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CHILDREN – PREVENTION BY GRADE
Prevention education is vital to all students in primary and secondary schools. The Ohio Department of Education recommends this grade-appropriate instruction.
Kindergarten Through Third Grade
Instruction should include “differences among foods, poisons, medicines and drugs; personal responsibility for one's actions,” and rules regarding who provides, distributes, accesses and monitors medication in the home and community.
Fourth Through Fifth Grade
Instruction should include safe and unsafe behavior when around peers and family who are using medication, “how to identify different drugs; the effects of drugs,” and why some drugs and medications are extremely dangerous if ingested or taken without a doctor’s permission. Connect ADHD medications and the importance of not sharing, selling and only taking what is prescribed at the right doses (i.e., following the doctor’s orders).
Sixth Through Eighth Grade
Instruction should include the definitions of addiction, abuse and misuse; how family, peer, media and community influences substance abuse.
Instruction should directly focus on painkillers, including opioids, a narcotic of choice for teens, rather than emphasizing a more generalized anti-drug approach. Focus on the science of addiction. Additionally, instruction on how recreational use of prescription pain relievers can lead to heroin use/abuse and addiction, with emphasis on the potential progression of addiction that could lead to heroin addiction and potentially death as well as an increased likelihood of infectious diseases.
Ninth Through Twelfth Grade
Instruction should include a review of addiction, proper handling of medication, and ingestion by prescription only. It should focus on the link between a simple medical procedure – like getting wisdom teeth pulled or having a sports-related injury – and the potential for addiction if medications are abused and not taken properly. Instruction should also include the importance of family medical history, including the disease of addiction and how to discuss concerns with a trusted adult.
In grade nine to twelve, instruction should include how to recognize symptoms of a drug overdose, emphasizing the importance of quickly seeking medical attention for a person who has overdosed. Also focus on how students can help a friend or family member who may be addicted to prescription pain medicines and/or heroin.
Resources relating to recognizing drug overdose symptoms:
Instruction should provide access information to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for the free program to encourage young people, parents, caregivers and teachers, clergy and coaches to StartTalking about prescription drug abuse and other drug addictions.
Resources relating to mental health and addiction services
This information was obtained from the following source:
The Ohio Department of Education – Opioid Abuse Prevention
Ohio Department of Education general resources:
Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services
CDC Resources for School Health Education
SHAPE America – Explore Health Education
The Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance