News from Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist

For further information on any of the below topics, please reach out to the Lake Braddock Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist, Jessica Giffin, LMSW.

 

Youth Substance Abuse Presentation

Substance Abuse

 

New Year's Resolutions-January 17, 2023

New Year's Resolutions-printable PDF

New Year’s Resolutions

In December, many people will head to their local Target or Michaels to find a new planner. The crisp, fresh feeling of new paper to write new and improved goals gets some of us excited. When thinking of your goals consider making them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound), this method breaks your goals down into specific objectives and makes it easier for you to track your progress. What goals would you like to share with your child, to show them examples of healthy adult introspection? Introspection, looking within, is necessary to learn how to manage stress in a healthy manner. What regular coping skills can be implemented into your daily/ weekly routine? Some goals may be physical, spiritual, financial, or emotional. Would it be easier to have serious conversations over a family dinner? Or maybe regular family dinners, spark joy and connection that’s often missing.

Research has shown that family therapy is the best treatment option for young people who misuse drugs and alcohol (SAMHSA). Many people use drugs to manage life’s hardships when they feel disconnected from themselves or others. The opposite of addiction is connection, and young people benefit from connection with their families. Families who have a common mission based on autonomy and openness instead of secrecy and silence thrive. Families teach young people how to manage stress when they communicate honestly and openly with one another. Learning how to manage stress early in life could be a major factor in whether or not a young person decides to use drugs.

For general questions about the FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Program, please contact the Office of Student Safety & Wellness at: (571) 423-4270.

Sources & Resources

Why Small Conversations Make a Big Difference

SMART Goals Quick Overview

Knowing the Signs: Substance Abuse & Today’s Youth

 

For further information and support:

Jessica Giffin, LMSW Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist@email

Mental Health, Coping & Addiction-December 9, 2022

Mental Health, Coping & Addiction-printable PDF

Mental Health, Coping & Addiction

One in four Americans suffers from a mental illness. Almost 3 in 5 people with mental illness will receive no treatment or medication. In 2019, an estimated 47.6 million adults (19% of the country) had a mental illness, but only 43% received any kind of mental health care (Johns Hopkins). There are many reasons why a person may turn to drugs or alcohol initially, including using these mind-altering substances as a coping mechanism for stress, difficult emotions, physical ailments, and other issues. Drugs and alcohol can provide a temporary respite from reality and everyday life. They can enhance pleasure and decrease inhibitions and anxiety.  Drug use can be an unhealthy coping mechanism. Coping mechanisms are habits formed over time that serve to help a person manage situations or stress levels. Not all coping mechanisms are maladaptive or destructive; however, addiction is both.

Before using drugs as a coping strategy here are some recommendations for a healthier mindset. The goal is to identify the “void” or issue and work towards healing. In the meantime, experts recommend diet and exercise as great places to start. See your Primary Care Physician and a therapist if needed. Quality sleep is also a major factor in a healthy mind. Surround yourself with good people and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

For general questions about the FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Program, please contact the Office of Student Safety & Wellness at: (571) 423-4270.

Resources:

Substance Use Disorder info

FCPS Social Work

For further information & support: Jessica Giffin, LMSW Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Email: @email Phone: 703-426-1194

Alcohol & The Holidays-December 2, 2022

Alcohol & The Holidays-printable PDF 

The holidays usually involve family time, games, movies, food, and possibly drinks. The holidays may involve less family members this year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean less alcohol for some. Alcohol consumption has increased during the pandemic and when ABC stores were deemed essential it didn’t help lower those rates (ABC News, September 29, 2020). Many people are still trying to figure out how to navigate our “new normal” since a global pandemic wasn’t on our to-do list in 2020, but we encourage you to consider a few things during these trying times.

Questions to consider when drinking with your family:

  1. What message am I sending if I drink in excess around my underage child?
  2. Have I had conversations about responsible drinking with them?
  3. Are the conversations I have about alcohol realistic?
  4. Do my conversations with others reinforce alcohol use as a coping skill during stressful times?
  5. What messages am I sending my underage child if I allow them to drink with me or another adult in the house?

Info to consider:

“One-third of Fairfax County students (33.7%) reported drinking alcohol at least once in their lifetime, ranging from 18.8% of eighth-grade students to half of twelfth-grade students (49.4%). One in seven students (15.2%) reported drinking alcohol in the past month, ranging from 4.5% of eighth-grade students to 27.7% of twelfth-grade students.” (FCPS Youth Survey 2020)

“Female students reported higher rates of alcohol use in their lifetime (36.1% compared to 31.2% of male students), in the past month (17.1% and 13.1%, respectively), and binge drinking in the past two weeks (7.3% and 6.5%, respectively)” (FCPS Youth Survey 2020).

Resources:

Holiday Stress

Helpful Info to Quit Vaping

FCPS video on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Substance Abuse Prevention (Spanish)

For general questions about the FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Program, please contact the Office of Student Safety & Wellness at: (571) 423-4270 and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @FCPSSAPS.