Colorado State University Receives Grant for Peer-to-Peer Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

The Colorado State University Health Network has received a $1,000 grant to reach students through a peer-to-peer program to prevent prescription drug abuse. The grant, given by the John Hunter-Hauck Foundation, will be driven by a CSU student peer-education group about health issues.

The John Hunter-Hauck Foundation was established in memory of its namesake to bring awareness to the epidemic of prescription drug abuse among youth and young adults.

“Our son, John Hunter-Hauck, was a 20-year-old sophomore at Colorado State University in May 2010 when he accidentally died from an overdose of oxycontin, and he also had been drinking alcohol. He went to sleep and never woke up,” said Margie Hauck, John’s mother, who founded the foundation along with her husband Alex and daughter Brittany. “John had everything going for him. He was a lover of life and he was loved beyond description.”

The grant is one of five made to create peer-to-peer communications among students in Colorado. CSU’s grant will be driven by student members of CREWS – Creating Respect Educating Wellness for and by Students — under the leadership of the CSU Health Network. The student members are nationally certified peer educators. With this funding, students will create a health message to increase awareness of prescription drug abuse at CSU and promote campus resources and risk-reducing choices with the assistance of focus groups.

About 13 percent of Colorado State University students reported in a recent survey that they use prescription drugs not prescribed to them, including antidepressants, pain killers, sedatives and stimulants. The national average is 13.1 percent, while CSU was slightly higher at 13.3 percent.

“Colorado State University’s CREWS team members are very excited to be a part of this current initiative regarding the prevention of prescription drug abuse,” said Gwen Sieving, faculty advisor for CREWS. “These types of initiatives are the exact reason our peer educators commit to many hours of learning, training and teaching. It is our hope that we truly can help make a difference on our campus through this grant project.”

The grant was received in 2012 and the peer-to-peer program is being developed now.