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

A free, easy-to-use, standards-aligned resource for Red Ribbon Week.

Sponsored By EVERFI
Everfi prescription drug safety

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. This is especially true since the pandemic, when teens 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. To add to the tragedy, the opioid crisis causes an economic burden of nearly $80 billion each year in health care and other costs. Even more troubling, teen overdoses have doubled since 2010. This is due in large part to the growing trend of teens unknowingly consuming fentanyl packaged in counterfeit pills they believed to be legitimate.

Prevention education programs, especially those 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.

EVERFI has created an impactful, engaging program for high school students.

EVERFI’s Prescription Drug Safety: Know the truth is a blended-learning course with eight digital lessons plus discussion guides, lesson plans, and standards alignment. This year, two new lessons were released, focused on addiction, support, and recovery and the dangers of fentanyl. With fentanyl becoming a larger problem among youth, this timely lesson will ensure students understand how to keep themselves and others safe. EVERFI’s resources are backed by the ISTE seal and Digital Promise Product Certification, giving you a partner you can trust. 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: Know the truth with us.

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

Understanding prescription drug abuse is crucial for students because it equips them with knowledge about the potential risks and consequences associated with misusing or overusing prescription medications. In an era where these drugs are increasingly prevalent, comprehending the dangers of misuse not only protects one’s own health but also contributes to a healthier school and community. With EVERFI’s Prescription Drug Safety Course, students are able to learn about these dangers and educate themselves for a healthier future.

Brian Krause, Instructional Technology Coach

EVERFI raises students’ awareness of prescription drug safety.

Everfi prescription drug safety slide

Colleen Donakowski, a high school PE/health teacher in South Redford, Michigan, started using Prescription Drug Safety: Know the truth with her students in 2020, just as schools were switching to remote learning during COVID.

She tells us, “Surprisingly, 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.

Everfi Prescription drug safety what-if scenarios

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.”

Robin Ruby, a high school PE/health teacher from Michigan, also 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.”

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

Everfi Prescription drug safety opioid lesson

“EVERFI is very interactive, very visual,” Ruby says. “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!”

EVERFI gives teachers the tools they need to reach students.

EVERFI is so easy—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!”

Colleen Donakowski, high school P.E. teacher

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

Prescription drug safety has become an important topic for health classes due to the growing opioid crisis. Here's how to make it stick.