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Opioid awareness curriculum coming to Coweta County schools

  • By Sarah Fay Campbell
  • |
  • Jan. 03, 2019 - 11:14 PM

Coweta high school students will be taught a new curriculum about the dangers of heroin and prescription painkillers in their health classes. 

The rollout of the opioid curriculum is a project of the Coweta Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. The curriculum, which consists of eight modules, is Hazelden’s “Heroin and Prescription Painkillers."

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation operates addiction treatment facilities in multiple states and publishes books and addiction resources. 

Work to get the curriculum into local schools began last spring. 

The lead health teachers at each high school reviewed the curriculum, said Evan Horton, director of student services for the Coweta County School System. 

“They all liked it,” Horton said. 

The curriculum and the roll-out plan were approved a few months ago by the Coweta County Board of Education, and health teachers have been trained on it. 

Teachers are able to fit the new modules in with their existing health curriculum as they see fit, Horton said. The health curriculum already includes alcohol and drug awareness education, and the new modules fit right in, Horton said. 

The new curriculum won’t replace the existing one, but will supplement it, Horton said. 

“I think it’s a natural addition to what they have already been doing, especially with the prevalence of the opioid epidemic that we are faced with across the nation,” he said. 

All Coweta high school students must take one semester of health and personal fitness to graduate. The class is typically taken by ninth-graders, according to Horton. 

The class is usually split into half a semester of health classes, which includes healthy living, healthy eating and drug and alcohol awareness, and half semester of personal fitness, Horton said. 

Members of the Coweta Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition’s curriculum team will help with implementation if needed. 

Students will take a pretest before the curriculum is taught, and a post-test afterwards, to measure what they’ve learned. 

Health teachers will be given the go ahead to start teaching the curriculum by Friday or early next week, according to Horton.

Each of the eight modules could be taught on a different day, or teachers could theoretically double up and teach two modules in a day. 

“It’s totally up to the teacher how they want to do it,” Horton said. “I think it’s a great addition to what we’re already doing and the feedback from the teachers was very positive – they seem really excited about it.”