by Jen DeSena
The Manhasset Coalition Against Substance Abuse (CASA) hosted its final sector meeting of the school year May 17 in Manhasset High School. The regular sector partners provided updates and two speakers discussed mindful parenting and mental health. With respect to vaping, educating children about its health consequences is a must so that they make the right decision for themselves. As with all social pressure, empower them to say no. For less important decisions, sometimes the natural consequences of their mistakes are more appropriate than parent correction or criticism. Parents and adults can model healthy behavior by saying “I’m sorry” when they don’t handle a situation well, and not trying to control everything. Value strengths instead of focusing on weaknesses.
Noticing positive things produces positive enzymes in the brain, while stress and negativity can weaken the immune system. CASA welcomed parents and educators from St. Mary’s and the North Shore School District who shared their ideas for healthy living initiatives, as well as a member of Manhasset’s High School Healthy Living Club. Follow their Instagram account—club.healthyliving—for tips on reducing stress for final exams and students can join the club in the fall.
Visit the CASA website at www.manhassetcasa.org for tips to start difficult conversations with your teens. Help yourself and other parents by joining the SAFE Homes network. View the eight-minute interview segment of a MHS graduate sharing his story at https://youtu.be/7G8FnhPJ9cU He was a success in high school, but binge drinking made him vulnerable in college to OxyContin. The complete interview is on the CASA website.
Current scientific evidence shows that drinking in high school makes someone four or more times more likely to develop a substance use disorder. Manhasset 10th and 12th graders have reported drinking and binge drinking at levels two and three times those of teens nationwide. In 2016, 64,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses, but 88,000 died from alcohol. How many more suffer in their marriages, careers, and family relationships because of alcohol use disorder? Parents have the ability to offer their child a competitive edge in life by delaying exposure to addictive alcohol, nicotine and other drugs. Nobody will look out for your child more than you.
CASA looks forward to working with the school administration to bring mental health as well as substance abuse awareness to the community in the fall.