Fun and Games: Improving Youth Opioid Awareness


Can a game improve children and adolescents knowledge of the opioid crisis?




At the American Pharmacists Association 2022 Annual Meeting and Exposition, one poster titled “Youth Opioid Safety Knowledge and Perceived Impact of an Educational Game: A Nationally Representative Sample,” explored the importance of adolescent’s perception of dangerously addictive opioids. Claire A. Rosenberger; Olufunmilola Abraham, PhD, MS, BPharm; Jen Birstler, MS; and Kathleen Tierney demonstrated how an educational game could be used to improve opioid awareness in young people.

Using a 67-item questionnaire, the investigators surveyed 592 American youths aged 12 to 18 about their existing knowledge of opioids. Sample questions included “Have you heard of the drug naloxone (Narcan)?” and “Is it ok to take someone else’s opioid medication if you had the same prescription in the past?”

One question posed to the young participants asked, “Is the opioid crisis harming teenagers in the US?” Nearly 500 participants said yes.

When asked if an educational video game would increase their awareness of opioid medication safety, more than 450 of the participants said yes.

Results showed differences in opioid knowledge among different gender, race, grade, and age. Most adolescents knew the opioid epidemic is harmful, but many were unaware of naloxone. The investigators concluded that future studies should investigate the use of an educational game to educate adolescents on opioid safety.

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