Student Assistance Services News

January 2022

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.

2021 Monitoring the Future survey results show significant declines in teen substance use

The annual Monitoring the Future Survey is conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The study surveys eighth, 10th and 12th grade students in public and private schools across the U.S. about their substance abuse behaviors over various time periods, such as past 30 days, past 12 months, and lifetime.

The 2021 MTF Survey results revealed significant decreases in teen use of a variety of substances, including alcohol, marijuana and vaped nicotine. This was the largest decrease ever recorded in just a one-year period. Some of the most significant reductions in past-year use were seen among 10th graders:

  • 28.5% reported using alcohol in the past year in 2021, a statistically significant decrease from 40.7% in 2020.
  • 17.3% reported using marijuana in the past year in 2021, compared to 28.0% in 2020.
  • 19.5% reported vaping nicotine in the past year in 2021, compared to 30.7% in 2020.

Of the results, Dr. Nora Volkow, M.D., NIDA Director said, “These data are unprecedented and highlight one unexpected potential consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused seismic shifts in the day-to-day lives of adolescents. Moving forward, it will be crucial to identify the pivotal elements of this past year that contributed to decreased drug use – whether related to drug availability, family involvement, differences in peer pressure, or other factors – and harness them to inform future prevention efforts.”

For more details and survey results, visit NIDA's website.

Annual LCPS Mental Health and Wellness Virtual Conference

Each year, LCPS provides a free conference to parents, educators and community members focused on improving the health and wellness of our young people. Professionals from LCPS and the Northern Virginia community have volunteered their time to provide a variety of engaging sessions focusing on mental health and wellness.

Our own Student Assistance Specialists will be providing sessions on Teen Substance Use Trends at 9:00am and 11:00am. Attendees will learn about prevalence of common drugs of abuse, risks of using and how to identify them. The presenters will provide strategies for healthy dialogue with teens about substance use and describe educational opportunities and supports available in LCPS.

The 12:00 hour will feature a showing of Indieflix's LIKE: A documentary about the impact of social media on our lives.

All sessions will be virtual. Visit the conference scheduling page for details on this year's sessions and to register.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

9:00 am - 12:00 pm

​Lightridge High School


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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 - Parent/Student Substance Use information - Alcohol Information - Drug Information - Tobacco and E-Cig Information - Easy-to-read drug facts - Tobacco and Nicotine education, advocacy and cessation resources - COVID-19 & Substance Use—Stanford study on vaping increasing COVID-19 risk - DEA website - drug-specific information, pill identifiers, social media trends— Addiction Policy Forum website—provides educational videos and articles - Education and tips for parents on talking to their children about substance use

Support for you as a Loved One - Resource for families - Online Support Community for parents/caregivers - Support for family members of someone struggling with addiction—Zoom meetings—Support for children of parents struggling with addiction—Zoom meetings - Find online Alateen meetings—Addiction Policy Forum website for finding and navigating the treatment experience

Find a Treatment Provider - SAMHSA treatment locator

1-800-662-HELP (4357) TTY: 1-800-487-4889 - SAMSHA National Helpline - Online Recovery Community: Self-Management and Recovery Training Recovery community based on Buddhist Principles, virtual meetings available—Virtual Narcotics Anonymous meetings - Virtual Alcoholics Anonymous meetings - LCPS listing of community treatment providers

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