Fighting opioid addiction through education in local schools

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FILE – This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of Oxycodone pills in New York. A new study shoots down the notion that medical marijuana laws can prevent opioid overdose deaths. Chelsea Shover of Stanford University School of Medicine and colleagues reported the findings Monday, June 10, in Proceedings of the National Academy […]

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Opioid addiction is a widespread problem across the country, including right here in the Capital Region. CDPHP is doings its part to try to address the epidemic by teaming up with the Addictions Care Center of Albany to teach prevention programs to local students.

CDPHP says an average of 91 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses. In an effort to prevent more deaths, the company’s foundation is teaming up with Addictions Care Center of Albany to expand school-based drug prevention programs in several surrounding counties. The program, called An Apple A Day, has already been implemented in Albany. It will now be taught to elementary students at Averill Park.

Jennifer Vitkus, from the Addiction Care Center of Albany, says the program starts small, teaching students in Kindergarten and first grade about nicotine and smoking. As the students grow older, the program advances, using age-appropriate language.

“As they grow into second, 3rd and 4th grade students, we will start to introduce prescription drugs, a little bit more about what prescription drugs are and how if a person abuses them, how that can turn into what that word addiction is,” said Vitkus.

The Averill Park School District is the first in Rensselaer County to implement the program, but partners say they would like to see the program used in more school districts in the future.

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