2022 Scholarship Winner: Prescription Drug Abuse Has Shaped Her Life, Her Ambitions
Authored by Ken Redmile
Below you will find the powerful biography and essay of the Recovery Centers of America (RCA) and Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA) Hope for Addiction Scholarship winner Sara S. As a scholarship winner, Sara will receive $1000 to be used to further her education.
I’m Sara S., a senior at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School in Bridgewater, Mass. Following my passion of raising awareness about public health and alternative medicine, I write articles for The PharmLife. I’m an active member of the Bridgewater Community Emergency Response Team and work as a pharmacy technician at Walgreens. Being self-taught in website design has enabled me to convey the importance of renovating the way healthcare professionals prioritize the health and well-being of our communities. My goal is to obtain a doctorate degree in pharmacy. I started working at age 14 and in college, I plan to intern at various pharmaceutical companies while I continue my career with Walgreens. My lifelong goal is to abolish the misuse of prescription drugs by being the best traditional compounding pharmacist in the world. College will be a major stepping stone in my journey to make a positive impact on society.
A Fight to Eradicate Prescription Drug Abuse
Pharmacies are proven to be the most attainable source of prescription drugs for
substance abusers. Individuals as young as 12 years of age report misusing prescription drugs after obtaining them from within their households or relatives.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), approximately 16.1 million Americans reported misusing prescription drugs in 2020. Furthermore, it has been noted that eighth-grade students are more likely to misuse adderall, Ritalin and amphetamines than high school students.
The recent upswing in overdose death rates is linked to the abuse of prescription painkillers. Per the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), more than 16,500 Americans died from the misuse of prescription painkillers in 2010 which exceeds the death rates caused by cocaine and heroin.
Numerous extended relatives on both sides of my family have abused substances
including prescription drugs and alcohol in addition to nicotine. Due to my family’s history, I became motivated to fight the battle of addiction directly. I am gaining insight and knowledge firsthand as a pharmacy technician. I can utilize this exposure to further my education, resulting in an effective contribution to the solution, opening a traditional compounding pharmacy. My experience as a pharmacy technician has enabled me to observe the ideology behind
duping the system to obtain additional and increased dosages. A patient’s primary physician may prescribe a stronger dose due to the severity of the patient’s symptoms and the ineffectiveness of the previous dose. Depending on the pharmacist, patients can get an emergency supply upon request prior to the fill date if they run out of medication. However, the real issue lies within the validity of their extenuating circumstances. Although most patients are truthful,
some may deceive their physician or pharmacist to attain more than they are
prescribed. Verbal verification is the only justification we enter before selling the increased dosage. As the country is becoming more technologically advanced it is simpler for hackers to target pharmacies since the industry is heavily reliant upon computer software that leaves digital footprints. Additional security measures can be taken to restrict access to these easily attainable drugs.
While most high school graduates want to become productive members
of society, I believe I can enhance my productivity by procuring a well-rounded education.
My goal is to abolish the misuse of prescription drugs by being the world’s best
traditional compounding pharmacist. I am studying to earn a doctorate degree in pharmacy through a six-year program. During summer breaks I will work internships at various pharmaceutical companies and distribution laboratories to learn more about the research and development of pharma products as well as the marketing strategies used to target the healthcare industry.
Additionally, I hope to gain experience in regulatory strategies and integrate those strategies into numerous development projects while proactively approaching the accountability of quality and results.
As a member of the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), I have the opportunity to participate in global health quests in Peru and Indonesia. For four weeks I will administer first-aid and basic medical testing while educating
individuals on hygiene to help less fortunate villages find access to accurate healthcare and information. Reaping the benefits of this work will allow me to assess the lack of education in foreign countries and advance my business to generate affordable pharmaceuticals and resources that contribute to the betterment of global health.
The final year of the pharmacy program consists of advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) rotations. Completing these rotations abroad will allow me to observe the effects of healthcare in less progressive countries. The knowledge gained from abroad rotations will assist me in defining a target market and developing a marketing strategy to highlight the weaknesses in foreign healthcare systems.
Supplementing my education is a crucial step towards bolstering the eradication of addiction. The entrepreneurial spirit I have discovered through a marketing class I took in high school has enabled me to establish a clear vision of a societal contribution that will explicitly transform addiction. I am utilizing the platform generated from my blog with PharmLife to introduce new way pharmacies can prioritize their patients’ health and well-being without addictive chemicals. I am taking an herbalist approach to drug development as my pharmacy processes plant-based pharmaceuticals.
Occasionally, I need to ask my patients for the name of the medication they are picking up. A vast majority demonstrates a lack of understanding in regards to the brain-altering chemicals they are consuming. My pharmacy has a 100% transparency policy to ensure that patients fully understand the product and how it benefits their health.
The mission statement of my pharmacy emphasizes the importance of prioritizing patients’ health through affordable and wholesome healthcare. Evidently, addiction is the most prominent issue society faces in this day and age. Brain modifying substances are abused more than any other substance. A solution can be found as individuals are held accountable for positively contributing to society, however, my education is the way I feel I can develop an attribute, gaining the knowledge and experience to create a business founded upon the core principle of valuing the overall well-being of the community it serves.