By Julia Geigle, MSW, LICSW
YSB Chemical Health Specialist & Program Director
Underage substance use, whether it be marijuana, alcohol, or another drug can be a barrier to children leading healthy and fulfilled lives and transitionally successfully into adulthood.
As you may know, YSB has four school-based Chemical Health Specialists working to prevent and reduce youth substance use in each of the school districts they are contracted to work in: Districts 622, 833 and 834. Our staff help support youth as they face challenging decisions and peer pressure each day. But did you know our team also provides information and resources for parents?!
Because April is Alcohol Awareness Month, this seems like a relevant time to discuss the dangers of underage drinking and offer strategies to prevent and reduce youth alcohol use.
In recent months, there has been a lot of media attention on the rise of electronic cigarettes among youth, the legalization of recreational marijuana in more and more states, and the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic. While these are very important public health issues that warrant attention and resources, what seems to be missing from these conversations is the continued, widespread use of alcohol among youth.
The good news is that the rate of teen alcohol use has declined since the mid-1970s, however teens still drink alcohol more than they use any other substance. In fact, teen alcohol use kills 4,300 people each year – more than all illegal drugs combined. WHY?