The Porter County Substance Abuse Council’s Speaker’s Bureau has been visiting area middle schools to present information to students on the consequences of using drugs and alcohol. The program is a collaboration with the school health professionals, behavioral healthcare providers, teachers and individuals in recovery. The presentation addresses risky behaviors and provides tools for middle school students to effectively remain drug free.
A study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, “One in four people who used any addictive substance before they turned 18 have a substance use disorder, compared with one in 25 who first used any of these substances at age 21 or older.” A recent review of youth substance use shows that the middle school years, ages 12 to 14, are especially important in reaching our youth and giving them the tools they need to make the best decisions.
The presentations were created by a team of trained professionals and coalition members to help decrease substance use. The material defines the types of drugs that are available, where to go for help, options for saying “no” and real life consequences that may change the course of their lives if good choices are not made. In addition, adults from the recovery community give first-hand accounts of how their choices have impacted their lives. Students are immediately engaged with the speaker’s honest account of their personal stories and this element drives the students to participate in a lively discussion with their peers.
Ben Franklin Middle School and Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Valparaiso have hosted two presentations with more Porter County middle schools scheduled throughout the year. If you would like additional information about the Porter County Substance Abuse Council’s Speaker’s Bureau, please contact Beatrice Owen at 219-462-0946. For more information about the Substance Abuse Council, visit their website, www.portercountysac.org.