Today EVERFI, a leading social impact education innovator, released the findings from a new study evaluating the efficacy of its high school Prescription Drug Safety curriculum. The digital curriculum showed a positive and lasting impact on behavioral intent and attitude as it relates to prescription drug use. The study affirms signs of continued impact on students more than 30 days following course completion. The research was conducted by Lynch Research Associates, and the accompanying manuscript can be found in the online and print versions of the peer-reviewed journal Child and Youth Care Forum.
Prescription drug misuse among youth aged 12-18 remains high in the United States with a 500 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths among 15-24-year-old adolescents between 1999-2020, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As such, public health experts and medical providers have been increasingly calling for effective, evidence-based prescription drug misuse prevention and intervention programming that reaches large numbers of youth who may be exposed to opportunities to engage in non-medical prescription drug use. Further, according to the National Association of State Boards of Education, nearly all states and territories in the U.S. have policies regarding alcohol and drug use/abuse instruction, either as a stand-alone topic or as part of health education.
“Based on our study of the Prescription Drug Safety program, the data offers strong evidence that EVERFI’s digital curriculum is effective in promoting prescription drug safety skills in schools,” said Alicia Lynch, Ph.D., CEO and founder, Lynch Research Associates, LLC. “We were also pleased to see that the impact of this study was consistent across all gender, race, and other demographic characteristics. We are optimistic about the findings and hope it continues conversations about the need for prescription drug safety education among all students.”
Participants in the prescription drug safety study included 94 middle and high school teachers and their students in grades 8-12. Using a quasi-experimental design, participants were assigned to experimental or control conditions. Using a pre/post survey design, the study examined whether the curriculum promoted growth in five key student outcomes: Personal Responsibility, Social Norms, Knowledge, Future Actions, and Refusal Skills.
Compared to a control group of students, key findings among students who took EVERFI’s Prescription Drug Safety curriculum include:
Significant growth in personal responsibility for helping to prevent prescription drug abuse or misuse with others in their community
More accurate perceptions of social norms for prescription drug abuse, misuse or refusal among peers
Increased knowledge of prescription drug-related topics including addiction, safe use of prescriptions and refusal skills
Lower likelihood of engaging in future actions related to prescription drug abuse or misuse
Improved refusal skills for rejecting offers of prescription drugs in situations
Additionally, the study examined whether growth in student outcomes would be maintained one month after completing the Prescription Drug Safety curriculum and results provided evidence for retention in Personal Responsibility, Social Norms, and Knowledge growth.
“We’re very pleased with the results of the study that proves EVERFI’s curriculum is effective and has the ability to change student attitudes and intended behaviors,” said Dan Zapp, Ph.D., senior director, Research, EVERFI. “Prescription drug misuse is often a stepping stone that leads to the use of other illicit drugs, many of which are now laced with fentanyl, which is driving a current epidemic of drug-related overdoses and deaths. Empowering students with substance misuse prevention education at an early age can help the next generation stop prescription and illegal drug misuse, and potentially save lives.”
In recent years, technology-based curricula have emerged as effective, lower-cost tools in the prevention landscape, particularly among youth (Marsch & Brodovsky, 2017). In comparison to traditional school- and community-based programs, technology-based intervention programs – which are easier to implement, more interactive and engaging, and more cost-effective – have been shown to be more appealing to youth and educators.
Prescription Drug Safety is an innovative digital course available at no cost to schools that focuses on high school prescription drug misuse and abuse prevention. The curriculum has been used in more than 6,000 schools across the country since 2018, reaching nearly one million students. Through interactive scenarios and self-guided activities, students learn about a range of topics, including the science of substance use disorder, medication safety tips, and how to intervene when faced with a situation involving drug misuse. The goal of the program is to arm students with the knowledge and tools to make healthy, informed decisions.
EVERFI from Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) is an international technology company driving social impact through education to address the most challenging issues affecting society ranging from financial wellness to mental health to workplace conduct and other critical topics. Founded in 2008, EVERFI’s Impact-as-a-ServiceTM solution and digital educational content have reached more than 45 million learners globally. In 2020, the company was recognized as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company and was featured on Fortune Magazine’s Impact 20 List. The company was also named to the 2021 GSV EdTech 150, a list of the most transformative growth companies in digital learning. Blackbaud, the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good, acquired EVERFI in December of 2021. To learn more about EVERFI, please visit everfi.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter @EVERFI.
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