Pharmacy Students Lead Medication Safety Program for High School Students

Emily Keeler
Nira Kadakia and Joe Cusimano at the P12 Initiative Presentation

Students from The Ohio State University colleges of Pharmacy and Education and Human Ecology created and conducted a medication safety/peer-to-peer empowerment program with students at Hamilton Township High School in Columbus.

The three-person team of Nira Kadakia, Joe Cusimano and Eun Jeong Park created a series of modules that focus on peer pressure, self-confidence, medication safety and storage and how drugs interact with the brain.

"We chose to educate students on medication safety because prescription medication abuse and misuse is a prevalent public health issue that endangers the lives of American teens across the country," said Kadakia. "Through knowledge and skill building we are giving them the tools needed to help prevent this deadly epidemic."  

In addition to delivering the content, the students conducted pre- and post-activity surveys to measure the impact of their efforts and help lead the way for future programming.

“Although our efforts have made progress, there is still much work to be done,” said Cusimano. “Our toolkits were composed with sustainability in mind, designed to allow others to replicate and improve upon our hard work. Continued community engagement and relationship building is central to chipping away at this problem.”

The program was funded through the A Little Goes A Long Way Student Mini-Grant from the P12 Initiative, a university-wide partnership connecting Ohio State administrators, faculty, students and staff with Ohio schools and organizations that promote collaboration and serve underserved school-aged children and their families.