In the midst of a pandemic, the drug epidemic persists as health experts say fentanyl is still the leading cause of drug overdoses in Wayne County, while the number one drug of choice for teens is marijuana, followed by alcohol and heroin.
As most of us know, substance use is still very prevalent among young people in the country and right here in Wayne County, but help is available such as treatment, prevention and recovery services offered by the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN). The organization manages over 400 providers in its network of care and many of them offer substance use prevention as a way to help people who are addicted get the help they need.
DWHN Provider Taylor Teen Health Center is one of those providers that is trying to reach as many young people it can considering the circumstances of the pandemic. It would typically offer in-person prevention services, however; now all of its in-school presentations have been virtual. One particular program is called Botvin’s Life Skills Training Program. It’s an evidence-based curriculum proven to reduce the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse and violence by targeting the major social and psychological factors that promote the initiation of substance use and other risky behaviors. This program provides adolescents and teens with the confidence and skills necessary to successfully handle challenging situations.
“We continuously touch base with our youth, asking for feedback on how we can meet their needs during this time of great stress and uncertainty,” said Jeff Cook, director.
Another DWIHN prevention provider that has been around for many years is “Livonia Save Our Youth Coalition (LSOY).” Its purpose is to educate and empower the community regarding the health and safety of youth, focusing on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. This is accomplished by connecting substance use disorder prevention specialists and mental health resources with community partners.
“LSOY is a small coalition, but our reach is wide,” said Executive Director Karen Bonnano. “Our community partners include students, parents, educators, law enforcement, health care and mental health professionals, hospitals, elected officials and local businesses. Over the past year, we have organized several SUD and mental health prevention activities that have reached many people in the Livonia area.”
The organization has held prevention events such as Narcan trainings and Run 2 Save Our Youth, a local family event sponsored by the Livonia Police Department in addition to a successful educational series, Addiction: What You Need to Know and What You Can Do, in partnership with St. Mary Mercy hospital. Since then, about 1,000 have participated and about 100 people have asked for information or a referral for treatment.
In these unprecedented times, where young people are also struggling with their mental health, it’s good to know help is available. DWIHN is also part of a Detroit COVID-19 Virtual Therapy Collaborative where youth can receive up to 12 free counseling sessions with trained clinicians regardless of insurance. You can call or text, 313-488-HOPE or visit ReachUsDetroit.org for more information. As always you can call the 24/7 Access Helpline at 800-241-2929. As always, DWIHN is Here to Talk, Here to Help.