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Drug education resources are here to help

Drug addiction and hopelessness have ravaged countless communities across California. Fortunately, within these communities, many organizations make a difference, whether through drug education, prevention, or treatment.

There is hope for the younger generations as they have more access to prevention and education resources to help them make informed decisions. In addition, more information is available for parents to equip them with the tools to help their kids.

Locally, behavioral health services in San Diego County offer communities the Binge and Underage Drinking Initiative, the San Diego County Substance Use and Overdose Task Force, and the Marijuana Prevention Initiative. There are prevention brochures in English, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Spanish, and many other languages.

Most importantly, amid the growing opioid epidemic, the San Diego County Office of Education offers local drug education and prevention, naloxone resource training, youth leadership programs, prevention resources, vaping education, and parent resources.

Specifically, there is the fentanyl and other drugs prevention and awareness resources guide for schools, parents, community, and educators.

According to the California Overdose Surveillance Dashboard, there were over 7,300 deaths related to opioids in 2022 in the state. The Health and Human Services Agency in San Diego County reported from 2016 to 2019 there was a gradual increase in the number of drug overdose deaths in San Diego County, followed by a sharp increase from 2019 to 2020.

This prevention information could help save a life during the Fourth of July celebrations. Binge drinking around the holiday is typical, and it is known as one of the heaviest drinking holidays of the year.

Parents play an essential role and can take the initiative to create an inclusive and supportive environment with their children. This can equip them with the tools they need to make knowledgeable decisions surrounding alcohol and drug use.

According to the California Health Care Foundation, approximately 13% of 7th-grade students used alcohol to get drunk, and this increased to 52% by grade 11. Moreover, 8% of 7th-grade students used marijuana to get high, and this increased to 38% by grade 11.

Teens and adults all use drugs and alcohol for different reasons. Much of their use is linked to peer pressure, whether from peers, in a social setting, or in the case of someone they look up to. Stress is also a common factor, and alcohol or drugs seem like an easy escape.

Additionally, environment and family history are contributing factors. Children, for example, who grow up in households with heavy drinking and recreational drug use are more likely to experiment with drugs.

Any parents wondering what to do start the conversation about alcohol and drug use early. It is also essential to be calm, loving, and supportive. Seek out specialized resources, such as those offered by the county or non-profit organizations providing prevention and education.

Additionally, parents want to focus on making it safe for their children to tell them anything and never end the conversation, keeping it going regardless of age.

Local drug education resources are here to help with the goal of helping people of all ages make knowledgeable decisions about drugs and alcohol.

Jody Boulay is a mother of two with a passion for helping others. She currently works as a Community Outreach Coordinator for DRS to help spread awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.


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