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How the Opioid Crisis Is Affecting Students and How Educators Can Help


The opioid crisis is shaking the nation and greatly impacting young people. In just one year, 42,000 people died of drug overdoses involving opioids. That same year, 2016, 38,000 individuals died in car crashes or car-related injuries.

There’s no question that this epidemic is affecting families, communities, and schools across the country. How can educators help support students impacted by the crisis?

To help answer this question, Critical Window, a podcast by the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed), turned to Dr. David Patterson Silver Wolf. As a professor at the Brown School at Washington University, in St. Louis, Dr. Patterson Silver Wolf teaches substance abuse courses and works to bring science and research to addiction services. He has over fifteen years of experience providing clinical services in the substance abuse disorder treatment field.

This issue is also incredibly personal for Dr. Patterson Silver Wolf, who shares the story of his own experience dealing with substance abuse – from childhood into his twenties – on this episode.

“I would look out on the world, and everybody looked good but me,” he recalls thinking as a young child. “I would compare my internal turmoil to people’s external life, and think, ‘Boy, everybody looks like they’re doing okay but me.’”

Listen to his story of triumph and learn how to support students experiencing similar hardships on this episode of Critical Window.

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Critical Window is a podcast from the Alliance for Excellent Education that explores the rapid changes happening in the body and the brain during adolescence and what these changes mean for educators, policymakers, and parents. 

Subscribe to Critical Window on Apple MusicStitcher or wherever you find podcasts.