Horizon Leads Opioid Awareness and Prevention Program Focused on Youth

When the goal is to help young people in the Garden State better understand and avoid drug abuse, everyone has some learning to do. For teens, there’s the need to understand just how quickly a legally prescribed pill can take over your brain and body; for adults, its helpful to know what kids are calling such drugs, and their effect — percs, xans, drex, lit, leans (translation: Percocet, Xanax, cough syrup, high, very high).

Those were just some of the lessons that emerged from a recent opioid-awareness workshop led by pharmacy experts at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, New Jersey’s largest insurance network. It has teamed up with Rutgers Pharmacy School on a campaign designed to reduce growing drug use among young people.

The outreach, which dates back to April 2017, has involved middle and high schools, churches, and community groups across the state, from Camden to Montclair, and has touched nearly 2,000 students in the process. Last week, half a dozen youth leaders from The Hubb, a community empowerment center in Newark, visited Horizon’s corporate headquarters in their home city to learn how they can help spread this message in their own work with at-risk peers.

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