Last week Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill joined us at Perry Meridian High School to recognize the launch of a new prescription drug safety program aimed at helping students make wise decisions. Perry Meridian is the first school in Indianapolis to launch this digital curriculum, developed by the education firm EVERFI and financially sponsored by Walmart.
“Almost half of all teens incorrectly believe that prescription drugs are safer than illegal street drugs,” Hill said. “We need to correct these misconceptions and help students make safe and healthy decisions.”
The EVERFI program uses an evidence-based, public health approach to enabling students to make well-informed choices. Through interactive scenarios and self-guided activities, students learn facts about drugs, how to properly use and dispose of them and how to step in when faced with a situation involving misuse. The course is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Education Standards and state academic standards.
Mr. Hill was joined by the following speakers: Pat Mapes, superintendent; Kert Boedicker, Perry Meridian principal; Kari Preston, Walmart director of health; Kevin Thompson, Walmart director of government affairs; and Mike Haley, IU Health’s senior vice president of behavioral health.
They all joined students during a lunchtime roundtable discussion. They discussed how to safely dispose of unused medications and why prescribed drugs can be dangerous when misused. The experience of hearing students articulate their thoughts on prescription medications was truly enlightening.
“The health and safety of our students is a priority,” said Superintendent Mapes. ”We believe education on prescription drug abuse can make a significant impact on helping our students make responsible choices.”
After the discussion, all of the school and community leaders moved into the auditorium for an assembly with the entire freshmen class. Mr. Hill kicked off the discussion with a spirited Elvis impersonation, which excited the young audience. Next, he explained the seriousness of the opioid epidemic in our state. Mr. Haley detailed the health implications of abusing medications, while Ms. Preston and Mr. Thompson described their corporation’s role in educating the community about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and improper disposal of medications.
It is our hope that this event will encourage ongoing conversations between our students and staff about making safe choices. The prescription drug safety program will launch next at Southport High.