According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- 42% of all teenagers use alcohol, with 24% of high school students reporting they’ve participated in binge drinking
- More than ¼ (28%) of all high school students admitted riding in a car within the past 30 days with a driver who had been drinking.
And it doesn’t end with alcohol.
- While illicit drug use (marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.) is on the decline, 1/5 of teenagers (20%) report abusing prescription medication.
- Over-the-counter cough medicine is another area of concern for teens, with more than 5% admitting they’ve used it to get high. (Report: National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
So what’s a concerned friend or parent to do?
Towson University Graduate Nursing School Student and Frederick Memorial Hospital Nurse Sandra Vegh was involved in a task force last fall at the Frederick County Health Department Substance Abuse Division. The group worked to identify gaps in services for young people recovering from substance abuse.
“Community members were invited and spoke of how support groups currently available attract older adults with older adult issues, which keep youth from feeling like they fit in to the group,” says Vegh. “They cited isolation and a lack of support in the community.”
Problem, meet solution.
As part of her Community Nursing Service project, Vegh is setting up support groups right here in Frederick County specifically tailored to the needs of young people coping with substance abuse. Support group participants will help each other by sharing their stories and learning about positive ways they can cope with stress.
Meetings are currently set for two locations in the City of Frederick, but Vegh hopes to add groups in towns across the county. The groups are free and open to anyone ages 19 and under. Meetings start March 1, 2011 and will continue for 9 weeks.
Tuesdays 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Salvation Army, 223 West 5th Street
Wednesdays 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. – Kemp Hall, 4 East Church Street
Vegh is also looking for three to six student facilitators to help run these support groups. Since these groups are for support – not therapy or treatment – Vegh says “this is a great opportunity for counseling, psychology, or social work students to gain some experience.”
Recovered youth and young adults currently in recovery are also welcome to become group facilitators.
For more information on these teen substance abuse support groups or on how to join as a facilitator, contact Sandra Vegh at 301-514-1233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.