MANCHESTER, Ky. (WKYT) - About twenty students filed into the gymnasium of Hacker Elementary School in Manchester on a Thursday morning. The school is one of forty groups Pharmacist Robert Goforth has spoken to this school year.
"Have you guys ever been to a pharmacy? Do you know what a pharmacist does?" Goforth asked the students. The lesson to the students is fittingly elementary. "Even if you are seven, eight or ten or fifteen years-old, you only take medicine from a trusted adult, right?"
The 30-minute assembly is a baseline about prescription medications. Goforth shows pictures of candy next to pills and asks the class which one is medicine. "They look a lot alike, right?" he quizzes.
Goforth spoke to WKYT's Miranda Combs after the presentation, "They thought I was crazy," he said. "Whenever I called the schools and said 'I wanna talk to your kindergarten class. I want to talk to your first and second and third graders."
Goforth has four children. One son in his twenties, and two year-old tripletts. They, he said, are the reason he speaks to schools. "Besides spending time with my children, this is what I do," he said. "Because if I don't, who's going to educate these children? Who's going to save them? Because I have four children, statistics are against me."
Goforth said 25 percent of students leaving high school in the state, will have tried illegal drugs, or have an active addiction. "You can't cure addiction. Or you can't cure everything retrospectively. If you don't prevent it, we've lost the battle."
Goforth speaks as part of Project DARIS, a group of pharmacists, nurses and healthcare professionals giving free substance abuse prevention education for grades K-12. He's pushing for legislation that would require life skills to be taught in elementary school, regularly. "English scores, math scores, they don't matter. If they don't have the life skills to get through life, then none of that matters."