Reflections on President Obama’s Substance Abuse Forum: A Perspective From Two Student Pharmacists

Contributed by: Jeremy Arthur (Class of 2017) and Randal Steele (Class of 2016)

To view a video interview published by WOWKTV, please click here.


Randal Steele (Class of 2016), Jeremy Arthur (Class of 2017), and Dean Easton at the Substance Abuse Forum

The Community Forum with President Barack Obama held on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at Charleston’s East End Resource Center was an incredible, once in a lifetime experience for us. We believe the discussion will provide impetus for further action towards addressing the prescription opiate and heroin abuse epidemic occurring not only in West Virginia but throughout the United States. Sadly, as reported by the Charleston Gazette-Mail (10/17/15), West Virginia leads the nation in overdose deaths. In the U.S., overdose deaths involving prescription pain relievers rose more than 300 percent from 1999 through 2011, leading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to declare these deaths an epidemic. Deaths associated with heroin overdose have also increased significantly over the last three years.

While the discussion took place in WV, the forum presented a bipartisan recognition that this epidemic does not discriminate—both rural and urban communities deal with prescription drug and heroin abuse—no one is exempt. Specifically, President Obama indicated that substance abuse is not isolated to one community—it can impact anyone regardless of their socioeconomic background. The focus of the discussion was the President’s plan for prevention and recovery.

The President’s 2016 budget proposed critical investments to intensify efforts to reduce opioid misuse and abuse, including $133 million in new funding to support prevention and education activities. It also focuses on helping individuals sustain their recovery from opioid use disorders. For example, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is an important tool for the treatment of opioid use disorders, but is too often out of reach for vulnerable populations.  The President’s plan is to make these programs more accessible to those in recovery and those seeking recovery and treatment.

One facet of drug abuse discussed during Wednesday’s forum was the impact of the epidemic on America’s youth. The increase of prescription medication abuse in children and adolescents is likely due to the misconception that prescription medications are safer than illegal substances and therefore, less likely to cause abusive behaviors. Many individuals view prescription medications as “safer” simply because they are prescribed by healthcare professionals. Providing education to today’s youth is imperative in curbing the progression of the prescription medication abuse epidemic. Educating children from a very young age about the danger of prescription medication and illegal drug use is a key prevention strategy according to the President. He explained that children are “sponges” for knowledge.

Pharmacists can and should help with prevention and treatment strategies in a number of ways including education at the pharmacy counter. In fact, prevention through education is an area where student pharmacists and pharmacists can have a large impact. By promoting safe and effective medication use to children, we can dispel any myths that encourage experimentation that may lead to abuse in children and adolescents. Education specifically aimed at parents and adults should center on secure medication storage and proper disposal. Keeping medications out of the hands of children or adults who intend to misuse them is key in preventing diversion. Pharmacists and student pharmacists can aid in proper medication disposal by partnering with local law enforcement and other agencies that specialize in medication removal to ensure that unused/unwanted medications do not contribute to someone’s addiction.

While the pharmacist’s role in preventing this epidemic and assisting with patient recovery wasn’t acknowledged specifically at the community event, we know pharmacists are integral to discussion, education, prevention, treatment, and recovery. As we gain recognition as valued members of the healthcare team, our role will become more apparent, whether we are educating patients, coordinating care with physicians, or facilitating the sale of naloxone to help with opiate overdoses. With the awareness raised by the event, along with pharmacist’s expanding role, we hope to see rates of recovery finally outgrowing rates of substance abuse deaths and in turn, see healthier communities—both rural and urban.

Pharmacy School Reflections from Grant Henck (Class of 2019)

Henck_GrantWalking into orientation knowing that this is an amazing achievement that I have worked so hard for. So, obviously I was nervous when I first arrived for orientation, knowing that these initial impressions I make will affect my path here for the next four years.  However, the entire faculty I met was very open and kind, reassuring me every step of the way that I could have a great experience here.  And so far, they have been right.  I have had a great experience through pharmacy school so far, and I will break down my experience into academics, faculty relationships, peer evaluation, and extra-curricular activities.

