You want to bring greater awareness of fentapills to your school? Fantastic!
This is such an important topic to bring to our schools. If you are able to convince your school district to embrace this education, your effort will save lives!
Why is it difficult to get school districts to embrace fake pill education?
Most people, including school administrators, don’t have a good understanding of how the combination of fentapills and social media is leading to a dramatic increase of drug deaths in teenagers today. Most administrators assume their district’s current drug education is sufficient and schools typically don’t have big budgets for last minute programs that take a lot of resources. When you combine these obstacles, you can see why your school district’s default response may not be what you’re looking for.
We believe educating school-aged kids about fake pills needs to be a priority, so we have created some resources for you. We are here to help.
Do your homework to ensure you fully understand the issue of fentapills and your school district’s current drug education curriculum.
Connecting with the right people in the community can be the difference between a yes and a no. Find people within the school district who can support you, and find out who the key decision makers are.
Identify What You Need
Do you want them to host a community conversation? As you asking them to change the curriculum? Are you hoping for an awareness campaign? Be specific with your request, but also remain flexible if they have thoughts on what might work best within their limitations.
Writing an email to the key decision maker in the school district, and be ready to follow up. If you are successful and your school district decides to take action, be prepared to answer questions, and support your district if they do decide to take action.
Create a Fake Pill Presentation
Use a Sample Presentation for Students
We understand it can be difficult creating your own fake pill awareness presentation from scratch. So, we have created a presentation template free for all to use. This presentation template is intended to be a tool for people interested in educating students about fentanyl/fake pills and is best paired with in-classroom lessons when possible.
Download Sample Presentation
Customize Your Presentation
- The slides in this presentation template can be used as is, or combined with other presentation material. User has permission to delete or change the order of the slides in this presentation.
- The content of each individual slide should not be changed, including the SFC logo and copyright information. If slides are added, the SFC logo/copyright should not be added to the new slides.
- Refer to the ‘Notes’ view of this PowerPoint presentation to see comments for each slide, and some interesting supporting statistics.
- Go to The New Drug Talk Learning Materials for additional videos that can be used for presentations.
Make sure you have a good understanding of the fake pill/fentanyl landscape and be ready to answer questions.
Watch the SFC video (or others if they are available) to see what a high school presentation could look like. Note, the presentation video above uses a slightly different deck of slides than the presentation provided on this website. The slides were changed/improved based on learnings from presentations to middle/high schools.
Plan to keep it short—we recommend HS presentations to be 20-25 minutes, with some time at the end for Q&As.
- In a large group presentation, it is best to keep the slides simple in order to ensure your main message gets across and to maintain the interest of your audience.
- Mix presentation, video, & activities if possible. If there is an opportunity to follow-up with small group discussions or do other activities, do so!
- Start with the punchline— then share information and repeat the main message you want kids to remember.
- Pictures of actual young victims of fentanyl poisoning are impactful.
- If you are willing/able to, share your personal story.
- Include local data/statistics if possible so the audience understands that people are dying in their community.
- Drug education is complex and this should be part of your school’s overall approach focused on skills and habits, awareness, healthy environments and behaviors, etc. A single fear-based message won’t be likely to affect any long term outcomes. Give kids straight-forward information about fake pills/fentanyl at their level. Don’t just say ‘don’t do drugs’. Instead say ‘these drugs are not what you think they are’. Kids don’t want to be duped, ripped off, or lied to.
Practice, practice, practice!
Make sure you check out your digital equipment set up ahead of time, or have someone do it for you.
US Department of Education Webinars
The US Department of Education has worked to make schools aware of the need to educate their students and communities about the dangers of fentanyl through their involvement in several recent webinars.
- Preventing Youth Drug Use and Overdose: Strategies to Keep Students Alive and Healthy, May 31, 2023
- Lessons from the Field Webinar – Part 1: Knowing the Facts About Fentanyl | National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE), January 17, 2023
- Lessons from the Field Webinar – Part 2: Preventing and Addressing Fentanyl Use | National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE), February 8, 2023
Classroom Instruction Material
Research-based fentanyl awareness classroom lesson materials from several different curated, credible sources exist for FREE. These lessons can be used in conjunction with the current drug education and curriculum your district uses, or they can be modified to fit your needs.
Student Assemblies & Parent/Community Presentations
Student assemblies and parent presentations can be impactful ways to ensure large numbers of people are informed of the dangers of the fake prescription pills easily accessible online. If possible, we recommend finding someone who has been impacted by fake pills firsthand to talk to your students… affected parents or siblings, DEA agents, law enforcement, healthcare workers, counselors, etc. If you are looking for someone local to your area contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may be able to help. If you don’t have a local person’s testimony, you can still have a powerful student assembly by using one of the below impact stories and the centerpiece of your assembly.
Suggested agenda for student assembly:
- Personal Story – Testimonial by local family affected by fentanyl or select from one of the impact story videos.
- ‘Fentapills- You Need to Know’ (4 minutes)
- Natural High- Fentanyl PSA film (6 minutes)
- Cal’s Story
- Zach’s Story
- Charlie’s Story
- Wyatt’s Story
- Eli’s story
- Video of teens who have died of fentanyl poisoning (can be played as audience is entering room)
- Video of recent HS graduates who have died of fentanyl poisoning (can be played as audience is entering room)
- Today’s Drug Landscape- Presentation by local affected family member or law enforcement personnel to summarize what is going on with fake pills made of fentanyl being sold on social media. Resources for drug landscape presentation can be found here.
