University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy Receives FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award
The University of New Mexico (UNM) College of Pharmacy has received the 2015 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for its educational and outreach programs to prevent drug abuse.
Derek Fuller, assistant special agent in charge of the Albuquerque FBI Division, announced the award at UNM’s Domenici Center for Health Sciences Education in Albuquerque on April 11, 2016.
Each of the FBI’s 56 field offices annually selects an individual or organization to receive this award, which recognizes contributions toward crime and violence prevention, education, and awareness programs and efforts to enhance cooperation between law enforcement and all citizens.
Nicole Perea, a third-year College of Pharmacy student and chair of the school’s Generation Rx program, has been invited to represent the college at a ceremony on April 15, 2016, in Washington, D.C., where FBI Director James B. Comey will present all the recipients with engraved crystal awards.
“The College of Pharmacy is extremely honored to receive the 2015 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for its Generation Rx Program aimed at educating individuals regarding the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse,” said Lynda Welage, Pharm.D., Dean of the UNM College of Pharmacy. “The UNM College of Pharmacy, including the Generation Rx program, is committed to continuing its partnership with others throughout the state to combat the epidemic we face regarding prescription drug abuse.”
In 2007, the UNM College of Pharmacy began responding to the disturbing trend of prescription drug overdoses through a student-led education and prevention program that came to be called Generation Rx.
This initiative, which started as a grassroots effort by one faculty member and a handful of pharmacy students, has grown to reach thousands of New Mexicans.
Besides offering interactive, scenario-based presentations to capacity crowds in most of New Mexico’s counties, the program also has launched successful billboard and social media campaigns; collaborated with federal, state, and local agencies; and helped organize drug take-back events and an annual wellness day that has reached more than 19,000 people.
Through these outreach efforts, the pharmacy students, many of whom grew up in New Mexico, have made important hometown connections that ensure the program is embraced by teachers, coaches, school administrators, and counselors.
The College of Pharmacy, through the UNM Health Sciences Center, is participating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other agencies in an initiative called New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education, or HOPE. The goal is to reduce the number of opioid-related deaths in the state.
“New Mexico has one of the highest overdose death rates in the country,” said Terry Wade, special agent in charge of the Albuquerque FBI Division. “I am proud to present the Director’s Community Leadership Award to these talented students and their mentors at the UNM College of Pharmacy, who have made a positive impact in the fight against this crisis that affects Americans in every state and from every background and walk of life.”