How to Get
Your School Involved
The opioid epidemic is impacting people of all ages, and young people are no exception. Fifteen percent of North Carolina high school students have taken pain medicine without a doctor’s prescription at some point in their lives (Youth Risk Behavior Survey).
There are many programs and curricula available to help schools and communities foster healthy, resilient young people and discourage the misuse of opioids and other drugs. A number of such programs are discussed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in this guide. In addition, Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development provides a registry of evidence-based, positive youth development programs designed to promote the health and well-being of children and teens.
Additional evidence-based tools and curricula specific to the opioid epidemic may be found at LifeSkills Training and Project Alert, as well as at Operation Prevention, a project sponsored by Discovery Education and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Student athletes are especially prone to injury, putting them at a higher risk of opioid misuse. For example, males who participate in organized sports are three times more likely to misuse prescribed opioids than non-athletes.
Student athletes, parents, and coaches need to understand the risks and ask their doctors or other healthcare providers the right questions, including:
- “What are the risks and side effects of this medication?”
- “Do I have to finish taking all of these pills?”
- “When can I switch to acetaminophen or ibuprofen?”
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) has partnered with the Department of Justice to distribute this flyer to students, parents, and coaches. Additional information can also be found from the Mountain Area Health Education Center.
How Can Schools
The Department of Public Instruction’s NC Healthy Schools team is available to help schools implement programs and curricula. The team and local partners use the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework to guide work with School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs), which include school and community partners. The Healthful Living Essential Standards also address drug use in all grades.
The NC Healthy Schools team is available to help your districts and schools select tools and resources to successfully teach the standards and leverage your SHACs as partners in addressing the opioid crisis and drug misuse in general.