Not Even Once - Shawnee
The Medford Township Police Department in conjunction with Shawnee High School health teachers, Student Assistance Counselors, and building School Resource Officers have implemented the #NotEvenOnce program at Shawnee High School. This program is a collaborative effort between law enforcement and educators with the goal of informing students about the dangers of opioids and giving them the tools they need to make better decisions before they graduate. This program, which meets all New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Health classes, is presented to students during their senior year of high school.
In 2017 representatives from Shawnee attended #NotEvenOnce training to expose them to a template that could be used to help high school students relate to the dangers of drug addiction and overdoses affecting our district. As part of the program, parents, families, and graduates of Shawnee and other schools within the district share their stories in hope to raise awareness of addiction and the effects. Shawnee 2018 graduate Talon Lauriello created videos of some of the stories to share with students during the presentation.
In the fall of 2017 a pilot program was presented to 2 of the 26 senior health classes. The #NotEvenOnce committee members continued to redesign the presentation to address issues that directly affected the Shawnee community and to relate to our target age group. In the spring of 2018 the committee rolled out the presentation to all senior health and physical education classes. The committee gathered feedback from the students through surveys and class discussions.
During the fall of 2018, the committee introduced #NotEvenOnce to all senior classes. Surveys and discussions revealed that the students had a strong opinion that the underclassmen also needed to participate in this program. After polling the freshman class, the committee found that 90% of the students were affected by drug addiction. These numbers are parallel to the national statistics given by the Department of Health and Human Services. Students also conveyed that they had an interest to hear about addiction from a recovering addict. Students expressed their desires to learn about the progression of drug addiction and the effects on friends and family.
In January 2019, the committee introduced this program to the Freshman Health classes and included a guest speaker, Mr. Michael Mauro, operations supervisor for the Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford. A 2005 Cherokee graduate, Mr. Mauro shared his experiences with addiction and how his recovery lead him to his current position. The program was aligned with the freshman curriculum and adjusted to be age appropriate.