GEHS students design anti-drug curriculum

(Lewisburg) Students at Greenbrier East High School are fighting back against the drug epidemic in the state with a lesson plan, and that lesson plan is going places.

It’s the game of life but with a dark twist: Instead of buying fake beach houses or becoming a firefighter, this new game of life applies opioid abuse statistics from West Virginia. Kelly Hanson one of the game’s creators and a student at Greenbrier East High School explains saying, “Putting the kid’s lives into real perspective and what could actually go wrong and anyone can become addicted.” Another of the game’s creators and a student at Greenbrier East High School Kylie Thomson elaborates saying, “We have some students who might experience an overdose. We have some students who might isolate themselves. Some students accidentally become addicted after a car accident. Some students may actually become addicted from their own choice to use the drug in the first place.”

The game is part of a curriculum designed to curb the opioid epidemic, and it was created by a group of Greenbrier East High School students including Brett Napier. He said, “People around the age of 21 to 25 are the leading abusers of opioids and we realized that we kind of fall into the age range of the group right before that category. So we thought it was important if we could get information to people right before they abused opioids then we could help prevent the issue.”

Hanson explained that the curriculum was customized for a young audience ages 12 to 18 saying, “We created it with games and visuals and hands on learning so that people our age would want to learn that way.”

The engaging curriculum is taking off. The students will present their lesson plans to the West Virginia Board of Education for a potential statewide roll out. But to students that live among the loss caused by the drug epidemic, the biggest reward is just having a hand in solving the problem. Another of the game’s creators and a student at Greenbrier East High School Molli Baker said, “Because you see so many people that you go to school with or your friends and family that are so affected by this epidemic that you want to stop it. Or you can’t stop it but do your best to do what you can.”

Those students will also be presenting their anti-drug curriculum at a National Health Occupation Students of America Medical Reserve Corp conference in Orlando in June after winning first place in the state competition.

Haley Brown

Haley Brown

Multimedia Journalist

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