Discovery Education and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Launch National Event that Connects Students with Real-World Stories of Loss, Triumph and Learning at the Frontlines of the Opioid Epidemic

Students invited to participate in ‘Opioid Crisis: Real People. Real Stories. Real Science.’ Virtual Field Trip on October 25

Part of Operation Prevention, the Nation’s Leading Prevention Education Program Available at No-Cost to Communities Nationwide

Silver Spring, Md. (Thursday, October 18, 2018) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Discovery Education are expanding Operation Prevention, the no-cost, standards-aligned, science-based initiative for parents, teachers and students, by introducing the 3 in a series of dynamic Virtual Field Trips. As part of DEA’s Red Ribbon Week campaign, Opioid Crisis: Real People. Real Stories. Real Science. will broadcast on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT, providing middle and high school students with information on how addiction starts through first-hand accounts from survivors of drug misuse. The immersive virtual event will also introduce students to the science behind addiction and underscore the impact of the opioid epidemic in communities that have been hardest hit.

“Drug addiction, just like any addiction, isn’t limited to one group of people or community,” said Sean Fearns, chief of community outreach, DEA. “‘Opioid Crisis: Real People. Real Stories. Real Science.’ is an extension of our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic one person at a time. We believe one of the best ways to fight addiction before it starts is to empower families and teachers to openly communicate with their children and students about the opioid crisis.”

During Opioid Crisis: Real People. Real Stories. Real Science., students nationwide will be transported from their classrooms to see the real faces of addiction and hear personal stories behind initial experimentation and movement from trial, to usage, to addiction. This virtual experience aims to connect students with real people who have been affected by the opioid epidemic in order to inspire a deeper understanding of the dangers of experimentation and the benefits of drug-free living.

The Virtual Field Trip will allow viewers to meet two retired professional football players who understand the pressures of playing football through pain and now focus their efforts on discussing alternative pain management options with young athletes. Students will also be introduced to a young musician who played at Carnegie Hall as a teenager before becoming addicted, whose efforts now support musicians in recovery. Finally, students will hear from a family that has been plagued for three generations by opioid addiction. Their collective stories of challenge, triumph and learning will underscore the far-reaching impact of the opioid crisis. No matter how addiction begins, recovery from addiction is a struggle.

“Discovery Education is proud to expand the reach of ‘Operation Prevention’ with this dynamic Virtual Field Trip in order to further address a growing epidemic that is impacting every classroom, every community and every corner of the country,” said Lori McFarling, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Discovery Education. “By focusing on prevention education with a science-based approach – anchored in the youth voice – ‘Operation Prevention’ gives students opportunities to share their stories, engage with their peers and to play a visible role in stemming the tide of young people who fall victim to the pipeline of addiction.”

Operation Prevention equips teachers, parents, students and communities with digital tools to initiate life-saving conversations about the opioid epidemic. The program’s immersive resources – focused on the science of addiction – include standards-aligned digital lessons, a self-paced e-learning module, a Virtual Field Trip series for classrooms, and a nationwide peer-to-peer video challenge that encourages teens to educate their peers about how drug use affects the brain and body. Since launching during the fall of 2016, Operation Prevention’s immersive English and Spanish-language tools have reached more than three million students ages 8 to 18. Additionally, an Operation Prevention public service announcement (PSA) aired on Discovery Communications networks has reached more than eight million homes to date. Operation Prevention efforts have expanded through the Operation Prevention Pledge – which brings together educators, advocacy organizations, businesses, think-tanks, and social impact groups – to encourage millions more young people to learn about the science behind addiction. The pledge also encourages the nation’s youth to live drug-free lives.

“Every day, another family is forced to deal with the overwhelming reality of an opioid addiction. Working together, we can truly make a difference in the rapidly growing epidemic that is affecting our youth in unprecedented numbers around the country,” said Cheryl Lykowski, Elementary School Teacher, Monroe Road Elementary, Bedford Public Schools. “‘Operation Prevention’s’ digital tools, PSA, and deeply engaging Virtual Field Trips are purposeful in equipping communities with the right information to tackle this problem and begin lifesaving conversations.”

Operation Prevention materials are available at and also through Discovery Education Streaming Plus, where users can access the full range of student and teacher facing resources, in addition to an on-demand archive of the Virtual Field Trips and youth-created PSAs. To learn more about Discovery Education’s digital content and professional development services, visit Stay connected with Discovery Education on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest @DiscoveryEd.


About the Drug Enforcement Administration:

The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets. The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites, and

About Discovery Education:

As the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12 classrooms worldwide, Discovery Education is transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional learning, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are available in approximately half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries around the globe. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Explore the future of education at