Brain Power ingrains drug awareness into lesson plan

Schools in Boardman are now using Brain Power to deter kids from trying drugs.

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – In the fight against drug addiction, a local school is using Brain Power to teach children the dangers of using drugs.

The program is a collaboration with Mahoning Valley Hospitals. They donated $15,000 dollars to bring the Brain Power Program to Boardman Schools to help teach students as early as kindergarten to 12th grade how drugs impact the brain.

Nancy Pommerening, director of Drug Awareness, said teachers can tie the program into their lesson plans.

“It is already a part of the science and health program, and we have found that kids are very interested in learning about their brains and bodies,” Pommerening said. “Children need to know that certain substances can change the brain in ways that are very harmful and maybe difficult for the brain to recover from.”

The program uses a more hands on approach for smaller children such as using playdough to make molds of their brains.

At the high school level, biology teacher Chad DeAngelo said students get into groups and talk about brain function, testing and how drugs impact all that.

“Talk about what activities are controlled by the brain and then what we did was talk about PET scans and how each region of the brain is important for different functions,” DeAngelo said. “We talk about the nervous system and how the brain controls everything and how one thing is firing wrong in the brain and it can cause the different things.”

DeAngelo hopes that learning brain function and actually seeing the reality of how drugs impact the brain is enough to keep the students from trying them.

The Brain Power program has been implemented for about five years. It is being used in Austintown, South Range and in the Struthers Schools where Superintendent Joe Nohra says it is showing great success.

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