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Teens Tackling the Opioid Crisis:Discovery Education and the Drug Enforcement Administration Announce Finalists in 1st Annual Operation Prevention Video Challenge

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Dara Klatt, Discovery Education

Lauren DeNu, Discovery Education

Barbara Carreno, Drug Enforcement Administration




— The Public Can Vote for People’s Choice Award Winner until May 17, 2017—

Washington, D.C. and Silver Spring, MD (May 8, 2017) –The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), DEA Educational Foundation and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, announced today the finalists of the inaugural Operation Prevention Video Challenge—a peer-to-peer platform for communicating messages about the dangers of opioid misuse.

The public is invited to watch the ten finalists’ videos at and vote through May 17, 2017 for the People’s Choice winner, who will win a trip for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of DEA agent training at the DEA’s Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Winning PSAs will also be featured on-air and across DEA’s digital and social media platforms.

For the first time, the Operation Prevention Video Challenge asked teenagers across the nation to submit 30-60 second public service video announcements to educate their peers about the current opioid epidemic. The challenge is part of a joint nationwide education initiative titled Operation Prevention that educates students about the science behind addiction and its impact on the brain and body. Available at no cost, the initiative’s resources help promote lifesaving discussions in the home and classroom.

"These creative videos and powerful voices are the type of thinking we need to help address the severe and growing opioid epidemic," said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. "We must change the culture regarding dangerous drugs, and we must educate folks about the very real risks of opioid abuse and addiction."

In addition to the People’s Choice winner, several other prize winners will be chosen by a panel of judges from Discovery Education and the DEA, as well as community leaders, educators, and communications experts.  The grand prize winner will receive $10,000, the second-place winner will receive $5,000, and the third-place winner will receive $1,000. 

The Top 10 Finalists Include (in alphabetical order):

·        Kyle Citrin, Clay Knibbs, and Carter Soboleski for “The Cork Board.” Madison, CT. Daniel Hand High School, (Madison Public School District)

·        Nicholas Kilgore for “Bon Appetit.”  Norton, MA.  Norton High School (Norton School District).

·        Monet Massac for “The Twins.” Brooklyn, New York. Brooklyn Friends School.

·        Ayodeji Ogunlana for “More.” Mercedes, TX.  South Texas High School for Health Professionals. (South Texas Independent School District)

·        Shelbea Owen for “Davis Owen.” Marietta, GA.  Marietta High School (Marietta City School District).

·        Katherine Smith for “Let’s End Opioid and Heroin Misuse.” Shreveport, LA. Loyola College Prep School (Harrison School District 1)

·        Jack Thomas for “How.” Flanders, NJ. Mt. Olive High School. (Mt. Olive TWP School District)

·        Melissa Torres for “Story of Your Life.” Tampa, FL.  Leto High School (Hillsborough County Public School District)

·        Nate Trillo for “Real Life.” Midlothian, TX. Midlothian Heritage High School (Midlothian

School District)

·        Benjamin Zulcic for “Awareness.” West Valley City, UT.  Granger High School (Granite School District).

“It’s inspiring to see our teens across the country get involved and speak directly to their peers about the dangers of opioid abuse,” said Kevin Hartmann, President of the DEA Educational Foundation. “A lot of hard work and passion went into every video. Congratulations to all of the participants on a job well done!”

“We proudly join with the DEA to congratulate the teen finalists of the first annual Operation Prevention Video Challenge,” said Lori McFarling, Senior Vice President, Discovery Education. “With the opioid epidemic taking its toll on students nationwide, it’s never been more important to amplify the digital storying skills of these teens to make a difference, and provide powerful classroom resources on the impacts of prescription opioid misuse.”

About the Drug Enforcement Administration

The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.

About the DEA Educational Foundation

Established in 2001, the DEA Educational Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to preventing drug abuse. The foundation supports the DEA through advocacy, outreach, and educational programs.

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at