Turner Middle School Students Rise Above Rx Abuse

Guidance Counselor, Jaslyn Dukes, is a long-time supporter of GPP and introduced both the Meth Prevention and Not Prescribed lessons to students last year, when she invited our staff to present to the school’s physical education classes. Ms. Dukes followed up in 2016 by signing up for GPP’s online substance abuse prevention course when it launched. This fall, she’s taken things even a step further, by teaching the substance abuse lessons to 6th and 7th grade students. One of GPP’s objectives is to provide educators, who are on the frontline of prevention, with easy to use evidence-based resources in order to reach the largest number of students possible. We applaud Ms. Dukes’ efforts and can’t wait to see what else comes from Turner Middle School students!

Students at Turner Middle received prescription drug abuse prevention education via the Not Prescribed online, interactive lesson. Not Prescribed is classroom-based lesson empowering teens with the science and the stories to understand the risks of misusing prescription drugs and the skills to rise above. The lesson includes Georgia-specific information, including the 911 Medical Amnesty Law, which teaches students to call 911 in the case of an overdose, in order to save lives. The lesson also distinguishes between proper use of prescription drugs, which can be helpful for those in need, and misuse and abuse. 7th grade student, Christopher Walker, helped explain how prescription medications should be taken according to their instructions, and also shared some of the consequences that can happen if a doctor’s instructions are not accurately followed.

We know that about 70% of youth and teens who misuse/abuse Rx drugs get them from their own families and friends, or find them in home medicine cabinets. After learning about this, 6th grader Ky’Niah Walker stated, “You should not share your prescriptions medications with anyone, even with family members.” Learning to safeguard our medications and not share them with others, even family members, is one way to limit the risk of potential Rx abuse in our homes.

Another 6th grade student, Matthew Tadesse, expressed his hope for prescription drugs to become less available because “Rx drugs being abused have caused more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.” We couldn’t agree more and firmly believe that educating youth and teens before they get prescribed pain meds after a surgery, or before they say ‘yes’ to experimenting with legal Rx drugs, will make them more aware of potential consequences and will ultimately save more lives. Ms. Dukes described her experience teaching this lesson during Red Ribbon Week, stating, “The lessons are user friendly, aligned with our state standards, and they kept all the students engaged. The opening video in Chapter 1 surprised a lot of the kids, because they were unaware of the dangerous consequences of misusing prescription drugs.” Thank you, Turner Middle School for educating your students on the dangers of drug use and we look forward to hearing more from your students as the year continues!

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