2019 Operation Prevention Winners
The DEA Educational Foundation continues to sponsor Operation Prevention. Operation Prevention is a collaboration between DEA and Discovery Education to combat the growing epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and heroin use nationwide.
Operation Prevention's mission is to educate students about the true impacts of opioids and kick-start lifesaving conversations in the home and classroom. Since its launch, Operation Prevention has reached over two million students nationwide. One component of the program is a challenge for 9th through 12th grade students across the country to make a 30-60 second Public Service Announcement (PSA) video about the dangers of opioids. Hundreds of students nationwide competed in the video challenge using their skills and talents to spread the word about drug abuse utilizing peer-to-peer messaging.
In May 2019, the Coffee County High School held an end of the year assembly and awards ceremony for all graduating students. Various scholarships were awarded to those outstanding students in several areas of education. DEA Resident Agent in Charge McGarry and Colleen Whelan of the DEA EF were invited as special guests that day to "surprise" the first place winners of the Operation Prevention Video Challenge. DEA Resident Agent in Charge John McGarry of the Chattanooga Office spoke to the students about the importance of living drug free, the impact of opioid drug abuse throughout the Tennessee area, and the importance of pursuing their dreams. DEA EF Program Coordinator Colleen Whelan then announced the winners and presented a $10,000 check congratulating them for their success in placing “first” throughout the nation.
The Operation Prevention Video Challenge second place winner was Aria Kydd from Worchester, Massachusetts for her video “Think Again.” A $5,000 check was presented to Aria by DEA Educational Foundation Treasurer Dan Staffieri who was joined by DEA New England SAC Brian Boyle and his staff. The third place winner was Jake Sandvik from Cody, Wyoming for his video “Wanna.” DEA Denver Field Division Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mike Webster, Acting Diversion Program Manager Daniel McCormick, and DEA Wyoming Resident Agent in Charge David Tyree visited Jake at his school and presented him with a check for $1,000 from the DEA Educational Foundation.
The DEA Educational Foundation congratulates all the winners and contestants for their outstanding creativity and talent. All of the submissions were genuinely passionate about the importance of being aware of drug abuse and the message sent in the hopes of reaching the youth of our country.
Experts agree that peer-to-peer messaging on social media is critical to reaching our youth. Hundreds of Operation Prevention Video Challenge PSA submissions have been posted on YouTube. You can view the 2019 winning videos on the Operation Prevention website.