Student Assistance Services News

October 2022

According to the White House Press Briefing, "Preventing substance use during adolescence has been shown to significantly reduce the chance of developing a substance use disorder later in life. For every dollar we spend today on effective school-based prevention programs, we save $18 in the future by avoiding potential medical costs and boosting productivity on the job. Prevention programs also make young people less likely to one day have children who use substances, highlighting the far-reaching value these efforts have across generations."

The One LCPS Strategic Plan reflects our commitment to preparing students to be knowledgeable critical thinkers, communicators, collaborators, creators, and contributors. This includes having the knowledge, skills and connections to make healthy decisions related to substance use. This edition of our newsletter is dedicated to how parents and caregivers can partner with the school in preventing teen substance use by taking advantage of teachable moments and staying informed.

Use Substance Use Education Presentations as Teachable Moments

Throughout the school year, Student Assistance Specialists give Substance Use Prevention presentations to all students in 6th, 8th & 10th grades. These presentations are most often delivered during Health & PE (HPE) classes as they are part of the approved Health & PE curriculum. During presentations, Specialists engage students in active discussion and provide information on the following topics:

  • Adolescent brain development & brain health
  • Impact of substance use on brain health & overall wellness
  • Reducing risk factors for substance use and enhancing protective factors
  • Refusal skills
  • Talking to a trusted adult and supports available at school
  • LCPS Policy 8240, Alcohol, Drug, Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes, and response to policy violations

We encourage parents and caregivers to engage their child in discussion about what they learn during these presentations and to expand upon this learning by developing plans for dealing with risky situations. Review our Discussion Guide for tips on engaging in healthy dialogue with your teen about substance use and what they learn during prevention presentations. A list of scheduled presentations can be found below. Don't see your school listed? Ask your school's Student Assistance Specialist or your student's HPE teacher when this presentation will take place so you can be prepared to check in with your child.

Check out our Discussion Guide!

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Upcoming Parent Coffees

October 3rd, Harper Park Middle School @ 9am - Presented by Sherry Hoover, LPC

October 7th, Sterling Elementary @ 8am - Presented by Imani Hagans, LPC & Christina Cornejo, MSW

October 21st, Stone Hill Middle School @ 9:30am - Presented by Fiona Brown, LPC

SAMHSA's "Talk, They Hear You" campaign website

SAMHSA's "Talk, They Hear You" website features a variety of resources for parents to prepare for healthy conversations with their teens about substance use.

Upcoming classroom presentations

10th grade:

Woodgrove High School October 7-17

Loudoun Valley High School October 13-19

Stone Bridge High School November 17 - 22

Rock Ridge High School December 5 - 9

8th grade:

Blue Ridge Middle School September 22 - October 11

Harmony Middle School January 6 - 9

6th grade:

Blue Ridge Middle December 5 - 8

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.

Mental Health and Wellness Series

The Department of Social Services recently released the dates of its Mental Health and Wellness Parent Series. This series will highlight mental health and wellness issues and offer parents and educators strategies for addressing them. See LCPS’ Parent Resource Services website for the full schedule.

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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