The main purpose that I am here is to be trained to be an effective pharmacist, and an extremely important aspect in that training is the people around me.  This includes faculty, staff, residents, and especially my fellow students.  With all of these categories I am extremely pleased, the teachers do genuinely go out of their way to help.  For example, I have met with all of my professors outside of class with questions; all of them took the necessary time to answer all my questions. The students in my class are focused on the goal of becoming a pharmacist, and willing to help with any other student possible.  It did take a little time, but once we got to know each other we have become a family.

As far as the in class aspect, the material has been tough but fair.  I felt that every exam I have adequately prepared myself for I have done well on.  For me this is so important, because at the graduate level I was worried if I had what it took to succeed.  Now with the success I have had already has given the confidence that I can be successful in pharmacy school.

Outside of class I have been involved in flag football and Ultimate Frisbee which is awesome.  There was also a group dinner before the U.C. vs. Concord football game.  Unfortunately, I had a big test the next day and wasn’t able to attend, but I am excited that Im involved with a school that even with all going on we still have fun together, and have that much needed down time with each other to further solidify that bond as a family.

In conclusion, I am extremely happy with my experience at UCSOP so far, the people, classes, faculty, and even the extra-curricular activates have this experience great.  As I continue and eventually graduate, I hope that I feel this way about UCSOP in its entirety.

Pharmacy School Reflections: Hailey Price (Class of 2019)

Hailey Price, Class of 2019

Hailey Price, Class of 2019

Coming into my P1 year has been quite the experience. I was very anxious and nervous coming in, but now that has changed. I had heard from other student pharmacists about their experiences, but I just did not know what to expect for myself. I just finished up my fourth week of classes and I feel as if I have already learned so much in so little time. I definitely feel as if my time here at the school of pharmacy is going to be amazing!

My advice for those going into this profession is that studying is the key. People do not lie when they say you need to study everyday. You receive a pretty good amount of information from your professors’ daily, and if you do not study or review it everyday you can fall behind very quickly. Also, my advice is to get to know your classmates, because these people are going through the same experience with you. It is better to have a great support system and help each other through the way. Lastly, I would say to just enjoy your time here. Time flies by when you are having fun and learning.

Graduate school is so much more different from undergraduate than I expected. The pace is a hundred times faster and exams happen more frequently than I was used to. I’ve also learned how to adjust my study habits. I found that the way I studied in undergraduate does not work out for pharmacy school. Coming in, I did not really know the different fields of pharmacy. I had heard of a few, but I was amazed at how many different options pharmacists have other than just working retail or in a hospital.

My experience has been a great one so far. I’ve made so many new friends just in my short time being here. Not only have I begun building relationships with my fellow classmates, but also I have even been able to starting building friendships with the upperclassmen. I feel like I’ve known my professors forever, and I can’t wait to see what the next 4 years has in store for my time here at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy.

Join us at the AACP Virtual Fair . . .


The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) is hosting a Virtual Pharmacy School Fair on October 21st & 22nd

This is a free event intended for students who are interested in the professional field of Pharmacy, but are still deciding which schools to apply to. The Virtual Pharmacy School Fair is your private time to chat online with representatives from nearly 100 AACP member Pharmacy Schools around the nation, and have all of your important questions answered before even setting foot into a personal interview.

Join over 500 students who are getting a head start on their Pharmacy career! To register for this event, and to view a list of the live chat room schedule for all schools, click here. The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy will be there! Be sure to chat with us!

Students are encouraged to upload their resume before the event, but a resume is not required. All registered attendees will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 iTunes gift card.


American Pharmacists Month: John Stith Pemberton (1831-1888)


Special Note: During the Month of October, American Pharmacists Month, we will be highlighting historical and present pharmacy figures who have contributed significantly during the profession.

