Pharos-Tribune

December 24, 2013

Teaching students the cost of drug abuse

Pilot program aimed at middle-schoolers.

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune
Pharos-Tribune

---- — FLORA — A new curriculum at Carroll Consolidated School Corp. will teach students about the high cost of substance abuse.

Dubbed “It’s Party Time,” the seven-session drug and alcohol prevention curriculum will be taught by Rich Ferguson, the corporation student resource officer. The program was made possible through a grant from Drug Free Carroll County. The curriculum is just under $2,000, Ferguson said.

At its most recent meeting, the Carroll School Board passed the curriculum to be added to the health class curriculum for a pilot program next semester.

A pilot group of 30 eighth-grade students will use the curriculum in health class next semester, Ferguson said.

The program is similar to Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., in that it teaches about dangers, but the focus will be on the high cost and consequences of substance abuse, said Chris Lagoni, superintendent at Carroll Consolidated School Corp.

Students will use a “It’s Party Time” board game to see the financial, social and health consequences of using tobacco, drugs and alcohol. The pilot group will be split into six teams and assigned a drug choice of methamphetamine, prescription pills, alcohol, marijuana, tobacco or a non-user, Ferguson said.

The aim of the curriculum is to promote an anti-drug lifestyle. School administrators will also be able to see how effective the program is through a pre-test and post-test.

Along with being able to measure the test results, the program is important because there aren’t a lot of programs geared specifically toward middle school kids, Ferguson said.

The conversation also continues outside the classroom and into the home. Parents are given a DVD to go along with the curriculum and help answer questions their children might have.

”We hope it raises awareness, without just saying [substance abuse] is bad,” Lagoni said. “It has a real cost and we want to help students understand the pain is real and hurts them and their family.”

Having worked with students for more than 20 years, Ferguson is excited to see the curriculum put to use.

Students will be able to understand addiction and how it works.

“I’m anxious for it to begin,” Ferguson said. “This is something kids will have fun with and learn something at the same time.”

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or amie.sites@pharostribune.com. Follow her: @PharosAES.