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October 10, 2017

What are the effects of opioid addiction on young people?

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Teachers and students: Watch this PBS NewsHour Facebook Live recorded on Wed., October 11th on how schools are teaching students about the opioid crisis.

  1. Starting in the 1990s, chronic pain patients were given high levels of synthetic opiates, such as OxyContin, to relieve pain. Some patients misused the painkillers while others who became addicted stole them from family members in order to get high.
  2. In the 2010s, individuals who became addicted to painkillers turned to heroin after state governments started to clamp down on the number of prescriptions physicians could write.
  3. Currently, about 33,000 people die each year from opiate-based prescription drugs and heroin overdose in the U.S.; 44 people die of prescription drug overdose each day.
  4. Young people are at high risk of addiction and overdose. One in 5 high school seniors report misusing prescription painkillers at least once in their lifetime.
  5. Recovery high schools are growing in popularity since many addiction treatment programs do not accept teenagers. There are about 40 recovery high schools across the U.S.
  6. Support is given to students who may relapse which is a part of the disease of addiction. Students are drug-tested and attend 12-step meetings, two key aspects of treatment.
Discussion questions:
  1. Essential question: How should schools address the opioid crisis?
  2. What do you know about the opioid epidemic?
  3. Why is it important to look at opioid addiction as a disease instead of a behavioral problem?
  4. What do recovery high schools offer that a regular high school experience does not?
  5. How do recovery experts know if recovery high schools are helping young people?
  6. Maryland became one of the first states in the U.S. this past year to require opioid education for public school students kindergarten through college. Do you think more states should require schools to include opioid education in their curricula? Why or why not?
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