Examine & Contextualize the “Overdose Epidemic” with Local & Classroom-Ready Resources

Mountain Lake PBS joins with public media partners across New York State to examine the addiction and overdose crisis.

The week of February 13th will kick off a year-long public media collaboration to examine New York State’s addiction and overdose crisis. This initiative will touch on topics as wide-ranging as the science of addiction, reducing the stigma of addiction and recovery, addiction among veterans and young people, and what public health officials are doing to combat the crisis.

Special programming including coverage and stories from Mountain Lake PBS and across the public media system, as well as local addiction and recovery resources, are curated alongside educational resources for teachers online at mountainlake.org/overdose-epidemic.

Educators and families are encourage to utilize the additional materials below to help contextualize the public health crisis and connect to services available in our community for those impacted by addiction. Materials include classroom-ready resources and collections featuring videos and interactive lessons, a schedule of this week’s special programming, and community support tools from local and national organizations.

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Classroom-Ready Resources & Collections

NOVA: Addiction | PBS LearningMedia Collection

Grades 6-12
The opioid epidemic continues to devastate communities across the United States. This collection of videos, including three from the NOVA documentary, Addiction, can be used to engage students with media, encourage science practices, and prompt discussions in the classroom. Through a series of video clips, a viewing guide for the video clips, and a community screening guide for the documentary, the collection will help students better understand opioids and the disease of addiction.

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic | PBS LearningMedia Collection

Grades 6-12
Understanding the Opioid Epidemic, a one-hour documentary from WNED, traces the causes behind the unprecedented growth in the use of prescription opioids and the devastating impact these drugs are having in every part of America. This accompanying collection of classroom resources is based on the documentary as well as important themes such as misperception of opioid safety, community awareness, brain science, stigma, and the struggles associated with treatment and recovery.

How Should Schools Educate Teens about Drugs? | Above the Noise

Grades 6-12
D.A.R.E. stands for drug abuse resistance education and is a program that was implemented in schools since the 80’s to prevent youth from doing drugs. The program was widely accepted by schools all over the country, but scientists found it wasn’t really effective. Fast forward to present day and D.A.R.E is still around… sort of. Myles investigates how D.A.R.E. has changed their curriculum and other ways that drug education is being taught in schools. Join him in answering the question: How should schools educate teens about drugs?

The War on Drugs: The New Face of Heroin | Retro Report

Grades 9-12
This 14-minute video provides students with historical context that explains how the United States committed to a multi-decade war on drugs that resulted in mass incarceration and racially unequal outcomes in the criminal justice system. State and federal governments responded to a heroin epidemic in the late 1960s with a punitive response to drug addiction that disproportionately affected racial minorities. That approach has grown increasingly unpopular as more white Americans have become addicted to opioids. Useful for lessons focused on racial equality and criminal justice reform in recent history, the video sets up an engaging class discussion on how historical context affects our perceptions of race and crime.

Inside Opioid Addiction | Interactive Lesson

Grades 9-12
Learn about the nationwide opioid crisis, its devastating impact on communities and families, and how agencies and individuals are pulling together to respond to this overwhelming public health crisis. In this interactive lesson, students will gather information through reading, activities, and video excerpts from KET’s opioid initiative to write a final essay about what the opioid epidemic is, what caused it, and what’s being done about it.

Organizations & Tools for Community Support

Parental Addiction | Sesame Street in Communities

Grades PreK-3
Children may have tough questions when it comes to parental addiction, but there are age-appropriate ways to respond. Here are some questions children might ask, and ways you might consider responding.

“Overdose Epidemic” Special Reports, Programs & Local Resources | Mountain Lake PBS

Grades 6-12
Throughout 2023, Mountain Lake PBS joins with public media partners across New York State to examine the addiction and overdose crisis. This growing online collection features videos and coverage from across PBS, and local addiction and recovery resources.

Special Programming

A week of special public media programming across New York State examines the addiction and overdose crisis.

Monday, February 13

10 PM: Love in the Time of Fentanyl

As deaths in Vancouver, Canada reach an all-time high, the Overdose Prevention Society opens its doors—a renegade supervised drug consumption site that employs active and former drug users. Its staff and volunteers do whatever it takes to save lives and give hope to a marginalized community in this intimate documentary that looks beyond the stigma of people who use fentanyl and other drugs.

Wednesday, February 15

2 PM: Connect NY: The Overdose Epidemic
(repeats 2/18 at 6 PM)

With an influx of money from opioid legal settlements incoming, the state has decided where those dollars will be spent. On this episode of Connect NY we’ll discuss how New York and local municipalities will use this money to curb the opioid overdose crisis, and what the next steps are for treating this nationwide epidemic.

Thursday, February 16

1 PM: 7 Days: The Opioid Crisis

Hear the stories of Arkansans who have suffered from addiction — as well as the continued fight in the state to address issues surrounding opioid use, misuse and addiction — in “7 Days: The Opioid Crisis in Arkansas.”

2 PM: FRONTLINE Opioids Inc.

The story of a drug company that pushed opioids by bribing doctors and committing insurance fraud. With the Financial Times, FRONTLINE investigates how Insys Therapeutics profited from a fentanyl-based painkiller 50 times stronger than heroin.

Friday, February 17

8 PM: NYS Public Media Special Report: Covid-19 and the Overdose Epidemic
(repeats 2/18 at 7 PM, 2/19 at 5 AM, 10 AM, 2/20 at 5 PM)

A one-hour live broadcast, “New York State Public Media Special Report: COVID-19 and the Overdose Epidemic,” features stories from across the state of New Yorkers in recovery, experts on addiction and the COVID-19 epidemic, government officials addressing the crisis, and local agencies providing services and support to those affected by the crisis.

Sunday, February 19

11 AM: New York NOW

A special report examining the overdose epidemic.

Funding for this initiative is provided in part by the New York State Education Department.