GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A counter, register, and warm welcome as you step through the door of a converted classroom at Shiloh High School in Gwinnett County. From the CVS signage to the shelves of medication bottles, it looks like a pharmacy. But instead of pills, students enrolled in the school's Wellness Health and Education Academy are using candy in this lab.
"Getting this kind of experience before college is unheard of," said senior Meet Patel, as he worked the register during a typical simulation, where students, dressed in scrubs, take turns dropping off and filling prescriptions.
This program focuses on dealing with narcotics properly, keeping a medication inventory and learning what exactly goes into the prescription bottles customers request.
"It's always important to double check everything... to make sure it's *for sure*, right," senior Meagan Brown emphasized.
The pharmacy tech program means students can earn college credits. Graduates may test for certification with the state's pharmacy board.
The lab is the second in the nation, and instructor Dr. Krystal Tomlin says it's setting students up for a successful future, no matter what they pursue beyond the high school campus: "Some do want to go to school to be pharmacists. Others, doctors, and nurses. They all need to know pharmacology. This gives them an advantage when they take college classes they will have prior background knowledge."