Blue Cross Blue Shield Expands Innovative Addiction Prevention Program

NEC Member Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) has partnered with non-profit Drug Story Theater (DST) to expand a peer education program aimed at reducing rate of addiction among children and teens.

DST is a unique peer education program that teaches improvisational theater to teens in recovery. The teens then develop theatrical pieces about their journeys through addiction and recovery and perform them for other students to educate them on how addiction starts and why adolescents are especially vulnerable. The innovative peer-to-peer education program will be led by local teens in recovery and is expected to expand to more than 60 cities and towns across Massachusetts. BCBSMA will invest $250,000 in DST to increase the number of school districts reached annually from 17 to 60. DST will bring performances to more than 16,000 students each year.

Dr. Joseph Shrand, founder of Drug Story Theater, conducted research which found that teen addiction education programs are significantly more effective when delivered by peers rather than adults. “We ask the students in the audience to take pre- and post-show brain-science quizzes, and the results have shown a significant shift in perception about the addictive powers of drugs and alcohol, with a reduction of substance use 30 days after seeing a performance. We know it works, but until now, we didn’t have the resources to bring the program to all the school districts that are inquiring about it,” said Dr. Strand.

The New England Council applauds Blue Cross Blue Shield’s partnership and efforts to reduce addiction among youths. Read more on Blue Cross Blue Shield’s website and learn more on EnterpriseNews.

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