Preventing Overdoses in Youth: The Case for Supplying Schools with Naloxone

September 1, 2017

Drug overdose has become a leading cause of accidental death in the United States. As the opioid epidemic devastates communities across the country, adolescents are being increasingly exposed to opioids. This upsetting trend has not shown signs of slowing, as teen and young adult overdose death rates have steadily increased since 1999.

A 2014 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) survey reported that almost half a million teens and 1.2 million young adults abused opioids and heroin during that year. In addition, a 2015 National Institutes of Health (NIH) study on drug abuse revealed that opioid abuse is the #1 cause of overdose death for 15-24 year olds and heroin abuse is the #4 cause of overdose death for the same age group after prescription and illicit drug abuse. This study also showed that teens and young adults are more than 4 times more likely to overdose on opioids today than they were 18 years ago.  

Due to these data and several incidents of drug overdose deaths in schools around the country, some school districts have begun to require school nurse facilities to be stocked with naloxone. Naloxone is an antidote that can treat narcotic overdose in emergency situations by quickly blocking opioid receptors. Many school officials, school nurses, and local politicians believe that supplying schools with the life-saving drug will give students another chance.1naloxone-kit.jpg

There has been opposition to the use of naloxone because of its cost and for fear that it will encourage more drug use; however, organizations such as the President’s Opioid Commission and The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) support making naloxone more available. NASN recognizes the responsibility school nurses have for protecting students and therefore determined that naloxone should be included in schools’ emergency preparedness response plans. NASN released a position statement emphasizing that “harm reduction approaches to [opioid pain reliever] overdose include expanding access to naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote, which can prevent overdose deaths by reversing life-threatening respiratory depression.” NASN’s rationale is based on the SAMHSA five strategic approaches to prevent overdose death:

  1. Call for help
  2. Check for signs of opioid overdose
  3. Support the person’s breathing
  4. Administer naloxone
  5. Monitor the person’s response

The NASN position statement concludes by stating the importance of preventing adolescents from ever abusing opioids.

National Health Promotion Associates, the creators of Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) (an evidence-based prevention program used in schools and communities around the world) has created a Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Module for the LST Middle School program. A study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) showed that the LST Middle School program delivered in 7th grade classrooms helped students avoid abusing prescriptions, opioids, and other drugs throughout their teen years. This new module can be used as a standalone module or as part of the LST Middle School program.

Contributing Writer: Alexandrea Adams is a senior at Dartmouth College studying Biology and Public Policy. She is currently interning at National Health Promotion Associates.




New Prescription Drug Module to Help Shield Teens from Opioid Crisis

August 25, 2017

Schools and communities are searching for new tools to combat the prescription drug and opioid crisis, now regarded as a national emergency. National Health Promotion Associates (NHPA), the researchers behind Botvin LifeSkills Training, have risen to the challenge of helping youth avoid the dangers of prescription drug or opioid misuse/abuse and are excited to announce the release of a Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Module.


The new LST Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Module gives teens the skills and knowledge necessary to help them avoid the misuse/abuse of opioids and prescription drugs.   It will be available in a variety of formats that will allow for both online and classroom delivery. The new module is ideal for school districts, community-based organizations, and agencies serving students ages 11 – 14.    The module is flexible enough to enhance the award-winning Botvin LifeSkills Trainingprogram or to be integrated into existing prevention programming.

The new module is designed to further enhance the effectiveness of the LST Middle School program, which has been proven to reduce opioid and prescription drug misuse.   A study funded by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) showed that the LST Middle School program delivered in 7th grade classrooms helped students avoid misusing/abusing prescriptions opioids and other drugs throughout their teen years. NHPA researchers say that the addition of this new module will reinforce the already effective LST program.

“NHPA is a leader in quality, effective evidence-based prevention education.  While our core Middle School program already has evidence demonstrating its effectiveness in reducing opioid and prescription drug misuse and abuse, the addition of this new module will help to specifically address the epidemic facing our nation.   The LST program has been tested through more than 30 years of rigorous scientific research and has identified prevention approaches that are effective, produce lasting results, and can save taxpayers a good deal of money,” said Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, professor emeritus at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College and developer of the LST program. “Let’s stop prescription opioid abuse before it begins. Now is the time to unleash the power of prevention.”

More than 35 federally funded studies have demonstrated that LST protects teens against tobacco, alcohol, substance use, and other problem behaviors such as delinquency and violence. According to a 2013 report on the economic benefit of evidence-based prevention programs, LST produced a $38 benefit for every $1 invested in terms of reduced corrections costs, welfare and social services burden, drug and mental health treatment; and increased employment and tax revenue. LST had the highest return on investment of all substance abuse prevention curricula studied.

About Botvin LifeSkills Training
Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is a highly acclaimed, evidence-based substance abuse and violence prevention program used in schools and communities. LST has been extensively tested and proven to reduce tobacco, alcohol, opioid, and illicit drug use by as much as 80%. Long-term follow-up studies also show that it produces prevention effects that are durable and long-lasting.  Visit for more information.

