Even Kindergartners Get Lessons on Dangers of Opioids

Schools are going beyond 'Just Say No'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 27, 2017 5:05 PM CST

(Newser) – Schools are going beyond "Just Say No" as they teach students as young as kindergartners about the dangers of opioids in the hope that they don't later become part of the growing crisis, the AP reports. Some states have begun requiring instruction about prescription drugs and heroin, and districts are updating their anti-drug teachings to move toward interactive and engaging science-based lessons they hope will save lives. States including Ohio and New York have passed laws requiring that schools include opioid abuse prevention in health education, and Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pledged to do the same this month. "The message will be simple and direct and start in kindergarten," Christie said, "the medicine in Mom and Dad's medicine cabinet is not safe for you to use just because a doctor gave it to them."

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Savannah Wilson, a 17-year-old junior at State College Area High School in Pennsylvania, said a lesson including the science of opioid addiction and a video with stories from young addicts stuck with her when she got an oxycodone prescription following a recent surgery. "I'm not sure if I would have had any issues, but it was definitely good to know, don't take more than you absolutely need to," Wilson said. "They're really strong drugs. They prescribed me way more than I needed. I had a lot left over. It's kind of scary how easy they make it for you." Wilson said that she has gotten anti-drug lessons throughout school but that "before, it was kind of 'Just don't do it.' Up until this year I didn't really get a full understanding of how easily it is to get addicted to some of these drugs and how open they are to people." Click for more on what schools are doing. (Read more opioids stories.)

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