Contributed by: Marina Shahi, P3, Class of 2017

John Stith Pemberton was a skilled pharmacist and chemist who practiced medicine and surgery. Pemberton is well known for his invention of Coca-Cola, the number one choice of beverage to drink on a hot sunny day, according to NBC News. Pemberton was not only an inventor of an amazing drink but also a businessman. One of Pemberton’s accomplishments, a state-of the-art laboratory, still remains in operation more then 125 years later as a part of the Georgia Department of Agriculture as a soil and crop chemical testing facility (Pemberton & Martin, 2015).

Pemberton was born on January 8, 1831, in Knoxville, Georgia. He was very skilled and intelligent at an early, proven by the license he achieved at the age of nineteen in 1850 to practice Thompsonian medicine (also known as botanic principle). He obtained his degree from the Reform Medical College in Macon, GA, where he studied pharmacy and medicine.  And at the age of 22, he married Ann Eliza Clifford Lewis, had a baby named Charles Ney Pemberton, and settled in a house in Columbus,Ohio known today as the Pemberton House (King, 2015).

After Pemberton acquired his license in pharmacy, he started a wholesale and retail drug store in 1855 selling the raw materials for “pharmaceutical remedies” sold in apothecary shops and medicine shows across the south (Pemberton & Martin, 2015). In 1865, Pemberton fought in civil war where he served as a lieutenant colonel of the Confederate Army’s Third Georgia Cavalry Battalion in the Georgia State Guard. Along with many other civil war veterans, Pemberton was wounded during the war, and to ease his pain, he took morphine and got addicted. Pemberton, being a pharmacist, wanted to compound a drug that would ease the pain without leading to addiction. In 1885, Pemberton invented  “French Wine Coca” sold as a “nerve tonic, a mental aid, a headache remedy, and a cure for morphine addiction” (Pemberton, 2015). Later, in 1886, he invented “Coca-Cola” and opened a new chemical company, which produced his new beverage to be sold to the public.

In 1860, Pemberton established the laboratory of J.S. Pemberton & Co. in Columbus, Georgia, which was recognized as one of the most splendid chemical laboratories in the country by a reporter from Atlanta. Pemberton not only manufactured medicines but also cosmetics and perfumes also known as “Sweet Southern Bouquet”. Next, in 1869, Pemberton became the president of Pemberton, Wilson, Taylor & Co. in Atlanta. Then at age 40, Pemberton expanded his business to Philadelphia where he started his own brand of pharmaceuticals that was manufactured on a large scale in 1870 (Pemberton & Martin, 2015).

After all his previous success, Pemberton wanted to contribute more toward his profession. In 1870, Pemberton became a trustee of the Atlanta Medical College (Emory University School of Medicine), and from 1881-1887, he served on the first state pharmacy license examination board in the state of Georgia.  John Smith Pemberton was active all his life in the world of medicine and manufacturing. A newspaper of Atlanta described Pemberton as “a man of learning and distinction who was the most able physician Atlanta ever had”(Pemberton & Martin, 2015). Thanks to Coca-Cola, Pemberton succeeded in becoming well known, but he failed in making a drug that would cure morphine addiction. At last, Pemberton died of stomach cancer & addicted to morphine in August 1888.


  1. King, Monroe M. “John Stith Pemberton (1831-1888).” New Georgia Encyclopedia. 13 July 2015. Web. 20 September 2015.
  2. Pemberton, J. S., & Martin, M. (2015). Pharmacy in History, 29(2), 85–89.
  3. Pemberton, John Stith. “Encyclopedia of World Biography.” 2008. Web. 20 September 2015.

American Pharmacists Month: Eli Lilly (1885-1977)

Special Note: During the Month of October, American Pharmacists Month, we will be highlighting historical and present pharmacy figures who have contributed significantly during the profession.

Contributed by: Christelle Ngatchou, P2, Class of 2018

Eli Lilly was the 3rd successor to the most popular pharmaceutical company of the 20th century. Named after his grandfather – Colonel Eli Lilly, he established a new approach that carried the industry to its best potential.


