Candor Health Education, a not-for-profit which provides drug, alcohol and sex education to Illinois students in grades four to eight, has launched a free, kid-friendly online game to provide teens and pre-teens tools for making healthy choices about drugs and alcohol. Called ‘Pixelton Adventures,’ the game features a Minecraft-style platform, allowing users to choose their own avatar and move through a series of daily decisions, challenges, and pressures, such as navigating friendships, balancing finals week, and managing extracurricular activities. With seven different episodes, Pixelton Adventures is free to students, but is also available at no cost to parents and teachers for use in conversations about drug and alcohol prevention.
The launch of Pixelton coincides with National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, March 21-27, 2022. According to data released in November 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdose deaths in the United States surpassed 100,000 in a 12-month period for the first time. The number of overdose deaths rose 29 percent, from 78,056 between April 2019 – April 2020, to 100,306 in the following 12 months. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse, 70% of people who try an illegal drug by age 13 will develop a substance abuse disorder.
Experts agree that education and prevention are key to reversing the trend.
“It is never too early to start conversations with children about drugs, alcohol, and the harm they can inflict,” explains Katie Gallagher, Director of Education, Candor Health Education. “We are hopeful that Pixelton will provide a fun way for students to think through how they will navigate situations and challenges that could lead to drug and alcohol use.
A young person’s brain changes rapidly during adolescence. During this time, the connections between neurons are strengthening and those that are unused go away. Chemical changes to the brain caused by drugs interfere with this process and can increase the likelihood of developing an addiction.
For more information on any of the Candor Health Education programs, visit www.candorhealthed.org
PLAY THE 8-pixel Interactive Game HERE