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Vision Boards for Youth Tobacco Action Group at South Brunswick High School

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Written by: Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I As the use of traditional cigarettes has dropped, the popularity of electronic cigarettes has skyrocketed. According to the CDC in 2018, almost 1 in 20 middle school students (4.9%) and 1 in 5 high school students (20.8%) reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. The CDC also reports that recent increases in e-cigarette use has contributed to an increase in overall use of tobacco products among youth. Youth who begin using tobacco products have a greater likelihood for developing a nicotine dependence, as the brain is still developing until the age of 25. The targeted marketing e-cigarette companies use, similar to the methods previously used by Big Tobacco companies, make the products more appealing and contribute to the epidemic numbers we see today. As the rates of e-cigarette and tobacco use among youth reach epidemic proportions, the New Jersey Prevention Network (NJPN), along...
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  143 Hits
143 Hits
JAN
16
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School Athletes and Opioids: A Risky Proposition

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By Elaine Chan, Intern The New Year can offer many, new, and exciting opportunities. However, the New Year can also pose arduous obstacles. One of the challenges that school administrators and communities may face is the opioid misuse prevalence among student–athletes as new sports season starts. Despite the positive benefits young athletes gain from participating in organized sports, such participation may actually put some adolescents at risk for substance use because of increased access to pain medications. Youths who participate in high-injury sports may be surrounded by peers who are more likely to have leftover prescription opioids, making it easier to receive diverted prescription opioids to ease injuries without having to acknowledge to parents and coaches that they need medical attention (e.g., hiding injuries from coaches to participate). Therefore, youths involved in organized sports may be at a higher risk to misuse opioid medications because of their increased risk for injury....
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  214 Hits
214 Hits
DEC
14
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What You Need to Know and How to Talk to Your Kids about Vaping

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I The popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or “vapes”, has exploded over the past several years. Introduced into the US marketplace over a decade ago, the use of these devices has skyrocketed, particularly among youth. Vaping, according to a Partnership for a Drug-Free Kids, is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol or vapor from an e-cigarette device. The term “vaping” comes from this vapor that is released, different from the smoke emitted from a traditional cigarette. These devices consist of four main parts: a cartridge to hold the e-liquid, a heating element known as an atomizer, a battery, and a mouthpiece to inhale (Partnership for a Drug-Free Kids). Vaping was originally intended as a less harmful option for adult smokers; however, the craze has quickly been adopted by youth across the country for a variety of reasons. Boredom, curiosity and the urge to experiment, the...
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  306 Hits
306 Hits
DEC
13
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Addiction News & Policy Update for Week Ending December 14, 2018

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Internet gambling addiction is a looming crisis In her Nov. 28 presentation at Liberty University, First Lady Melania Trump stated that the opioid epidemic was the “worst drug crisis in American history.” Learn More   Surge in young people going into private addiction clinics as poorer addicts 'pushed into gangs' While well-off addicts can afford private treatment, poorer teenagers with mounting drug problems are being failed by public services, making them 'ripe for grooming', experts warn Learn More   The Strongest Evidence Yet for a Highly Controversial Addiction Treatment When other approaches fail, the most effective way to fight a heroin addiction can be heroin itself. Learn More   Update—Outbreak of Life-threatening Coagulopathy Associated with Synthetic Cannabinoids Use Since the index patient with hypocoagulopathy associated with synthetic cannabinoids use was identified on March 8, 2018 in Illinois, at least 324 people have presented to healthcare facilities with serious bleeding from possible...
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  151 Hits
151 Hits
NOV
09
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Don’t Let the Burden of Loss Drag Our Youth Down

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The past few weeks have been rough for the Wellspring family. One of our staff lost her 36 year old son and at Carteret High School, and more specifically our Pathways program at the school, lost one of their students. This got me thinking about the power of loss to transform us and those around us. Everyone experiences it differently, and though there is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve, some ways of coping are more productive than others. The thing is, I don’t ever remember learning about how to handle loss until I lost my son 40 years ago. Which made me think about those we care for and educate every day. Our youth. When I look at these most important residents, I sometimes see a lot of pain, and I don’t think they know what to do with it. I worry they don’t have the time to even...
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  235 Hits
235 Hits
AUG
07
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New School Year Coming and Youth Will Need Their Sleep!