- Mental Health/School Counseling- Mental Health and Coping Update
The topics of drug use and drug deaths can be triggering to some people. We encourage schools to have counselors on hand in case any students are in need of counselors after the presentation.
Organizations may also want to provide parents training on the social media apps their kids are using and how to monitor their kids. Depending on timing, this may be best if presented in a separate forum from youth presentations.
Following is an example of a high school presentation:
Example of Presentations
Educate Classroom Teachers, Coaches & Administrators
Teachers, coaches and administrators have a big influence on students and students are more likely to internalize a message when they hear it repeatedly, so we encourage schools to integrate mental health, safe medicine use, fake pill, and substance use into their lesson plans and discussions whenever there is an opportunity. Normalizing discussions also help to remove stigmas around these topics and make it easier for kids to discuss them if they are having issues.
Following are some ideas of how these topics can be integrated into normal classroom discussions:
- Math/Science: create problems using statistics regarding teen mental health and substance use, brain research, ‘happiness chemicals’, science of addiction…
- Humanities: Initiate discussions regarding state & local news, historical drug and prohibition policies, narratives and literature about coping and mental health…
- Health/Coaches: Regularly discuss mental health as a component of overall health, trust/relationship with medical professionals and medicine, dangers of fake pills, where to ask for help…
The possibilities are endless… ask your teachers what they can do to incorporate these messages into their regular lessons.
Following are some good resources for teachers/coaches:
- The Coach’s Playbook Against Drugs (U.S. Department of Justice)
- Get Smart About Drugs- A DEA Resource for Parents, Educators & Caregivers
- Teachers: Classroom Resources on Drug Effect (NIDA)
- Mental Health First Aid Training form the National Council for Mental Wellbeing
Social Media Campaign
We encourage schools/districts to post warnings across their social media accounts, including those managed by students.
Social media content is available for free at: https://www.songforcharlie.org/social-media-content
Content can be freely pulled from Song for Charlie’s social media accounts and used on your own social media sites:
- Snapchat: Song for Charlie
- Instagram: song4charlie
- TikTok: songforcharlie
- Facebook/Meta: facebook.com/songforcharlie
- Twitter: @SongforCharlie
- YouTube: youtube.com/songforcharlie
- Pinterest: @songforcharlie
- Linkedin: Song for Charlie
Beaverton School District’s free Fake & Fatal social media campaign material can also be obtained by sending a request to email@example.com.
We encourage schools to display posters/flyers around the school and/or send them home in parent newsletters. Song for Charlie offers free posters/flyers/stickers, digital and for print, for anyone to use.
Posters made by students are also – students talking to students in their own language is one of the most effective ways to get through to school aged-kids.
Fentanyl Fight Club
Students talking to students about the dangers of fentanyl might be the most impactful method of getting this message across. Students in districts across the nation have taken action to raise awareness in their communities in the following ways:
- Redwood Bark, the Redwood High School (Larkspur, CA) student newspaper, featured a story “One pill can kill: Addiction, loss, and fentanyl” by Taylor Elliott and Keely Ganong. The article shared the stories of Trevor Leopold and Alex Movahedi, two former Redwood students who died of fentanyl poisoning.
- The student government class at Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom, CA listened to the testimony of parents who lost their son Zachary to fentanyl and planned an awareness campaign that included lawn signs, t-thirts, and more. Their campaign was featured on their local evening news.
- Students at Whitney High School (Rocklin, CA) interviewed parents of young fentanyl victims for broadcasting class.
- Students in many schools have created posters & yard signs to raise awareness. Post in bathroom stalls, hallways, school parking lots… wherever there are teens who need to know!
- We’re Fighting Fake Pills, an article in Scholastic Choices Magazine, features three youth who are spreading awareness in their communities.
- A group of students wrote a play for their drama club to perform.
The possibilities are endless. Talk to your student leadership or other student groups to ask what they would do to raise awareness!
School Fentanyl News
- How 3 districts are addressing student fentanyl use, K-12 Dive, Feb 14, 2023
- Districts Are Stocking Up on Naloxone But Often Ignoring Drug Prevention, Education Week, Jan 23, 2023
- Ed Department webinar shares risks, solutions for teen fentanyl use, K-12 Dive, Jan 18, 2023
- Fighting fentanyl: Schools tackle opioid crisis head-on, K-12 Dive, Oct 26, 2022
- Why Districts Are Stocking Naloxone in Response to the Opioid Crisis, Education Week, Oct 10, 2022
- Overdoses at School: One School District’s Response to the Fentanyl Crisis, Education Week, Sept 30, 2022
- Oregon Health Authority | Oregon Department of Education: Fentanyl & Opioid Response Toolkit for Schools (Dec 2022)
- OR-ID HIDTA Fentanyl Bulletin Sent to All Schools in States (April 2022)
- Washington State: Opioid-Related Overdose Policy Guidelines & Training in the School Setting (Jan 2022)
- California Department of Education: Addressing Fentanyl Crisis (Oct 27, 2022)
- Texas Education Agency: Fentanyl Response Communications Toolkit
- Ohio Counterfeit Pill Educational Resources
Kids like swag, and they can be a good reminder of the important messages kids learn. If you would like some Song for Charlie wristbands to hand out to students at your school, contact firstname.lastname@example.org at least 4 weeks before the event, and we will do our best to provide some wristbands.
Good luck with your presentations!
If you use our presentation template (or portions of it), please contact email@example.com and let us know how your presentation goes. We’d love to hear where you are sharing the information, as well as how it is being received by your audience. Also, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any suggested changes to the slides.