An Ohio group has launched a new program to help prevent alcohol and drug abuse among teens in the state. The Universal Health Care Action Network Ohio is taking part in the program which is led by Community Catalyst, a nonprofit consumer-advocacy organization.
The national program would work to promote early screening and intervention efforts for youth who are at risk for developing addictions. The efforts of this group could help to prevent Ohio's youth from turning to drugs and alcohol while also offering treatment and support to teens and young adults that have already begun struggling with substance abuse.
Screening and Intervention for Youth
The new program will employ a system known as Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment that would involve a complete process for helping at risk youth. It will also work to improve insurance coverage for prevention programs and create legislation to aid in the intervention process.
Throughout the year, Community Catalyst will aim to educate the public about the treatment program for teens and young adults and also work with legislators to enact policy changes that would eventually increase its use. Their goals are to spread the word about the opportunities offered by the program as well as to speak with communities, education administers and nurses about using the methods involved in the treatment.
The project director is aware that it will take time to get more schools and communities involved in using the method as they work to educate the people of Ohio about this type of treatment. The organization hopes to reduce the number of teens abusing alcohol and drugs as well as prevent them from eventually developing severe addictions.
Alcohol and Drug Use in Ohio
To fund this community effort, UHCAN Ohio will receive $300,000 over three years from the Conrad N. Hilton foundation as well contributions from other sources. The program will focus on high school and college students ages 15 to 22 who are at risk for abusing drugs and alcohol.
Ohio has seen a significant number of young people that are engaging in substance abuse with nearly 30 percent of high school students drinking alcohol and 21 percent using marijuana according to a 2013 survey. Numbers have decreased for students using drugs like cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and prescription pain killers.
Some groups remain concerned about alcohol use and hope to reach more young people before they begin to develop problems with addiction. Their belief is that early screening will help to stop potentially long-term addiction issues that typically begin at a young age. An early intervention is more likely to bring a successful outcome and stop the disease before it becomes out of control.
Success of Programs
While these kinds of prevention programs can be highly successful, they also depend on the participation of the patient. It is important for young people to be screened early to prevent addiction but they must also be compliant with the process and have a desire to quit drinking or using drugs before their problem gets worse.
This screening and intervention program is part of a greater national effort that will be used in other areas, but Ohio is one of only 5 states that have been chosen for this treatment method. Being only one of a few makes it all the more important for the people involved in the Ohio project to work on improving the situation with their teens and young adults.
The program has already proven to be effective in some areas and Ohio hopes to see many of its youth get involved in the screen and treatment methods so that they can avoid the dangers of addiction.