Truth Initiative and EVERFI Collaborate to Launch Updated Prescription Drug Safety Curriculum for Middle and High School Students Amid Growing Youth Overdose Crisis
Truth Initiative, the organization behind truth®, the nationally recognized, proven-effective youth tobacco and opioid prevention public education campaigns, and EVERFI® from Blackbaud®, the leader in powering social impact through education, have joined forces once again to address prescription drug safety, with two new lessons, including one that specifically addresses the growing fentanyl overdose crisis among young people. A potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl has become a leading cause of fatal overdoses nationwide. Shockingly, according to the CDC, more than 2,200 adolescents between 15 to 19 years old fatally overdosed from 2019 to 2021. Fentanyl was involved in 84 percent of those tragic deaths. Recognizing the urgent need for education and prevention, Truth Initiative and EVERFI have announced the integration of two crucial new lessons into an updated version of EVERFI’s prescription drug safety curriculum. Renamed Prescription Drug Safety: Know the truth, this expanded, free digital course aims to equip students with essential knowledge to protect themselves and others from the risks associated with both prescription drug misuse and fentanyl.
The new lessons address the proliferation of counterfeit pills and drug trafficking on social media platforms, guiding students on how to keep themselves safe in such situations and how to report social media drug trafficking. Moreover, the updated curriculum equips students with the necessary skills to support peers facing prescription drug misuse and overdose.
“Truth Initiative is proud to share our expertise in creating public health messaging aimed at youth to provide real impact to address the urgent fentanyl and prescription drug misuse crisis, which is derailing the lives of young people across the nation at alarming rates," said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative. “’Prescription Drug Safety: Know the truth’ builds on the success of our already proven ‘Vaping: Know the truth’ curriculum, which has been used by nearly one million students to date.”
“With fentanyl-related deaths rising at an alarming rate amongst teens, proper education to raise awareness about the prevalence of counterfeit fentanyl pills, the potential for accidental overdose, and the importance of avoiding experimentation with illicit substances altogether is critical,” said Ray Martinez, president and co-founder of EVERFI. “It has never been more urgent or important that we provide resources to students around this topic so we can gain the upper hand in fighting the opioid crisis.”
Originally released in 2017, the refreshed course will also include updates to the program’s look and feel, provide current research into prescription drug misuse, and comply with the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. In consultation with educators, these updates will improve course content and provide students the tools needed to make informed decisions, seek help for themselves or a peer, and understand the potential consequences of prescription drug misuse. The refreshed curriculum is available to high school and middle school students.
A recent study of the prescription drug safety program showed strong evidence that this type of digital curriculum is effective in promoting prescription drug safety skills in students. The study found that the digital curriculum showed a positive and lasting impact on behavioral intent and attitudes as it relates to prescription drug use across all genders, races, and other demographic characteristics.
Since its launch six years ago, more than one million nationwide learners have completed EVERFI’s prescription drug safety program. Available starting in fall 2023, it is expected to reach 250,000 students nationwide during the 2023-2024 school year.
Prescription Drug Safety: Know the truth marks the second collaboration between EVERFI and Truth Initiative, following the organizations’ work on Vaping: Know the truth, a self-led interactive curriculum that provides students with facts on the health risks of e-cigarettes and nicotine use, and offers resources to help young people who are currently using e-cigarettes to quit through truth’s first-of-its-kind text message quit vaping program, This is Quitting, which has inspired more than 630,000 youth and young adults to on their journey to quit e-cigarettes. Since the launch of the curriculum, a total of over 800,000 students have actively engaged with the curriculum, and more than 9,000 schools are actively using the course. In January 2024, Vaping: Know the truth will add two new lessons to address the growing problem of cannabis vapes.
For more information or to sign up for the Prescription Drug Safety: Know the truth course, visit https://everfi.com/courses/k-12/prescription-drug-safety-high-school/.
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