Discovery Education and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are now offering educators new digital resources to address the dangers of counterfeit drugs. The new array of science-based lesson plan and videos equip students in grades 9–12 with an understanding of what counterfeit drugs are and why they are so harmful to individuals and communities.
The resources join other powerful anti-drug resources available through Operation Prevention, a collaboration between DEA and Discovery Education. Designed to help prevent substance misuse in schools nationwide, Operation Prevention educates students about the science behind addiction, and its impact on the brain and body. The latest content also supports the One Pill Can Kill initiative from DEA, which raises awareness about fake pills that are falsely marketed as legitimate prescription pills.
Research by UCLA Health shows that in 2020, the teen death rate due to drug overdose doubled and grew by another 20% in 2021. The sharp increase is, in part, attributed to teens purchasing via distributors on social media platforms what they believe to be prescription drugs but instead are counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl. DEA reports that in 2022 more than 9.5 million fake pills were seized, more than the previous two years combined.
The new lessons now available, which include a detailed accompanying educator guide, explore the importance of community connections in counteracting the rising trend of counterfeit drug use. During the lesson, students will consider how an individual’s decisions can impact an entire community, investigate real-world data, and learn how to create an effective community awareness campaign. In addition, the resources, which include a four-part video series, show students the consequences of counterfeit drugs on people and communities through insights from diverse subject matter experts, including leaders from Native communities. These resources complement Operation Prevention’s “Good Medicine Bundle,” which was created with the assistance of the National Indian Education Association. A set of hands-on, standards-aligned resources for elementary and middle school students, the Good Medicine Bundle addresses the nation’s opioid crisis through a culturally responsive lens and encourages resiliency through a Native approach to balance and wellness.
“Native communities still experience the impact of historical traumas and are disproportionately impacted by substance misuse. These lessons are critical for all students as a response to the crises in our nation,” said Diana Cournoyer, Executive Director of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA).
“Education and intervention at a young age are critical to preventing substance misuse and misunderstandings,” said Amy Nakamoto, General Manager of Social Impact at Discovery Education. “Educators play a critical role in students’ lives, and we are proud to partner with the DEA to equip high school teachers across the United States with new, high-quality resources to help overcome the counterfeit drug crisis facing our teens.”