Student Assistance Services News

August 2022

Back to (School) Basics

Supplies, schedules and open houses are on everyone's minds as we get ready to launch into a promising new school year. Put safety planning on your back-to-school prep list by talking with your child about staying safe and responding to situations involving substance use. Use the following tips for an effective conversation:

  1. Get informed - Having accurate information about current teen drug trends will help you feel more confident and increase your child's confidence in you. See the below resources section or visit the Student Assistance Services website for resources and videos of recent presentations.
  2. Focus on health - Substance use is a health and wellness issue. Approach your discussion out of concern for your child's physical and emotional development and overall well-being.
  3. Reduce shame - Talking openly (and often) sets the tone that this is an acceptable topic to discuss in your household, encouraging your student to share honestly and seek your guidance and support with this issue.
  4. Set clear boundaries with accountability - Letting your child know what is and is not acceptable and how you will respond will help them make effective decisions.
  5. Make a plan for unsafe situations - Helping your child plan for difficult situations, especially those where you might need to help by picking them up will increase their success in navigating these challenges.

August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day

Overdose means having more of a drug (or combination of drugs) than your body can cope with. Symptoms of overdose vary depending on the type of drug or combination of drugs used.

According to the CDC, "Overdoses are the leading injury-related cause of death in the United States and appear to have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic." A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that overdose deaths among U.S. teenagers nearly doubled in 2020 and rose 20% in the first half of 2021 compared with the 10 years prior despite overall drug use rates among teenagers remaining generally stable during that time.

An overdose is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention. Always call an ambulance if you suspect someone has overdosed. Seek emergency help if someone is:

  • Unconscious
  • Having a seizure.
  • Experiencing severe headache.
  • Experiencing chest pain.
  • Experiencing breathing difficulties.
  • Extremely paranoid, agitated and/or confused.

In 2015, the Virginia General Assembly enacted a Good Samaritan law for reporting overdoses. This law provides protection against prosecution for public intoxication or possession of drugs or paraphernalia for a person seeking or providing emergency care for themselves or another person experiencing an overdose. This is valuable information for teens who may be in a situation where they witness someone experiencing an overdose as teens are often reluctant to seek help out of fear of consequences for themselves or others. Full details on Virginia's Good Samaritan law can be found on the Code of Virginia website.

Learn more about overdose and help spread awareness by vising the Overdose Day website for information and shareable resources.


2021-2022 Capstone Student Experiences

In May, two LCPS seniors partnered with Student Assistance Services to complete their Capstone projects. Capstone projects aim to provide students with real-world experience and help them to prepare for the future. Madison Mosely from Freedom High School and Sean Lim from Stone Bridge High School worked with our administrative staff as well as in the school setting to gain their Capstone hours. They completed valuable projects during their time with us to help improve our services from a student's perspective. View their Capstone essays by following the links below.
Madison Mosely, Freedom High School ('22)

". . . I learned a great deal about what their job entails and I believe it is imperative that students are aware of their presence in schools. . ."

Sean Lim, Stone Bridge High School ('22)

". . . this team provides so many student mental health resources and has been supporting me and my peers all along . . ."

Upcoming Events

Education and Support Resources

These resources are not maintained or endorsed by Loudoun County Public Schools. LCPS is providing them as a helpful resource but is not responsible for their content.

Increase Your Knowledge

Safe Storage and Safe Disposal Educational Videos | CADCA

LCPS Parent/Student Substance Use information

LCPS Alcohol Information

LCPS Drug Information

LCPS Tobacco and E-Cig Information

Information for Parents and Educators — Science-based information about drug use, health and the developing brain (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Tobacco and Nicotine education, advocacy and cessation resources

COVID-19 & Substance Use

Stanford study on vaping increasing COVID-19 risk

Drug Fact Sheets — Drug-specific information, pill identifiers, social media trends (DEA)

Addiction Policy Forum — Provides educational videos and articles

Start Talking Now — Education and tips for parents on talking to their children about substance use

Support for you as a Loved One

Families Against Narcotics — Resources for families

Partnership to End Addiction — Online Support Community for parents/caregivers

Virginia Al-Anon, Loudoun District — Support for family members of someone struggling with addiction (Zoom meetings)

Find an Al-Anon Meeting — Support for children of parents struggling with addiction, (Zoom meetings)

Al-Anon Family Groups — Find online Alateen meetings

Addiction Policy Forum — Help finding and navigating the treatment experience

Find a Treatment Provider — Find a treatment center — 1-800-662-HELP (4357) TTY: 1-800-487-4889

Substance Abuse and Mental Heath Services Administration National Helpline

Smart Recovery — Online Recovery Community: Self-Management and Recovery Training

Recovery Dharma — Using Buddhist practices and principles to recover from addiction, virtual meetings available

Narcotics Anonymous — Virtual Narcotics Anonymous meetings

Northern Virginia Intergroup — Virtual Alcoholics Anonymous meetings

LCPS School Based Mental Health Services — LCPS listing of community treatment providers

Student Assistance Specialists (SASs) have expertise in the mental health and substance use field. They have Master’s degrees in Social Work or Counseling, and most are licensed by the Virginia Department of Health Professions as Clinical Social Workers, Professional Counselors or Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioners. As members of the Unified Mental Health Team, Student Assistance Specialists support LCPS initiatives that promote student connectedness, enhance student resilience and educate about mental health and substance use issues. We provide educational presentations for students and parents, restorative practices, individualized and group support, referral services, coordination with providers, staff development and consultation with parents and staff.

To find your school's SAS assignment, visit our website.

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