Initiating conversations with students about the dangers of substance misuse can be difficult to navigate. As instances of substance misuse continue to be too common and as young people faced increased stress, anxiety, and isolation during these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we all play an active role helping students understand the dangers of drug misuse.
CVS Health in partnership with Discovery Education presented a unique panel discussion during Red Ribbon Week 2020, focusing on helping educators and communities define substance misuse and sharing tools and resources for addressing the issue with students. The panel discussion supplements the Dose of Knowledge program, designed to empower educators to address substance misuse as part of their classroom curriculum.
Panelists for this community conversation, moderated by Will Ward from Discovery Education, were:
- Dr. Terra Jones, CVS Pharmacist
- Michelle Osborn-Hallet, a Middle School Teacher in the East Stroudsberg School District
- Dr. Brenda Curtis, National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Palmer Williams III, a Student at Georgia State University
The panelists explored topics ranging from identifying the groups impacted by the substance misuse crisis to the specific impact of substance misuse on teens and young people. Dr. Curtis shared the science behind the way misused substances impact the brain and body, specifically for young people; and Dr. Jones provided detailed information about the differences between using medications as prescribed, versus misusing them.
In addition, Palmer provided timely insight into the day-to-day experience of young people facing peer pressure, while sharing some of the methods he has found personally helpful in maintaining a substance–free lifestyle.
Key to the discussion was the perspective of educators in the classroom, working to help students learn to make healthier choices every day. Michelle Osborn-Hallet has spent 32 years supporting students and her community. She touched on the vital role of educators in creating a safe space for students to have these critical conversations, while showcasing how the Dose of Knowledge resources in particular can be used to engage and empower students.
The panel discussion provides a great way to plan how you will use the digital exploration and turnkey lesson bundles available as part of the program resources to help protect the well-being of your students and communities. We know when students are empowered to make healthier choices, we all win!