APR
23
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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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  333 Hits
333 Hits
APR
15
0

9th Annual “Be Smart About Medicine” Contest Winners Announced

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Every day, 2,000 teenagers take a prescription drug recreationally for the first time. Whether through self-medication or a lack of awareness of the risks, prescription drug abuse among adolescents is a growing and serious problem. To help raise awareness about prescription drug misuse among adolescents, the Coalition for Healthy Communities of Middlesex County has orchestrated its annual “Be Smart About Medicine” poster contest. Middle school students in grades 6-8 throughout Middlesex County are encouraged to submit artwork, whether through a written story or poem or a drawing, to showcase their freedom of expression as well as spreading valuable information to their peers. At the conclusion of the contest, three winners for first, second and third place are chosen for each grade, and these nine students are honored at the Annual Be Smart About Medicine Awards Dinner. This year, The Coalition for Healthy Communities celebrated its 9th Annual Awards Dinner on April...
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  181 Hits
181 Hits
APR
10
0

Wellspring Holds Kick Butts Day at South Brunswick & Dunellen High Schools

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Written by Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand up and speak out against Big Tobacco. Several years ago, Kick Butts Day was focused on reducing and preventing cigarette use by calling out marketing techniques used by tobacco companies. This year, the focus has shifted to the prevention of e-cigarettes, as Big Tobacco has taken on a new form and method of marketing. Did you know that almost 18% of high school seniors in Middlesex County reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days? Kick Butts Day gives youth the opportunity and power to stand up to Big Tobacco for their own health and wellness. Kick Butts Day 2019 took place on March 20th this year, with over 1,000 schools and communities across the United States and across the world participating. In Middlesex County, Dunellen and South Brunswick High School...
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  247 Hits
247 Hits
MAR
14
0

Perth Amboy and Woodbridge E-Cigarette Presentations

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or “vapes” has skyrocketed in the past several years, particularly among adolescents who view the behavior as much safer than smoking traditional cigarettes. The perception held by many is that e-cigarettes cannot be harmful because they contain only water and flavoring, and products can be bought that are labeled “nicotine-free” and “organic”. This perception, along with marketing techniques of the c-cigarette industry, has some arguing that a new generation of smokers is on the rise. Big money tobacco companies have already invested in the up-and-coming e-cigarette companies, like Altria – the maker of Marlboro – investing $12.8 billion in Juul, an e-cigarette company whose net worth is valued at $38 billion and controls 75% of the e-cigarette market. (Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/20/altria-takes-stake-in-juul-a-pivotal-moment-for-the-e-cigarette-maker.html) With flavor options from mango to mint to chocolate to apple juice and cotton candy, to everything in between, the...
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  234 Hits
234 Hits
JAN
31
0

About Cool Down Book Bags

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Written by: Nicole Silva and Ashley Gasparro You’re right in the middle of a lesson and you have the students’ attention; you feel like they are actually understanding the concept! Students are raising their hands, contributing to the discussion ...when suddenly one of your students gets angry, frustrated, or just needs a break. It interrupts the flow of the class as you try to redirect that student and get him or her refocused. You lose momentum and the class loses attention. This is what commonly happens when students have not yet acquired the skills to help them gain control of their emotions. However, when given the right tools, students can start identifying exactly how they are feeling and begin to understand how to self regulate. The cool down book bag started out as the cool down center. It was an area of the room we designated for students to go to...
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  340 Hits
340 Hits
SEP
14
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Piscataway High School Back-to-School Night

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I The end of summer, the drop of the temperatures, and the start of a new school year also means schools are hosting annual Back-to-School Nights. These are annual events where parents and guardians are given an opportunity to experience the daily steps their children take while at school. Wellspring Center for Prevention hosted a table at Piscataway High School’s Back-to-School Night earlier this month. The staff came armed with information about substance use prevention and mental health promotion. Parents were able to collect valuable information and community resources right at the school. For many parents and youth, high school is a time of transition, growth and self-discovery, as well as a time where the susceptibility to substance use may skyrocket as youth begin to figure out who they are. Having these tools and information is critical to keeping students and parents informed and ultimately, healthy. At...
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  487 Hits
487 Hits
AUG
03
0

Summer Day Camp in Perth Amboy

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By: Gina-Marie Miraglia Established in 1993, the Perth Amboy Municipal Alliance Prevention Summer (M.A.P.S) Day Camp provides substance use awareness and education to children about the dangers and effects of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. During the six-week program participants are engaged in fun, recreational and creative activities that help instill decision making skills. Wellspring Preventionists Melisa Damcevska and Gina-Marie Miraglia delivered creative and fun lessons once a week. These lessons focus on instilling important information to help the campers make the best possible choices for their own health. Here were our weekly highlights: During week one we talked about self-image, what it means, and why it is important to see ourselves accurately and positively. We reinforced the lesson by having the students make ‘vision boards’ where they cut out pictures from magazines and create a collage that focuses on what they want to become and their individual goals. Week two...
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  389 Hits
389 Hits
MAY
14
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Prevention Week at South Brunswick High School

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By Melisa Damcevska. The week of May 14th to May 19th marks SAMHSA’s 6th annual Prevention Week, a week that is solely dedicated to increasing the prevention of substance use and promotion of mental health. This year’s 2018 theme is “Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow” reminding all of us that the choices we make today will have consequences later on in life. Individuals, organizations, coalitions, and communities are encouraged to spread information and raise awareness to the prevention of substance use and the importance of mental health and wellness. Each day of the week focuses on particular topic: promotion of mental health, underage drinking, prescription drug and opioid misuse, youth marijuana and illicit drug use, prevention of suicide and prevention of youth tobacco use. South Brunswick High School is just one of the schools and communities across Middlesex County participating in Prevention Week. Students wrote letters to their future selves titled “Dear...
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  728 Hits
728 Hits
MAY
01
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The Effectiveness of Art Therapy in Teen Addiction Recovery

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Blog by Sally Perkins. Photo by Victoria Bilsborough on Unsplash Despite New Jersey being one of only two states country-wide to score an undisputed ‘10’ for having the right laws and regulations in place to help combat teen substance abuse, the state also boasts the 6th- highest teen overdose rate. The findings, which were disclosed by the organization known as Trust for America’s Health, highlight the importance of having both preventative and treatment measures in place to care for New Jersey’s most at-risk youth . Approximately 15% of substance treatment programs in the USA offer art therapy with nearly 11% of all teenagers in treatment having access to a program that makes use of art or music therapy. The use of art therapy in treating substance abuse is not new. It actually dates back as far the 1950’s with the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) particularly acknowledging the role art therapy...
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  631 Hits
631 Hits
MAR
15
0

Hidden in Plain Sight Program Provided In South River

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I On March 12th, 2018 at 6:30pm, parents gathered in South River High School’s Media Center for a presentation that would forever change how they looked at their children’s bedrooms. Hidden in Plain Sight is a parent program that educates parents on the different methods in which an adolescent experimenting or abusing drugs and alcohol can hide substances, paraphernalia and other items in their own bedrooms, often disguised as something completely innocent. A glass knick-knack on a shelf is really a type of pipe used to smoke, an empty, crushed can of soda can double as a makeshift pipe, and even books can have holes cut into them to act as hiding places. Parents in attendance were shocked at the different, inventive ways youth and companies have found to hide substances and use of them. Many may see the event as a reason to panic and rip...
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  668 Hits
668 Hits

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