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Drug abuse prevention program expands in Indiana schools

A pilot program that teaches high-school students the proper way to use prescription drugs and how to fight against the use of illegal drugs will be expanded into 18 more counties in the US state of Indiana. The 45-minute computer-based program, called the Prescription Drug Safety Network, will be available to students during the school day, usually as part of the health studies curriculum. The program is currently available in 15 schools in Marion County.

Walmart, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, and North Central Health Systems are underwriting the cost of the program. Each of the participating counties will receive $20,000 (£15,600) a year for the next three years to implement the program.

School officials said that the course complies with both the state’s academic standards and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Education Standards.

Education technology company, EVERFI, developed the course, which uses strategies to help students improve their attitudes, behaviours, and readiness to make safe decisions about avoiding drug addiction and abuse. Results from the pilot program in Marion County showed that 49% of the students who participated in the course showed an increase in knowledge about drug abuse prevention based on pre- and post-course assessments. An estimated 17% of high school students in Indiana have abused prescription drugs. State Attorney General, Curtis Hill, said that the average age of a person dying from a drug overdose in Indiana was 19 and that the computer-based program in high-school could be a “literal lifesaver.”

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