Colonel Eli Lilly was a very important man of the late nineteenth-century in Indianapolis and a veteran of the Civil war. He was also an experienced pharmaceutical chemist working in the drug business in Lafayette and Greencastle, Indiana. His ideals were to bring new techniques for a better quality of research, evaluation, and production of medications. In May 1876, he founded in Indianapolis on 15th West Pearl Street the first laboratory “Eli Lilly and Company.” He gathered more and more people to follow his ideology by forming the Commercial Club in 1890. This organization purpose was to improve the well being of the city.  The industry manufactured different products used in pharmaceuticals. In fact, his company was one of the first companies to introduce a bona fide pharmaceutical research by hiring pharmaceutical chemists.  After the Colonel Eli Lilly’s death in 1898, his son Josiah K. Lilly continued the work in the development of new drugs.

Eli Lilly was a pharmaceutical chemist who graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1907.  Lilly was also a Citizen of Indianapolis, a philanthropist, and a major business leader. He transformed the “Eli Lilly and Company” from just a laboratory to also a major pharmaceutical manufacturer. By following his father and grandfather’s steps, he fostered pharmaceutical research by working with Canadian scientists in 1923. The company discovered and produced “Iletin,” the first insulin product available. In addition, in 1930, the Eli Lilly and Company by working with Harvard University researchers, received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of liver therapy against anemia.

When Fleming introduced penicillin in the late 1920s and the first penicillin was given to a person in the 1940s, there was a need for a mass production. Thus in 1940s, the Eli Lilly and Company was the first to produce antibiotic medications in large quantities. Thus, the company was characterized as the “Pill factory.” Later, more antibiotics were discovered and manufactured. And, in the 1950s, Cancomycin was produced for patients presenting hospital related bacterial infections. And, erythromycin was developed for patients presenting allergies to the first antibiotic Penicillin. By the 1960s, the company developed the most popular and first-line oral injectable antibiotics.

In 1982, the company was the first in using the recombinant DNA technology that lead to produce the world’s first human care product for diabetes – the insulin “Humilin”. Additionally, “Zyprexa” the world’s top selling medication for schizophrenia was developed in 1990s.  And most recently, in 2004 “Symbrax” was produced as the first and only product approved by the FDA for treatment of bipolar depression in the US.

It is very clear that “Eli Lilly and Company” has played major roles in development of medications in the US. Thanks to it’s founders and to Eli Lilly himself, medicines are reaching larger numbers of patients and promoting positive health outcomes.


  • O. Stafford (1966). The Growth of American Pharmaceutical Biology: The biologist in the Pharmaceutical Industry. BioScience 16 (10): 672-679.
  • James H. Madison (1989). “Oh, Mama, I Smell the Business!” The Growing Up Years of Eli Lilly, 1885-1907. Pharmacy in History 31 (4): 160-172.
  • James H. Madison (1991). Eli Lilly 1885-1977 Book Reviews. Indiana Magazine of History 87 (3): 279-282.


American Pharmacists Month: George F. Archambault (1909-2001)

Special Note: During the Month of October, American Pharmacists Month, we will be highlighting historical and present pharmacy figures who have contributed significantly during the profession.

Contributed by: Tanka Thapa, P3, Class of 2017


“Father of Consultant Pharmacy”

George Francis Archambault was born on April 29, 1909, in Springfield, Massachusetts. At early age, he started working for a Springfield Pharmacist.  Due to his keen interest in the field of medicine, he attended the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy (MCP) and later received his PhG (1931) and PhC (1939) degrees. Because he desired to learn more about regulations needed to change the face of the pharmacy profession, Arachambault pursued and received his juris doctorate (JD) from Northeastern University in 1941. He completed the Massachusetts bar in 1942, receiving his license.

In 1943 Archambault was appointed to a pharmacy position as a civilian at the U.S. Marine Hospital in Brighton, MA. Here, he was very passionate about teaching and sharing his knowledge. Archambault started teaching pharmaceutical arithmetic and compounding to Merchant Marines and to officers in the U.S. Coast Guard. Due to his contributions in advancing the field of pharmacy, he was again appointed as commissioner to the Public Health Service (PHS) in 1945. Archambault’s passion for the field of pharmacy never stopped, and again, he was recognized and named Chief of the pharmacy branch of the PHS Division of Hospitals from 1947 to 1965. Meantime, he was also named as a pharmacy Liasion officer to the Office of the surgeon General of the United States from years 1959 to 1967.

