The American School Counselor Association (ASCA), which represents 32,000 school counselors nationwide, has used a variety of communications strategies to tell its members about NIDA’s PEERx teen prescription drug abuse prevention resources. In October 2012, ASCA invited NIDA to record a podcast about teen prescription drug abuse and the PEERx program. During this podcast, Carol Krause, Chief of NIDA’s Public Information and Liaison Branch, discussed the prevalence and impact of teen prescription drug abuse and what school counselors can do to address this critical public health issue. ASCA posted the podcast on its Web site and promoted it through its member e-newsletter, as well as to more than 7,500 followers on Twitter.
ASCA has also used its social networking site, the ASCA SCENE, to disseminate information about PEERx to the site’s 24,000 members. Following the release of the 2012 Monitoring the Future study results, ASCA posted an entry that highlighted the findings on teen prescription drug abuse and recommended educational strategies, using PEERx resources, for counselors to address this problem. Additionally, ASCA promoted a call for applications for NIDA’s newly formed advisory group of teachers, counselors, and advisors. ASCA’s promotion resulted in substantial interest from the field.
Thank you, ASCA!
Operation UNITE is a nonprofit organization serving 32 counties in Kentucky by providing narcotics investigations, substance abuse treatment and referrals, youth programs, family support, and community education initiatives. Its recent prescription drug abuse prevention efforts in schools offer a replicable strategy for other organizations seeking to reach teens about this critical public health issue.
During NIDA’s 2013 National Drug Facts Week, Operation UNITE held events in collaboration with school anti-drug clubs to educate students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Organizers used PEERx resources, including the interactive “Choose Your Path” videos, which allowed students to assume the role of the main character and make decisions about whether to abuse prescription drugs, such as Adderall or Xanax. Students selected which path to take and watched the consequences of that decision play out on screen.
Students also developed skits, and one group even wrote their own rap, using only information from the PEERx Web site. They acted out their skits and selected the best one to present to the entire school. Through these efforts, Operation UNITE reached 750 students and teachers.