This school year has led to an opportunity to provide classroom education to middle school students in a couple of the area schools.
What is so nice about the curriculum that is used is that the first five lessons focus on things like setting goals, making decisions and how those decision can affect our goals (either positively or negatively), emotion management and the importance of positive friendships.
Then, we move more into the drug education piece and focus on providing information on how the drugs of nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, opioids and street drugs like methamphetamine can affect the teenage brain, health and safety.
What is known in the world of prevention is that youth need to be hearing this type of information in more domains than just at school. National Drug Awareness Facts Week is coming up March 21-27. Since parents are the biggest influence in a teen’s life, this would be a great opportunity to start the conversations with your youth about drug safety and your rules and expectations surrounding alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.
We know that it is typical for teens to start to pull away to spend more time with friends and participate in activities. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to stay connected and involved. By staying connected, it helps reduce the chance that youth will engage in unhealthy behavior and sets the stage for preventing nicotine, alcohol and other drug use.
Some of the highlights that the middle school youth have been learning:
There are many resources available to help you stay on top of everchanging drug trends among youth and to guard yourself with factual information to help keep your teen safe, healthy and making good decisions to reach their goals. A few of those resources include www.nida.nih.gov, www.avoidopioidsd.com and https://onmeth.com/, www.samhsa.gov.
Dodi Haug works at the Human Service Agency in Watertown.