If you are a parent, sibling, or guardian of a middle schooler, it may be hard to believe that your pre-teen could be using drugs or drinking underage. The truth is, data from the last decade shows rates of middle school substance abuse and addiction in children as young as 11 or 12 years old have swelled across the US. In the last year, 11.7% of 8th graders have smoked marijuana.
Our children are using and experimenting with harder drugs, and the trend doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon. The transition to middle school calls for vigilance. Because we have always seen our daughters and sons as little children, this sudden need for vigilance is often confusing and jarring.
That’s where our Youth Prevention Team comes in. At Haymarket Center, our Youth Prevention Specialists have hit the ground running to deliver a communication campaign throughout the South Side neighborhoods of Chicago. Our prevention team, working alongside the Illinois Department of Human Services, is implementing a year-long substance abuse prevention campaign, targeting middle school students at Millison and Beasley elementary, located in the Grand Boulevard area.
The goal of the campaign is to prevent marijuana use among youth by changing their perceptions. We want to change the way these students see themselves and the potential consequences of marijuana use.
To kick-start the campaign, the Youth Prevention Specialists are hosting a Lunch and Learn at both schools to inform school faculty and parents of our efforts. Our goal is to engage the whole community throughout the campaign so that they can be supporters and advocates of the message.
Lunch and Learn:
Beasley Elementary on Wednesday, January 16th, from noon to 1 p.m.
Mollison Elementary on Thursday, January 17th from 4 to 5 p.m.
Today’s youth is constantly bombarded with many mixed messages. Our Youth Prevention Team is excited to take on this challenge, implementing a campaign we hope will resonate with our youth, promoting healthier and brighter futures.
To learn more about the Haymarket Prevention Team’s effort, please email Pat Sykes at PSykes@hcenter.org.
If you or a loved one are seeking support for treatment, talk to the experts at Haymarket Center.Call us today at (312) 226-7984.
By Lauren Bozarth