The PEAKS program (Prescription Education for Appalachian Kentucky Students) was created by the NE KY AHEC to address the opioid epidemic in Northeastern Kentucky through a 3-part presentation series utilizing peer to peer connections. PEAKS is designed to educate teenagers and young adults on the subjects of proper use and disposal of prescription medication (Generation Rx), the role a pharmacist plays in addressing the opioid epidemic, and how legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol can lead to prescription misuse in the future.

PEAKS will focus on seven counties within the NE KY AHEC’s service region: Boyd, Clark, Fleming, Greenup, Lawrence, Powell, and Rowan. These counties were chosen because they rank near the top among northeastern Kentucky counties (and in most cases exceeded the state rate) for multiple drug-related measures, including: number of drug overdose deaths, drug overdose mortality rate, and drug arrests per 100,000 population, all during the years 2013-’15.

“The opioid crisis is widespread, but perhaps no state has been hit harder than Kentucky,” said David A. Gross, director of the NE KY AHEC. “This project will be crucial for local students, as research indicates people are most likely to begin abusing drugs during adolescence and young adulthood. We look forward to helping prevent future prescription drug misuse even while efforts are underway to battle the current opioid epidemic.”  

PEAKS not only creates learning experiences for high school students, it also seeks to provide undergraduate and residency students with the opportunity to be leaders among their peers by applying to be PEAKS Presenters. PEAKS Presenters will play a pivotal role in educating high school students by presenting “Generation Rx” material on prescription drug misuse to the young students they come in contact with. Presenters will be tasked with giving the 1st Presentation of a 3-part series with Donald Damron, Health Careers Coordinator, and Ashley Gibson, Research Coordinator, giving presentations on Pharmacy and Tobacco Usage on later dates.

To apply to be a PEAKS presenter, please fill out the application by clicking here.