By Julia Geigle, MSW, LGSW, Chemical Health Prevention Specialist to ISD 834 and Program Supervisor

Having accessible chemical health support for families and students in the school is pivotal to the holistic development of students. According to nearly two decades of CASA research (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University), teens see drugs as the number one problem they face and parents’ worst nightmare is that their child will develop an addiction to substances or suffer devastating consequences from their use.

Additionally, the total societal cost of substance abuse in the United States is estimated to be over half trillion ($511 billion) dollars annually. Preventing and reducing youth tobacco, alcohol, and drug use improves quality of life, social and emotional development, academic performance, attendance, classroom behaviors, and peer/peer and peer/teacher interactions.

School districts often recognize that chemical use and abuse adversely affects a student’s physical, social, and emotional development and they want to share in the responsibility of addressing this issue.

To support the efforts of preventing and reducing youth chemical use, Stillwater Area Public Schools (Independent School District (ISD) 834) has partnered with YSB. Since 2006, YSB has been providing ISD 834 with a Chemical Health Specialist who has offered chemical health services that focus on prevention, education, and support.