Choctaw Nation Health Service Authority wins 2017 Indian Health Service National Director’s Award

Photo provided by Choctaw Nation. Nurse Practioner Dwala Gibson and Pharmacist Nik Stajduhar speaking with students at Silo Public Schools about medication safety.

Choctaw Nation
Katy Pickens

In response to the prescription drug abuse topic that has been sweeping the nation, the pharmacy staff at Choctaw Nation developed an award-winning program to battle this epidemic.

The Medication Safety Committee of the Choctaw Nation Health Services received the 2017 Indian Health Service National Director’s Award in Rockville, Maryland for their Medication Safety Program.

Prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem. In 2016, data from the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that Oklahoma now leads the nation in abuse of prescription painkillers.

“The long-term success concerning substances abuse in Oklahoma will be directly correlated to how well we deter our young people away from illicit drug use,” said Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Director Darrell Weaver.

The committee’s mission was to reach both younger and older generations. The retirement age population is often taking care of younger generations or contacting recovery services and treatment areas for family members.

The Medication Safety Program targeted one school and one community center within each of the Choctaw service area. The program hosted a total of 22 events with 876 students and over 1,000 adults attending one of the events.

“Being that the Medication safety program was pushed throughout the very rural areas of southeast Oklahoma, we reached children and adults with information they may have never seen before. I see this as a very strong and positive move toward combatting the long-term challenges of abuse and misuse of prescription medications,” said Global Pharmacy Manager Ross Green.

Presentations highlighted specifics about prescription medications such as the importance of taking exactly as prescribed, not sharing medications with others, proper storage of these medications and potential hazards with taking too much or too little.

Those attending were also given valuable information such as local drug takeback locations, proper disposal of medications, poison control information for both the children and their parents, as well as career information about the practice of pharmacy and the commissioned corps.

Idabel Chief Pharmacist Kristen Scoggin mentioned that the schools that were presented to were appreciative of the program and are wanting to make it a yearly program for students.

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