During his lifetime, Archambault continuously worked in the field to advance and help the profession to cover the increased population and disease that required more attention from healthcare providers. For his lifelong dedication and innumerous contributions, he was awarded with highest pharmacy award, the 1956 Harvey A.K. Whitney Award from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. He was also awarded the Craigie Award, which recognizes contributions in the advancement of professional pharmacy in the federal government. Finally, he was awarded American Druggist Man of the Year in 1966. He also worked for the Medical Care Administration of PHS, where he helped write regulations governing role of pharmacy in Medicare and Medicaid.

Archambault used to participate actively in different professional associations and became charter member of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists in 1942 and was a lifelong member of the American Pharmacists Association. During this period he served as an officer and president of both organizations. Archambault is considered the father of consultant pharmacy, and a scholarship has been established on his Name through APHA (American Pharmacist Association), the John F. Archambault scholarship.

The pharmacy profession has come a long way since the beginning of human civilization. Today pharmacists’ work together with patients, physicians and nurses in different settings like in a hospital, ambulatory care or nursing home. These all have been possible due to the vision of Arachmbault and others who believed pharmacists are essential in the development of the health care profession and the optimization of patient care. Pharmacists play a vital role in filling a gap between the physician prescribing and the patient receiving the drug. The doctor prescribes a medicine, and in order to cure the disease, patients should take the medicine as prescribed. Pharmacists help keep track other medications they are taking in the meantime. So taking into consideration these things and knowing our potential, Arachambault constantly worked and gave us our freedom to practice in the field beyond and above our previous limit in the quest of better heal.


Worthen. B. Dennis.(2003). George Francis Archambault (1909-2001). Journal of American Pharmacist Association. 43(3),441-443.

American Pharmacists Month: Hubert Humphrey (1911- 1978)


Special Note: During the Month of October, American Pharmacists Month, we will be highlighting historical and present pharmacy figures who have contributed significantly during the profession.

Contributed by: Dustin Washington

Hubert Humphrey was born on May 27, 1911 in South Dakota and later died January 13, 1978 in Minnesota. He was most commonly known as the 38th vice president of the United States along side democratic party President, Lyndon B. Johnson. Hubert served also as a Liberal leader in the United States Senate. When looking into Hubert’s childhood and relationship to pharmacy, we can most likely say it may have originated from his father, Hubert Humphrey Sr.. Hubert’s father was a pharmacist and owned his own family drug store in South Dakota at which the time Hubert spent many years working. After studying the field of pharmacy and working at his dad’s drug store, Hubert left for college to study at the University of Minnesota. After receiving his bachelors there in 1939, he later did some graduate work at Louisiana State University. Hubert would soon return to Minnesota to teach college and serve as campaign manager for president Franklin D. Roosevelt. One of those most important years in Hubert’s life would have been in 1944, where he was elected into the United State Senate. He would then serve here for the next 16 years of his life. As a senator he developed quite a reputation for himself. Hubert was known more so as having a “do-gooder” personality and known to be very outspoken competent parliamentary leader. (Which I assume you would have to be to be a senator). Hubert was recognized greatly for his attributions to gain support for the Civil Rights Act, as well as the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.

Once Hubert was elected vice president under Lyndon B. Johnson, his commonly known reputation as the “do-gooder” was soon slightly succeeded by a more traditional/ old-fashioned appearance. “As vice president he served as chairman of the National Advisory Council of the Peace Corps, coordinator of the antipoverty program, and chairman of the Civil Rights Council, and he worked with Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act and Medicare.” These as we know today are very prominent programs. Medicare is huge part of insurance for those who are 65 and older regardless of income or history. At the time before Humphrey’s contribution to medicare, over 65% of those individuals who were 65 or older had health insurance that was either not affordable or unobtainable. Since then we have also seen Medicare expand to younger individuals with disabilities such as End Stage Renal Disease. It is leaders like Humphrey’s to whom we can thank for such services and contributions to further benefit the health of our citizens in the United States.

