Whether or not you have been touched personally by the growing opioid crisis in this country, chances are you have concerns about prescription drug safety among teens. Especially now, during the pandemic, when teens have experienced a lack of social interaction and a growing sense of isolation and anxiety.

The sobering truth is that 100 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses resulting in an economic burden of nearly $80 billion each year. And reports show that overdose deaths have been accelerating during COVID-19.

Prevention education programs, especially aimed at adolescents, have proven to be one of the most effective ways of combating prescription drug abuse. Reaching teens early with this information is more important than ever.

Thankfully, EVERFI has created an impactful, engaging program for high school students. EVERFI’s Prescription Drug Safety is a blended-learning course with six digital lessons plus discussion guides, lesson plans, and standards alignment. And the best part is it’s totally free!

We spoke with two high school health teachers and asked them to share their experience using Prescription Drug Safety with us.

Teachers are concerned for their students, now more than ever.

1/3 of teens believe there is nothing wrong with prescription drug misuse 'once in a whlie.'

Robin Ruby teaches high school Physical Education and Health in Holland, Michigan including a freshman course entitled Successful Living for freshmen, which covers all aspects of physical and mental wellness. “The pandemic has heightened concern for most teachers across the board,” she says. “From food insecurity to domestic abuse to reports of spikes in depression and anxiety, the availability of substances like drugs and alcohol that may be available at home is concerning.”

EVERFI raises students’ awareness of prescription drug safety.

21-29% of patients who are prescribed opioids misuse them.

Colleen Donakowski, a high school PE/Health teacher in South Redford, Michigan, started using Prescription Drug Safety with her students last year, just as schools were switching to remote learning during COVID.

“Surprisingly,” she tells us, “most of my students had no idea there was a prescription drug abuse problem. They didn’t even know what opioids were. Going through the EVERFI course was an eye-opening experience for my students, for sure.”

Scenario-based learning really strikes a chord with students.

Peers play a larger role in prevention than families.

Part of EVERFI’s powerful methodology is presenting information as part of a ‘what-if’ situation. What if a friend offers you a prescription drug? What if you notice a change in a friend’s behavior after they’re prescribed a medication?

“The scenarios were so effective for my students,” says Donakowski, “it got them thinking about different situations and gave them practice thinking about what they would do and what they would say.” Ruby appreciates that the situations are presented by kids, not adults. “Most kids are more open to listening to someone their own age,” she says, “it feels more authentic and leads to great conversations.”

Many students are growing weary of online learning, but EVERFI keeps them engaged.

“EVERFI is very interactive, very visual.” says Ruby, “My students really appreciate the variety, how the modules flow, and how it isn’t all the same.” Donakowski praises the program’s accessibility, especially for her special education students. “It’s so easy for my kids with learning disabilities to do on their own. All of my students can work independently, go at their own pace, and best of all, no worksheets!”

Safety in school = safety at home.

EVERFI gives teachers the tools they need to reach students.

“EVERFI is so easy–” says Donakowski, “so much important information, in-depth, engaging, interactive. The number of hours it would take to pull all of this together–there’s no way one teacher could do that. EVERFI has been a lifesaver! Especially during hybrid learning.”

Learn how you can become part of the solution with EVERFI’s Prescription Drug Safety resource for high school. Available at no cost to teachers and students.

How I Teach My High School Students Prescription Drug Safety in a Way That Makes an Impact