Drug prevention programs step up efforts to reduce substance use and addiction ahead of teenage summer pleasures

SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio – Counties in northeast Ohio are issuing warnings about spikes in drug overdose deaths, especially in Akron. The city has seen a 140% increase in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year. In addition, preliminary data from the CDC shows that drug overdose deaths have reached an all-time high in the United States.

Like many training courses this year, drug and alcohol prevention programs in Northeast Ohio have had to pivot, while focusing on delivering important messages.

“There is so much effort going on right now in our school districts as well, really trying to focus on the general mental well-being of young people,” said Kimberly Patton, prevention and training coordinator at the board. administration of Summit County ADM. Addiction.

Patton says many of their programs are starting to return to work in person targeting teens, daycares and preschools.

“In Summit County, we start prevention as early as 18 months,” she says.

Studies show that when parents tell children about drugs and alcohol, there is a 50% chance of reducing addiction down the line. As teens look to the holidays and summer celebrations, ensuring they make informed decisions is a priority for many of these programs.

Laura Wagner, 14, who attends Revere High School, has just completed her first year with the Summit County Youth to Youth program. She says the group training showed her how to help her classmates and friends use social media to send fun and positive anti-drug messages.

“I have friends who just want a little support,” she says. “It was really fun being able to reach kids online even though we couldn’t see them in person.”

But the training also helped her cope with stress.

“I think a lot of us realize that it’s hard for a lot of people to do that. But drugs and alcohol are really harmful and we try to educate others on how they can be harmful and that it is certainly not worth it, ”she said.

For now, the group continues to host virtual camps. However, the program hopes to begin in-person training for new members in August. For more information, click on here.

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Rhonda Lee

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