Drug Awareness Month
MCS Mental Health Team Fall 2022
Students are more stressed than ever. How can we stop them from self-medicating?
Educators and Parents can recognize the signs
- Mood changes (e.g., flare-ups of temper, irritability, defensiveness)
- Poor class attendance, low grades, and/ or behavior problems
- Disregard for school rules
- Memory lapses, poor concentration, bloodshot eyes, lack of coordination, or slurred speech
- Switching friends and a reluctance to allow parents to meet new friend
What can you do if you see the signs?
Talk With Students and keep open communications.
There are several things a teacher or school staff member can do if they suspect a student is using alcohol or other drugs, but the first step is always to talk to the student. Use the following tips to talk to students about alcohol and other drug use.
• Be a Good Source of Information— Provide students with the facts about the harmful effects of underage drinking and drug use. Being open and honest about the dangers of alcohol, marijuana, and opioids can help students make safer decisions.
• Show Them You Care—Let students know that you care about their health, wellness, and success and tell them how alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs can impede those things.
• Use Personal Stories—Statistics are useful, but they are sometimes hard to understand. Consider telling students relatable stories about making smart decisions when it comes to alcohol and other drugs. These could be stories that show the consequences of engaging in risky behavior.
• Help Them Build an Exit Plan—Some students may not have an interest in alcohol or other drugs, but will still feel like they need to partake in order to fit in. Explain that it’s okay to say no, and help them think through an exit strategy in case a friend or family member tries to pressure them in the future. (samhsa.gov; 9/27/22)
Janice Vest, LPC-Mental Health Service Coordinator MCSS
Janice Vest is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and has a Bachelors in Psychology as well as a Masters in Counseling. She has worked with children and mental health for 25 years. She was previously a Counselor in Morgan County for 9 years before becoming the Mental Health Service Coordinator in Morgan County Schools.