Utah’s Opioid Crisis Took Center Stage at Ogden Summit

December 30, 2016

The data surrounding prescription opioid abuse in Utah is staggering.

The Beehive State was fourth in the nation for prescription opioid overdose deaths between 2012 and 2014, according to the Utah Department of Health. In 2014, an average of 24 Utah adults died every month as a result of prescription opioid overdoses.

Drug poisoning is the leading cause of death in Utah — more deadly than falls, car crashes and gun deaths.rx

And to compound things, there are more than 7,000 opioid prescriptions filled in Utah every day, and physical dependence on those prescriptions can occur within seven days of use.

The Weber County-sponsored Utah Prevention Summit, held at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center, highlighted substance abuse prevention services in Utah and included a presentation on the state’s opioid crisis.

Friday’s summit also featured presentations from East Coast substance abuse experts Dr. Gil Botvin and Kat Allen.

Dr. Botvin is the developer of a student tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse prevention program called Life Skills Training. He spoke Friday about the importance of rigorously tested, evidence-based prevention programs.

Botvin said it’s necessary to go beyond just teaching information and principles about the dangers of drug abuse. He says students must learn skills related to resisting social pressure, developing self-confidence, coping with stress and anxiety, and increasing knowledge of the immediate consequences of substance abuse.

Delaware to Launch Addiction Prevention Campaign in 2017

December 28, 2016

Drugs EcstacyDelaware ranks No. 1 for the rate at which doctors prescribe high-dose opioids compared to the rest of the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s a statistic that is both alarming to state officials and indicative of a larger problem in Delaware, where more than 100 people continue to die of drug overdoses each year.

It’s also one of the many reasons the state Division of Public Health will launch a $250,000 educational community outreach campaign in early 2017 aimed at prescribers, residents and the community at large to fight opioid addiction on the front lines.

The state Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, which the Division of Public Health works closely with, will also use just over $2 million per year for the next two years in federal grants to work on primary prevention and education regarding the misuse of prescription drugs, according to the state.

Drug overdose deaths have continued to grow, and experts openly denounce “scared straight” tactics often used in this programming. The state is actively reviewing “LifeSkills Training,” a school-based program delivered over 3 years that is considered an evidence-based approach to educating and preventing addiction. The program was also cited in the Surgeon General’s report released last month.

This education is imperative, as 90 Delawareans have died of fentanyl overdoses in the first nine months of the year. That doesn’t include the numerous others who have died of fatal heroin overdoses and the hundreds who have been jailed for dealing and using drugs.

More Information: Read full article

Senate Passes Legislation to Reauthorize STOP Act, Provide $1 Billion for Combating Opioid Crisis

December 8, 2016

The U.S. Senate has just voted in an overwhelming fashion to pass the 21 st Century Cures Act, a landmark piece of legislation that includes a reauthorization of the Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking (STOP) Act and provides $1 billion over two years for grants to states to tackle the opioid crisis in a comprehensive manner that includes prevention strategies. The bill will now go to the President’s desk, where he has already indicated that he will sign it into law.

The 21 st Century Cures Act includes $1 billion over two years for grants to States to tackle the opioid crisis in a comprehensive manner that specifically includes prevention, treatment, Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP), and prescriber training. Prevention is a necessary and critical component of any comprehensive response to the opioids crisis, and these grants will be immensely helpful for States to tackle their local overdose emergencies.

Schools Ramping Up Opioid Abuse Program – WSJ

December 2, 2016

Many U.S. schools are ramping up campaigns to prevent opioid abuse among students as evidence mounts of a growing problem.

In some regions, schools are teaching a substance-abuse-prevention program developed at Cornell University to students as young as fourth grade.

Dr. Botvin Keynotes International Congress in Barcelona

November 29, 2016

Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin delivered the keynote address at the 2nd International Congress of Clinical and Health Psychology on Children and Adolescents on November 17, 2016, in Barcelona. More than 700 participants from 50 countries gathered for the scientific meeting hosted by AITANA, a research group from the Department of Health Psychology at Miguel Hernández University in Elche, Spain.


Clinical and health psychologists from all over the world learned what makes the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program the top-rated prevention program in the United States.  Dr. Botvin, professor emeritus at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College, is an internationally renowned prevention expert and developer of the highly acclaimed LST substance abuse and violence prevention program.

In his keynote, Dr. Botvin described the LST prevention approach, explained its theory, and summarized over 30 years of rigorous research documenting its effectiveness. He also discussed the unique benefits of LST as a method for preventing multiple problems—such as alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug abuse, as well as opioid misuse, violence, and delinquency—using a single prevention approach.  The centerpiece of the LST strategy is a curriculum designed to be taught by classroom teachers, health educators, prevention specialists, or student peer leaders.

“It was a great honor and privilege to visit Barcelona and participate in a conference committed to improving the health and well-being of the world youth,” said Dr. Botvin. “I also want to commend AITANA for their support of the conference and dedication to life skills education.”

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