Teens ThinkSmart: A Novel Approach to Preventing Opioid Misuse Among Adolescents in Rural Texas
- View All
Adolescents are vulnerable to risky health behaviors such as the non-medical use of prescription opioids (NMUPO). Rural prescription opioid misuse among adolescents also present a public health concern. In a nationally representative sample of 32,036 adolescents aged 12-17, higher rates of misuse were observed among rural adolescent (6.8%) than small urban (6.0%) and large urban (5.3%). The seriousness of the problem among teens is evidenced by significant increases in the number of opioid-related exposures reported to the Texas Poison Center network for those between 13 to 19 years of age (429 cases). This jump signals an alarm for a public health response with upstream solutions that need to target younger adolescents. There is scant research exploring applications of the social ecological model to develop a rural adolescent opioid abuse and misuse prevention program. This proposed project, Teens Think Smart, seeks to address this gap in health programming with the intervention.Teens Think Smart is a novel multi-level, community-based opioid abuse and misuse prevention intervention targeting rural 9th and 10th grade students. The intervention consists of two evidence-based components: 1) community mobilization strategy (CMS) and 2) a school-based prevention education curriculum, Think Smart. The proposed project will adapt the culturally-appropriate version developed for rural Alaskan youth. To this end, Think Smart will be tailored to meet the needs of Texas adolescents, specifically those in 9th and 10th grades. Six rural Texas counties will be targeted. Following the two-year project, Teens Think Smart will be manualized for dissemination to other rural Texas counties.