Town Hall meeting to cover substance abuse
Data published in 2009 by the Utah Health Department’s Student Health And Risk Prevention (SHARP) Survey, show that Park City High School students in tenth-grade are more likely to use alcohol than any other substance. Dr. Lena Terry, of Summit Pediatrics is one of two guest speakers who will be addressing alcohol and substance abuse issues at a Town Hall meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 29 at Treasure Mountain Junior High School.
TMJHS along with Valley Mental Health organized the meeting to inform students and parents about the negative affects the substances can have on a teenager’s brain. Parents Empowered member Steve Wright also plans to talk about how parents can help prevent alcohol and drug use among their teens.
Alcohol has become the most commonly used substance because it’s easier for kids to obtain, Terry said, adding that it’s usually around the house and parents might not monitor it as much as they should.
"The fact is that it’s becoming an increasing problem and kids are starting to drink earlier. That affects their relationships with family members and peers and at school," she said.
Several years ago using alcohol was seen as OK for teens as long as it was supervised in the home, Terry said, adding that now experts are trying to steer families away from alcohol all together.
"We’re not as lenient as we were even a few years ago," she said. "Just explaining to kids that it can affect your brain development and just not making it OK at that age."
Terry said she doesn’t think it’s necessary for parents to give up alcohol all together, but showing their kids that they don’t drink and drive and that alcohol is not consumed daily is important for setting a good example.
"We’re not telling them they can’t drink, but just not until a certain age, and again everything in moderation," she said. "We’re just finding out more and more why it’s not OK to drink at that age. It’s affecting your behavior and girls are much more likely to get pregnant or a sexually transmitted disease."
The Town Hall meeting is scheduled for March 29, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at TMJHS located at 2530 Kearns Blvd. To register for childcare call (435) 575-1206.
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