Welcome to RX for ADDICTION and MEDICATION SAFETY (RAMS-PEER)! RAMS-PEER was founded by faculty at the University of Rhode Island. CVS developed an opioid misuse prevention program for high school students. RAMS-PEER augmented the CVS training with URI student pharmacist-provided, multi-modal interactions and interventions. The mission of RAMS-PEER is to make a difference through education and awareness of the opioid epidemic among high school students in Rhode Island. RAMS-PEER includes interventions and trainings delivered by URI College of Pharmacy Students as well as online resources.
In 2015 alone there were 52,404 lethal drug overdoses with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers. Women are disproportionately afflicted by prescription drug abuse and there is a growing concern of adolescents using non=prescribed opioid medications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that prescription drug misuse has reached an epidemic level. In 2015, fatal opioid overdoses in the United States surpassed 33,000 in 2015, a 15-percent increase from the previous year and the highest amount since the 1970s. Oxycodone and hydrocodone continue to be the most commonly prescribed opioids and this class of drugs is responsible for nearly as many overdose deaths as illicit opioids. Closer to home, Rhode Island ranks 5th in the nation drug overdose deaths (28.2 per 100,000). Nonmedical use of opioids in the past month was reported in 467,000 adolescents, where past year use was 4.7% and lifetime time use was 7.3%, respectively for US adolescents in 2015. Among adolescents who report nonmedical use of opioids, 53% report they got the drug from a friend or relative for free.
Many individuals in your local community may be struggling with addiction themselves or know someone who is faced with addiction. Addiction can impact any of us during any stage of life and therefore it is our responsibility to protect our communities and support individuals in our communities towards health and well-being. This is our passion. Our passion is to help through education among high school students.
In our second year, we are evaluating a modification of intervention training to improve sustainability through a Pilot Study. Adolescents are at increased risk for nonmedical use of opioids and overdose death, which, in turn, increase risk for initiation of heroin. In this first year of this pilot project, URI pharmacy and nursing students delivered one of the nation’s first evidence-based opioid misuse prevention curricular program to ninth-grade high school students. In the second year of this project, URI students will deliver an intervention booster to the current tenth graders reinforcing topics based on year 1 assessment. These tenth graders, in turn, can influence and educate their peer ninth graders. If effective, educating one set of peer educators alleviates the burden on the school system to educate all students every year. This study will examine the disseminated or spillover effects of the year 1 intervention and booster combined among current 10th graders on ninth grade students’ substance misuse.
Leading the team are Drs. Jeffery Bratberg, Kelly Matson, and Ashley Buchanan. The team includes talented graduate and PharmD students in the College of Pharmacy. Through this website, you will find useful information for high school students, their teachers and parents/caregivers. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. You can reach us by filling out the form on the contact page.
Rx for Addiction and Medication Safety (RAMS-PEER): Evaluation of Teen Peer Education on Opioid Misuse is supported by the CVS Health / URI College of Pharmacy Healthcare Research Operating Fund.