New Curriculum Offered to Teach Opioid Risks to Middle School Students

For Release

September 24, 2018

A new and free science-based curriculum designed to teach adolescents about the risks of opioids has been released by Project ALERT, a national evidence-based drug education program created and managed by the nonprofit RAND Corporation.

The curriculum is available for download from the Project ALERT website at The opioid risk curriculum is part of the 14 lesson plans offered as a part of Project ALERT, which is intended for middle school students.

“As the nation works to address the opioid epidemic, there is a need for high-quality materials that can help educators teach young people about the risks of prescription opioid misuse and heroin,” said Eric Pedersen, director of Project ALERT and a senior behavioral scientist at RAND. “This Project ALERT lesson has the advantage of being free to users and part of a program demonstrated to prevent drug and alcohol use during middle school.”

The opioid curriculum includes a student-involved lecture, roleplays, homework to review with parents, and informational handouts. Developed over 18 months, the lesson was pilot tested in several classrooms in the spring of 2018 to obtain facilitator, student, and teacher feedback.

The effectiveness of Project ALERT has been demonstrated by randomized controlled trials and is used by more than 4,000 schools across the United States.

RAND Health is the nation's largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on health care costs, quality and public health preparedness, among other topics.

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