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VAASA in Action:  Spotlight in NK

On March 28,  Varsity Athletes Above Substance Abuse (VAASA) students went to Davisville and Wickford Middle Schools and Jamestown Lawn School to present information on substance prevention and how to make healthy choices.  The VAASA students had fun and were true leaders who demonstrated, taught and gave information that would allow for the 8th graders to be successful at the high school level.

VAASA had a hands on activity making healthy life choices.  They showed the 8th graders that when you put drugs and alcohol in your life you will most likely drop the ball on school, family or friends. VAASA leaders demonstrated how dopamine increases in your brain when something feels good which can show that the disease of addiction can happen to ANYONE.
Lastly, VAASA students provided the 8th graders with tips on how to be successful.

Our coalition is grateful for the commitment of the Student Assistance Counselors: AM Finlay, Stephanie McGearaty, and Sue Davis. (and Allie's Donuts! )

Fueled by drugs like heroin, fentanyl and the misuse of prescription pain pills, the opioid epidemic  has impacted countless families.

To help there is a FREE a new eBook:  Heroin, Fentanyl & Other Opioids: A Comprehensive Resource for Families with a Teen or Young Adult Struggling with Opioid Use. Parents need to be prepared with the knowledge and skills to identify opioids, spot early use and take action effectively. The information will move you in the direction of greater well-being and health.  Here are key takeaways to get you started:

  1. Have on-going conversations with your teen or young adult about the risks of substance use, especially opioids (i.e., prescription pain medications like Percocet and Vicodin, as well as heroin).
  2. Seek non-opioid alternatives to manage your child’s pain from any injuries, dental work or other situations requiring pain management. 
  3. Monitor, secure and properly dispose of any prescription pain medications in your home. While it may be tempting to keep pain medications “just in case you might need them,” the safer course of action is to dispose of all expired or unused medication since family and friends are the primary source of prescription pain pills.
  4. Know the signs of opioid misuse such as pinpoint pupils, fatigue, weight loss, drug paraphernalia, wearing long sleeves, etc. 
  5. Get an evaluation to determine your treatment options if your child is misusing opioids including medications. Treatment works — the earlier you intervene and take action, the better. 
  6. Get and know how to use Naloxone (Narcan) as a precautionary measure against overdose. 
  7. Practice self-care, which may include your own counseling. You are your child’s best advocate and your resiliency matters. 
Download the guide    From Partnership For Drug free Kids
Approximately 1.35 million young athletes suffer a sports related injury every year1. Many of these injuries will have some degree of pain associated with them, and will often require pain management over a period of time. 

The North Kingstown Prevention Coalition is participating in the pain management awareness campaign (TAP) which encourages the parents, guardians, and coaches of our athletes to educate themselves on pain medication when they are prescribed to an athlete in our program.   The first step in assuring that our athletes are protected is to consider the following when pain medication is prescribed to an athlete:
  1. Does the prescribed medication have addictive side effects?
  2. Is there an alternative medication available?
  3. Are there drug free alternatives such as physical therapy or exercise available?
  4. Do you know how to properly dispose of the excess?
  5. Can the dosage be reduced over time?
  6. Who will be managing the consumption of the drug?
  7. Will the drug be stored in a manner that prevents access?
  8. Will the athlete being prescribed the medication be an active and aware participant throughout the process?
The NK Prevention Coalition is not suggesting that prescribed opioids cannot be an effective component of pain management; we are simply encouraging you to educate yourself on the risks, expectations, and available alternatives when they are prescribed to an athlete in our program. We encourage you to consult with your physicians, educate yourself on any prescribed pain management treatment, and to monitor athletes throughout the course of any pain management treatment.

Question: How Can I Prevent My Teen From Getting Involved With Marijuana?

Answer: There is no magic bullet for preventing teenage drug use. But parents can be influential by talking to their children about the dangers of using marijuana and other drugs, and remain actively engaged in their children's lives.

Even after teenage children enter high school, parents can stay involved in schoolwork, recreation, and social activities with their children's friends.

Research shows that appropriate parental monitoring can reduce future drug use, even among those adolescents who may be prone to marijuana use, such as those who are rebellious, cannot control their emotions, and experience internal distress.

Get Involved in Their Lives

To address the issue of drug abuse in your area, it is important to get involved in  prevention programs in your community or your child's school. Find out about the local prevention coalition.  Seek out activities you and your children can participate in together.

There are numerous resources, many right in your own community, where you can obtain information so that you can talk to your children about drugs. To find these resources, you can consult your local library, school, or community service organization.

Get you Marijuana Talk Kit here

LAST WORD:  Alcohol and Other Drug Use: 
Get the Facts Check Out this Cool Info graphic 
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North Kingstown Prevention Coalition · 300 Centerville Road · Warwick, Ri 02886 · USA

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