Teens Called on to Tackle Opioid Crisis Through Nationwide Peer-to-Peer Video Competition

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Discovery Education Invite Teens to Create Original Public Service Announcements on the Dangers of Opioid Misuse for Chance to Win up to a $10,000 Scholarship and Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the DEA Training Academy at Quantico

Washington, D.C. and Silver Spring, MD (December 12, 2016) – Prescription opioid misuse has reached epidemic levels ― with hospitalizations spiking among children and teens for opioid painkiller overdoses in recent years.[i]  That’s why the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), DEA Educational Foundation and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, are launching the Operation Prevention Video Challenge that gives students the power to send a message to their peers about the dangers of opioid misuse.

For the first time, the Operation Prevention Video Challenge invites teens across the country to create a unique 30-60 second public service announcement, aimed to reach other teens about this widespread issue. The question: “If your friends were going to watch ONE video that made them think twice about misusing prescription opioids, what would that video be?”

The challenge is part of a joint nationwide education initiative called Operation Prevention that educates students about the science behind addiction and its impact on the brain and body. Available at no cost, the program’s resources help initiate lifesaving conversations in the home and classroom.

“The video challenge is a great way for students to be creative and to reach their peers,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.  “They can illustrate the science of addiction and the effect opioids have on the brain and body to their friends ― and be seen and heard in ways that adults cannot ― and help tackle this epidemic.”

A panel of judges from Discovery Education and the DEA, as well as community leaders, educators, and communications experts, will select the winners for three DEA Educational Foundation scholarships. The grand prize winner will receive $10,000, the second place winner will receive $5,000, and the third place winner will receive $1,000. 

One People’s Choice winner will also be selected through public vote in April 2017 and will win a trip provided by the DEA for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of DEA agent training at the DEA’s Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Winning PSAs will also be featured on-air and across DEA’s digital and social media platforms.

Students must be at least 13-years-old and enrolled in 9th through 12th grade. Video entries will be evaluated based on their creativity, content, persuasiveness and overall effective communication. Noviolent, dangerous, or illegal behavior in creating the Entry Video is allowed. Teens can register and submit their entries today through March 28, 2017 at  https://www.operationprevention.com/video-challenge.

“Through our important grassroots programs, The DEA Educational Foundation has seen time and time again the power of peer-to-peer messaging and influence. We believe the video contest will not only bring to light the serious topic of the opioid epidemic in our communities, but will also help educate youth about the dangers of these drugs through the teen voice; one in which they will strongly relate,” said Bill Alden, Chairman and CEO of the DEA Educational Foundation. “We are thrilled to do our part in supporting America’s youth in bringing them critical and timely information and by helping them to make positive and healthy decisions ultimately leading to successful and fulfilling lives.”

“We know what a powerful voice young people have as influencers in their friends lives,” said Lori McFarling, Senior Vice President, Discovery Education. “The DEA recognizes this fact and we are proud to join them in the effort to engage students in this critical conversation. The Operation Prevention Video Challenge empowers teens to use their digital storytelling skills to make a difference in the midst of a national crisis, and perhaps even save a life.”

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[i] The journal JAMA Pediatrics

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