well. UnityPoint Health, UnityPoint Clinic® and UnityPoint at HomeSM provide easier, more personal care to patients and families. Because people are amazing, and we're here to help keep them that way.
UnityPoint Health Media Contact
EVERFI, Inc. is the leading education technology company that providers leaners of all ages education for the real world, through innovative and scalable digital learning. Founded in 2008, EVERFI has certified over 16 million leaners in critical skill areas with more than 4,300 partners in all 50 U.S. States and Canada. EVERFI is an industry convener that builds Networks to tackle the toughest social issues, including the Campus Prevention Network, a coalition of higher education institutions committed to campus sexual assault and alcohol abuse prevention; and the Financial Capability Network, coalition of industry leaders dedicated to improving financial outcomes for communities across the country. Some of America’s leading CEOs and venture capital firms are EVERFI investors including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Good Chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter founder Evan Williams, TPG Growth and The Rise Fund.
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Senior Director of Corporate Communications
(202) 625-0011, ext. 373