It may start with pie—apple, peach, pumpkin—but it doesn’t end there. Canvas Health’s Prevention, Intervention, and Education (PIE) program at some Washington County schools uses day-time treats to give kids an excuse to try it out in the in-school intervention, but they stay for the relationships and the safe space.
Educating Adolescents About Substance Use and Addiction
Championed by substance use division manager, Cathy Harvieux, and led by adolescent counselors like Michael Mader, PIE classes are 1.5 hour sessions in schools that cover a range of topics dealing with substance use and addiction. During that time each week, adolescent are led through a curriculum based on:
- P – Prevention – making choices, alternate actions to use, support systems, relapse prevention, emotion regulation, thinking reports;
- I – Intervention – Group resources;
- E – Education – drugs, addiction in family, cycle of change, health, effect of the brain, emotions, triggers and cravings.
The classes are meant to educate adolescents about substance use and addiction, like vaping, but also how to recognize their choices and agency to shape the outcomes of their life. Adolescents in PIE often come to the class because their own substance use or the substance use of their family members has weighed on them.
PIE Focuses on Building Relationships
PIE aims to succeed where other primary prevention programs, like DARE, fail by focusing on the building relationships between Canvas Health counselors and adolescents and between the adolescents attending PIE classes. It is through that trust and belonging in a positive environment that we believe enables adolescents to not only believe in themselves, but also in their power to identify when they need help and have trusted adults in their lives who can.
Work this like this is made possible by positive relationships with area schools who trust Canvas Health to step in and seize opportunities to help students who otherwise would have needs go unmet.
It may start with pie, but that’s only just the beginning.