Launched in 2016, Operation Prevention was developed to combat the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic by educating students and kick-starting life-saving conversations at a young age about these substances’ harmful effects. This partnership aims to put a spotlight on hidden issues that may not be visible to parents and teens.
By increasing the visibility of this widespread problem, DEA and Discovery Education hope to bring a more personalized and meaningful approach to spreading awareness in and out of the classroom. Together, these organizations will continue seeking opportunities to educate America’s youth and raise awareness about the opioid crisis.
The annual Video Challenge invites teens across the U.S. to submit 30-60 second video public service announcements that capture their unique voice in communicating the opioid epidemic as a national crisis. First-place winners earn a $10,000 prize, second place gets $5,000 and third receives $1,000. Recipients of the People’s Choice award are given a trip to Quantico, VA for an exclusive tour of DEA training.
Elementary school lesson
- Students follow medication on a path through the body to investigate how they make us feel better with responsible use.
Middle school lessons
Our Brain and Body on Opioids
- Students examine how drug use alters the mind and body and reinforces their understanding by creating a peer-to-peer social media campaign.
Is our Community Influenced by the Opioid Epidemic?
- Students examine why people turn to opioids and act as investigative reporters to consider the who, what, when, where, why, and how of opioid use and misuse
High school lessons
The Signs. The Symptoms. The Science
- Through investigation and hands-on activities, students learn the science behind prescription opioid and heroin addiction, overdose, and withdrawal.
Reporting on a Public Health Crisis: Opioids in the Community
- Students investigate how the opioid epidemic impacts their community acting as investigative reporters to investigate the who, what, when, where, why, and how of opioid use and misuse
- Students become scientists in this powerful digital learning experience. Investigate the science of addiction and the impacts of heroin and prescription opioids on the brain and body through a self-paced scientific exploration.
Archived Virtual Field Trips
- The Science Behind Opioid Addiction Virtual Field Trip explores the science of addiction to help middle and high school students understand how prescription drugs and heroin affect the brain and body. Students got the unfiltered facts about drugs and addiction and had their questions answered by leading experts, including DEA agents and pharmacologists.
- On the Frontlines of the Opioid Epidemic: A Community Fighting Back Virtual Field Trip visited Huntington, WV — a typical American community that has been greatly impacted by the opioid epidemic — to hear the powerful personal stories from the bravest teens and change makers in the city. Students learn how opioids have affected their lives, how they are improving the city now, and ways your students could make a positive impact on their own communities.
- Opioids: Real People. Real Stories. Real Science: Students may dream of being a pro athlete, a scientist, or just making good grades. No one dreams of becoming addicted to drugs, but American students’ dreams are being derailed by opioids. No matter how it begins, recovery from addiction is a struggle. Give middle and high school students the information they need about how addiction can start in this virtual field trip. Students will meet:
- Two retired professional athletes who understand the pressure to play through pain now focus their efforts on giving alternative pain management options to young athletes.
- A musician who played at Carnegie Hall before becoming addicted supports musicians who are in recovery.
- Three generations affected by opioid addiction who define the far-reaching impact of this crisis.
Annual Video Challenge
- Invites teens to submit a 30-60 second video PSA targeting their peers to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid addiction.
Since the program’s launch:
- Content has been used in classrooms reaching over 4M students
- Significant engagement on social media channels with 300M+ social impressions
- We successfully launched our 3rd virtual field trip in the Fall of 2018, with 200,000+ estimated live virtual field trip viewers (plus thousands more who have viewed via our on-demand archive.)
A high school teacher who wrote to Mike Bryant (our VFT host) through the Discovery Educator Network:
- "At the end of the #VFT, I had my students spread out and anonymously write to me about their exposure and experiences with drugs. All but one has seen them; seen them sold, know where they are stashed, could name names, and two had even been offered them… we really are #savinglivestogether."
Mr. Tim Phillips, Director of the Westmoreland County Drug Overdose Task Force, commented on how Norwin Middle School in North Huntingdon, PA plans to use the program in their classrooms starting in 2017. (He himself has been clean since 1988 in his personal struggles with drug abuse).
- “Every life needs to be saved. Every overdose is preventable,” Mr. Phillips said, noting that he himself has been “clean” since 1988 in his personal struggles with drug abuse.
- “I see Operation Prevention as being a great thing for this community.
- We have a treatable disease here, and we need to work together to change the stigma.”