April 2019

DEA’s Drug Prevention Education Programs

By Cathleen Drew
Although widely known for its law enforcement actions, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also provides free drug prevention education materials and programs. Heading up the list is Operation Prevention, a no-cost opioid prevention curriculum jointly produced by DEA and Discovery Education (a subsidiary of Discovery Communications). Discovery Education has a proven record of accomplishment for producing award-winning science curricula that are freely available to educators, community leaders, parents and the public. Operation Prevention lessons and materials are available online at www.operationprevention.com.
 
Operation Prevention provides classroom resources grounded in science, health, social studies and English/language arts/literacy standards. The education resources seamlessly integrate into classroom instruction and out-of-school learning environments. The resources include downloadable digital lesson bundles for elementary school, middle school and high school. Each digital lesson bundle includes an interactive PowerPoint presentation and educator guide outlining the program step-by-step, enabling the facilitator to customize the lessons as needed. The resources also include a webinar explaining the program and how to implement it.
 
In addition to the digital lesson bundles, Operation Prevention provides a parent toolkit with information and tips to start family discussions and includes additional information on the warning signs of prescription opioid misuse and a guide to prevention and intervention empowering families to reach out.
 
An integral part of the program is The Science of Addiction: The Stories of Teens, a self-paced, standards-aligned e-learning module for middle and high school students. This one-on-one, interactive program introduces students to teens who are struggling with prescription opioid misuse and heroin use and helps them learn the science behind their powerful stories. Virtual field trips offer an insider’s view into the science behind opioid addiction as well as highlighting a community that is fighting back. Virtual field trips include activity guides used to facilitate discussion.
 
Rounding out the program is a video challenge program in which high school students create an original public service announcement to inform their peers about the dangers of prescription opioid misuse. The winning videos from past years are on the Operation Prevention website.
 
Operation Prevention offers an expanding array of Spanish-language resources to broaden engagement and ease-of-use of these lifesaving tools in homes, schools and communities across the country. Spanish resources include a Spanish-facing website, the parent toolkit and the self-paced module.
 
In addition to Operation Prevention, DEA has several other websites providing key drug prevention information.
 
Just Think Twice, at www.justthinktwice.com, is for students and provides drug information, facts and statistics, true stories and consequences of drug use, along with trending news and drug fact quizzes.
 
Campus Drug Prevention, at www.campusdrugprevention.gov, provides institutions of higher education and their surrounding communities with resources to prevent drug abuse among college students. Highlights include articles offering federal, national, state and local perspectives across the nation and podcast interviews with people about college drug abuse issues.
 
Get Smart About Drugs, at www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com, is for parents, educators and caregivers and includes information on how to talk to children about drugs and how to identify signs of drug use. This site also provides DEA-produced drug prevention publications. The publications include “Drugs of Abuse,” “Growing up Drug Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention,” “Preventing Marijuana Use Among Youth” and fact cards about specific drugs. All publications are available free of charge, and copies can be requested through DEA.

Cathleen Drew is prevention program manager, community outreach and prevention support, Drug Enforcement Administration. She can be reached at cathleen.r.drew@usdoj.gov.