Youth in Ventura County

The countywide report of the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) indicates a hopeful decline in lifetime misuse of prescription drugs. However, prevention of Rx drug and heroin abuse continues to be a challenge for Ventura County youth and their families, and a focal point of the Ventura County Rx Abuse & Heroin Workgroup.

“Those initiating nonmedical use of prescription opioids at ages 10-12 years had the highest risk of transitioning to heroin use.”  – Journal of Pediatrics (2015)


Ventura County Office of Education (VCOE) provided two secondary schools with support in prescription drug and heroin prevention education measures. The outreach campaign targeted high-school age youth, to impact awareness, prescription drug use and intended behaviors. The campaign consisted of graphic novels and posters developed with input from youth focus groups.

The project demonstrates changes in perception of harm, increased awareness of known risks, and associated levels of drug use. Parent brochures in Spanish and English provide families with tips on identifying and understanding painkiller and heroin abuse. Evaluation was initiated to measure the goal of a 25% reduction in 30-day opioid use.

> Buzz Kill

> Mia Won't Get to U



Based on the high school outreach campaign, a toolkit was created to use when talking about prescription painkillers at schools. These graphic stories and talking points are targeted to students, and help to start the conversation about the risks of prescription painkiller use by teens. The toolkit includes:

  • Two graphic stories – Buzz Kill and Mia Won’t Get to U
  • Posters for use in classrooms and on school campus
  • Booklets for use in counselor office waiting rooms
  • Talking points for teachers
  • Materials available in English and Spanish


Source: California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) Results 2017-18


©2020 Ventura County Behavioral Health • Hanstad Consulting • Website: Idea Engineering