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A new program from the substance use prevention organization D.A.R.E aims to educate K–12 students about opioid and prescription drug misuse as another way to combat the opioid crisis. Like previous D.A.R.E. programs, this one is meant to be taught by school resource officers in classrooms. The curriculum is free and also incorporates components intended to educate parents and other members of the community.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that in 2016 there were seven deaths an hour attributed to opioid-related drug overdoses. That number is equivalent to 175 people every day and more than 64,000 for the year. Opioid overdose deaths are impacting communities all over the United States. An HHS study suggested that substance abuse prevention programs would save state and local governments $1.3 billion in two years and an additional $33.5 billion in medical costs related to opioid misuse nationwide.
These programs could save lives by ensuring that kids as young as sixth grade learn how dangerous opioids and other prescription drugs can be. While knowing about the dangers of opioids will not prevent every child or teen from misusing them, many would avoid them if they knew about the risks and dangers associated with opioid misuse.
The program starts in kindergarten, teaching young schoolchildren how to handle emergencies and what things are safe and not safe to touch, taste, smell or eat. As kids get older, they begin to learn about how medicines can help or hurt people and the importance of following rules and laws about all kinds of things, including medications.
Teens can learn about the opioid epidemic in detail and be encouraged to analyze their risks when using them, even for legitimate reasons. They will also learn about addiction treatment program options if they do misuse opioids. This information could potentially prevent a significant number of people from overdosing on opioids and prescription drugs since many will avoid opioids or use them more responsibly when they know the risks.
Frank Pegueros, D.A.R.E. America President and CEO, explains:
“Experts agree that what’s been missing in the nation’s response to the opioid epidemic is comprehensive prevention education, which, to be effective, must begin by reaching children in elementary school and continue into middle and high school, to equip them to avoid drug use in the first place. D.A.R.E.’s new curricula will give millions of school children across the country both the knowledge and the skills they need to avoid drug use. In fact, what the students have learned from highly trained law enforcement officers will help them respond effectively when they encounter drugs of all sorts in their communities.”
Previous D.A.R.E. programs have reached tens of millions of students, parents and community members since the 1980s, when the organization started.
In addition to educating America’s youths about the dangers of substance misuse, providing appropriate care for teens or adults who are already battling substance use disorder is another part of the solution to the current opioid crisis.
The Recovery Village Palmer Lake offers Colorado addiction treatment resources for adults experiencing a substance use disorder. Contact The Recovery Village Palmer Lake to discuss admission and treatment options today.
The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.
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