Schools Struggle to Help Children of Opioid Epidemic


I came across an excellent new article wrenchingly depicting the pain and suffering the opioid epidemic is having on our nation’s young people, and how schools are struggling to help prevent opioid misuse among youth. 

The author clearly and eloquently defines the problem of opioid harm among American families, including youth, as well as how schools and communities are wrestling to address the growing problem. 

Those of you interested in this critical issue will also be interested in a well-received related article I recently posted titled: “The Opioid Epidemic and Youth: Prevention Considerations.” 

In this paper I present the need for youth opioid and substance use prevention and considerations in planning opioid prevention in schools and communities: https://preventionpluswellness.com/blogs/news/the-opioid-epidemic-and-youth-prevention-considerations.

A study published last year showed that opioid misuse among youth is more likely among current marijuana and alcohol users (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460317301351).  

This suggests that providing evidence-based substance use prevention programs in general is an important strategy for preventing youth opioid misuse. 

The Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is a registry of evidence-based programs proven to promote the health and well-being of children, teens and emerging young adults.  

A keyword search of this registry using the term “opioid prevention” identified four evidence-based programs, including: 

1.   SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness: A single-session screening and brief intervention that integrates substance use prevention with the promoting of physical activity and healthy behaviors for youth (https://preventionpluswellness.com).

2.   InShape Prevention Plus Wellness: A single-session screening and brief intervention that integrates substance use prevention with the promoting of physical activity and healthy behaviors for college students and young adults (https://preventionpluswellness.com).

3.   Positive Prevention Plus: A comprehensive school-based sexual health education and teen pregnancy prevention curriculum (http://www.positivepreventionplus.com/).

4.   Olweus Bullying Prevention Program: Includes schoolwide, classroom, individual, and community strategies (https://olweus.sites.clemson.edu/). 

Each of these evidence-based programs hold promise not only for preventing opioid misuse, but also other substance use, health and behavior problems. 

Adopting the use of evidence-based substance use prevention programs is a partial, but critical component of an effective overall strategy to address the opioid epidemic among youth in our schools and communities. 

Search the Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development registry for “opioid prevention”: https://www.blueprintsprograms.com/search 

Read the article about how schools struggle to help children in the opioid epidemic: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/18/opioid-epidemic-childen-schools-649564 

 Please like and share this article with others in your region and state.  Thank you!

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