Works Cited:
1. “Hubert H. Humphrey: Mayor, Senator, and Vice-President.” Overview. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Sept. 2015.
2.”HUMPHREY, Hubert Horatio, Jr. – Biographical Information.” HUMPHREY, Hubert Horatio, Jr. – Biographical Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Sept. 2015.
3. “Senate Historical Office.” VP Hubert Humphrey. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Sept. 2015

The 36th Annual Bridge Day is Almost Here!

Mark your calendars, the 36th annual Bridge Day is only a few weeks away!


View from the New River Bridge, Bridge Day 2013.

On October 17th, the New River Bridge in Fayette County, the world’s fourth longest single arch bridge, will be closed to automobile traffic for approximately 10 hours to allow for one of the world’s largest extreme sporting events. Bridge Day allows hundreds of BASE jumpers, rappellers, and high liners to plunge off the 876 foot (approximately 80 stories) high bridge to land on the banks of the New River. It is also the only day in which the bridge is open to foot traffic, allowing spectators to view the New River Gorge from this unique angle.

Vehicle traffic will be closed on the bridge from 7am to approximately 5pm, with BASE jumpers parachuting off the bridge from 9am-3pm. Rappellers will be descending and ascending ropes attached to the beams of the bridge, and the general public will be allowed to high line from the bridge’s catwalk to a road below, dropping over 300 vertical feet and travelling nearly 700 feet. Over 80,000 spectators are expected to not only watch the BASE jumpers, but to take in the breathtaking view of the New River Gorge, one of the oldest rivers on the continent. Spectators can also enjoy hundreds of vendors lining the half a mile long bridge, selling food, crafts, souvenirs, and funnel cakes!


BASE jumpers on the banks of the New River, photographed from the New River Bridge. Bridge Day 2013.

While adrenaline junkies have the opportunity to get their fix on Saturday, Bridge Day is a weekend long event. On Friday the 16th from 5-9pm, the Oak Hill and Fayetteville Rotary Clubs will host their annual “Taste of Bridge Day” charity event at the Smokey’s On the Gorge restaurant. At this event, restaurants and cookeries from all over the state will offer sample sized portions of their most popular dishes. Sample prices range from 1-5 tickets each, each ticket priced at $1.

For even more culinary action, the 7th annual “Bridge Day Chili Cook-Off” takes place Saturday the 17th in downtown Fayetteville. Attendees can purchase a pack of 5 tasting tickets and a set of beads for $5, using the tickets to sample the desired chili, and the beads to cast their vote for their favorite. Cornbread will also be judged, and winners can win anywhere from $15 to $100. Chili tasting and judging takes place between 3-5pm, with awards given out at 5:15pm. Starting at 2pm. live music will be provided by the band Three Card Monte.

Rounding out the Bridge Day weekend is “Bridge Jam”, a family friendly Bluegrass and craft brew festival taking place at the Cascade Festival Grounds in Fayetteville. Bridge Jam runs from 10am-10pm on Saturday, and features 6 unique Bluegrass bands: Common Houses, Illusionary Field Unit, The Rarely Herd, Colton Pack, Jerry Douglas and the Earls of Leicester, and Sam Bush. Adult tickets are $22, and $25 at the door.

It’s not too late to register for the events of Bridge Day! The schedule of events, shuttle information, and directions can be found on the offical Bridge Day website.

Contributed by: Isabella White, blogger and UCSOP Graduate Intern.

American Pharmacists Month Events


October is American Pharmacists Month. During this time, pharmacists throughout the United States work to share and promote the role pharmacists play in patient care, public health, and promoting positive health outcomes.

The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy is actively engaged in celebrating American Pharmacists Month. Our students and faculty are participating in a number of activities–public service announcements on two radio stations, honoring pharmacists of the past through a blog series, staffing health fairs, providing immunizations, and much more! We invite YOU to join us Check out our list of events and happenings during the entire month!

American Pharmacists Month Activities 2015