More than 100 community members participated in a one-day conference at Gates Middle School on November 18, 2018. The Power of Prevention was organized by Scituate FACTS and Safe Harbor Cohasset Coalitions to empower adults with latest trend information and skills to support young people avoid substance-related problems.
Slides from all sessions are linked below. Three presentations were video -recorded (Teen Brain, Anxiety, and Cannabis). Please share!
The Latest Science on the Teen Brain and Substance Use
Dr. Sion Kim Harris
One of the most significant risk factors for developing a substance use problem – and lifetime addiction – is the age of first use. Indeed, 90% of all substance use disorders onset during the ages of 12-20. Thanks to advances in neuroscience and brain imaging, we know much more about why this is true. Participants will learn how the use of common substances like nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana during this critical period in brain development can have an impact on health and wellbeing.
Dr. Sion Kim Harris is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and faculty in the Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine and Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is the Director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research (http://ceasar.childrenshospital.org) at Boston Children’s, an internationally-renowned research center which strives to be a leading source of innovative, effective strategies in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of substance-related problems. For the past 7 years, Dr. Harris has shared neuroscience with Scituate students as part of our pre-prom program. We are excited to share this compelling message with adults in the community!
Anxiety, Stress, and Substance Use Risk
Co-facilitators: Jen Lopes, LICSW, and Steve Howley, MS, CAGS
We know that individuals with behavioral health problems in childhood are at increased risk of developing a Substance Use Disorder as adults. Ongoing student survey data shows a strong correlation exists between the rates of binge drinking, and marijuana use among Scituate High School students who also report poor mental health (especially among boys). We also know that early warning signs of behavioral health difficulties can be identified as early as preschool, and supported. Learn practical strategies to identify concerns and help your child better manage stress and anxiety. Schools and families can work together to mitigate the risks of managing stress and common mental and behavioral health challenges to prevent serious health problems later in life.
Risk Factors: Underlying Behavioral Health Conditions (such as Anxiety, Depression, ADHD,Learning Disabilities)
Protective Factors: School Connectedness
About the facilitators: Steve Howley is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. He has been working for the Scituate Public Schools as a school psychologist since 2009. In addition to his work in Scituate, Steve has worked in a variety of counseling and assessment centers. He has worked for many years providing outpatient therapy to individuals and families with a variety of diagnoses and substance use challenges. His primary area of expertise is adolescent behavioral health, though he has worked with individuals ranging from preschool to adulthood. Steve is currently completing his doctoral degree at William James College. Jen Lopes is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and has worked as the Scituate High School Adjustment Counselor since 2011. Prior to SHS, in her capacity as a hospice social worker, she assisted families who were anticipating the death of a family member. Additionally she has worked with children, adolescents and families who were impacted by domestic violence, in an inpatient psychiatric facility, outpatient mental health, and with the Department of Social Services.
Facilitator: Kevin P. Hill, M.D., M.H.S
Marijuana – scientifically known as cannabis – is a hot topic, often surrounded in both emotion and misinformation. Why is this substance so controversial? Learn the facts from a true expert in the field. Dr. Hill will share his clinical experience treating adolescents and young adults with cannabis and opioid use disorders, along with a depth of research knowledge. Participants will learn about policy, trends in use, implications on youth health, and what to do if a loved one has a problem with cannabis use.
Risk Factors: Early substance use; Availability; Low perception of risk
Protective Factors: Clear family rules & expectations
About the facilitator: Kevin P. Hill, M.D., M.H.S, is Director of Addiction Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and author of Marijuana: The Unbiased Truth About America’s Favorite Weed. His clinical experience treating adolescents and young adults with marijuana and opioid use disorders, with an extensive research background, combine for a powerful and expert understanding of the topic.
Parenting Your Teen: Navigating Real-Life Situations
Facilitator: Steve Maguire, M.Ed.
This highly interactive workshop is geared to parents and caregivers of 7-12th grade students. This workshop was not recorded.
Should my kids sleep over other people’s houses? What do I do if my kids go to a house where young people are drinking and the parents know about it? How do I talk to other parents about role modeling positive behavior? Can teenagers say no and still have friends? We will explore these and other important parenting questions that can help everybody in the community get better at our most important job!
Format for this workshop will include an overview of the positive parenting principles of Rules, Monitoring, and Consequences. Parents and caregivers will then work in small groups to apply this framework to real-life situations, based on their children’s developmental stage. Participants will benefit from hearing from other parents who have been through this recently, or are navigating these waters currently, as they develop strategies for their own family.
Protective Factors: Strong family bond; Skills, opportunities and recognition; Clear family expectations and consequences
About the facilitator: Steve Maguire, M.Ed., is a Scituate High School science teacher. He combines his classroom and coaching experience with wit and emotion to engage and empower adults who are raising children. Through his own speaking business, called Go Turnstone, Steve has facilitated trainings and consultations at over 750 organizations in the last 15 years. He is an award winning educator, best-selling author, professional speaker, and father of four.
Facilitator: Traci Wojciechowski
This workshop was not recorded.
Last year 40% of Scituate High School students reported vaping in the past 30 days, according to the anonymous school survey. Vapes contain flavored nicotine, marijuana, or other chemicals, all of which are harmful. Examples of different e-cigarette devices (including JUULs, Kandy Pens and more) will be available for adults to explore. Learn more about this concerning trend among young people – the laws, health risks (both known and unknown), local strategies, and tips for parents to intervene early.
Risk Factors: Early substance use; Low perception of risk; Availability; Peers who use
Protective Factors: Clear family expectations and consequences
About the facilitator: Traci Wojciechowski is Caron Treatment Centers’ Regional Director of Education. Traci has been with Caron since 2002 and is responsible for ensuring that quality education, prevention and early intervention services are provided to school systems and youth-serving agencies throughout New England. Her areas of expertise include adolescent substance use trends, support group and prevention program facilitation, curriculum development, as well as the delivery of parent and professional trainings. She is also the developer of Caron’s adolescent nicotine cessation program, Project CONNECT® and has written articles, presented at regional and national conferences and provided numerous trainings for school staff and professionals on the topic of substance use prevention.