Advisory board tackles youth substance abuse

March 25, 2014

By Erika Kumar

Although drug abuse is a widely discussed topic, few dig deeper into the underlying causes, the reasons why youths would start risking their health by using dangerous substances.

Today’s generation of teenagers are faced with unprecedented challenges on a daily basis: family conflicts, rigorous schoolwork, bullying, peer pressure and sky-high parental expectations, just to name a few.

Not knowing how to deal with and manage the stress and emotions that result from these issues often leave teenagers in a dangerous predicament.

Erika Kumar Skyline High School

Erika Kumar
Skyline High School

Viewing drugs or alcohol as the only way to cope with their distress, many young people practice this harmful behavior and put their lives at risk. Easy access to illegal substances and a lack of understanding of the effects drugs have on their developing bodies further push teens toward substance abuse.

Drug addiction is considered a 100 percent preventable disease. The key is ensuring kids have developed a mindset against substance abuse before they become overwhelmed with the pressures and challenges of adolescence.

Contributing family factors include lack of parental supervision and communication, severe discipline and unreasonable expectations, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Major community factors include cultural acceptance and availability. With Initiative 502 legalizing marijuana, its accessibility will increase exponentially, putting many more at risk.

To address this widespread issue, the Issaquah Youth Advisory Board will host State of Mind: Finding a Balance in Your Life, a free event focused on empowering youths to help them achieve a healthy lifestyle. All middle and high school students from the Issaquah School District are invited.

It is from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the Issaquah Community Center.

To register, teens should email issaquahstateofmind@gmail.com or call Cathy Jones at 837-3317 by March 28. The event is hosted in conjunction with Issaquah Parks & Recreation and the Issaquah Drug Free Community Coalition. Community service hours will be given for attending.

Two sessions will feature three speakers who will discuss stress management, the effects of drugs on the developing body, and nutrition and sleep. Small group discussions and self-empowerment will be the focus of this event. Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of themselves and a healthier lifestyle, as well as the skills needed to manage stress.

Everyone will have fun interacting with their peers in a comfortable environment, so register today!

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