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Flu incidence spreading north and east of Texas, Walgreens reports

BY Michael Johnsen

It’s halfway through March and flu incidence is still going strong, especially across Nebraska and Texas, Walgreens reported Wednesday as part of its weekly Walgreens Flu Index.

However, Texas finally may be getting a reprieve. Only one Texas market is in this week’s top 10, which captures flu activity for the week ended March 17, and there are at least 10 states experiencing more flu incidence than the Lone Star State.

South Dakota, Idaho and Virginia were the three top states experiencing flu incidence gains for the week.

The top 10 designated market areas with flu activity for the week ended March 17 were:

  1. Lincoln & Hastings-Kearney, Neb.;
  2. Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas;
  3. Omaha, Neb.;
  4. Greenville-New Bern-Washington, N.C.;
  5. Colorado Springs-Pueblo, Colo.;
  6. Oklahoma City;
  7. Des Moines-Ames, Iowa;
  8. Lansing, Mich.;
  9. Columbia-Jefferson City, Mo.; and
  10. Rockford, Ill.

Top 10 DMAs ranked by flu activity gains were:

  1. Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, Wash.;
  2. Greenville-New Bern-Washington, N.C.;
  3. Gainesville, Fla.;
  4. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va.;
  5. Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Mich.;
  6. Toledo, Ohio;
  7. Dayton, Ohio;
  8. Cleveland-Akron (Canton), Ohio;
  9. Charleston, S.C.; and
  10. Richmond-Petersburg, Va.

The Walgreens Flu Index is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranks those states and markets experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country. The Flu Index provides insight by showing which cities or metropolitan areas are experiencing the most incidences of influenza each week based on Index methodology. The data does not measure actual levels or severity of flu activity.

The Walgreens Flu Index is compiled using weekly retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide, including Walgreens locations in Puerto Rico. The data is analyzed at state and geographic market levels to measure absolute impact and incremental change of antiviral medications on a per store average basis, and does not include markets in which Walgreens has fewer than 10 retail locations.

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Rite Aid Foundation, Penguins address adolescent drug abuse

BY Michael Johnsen

In an effort to help address adolescent drug abuse and misuse in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Rite Aid Foundation, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Thursday teamed up to bring the Prescription Drug Safety program, a digital course about prescription drug abuse prevention, to Pittsburgh-area high schools.

“Prescription drug abuse and misuse is a growing issue that poses a serious threat to the health, safety and well-being of our nation’s young people,” Kermit Crawford, president and COO Rite Aid and president of the Rite Aid Foundation, said. “The Rite Aid Foundation is proud to help introduce this important prevention education initiative to high school students so they can gain awareness and have the knowledge they need to stay safe and prevent abuse before it occurs.”

The program, developed by Everfi, will be made available to high schools in the greater Pittsburgh area at no cost.

In addition to the activation in Pittsburgh-area high schools, as part of its commitment to creating safe and healthy environments for children and teens, this year, The Rite Aid Foundation, through its KidCents program, will also fund the introduction of the Prescription Drug Safety program to high schools in the Harrisburg/York/Lancaster/Lebanon and Wilkes Barre/Scranton markets in Pennsylvania as well as several communities in Ohio, Washington and Oregon.

In all, The Rite Aid Foundation is making a three-year, $1.125 million commitment to the Prescription Drug Safety program.

“The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation is committed to ensuring our young people have vibrant and healthy futures,” Dave Soltesz, president, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, said. “Teaching students about prescription drug abuse and providing them with skills to prevent abuse before it occurs are critical components to advancing that mission.”

The Prescription Drug Safety program uses an evidence-based, public health approach to empower high school students with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and healthy decisions about prescription drugs. Through interactive scenarios and self-guided activities, students learn the facts about drugs, how to properly use and dispose of them, and how to step in when faced with a situation involving misuse. The course is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Education Standards and state academic standards. There is also a microsite with additional resources including parent guides and information on local safe medication disposal.

The digital prescription drug abuse prevention course is the flagship initiative of the Prescription Drug Safety Network, the nation’s first public-private initiative to combat prescription drug abuse by providing prevention education to schools. The Rite Aid Foundation, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Attorney General Shapiro are partners in the nationwide coalition, which is committed to empowering Americans with the skills to make safe and healthy decisions about prescription drug use for themselves, their families and their communities.

 

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CVS medication disposal kiosks
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CVS Health brings 2 opioid efforts to New Hampshire

BY DSN STAFF

CVS Health is stepping up it efforts to curb opioid abuse in New Hampshire. In addition to bringing medication disposal kiosks to two locations in the state, the company also is committing more than $60,000 in funding to three non-profits working to combat and address opioid abuse.

“Pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals in the community, where we have witnessed the impacts of the epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse,” CVS Health vie president of professional services Thomas Davis said. “Expanding our safe medication disposal efforts and funding community organizations in New Hampshire is an extension of our commitment to address and prevent opioid abuse in the communities we serve and fulfill our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”

The new kiosks are located at a location in Nashua and another in Keene, both of which are 24-hour pharmacies. These will supplement the 15 kiosks CVS Health donated to police departments in New Hampshire.

The funding will support three nonprofits — SOS Recovery Community Organization, based in Somersworth; Hope on Haven Hill, based in Rochester; and Concord-based Concord Hospital Trust.

SOS Recovery Community Organization is receiving $20,000 to increase capacity of its peer recovery coaches and recruit and train new recovery coaches. Hope on Heaven Hill is receiving $10,000 to train staff and volunteers to help women who are new parents obtain recovery and learn coping skills. Concord Hospital Trust will put the $30,000 it’s receiving toward implementing Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment screenings through its primary care pratices. The grant also will enable professional development for staff members around addiction and mental illness.

CVS Health has now brought disposal kiosks to roughly 750 locations while also working to educate communities about the dangers of opioid abuse and misuse through its Pharmacists Teach Program. These efforts are in addition to others being undertaken through the company’s CVS Caremark pharmacy benefits manager.

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