Program teaches students about the dangers of opioid misuse and abuse | Blue Cross Blue Shield

Program teaches students about the dangers of opioid misuse and abuse

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- In its ongoing effort to combat the opioid crisis, Capital BlueCross has partnered with CVS Health to bring the Pharmacists Teach® program to schools in its 21-county service area. The unique program brings CVS pharmacists into schools to provide teens with important information about prescription drug abuse. 

Teens are particularly at risk due to peer pressure, ease of access, and a general lack of knowledge about the risks of prescription drug abuse. The Pharmacist Teach® program focuses on education about opioid dangers. 

The "One Choice Changes Everything" presentation incudes powerful stories of young people whose lives were forever changed by misuse or abuse of prescription painkillers.

"Opioid abuse is an epidemic, and we must do everything we can to prevent it from taking even more lives. Reaching teens with the important message that opioid abuse and misuse can be deadly is critical," said Dr. Jennifer Chambers, Capital BlueCross, chief medical officer. "We are proud to partner with CVS Health to bring the Pharmacists Teach® program to area middle and high schools, and hope it can help us start to reverse this terrible trend."

The Pharmacists Teach program is offered free of charge to students in grades 7-12 and groups of parents/adults in the communities where CVS pharmacists live and work.

"CVS Health is dedicated to addressing and preventing opioid abuse in the communities we serve," said Tom Davis, Vice President of Professional Services for CVS Health.  "We are proud to have delivered our Pharmacists Teach® program to nearly 350,000 students and parents across the country and we are pleased to partner with Capital BlueCross to grow the reach of this program in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley." 

Opioid addiction is a public health crisis. In the United States, nearly 50,000 people a year are dying from opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This includes prescription opioids and heroin. In fact, nearly 80-percent of first time heroin users previously abused prescription opioids. 

In bringing Pharmacists Teach® to middle and high schools, Capital BlueCross continues its leadership in the fight against opioids. The company was the first Pennsylvania-based insurer to contribute funding to provide police officers with naloxone, the life-saving medication that can revive a person who is suffering a potentially fatal overdose. Nearly $200,000 has been provided to law enforcement officers in its 21-county service area.

Capital BlueCross also took the proactive step to enact quantity limits on opioid prescriptions for its members. Since July 2017, Capital BlueCross only allows coverage for a one-week supply (7-days) on all short acting opioids such as hydrocodone, acetaminophen and oxycodone IR. Prior authorization and quantity limits are also in place for long acting opioids. 

Schools or community organizations interested in having Pharmacists Teach® visit can contact PharmacistsTeach@cvshealth.com. 

About Capital BlueCross
Capital BlueCross, headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., is the leading health solutions and insurance company in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. A partner in the community's health for 80 years, Capital BlueCross offers health insurance products, services and technology solutions that provide peace of mind to consumers and promote health and wellness for our customers. 

More than a health insurer, the company delivers innovative solutions through a family of diversified businesses that is creating a healthier future and lowering health care costs. Among these solutions are patient-focused care models, leading-edge data analytics, and digital health technologies. Additionally, Capital BlueCross is growing a network of Capital Blue stores that provide in-person service and inspiration to help people reach their health goals. Capital BlueCross is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit capbluecross.com.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Indexsm. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit BCBS.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 36 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.