It’s a cliché but it’s true…you should talk to your children “early and often” about the dangers of addiction and drug abuse, but should it begin as early as kindergarten?
As The Fix reports, there is indeed a drug program that is speaking out to kindergarten kids in Ohio called HOPE. It’s not strictly for kindergarten kids, it goes all the way up to the 12th grade, but it indeed starts at a very early age.
HOPE stands for Health and Opioid Abuse Prevention Education, and with the opioid crisis being one of the worst addiction problems to hit America in years, perhaps starting as early as possible could help scare kids away from drugs in the future. As The Fix continues, in Ohio, where this program launched, has the second highest number of overdose deaths in the country.
Where schools often have speakers talking to kids about drugs, a lot of schools don’t educate kids about opioids. HOPE also explains to kids that if their parents are suffering from addiction, it doesn’t make them bad people, and they can go to others for help. As one HOPE teacher explains, “We want our kids to know they are not alone. We want them to know that we really are a safe place. Your parents didn’t make a good decision. You are still going to be okay.”
Kevin Lorson, who developed HOPE, is still pushing to get it in more schools. As he explains, “I don’t know if HOPE is the magic bullet. But the focus on these key concept and skills has given folks a place to rally around.”