Indianapolis, In. — Attorney General Curtis Hill today announced plans to expand an innovative digital curriculum for high school students that informs them about safe use of prescription drugs and ways to avoid the risks of substance abuse.“By educating students about the dangers of prescription drugs, we can prevent tragedies and promote smart choices,” Attorney General Hill said. “Sadly, almost half of all teens incorrectly believe that prescription drugs are always safer than illegal street drugs. We need to correct these misconceptions and empower teens to be part of the solution to the drug crisis devastating so many lives.”Called the Prescription Drug Safety Network, the program was launched on a pilot basis earlier this year in Indianapolis through support from Walmart. Through interactive scenarios and self-guided activities, students learn facts about drugs, how to properly use and dispose of them, and how to step in when faced with a situation involving another person’s misuse. The course is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Education Standards and state academic standards.The expansion will increase the reach of the program to students across 19 Indiana counties. It occurs at no cost to the schools where it will be implemented. Financial support is provided by the Office of the Attorney General, Walmart and North Central Health Services (a non-profit hospital and grant-making organization).Developed by education technology leader EVERFI, the course uses evidence-based strategies to improve student preparedness, behaviors and attitudes toward making safe decisions about prescription drugs. Data shows that students in the pilot year achieved a 49 percent increase in knowledge from pre- to post-course assessments.“The greatest jumps in knowledge were around how to support a friend who may be at risk for misuse and abuse of prescription drugs,” said Maddy Murphy, director of global partnerships at EVERFI. “The Prescription Drug Safety course is aligned to national health education standards to help schools implement the program seamlessly into their curriculum. Here in Indiana, the course is primarily used within the health education classes.”Walmart Senior Vice President for Health and Wellness Paul Beahm praised the program’s effectiveness.“As a dedicated community partner, Walmart strives to improve the health of families,” Beahm said. “Walmart’s work with the Prescription Drug Safety Network is a critical pillar in Walmart’s broader Opioid Stewardship initiative that addresses the opioid crisis from all angles, including providing disposal services, limiting prescriptions, and supporting policies around Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.”Stephanie Long, president and CEO of North Central Health Services, spoke of her organization’s financial involvement in bringing the program to eight Indiana counties. “Our organization’s vision,” Long said, “is to create healthier communities through the delivery of behavioral health care and the support of technological and scientific advancement, education, quality of life, and humanitarian community activities.” The 10 counties in which the program is being funded by the Office of the Attorney General are Crawford, Dearborn, Fayette, Henry, Jennings, Ripley, Scott, Starke, Switzerland and Washington. The office will provide $20,000 annually for three years.The eight counties in which the program is being funded by North Central Health Services are Benton, Carroll, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Tippecanoe, Warren and White.Walmart funds the program in Marion County.