UPH Government & External Affairs

UnityPoint Health Announces Year One Results of Prescription Drug Safety Education Program

by | Aug 6, 2019

Des Moines, Iowa (Aug. 6, 2019) — Teenagers
in 48 schools across Iowa and Illinois are now more prepared to stand up
against prescription drug abuse. Last year, over 2,000 students participated in
a program designed to help them recognize the signs of prescription drug misuse
and understand how their actions can positively impact their communities. UnityPoint
, which sponsors the Prescription Drug Safety Network program, announced
promising year one results from participating schools throughout Cedar Rapids, Central
Iowa, Fort Dodge, Quad Cities and Sioux City.


The program,
provided by UnityPoint Health at no cost to students or schools, is designed to
combat the opioid and prescription drug abuse crisis by bringing education best
practices and digital technology to schools nationwide. Since launching
in 2018
, more than 2,000 students in 48 middle and high schools across Iowa
and Illinois have taken the Prescription Drug Safety Program.


completing the UnityPoint Health program:

  • 71% said they could help a friend struggling with prescription drugs

  • 77% more students said it was
    their responsibility to prevent prescription drug misuse at their school

  • 55% more students said they could identify the signs of prescription drug misuse and abuse


“I feel much
smarter about determining and identifying the signs of prescription drug
abuse,” said one Walnut Creek Campus high school (Des Moines, Iowa) student. “I
can tell if one of my friends is using and I now know how to get them help.”


student from Galva Junior-Senior High School (Galva, Illinois) reflected,
“whether something happens to me and I have to take pills or someone I know has
to take them, I now know how to handle all situations and be safe with them.”


Overall, the
program, developed by education technology innovator EVERFI, Inc., has
helped students feel more empowered to act when they encounter a situation
involving prescription medication and better recognize their role in creating a
safe community at school and beyond.


excited to see such promising results from the first year of the program,” said
Kevin Vermeer, president and chief executive officer of UnityPoint Health. “Prevention
education is an important way to help combat opioid addiction in our
communities. We look forward to reaching even more students and schools in year


As the first
health system in the country to join the Prescription Drug Safety Network,
UnityPoint Health is committed to helping resolve prescription drug misuse and
abuse with the goal of improving the health of their 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.


As the
program moves into its second year, UnityPoint Health is committed to bringing
the program to more students, with a goal of reaching at least 63 schools in
the 2019-2020 academic year. To learn more about the program, please visit www.unitypoint.org/drugsafety or contact Ashley Thompson
515-537-6089 or Ashley.Thompson@unitypoint.org.