Chemical Health Resources

Experimentation with and the abuse of drugs occurs in all communities. It doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to the best of families, and it often catches parents and loved ones completely off guard.

The good news is that according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the use of illicit drugs by teens is on the decline. The reality, however, is that 14 percent of American students have used an illicit drug (other than marijuana) by the time they were a senior in high school.

The bad news is the Minnesota Department of Health has alerted school districts to the increasing use of e-cigarettes by young people and a story on KARE-11 news also highlighted this disturbing trend. In fact, high school e-cigarette use has increased 50% since 2014. These products are easily hidden, emit limited odor and the aerosol dissipates quickly. Not only are there health concerns, but all tobacco use – including e-cigarettes and vaping – are prohibited by state law in public schools, as well as by our school district policy. Learn more about e-cigarettes and how you can help prevent their use here.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has identified prescription medications - used to treat things like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), anxiety and acute pain -  as some of the most abused by young people in our community. Students may take drugs not prescribed to them, thinking that they are safe. Things like Percocet, Xanax and Adderall can be just as dangerous as drugs like heroin, ecstasy and meth.

So what can we as educators, parents and concerned community members do?
During the school day our staff keeps a close watch on our school environment, and when a concern arises, we address it and provide confidential support to our students and their families. It’s easiest for us to follow up on specific incidents, and we always appreciate it when parents or students can give details of what they’ve seen or heard so we can investigate it thoroughly.

Research shows the importance of building strong relationships with our kids and talking to them openly about substance abuse; the earlier the better. Here are tips from chemical abuse specialists of how you can help prevent drug abuse in the children you love:

  • Set a positive example.
  • Establish and maintain good communication with your children.
  • Get involved in your children’s lives.
  • Be nonjudgmental.
  • Educate yourself and your child about drugs. Drugfree.org is a comprehensive resource.
  • Talk about drugs and alcohol early on. Here is a resource to help guide those conversations.
  • Set clear rules and enforce them.
  • Be a parent instead of a friend
  • Help your children choose friends wisely.
  • Praise your children often.
  • Dispose of any leftover prescriptions appropriately. 

Most importantly, if you are concerned your child may be using drugs, get help right away. You can contact the Chemical Health Intake Line at 651.430.6561, or for additional information on resources in Washington County, visit the Community Services Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services page.

Other school and community resources include:

 

E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers has increased considerably among youth in recent years. We encourage parents to discuss the dangers of e-cigarettes with their children.