The Wisconsin Safe and Healthy Schools Center builds
the capacity of Wisconsin School Districts to implement programs that effectively prevent and intervene in alcohol and other drug abuse and violent behaviors among students in order to reduce these barriers to learning.
From Prescription Drug Abuse to Heroin: What is the Connection?
According to the Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2011, 18.1% of students reported they have taken a prescription drug (such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin, or Xanax) without a doctor's prescription at least one time. The survey also reported that 10.4% of students reported they have taken an over-the-counter drug to get high at least one time.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, heroin use has increased 80% among teens and overdose deaths have increased by 38% for those 15 to 24 years of age.
Prescription medication abuse has become the gateway to increased heroin use. One in eight high school students will choose to "try" a prescription pain reliever from a friend. Opiate pain relievers often create a euphoric high, which becomes very addictive, very quickly.
As a teen's dependency on prescription drugs increases, the costs can become prohibitive. Along with the fact that there is a push to close pill mills and reduce the painkiller supply; thus creates a new problem. Opiate addicts need their fix, so when they can't easily get their pills to pop, they're often turning to heroin.
Communities that are cracking down on pill mills and doctor shopping, heroin-related deaths are increasing.
As concerned educators and parents there are signs we can be aware of:
- Major changes in mood, behavior, character or energy level.
- An increased desire to be alone.
- A reluctance to introduce new friend.
- Poor performance at work or school.
- A change in eating habits.
- Drastic change in finances-no money, unexplained money or missing valuables.
- Evidence of drug use found in the laundry, under the bed or near work areas.
For more information on Prescription Drug Abuse and how we can help our students; join us for the Good Drugs Gone Bad Workshop at a location near you.
We have seen a significant increase in the reporting of Bullying in recent years. The latest Youth Risk behavior Survey for Wisconsin shows that 24% of students report having been bullied on school property; 17% repot having been electronically bullied; and 44% of youth report that bullying and harassment are a problem at their school. This does not take into account the number of students who continue to be bullied in ways that are not always identified as bullying.
Relational bullying (often called Social Bullying or "Girl bullying") causes considerable psychological pain which can lead to social anxiety, loneliness, depression, and substance abuse. Studies indicate that relational bullying diminish young people's social interactions, cause them to feel less safe, and sometimes even encourage them to bring a weapon to school. In brief, there are five types of relational bullying:
To view the entire article with resources go to http://www.wishschools.org/resources/
The Importance of Screening
Early intervention is a cornerstone of successful mental health care. Screening middle and high school students across the country for depression and suicidality would therefore be a prudent and cost-effective undertaking. Adolescence is a time of change - physical, mental and emotional. It is a time of challenges, some of which can feel, to a young person, quite extreme.
Even a cursory look at the statistics reveals a solid case for universal screening.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), four million children and adolescents in the U.S. suffer from "a serious mental illness." But in any given year only 20 percent of these youth are identified and receiving services. Furthermore, research shows that suicide is the third-leading cause of death in 15 to 24-year-olds and that over 90 percent of youth who die by suicide suffered from a mental illness.
Universal prevention strategies, such as the SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program, are designed to reach an entire population without regard to individual risk factors and are intended to reach a very large audience. Such programs are provided to everyone in the identified group, such as a school or grade, with a focus on risk reduction and health promotion.
To read the whole article go to
- Please visit the Wisconsin School Health Award website to learn how to apply http://sspw.dpi.wi.gov/sspw_wischoolhealthaward. A school can achieve one of four award levels: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Dates to Remember: *Award Application Due: March 15, 2013, Award Presentations will be in May, 2013. All schools applying for an award will need to pre-register online. For more information see below.
- Building Skills for Health Literacy Training on March 19th in Oshkosh. Registration and more information at http://sspw.dpi.wi.gov/sspw_tobaccoprog.
- Suicide Prevention Conference on April 11th at Holiday Inn in Stevens Point. Registration coming soon!
- Best Practices in Physical Education and Health 2013 hold the date for July 24-25th with a preconference on July 23rd. More information go to www.uwsp.edu/conted/confwrkshp/pages/