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Leading up to the start of the new school year next month, I am sure you will recall that there have been some media coverage of reports on the sleep needs of our youth. I doubt that these report tells us much we all didn’t already know: getting teens out of bed is almost impossible. At least we now know it isn’t because they are just being difficult. We are asking them to do the exact opposite of what their bodies are designed to do at this stage of their development. What I find lacking is that there has been little discussion on how this lack of sleep can influence mental health and substance use. Chronic lack of sleep can affect mood in significant ways. We can all attest to the grumpiness and lack of patience we feel when we have been up too late or need to get up too...
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  171 Hits
171 Hits
JUL
03
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Summer Fun Should Not Involve Booz for Kids

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The lazy days of summer are here. Unfortunately, this is also a dangerous time for our youth. Other than the few hotspots during the school year, such as Halloween, Homecoming, New Year’s Eve, Prom, and Graduation, summer sees more initiation of substance use than any time of the year. One of the top reasons youth cite for experimenting with alcohol and other drugs is, “There’s nothing else to do.” Why do youth turn to alcohol and other drugs when they are bored? Probably because that is what we have taught them to do when they want to have fun. I’m not saying we tell kids to drink; I mean we show them. What’s the opposite of sitting home bored? How about having a party? And what’s at the top of the shopping list for a party? Why, alcohol, of course. I was reminded of this recently when I bought a bottle...
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  159 Hits
159 Hits
MAR
08
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Pathways Youth Take a Trip to Count Basie Theatre

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By Lisa Lussier, Clinician I -Pathways Through a grant from the State of New Jersey Juvenile Justice System, staff at the Pathways School Based Youth Services Program, took twenty middle school students to the Count Basie Theatre, in Red Bank New Jersey. Staff and students had the pleasure of watching a performance of the Mayhem Poets. This diverse three-man show combines elements of hip hop, theatre, improv and stand up comedy, to deliver powerful and positive messages. For some of our students, this was their first theatre experience and they shared how enjoyable it was to see a live performance. A few of the students shared that they now see poetry in a whole new light, as a great way to express their feelings. One student said that he now thinks of poetry as “cool and not just a boring subject he is forced to learn about in school.” The attendances...
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  562 Hits
562 Hits
AUG
21
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Sports Participation in Relation to Binge Drinking

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By Melisa Damcevska, Wellspring Preventionist Sports participation during adolescence plays an important role in providing several health benefits for youth, such as better academic achievement, increased likeliness to eat healthy and exercise regularly, both of which lead to better overall health. Participation in sports also leads to improved cognitive, behavioral and social development. However, studies have also indicated that participation in sports may be correlated to an increase in binge drinking behavior. Binge drinking, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is defined as four or more drinks for a female and five or more drinks for a male in one sitting, respectively. A review of research published in Addicted Behaviors in 2010 found that participation in sports is related to higher levels of alcohol consumption. Several possible reasons were listed for this correlation, such as the competitive nature of athletes to prove that they can “hold their liquor”....
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  1041 Hits
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1041 Hits
JUL
20
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Do You Know How to Recognize & Respond to Bullying

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Based on recent reports, confirmed incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying dropped to 5,995 in 2015-16, down from 6,214 in 2014-15, continuing a decline that's happened every year since New Jersey implemented a strict new anti-bullying law in 2011. This is attributable to an increase in training for schools and bullying preventing programs for students. While bullying cases declined, violence in schools reached its highest point in the past five years, with 8,261 incidents in 2015-16, up from 7,262 in 2014-15. Opposed to the majority of bullying cases, which are verbal, violent incidents include fights, assaults, sexual offenses, robbery and threats. I am pointing these facts out to you because bullying touches the lives of at least one out of every four children in the U.S - this year alone. That means that approximately 13 million youth from preschool to high school will experience bullying. What is more disturbing -- many...
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  1009 Hits
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1009 Hits

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