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Opioid Misuse Prevention among Rural Adolescents

The word prevention highlighted

Latest Update:

Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, the Center partnered with Dr. Laura Widman (Associate Professor of Psychology, CFACE Faculty Partner) and her Teen Health Lab to deliver an opioid misuse prevention program to early adolescents living in a rural county in North Carolina. They worked with middle schools to make this program available to all 7th grade students in the county, during regular class instruction time. Quantitative data from 686 middle school students was gathered over the course of the year. After participating in the program, students self-reported higher knowledge of opioid misuse and self-efficacy to avoid opioid misuse, as well as safer attitudes towards opioids. However, there was no change in intentions to misuse prescription opioids.

 What’s Next:

Now, we are interviewing key community stakeholders—school principals, teachers, and parents—to better understand how opioid misuse prevention efforts can be strengthened. Our preliminary findings suggest, stakeholders are excited about the school-based program but believe that it should be delivered in earlier grades (5th and 6th). In addition, parents have expressed interest in organizing a ‘parent night’ where families have the opportunity to learn more about how the opioid crisis affects teens and what they can do to communicate with and support their own children. In the coming months, we plan to continue interviewing community members and, eventually, share our findings with members of the county school board. In collaboration with community members, we look forward to continuing opioid misuse prevention efforts in the county and perhaps holding community-wide events, such as a ‘parent night.’

For more information on this project, contact Reina Evans at