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Local drug education and prevention programs are here to help
Jody Boulay, Community Outreach Coordinator for DRS

It seems as if every community, big or small, has been impacted by the problems associated with substance use and drug overdose. Within these communities, these problems extend into the family unit, with people becoming addicted and dying because of drugs. 

However, community drug education and prevention programs can be a first line of defense. There is hope for the younger generations as they have more access to prevention and education resources to help them make informed decisions. In addition, more information is available for parents to equip them with the tools to help their kids understand the dangers and risks associated with drugs and alcohol. 

Locally, the Kansas Prevention Collaborative partners with several different states and educational institutions and provides agencies. Substance misuse prevention focuses on underage drinking, marijuana use, and other substances. 

Additionally, they offer the “It Matters” campaign, which focuses on the power of perception to help youth and young adults avoid substance misuse. The behavioral health services and programs in the state are provided by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, which includes treatment, recovery, and prevention. 

Prevention and education information is valuable, especially during Fourth of July celebrations. Binge drinking around Independence Day is typical, and it is known as one of the heaviest drinking holidays of the year. In social settings, it becomes easy to consume too much alcohol and experiment with illicit drugs that are potentially laced with opioids.

According to drug abuse statistics, an average of 156 people die from opioid overdose in one year in Kansas. Opioids are a factor in 45.2% of all overdose deaths in the state. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported the rate of drug overdose deaths in the state of Kansas almost tripled within the last year few years. Drug education and prevention can help.   

Parents play an essential role when providing drug education. They can take the initiative to create an inclusive and supportive environment with their children. This can equip them with the tools they need to make knowledgeable decisions surrounding alcohol and drug use. 

Teens and adults all use drugs and alcohol for different reasons. Much of their use is linked to peer pressure, whether from peers, in a social setting, or in the case of someone they look up to who they see drinking or using drugs. 

Stress is also a common factor, and alcohol or drugs seem like an easy escape from the problems of life. 

Additionally, environment and family history are contributing factors. Children, for example, who grow up in households with heavy drinking and recreational drug use are more likely to experiment with drugs. 

Any parents wondering what to do should consider starting the conversation about alcohol and drug use early. It is also essential to be calm, loving, and supportive. Seek out specialized resources, such as those offered by county or non-profit organizations providing prevention and education. 

Additionally, parents want to focus on making it safe for their children to tell them anything and never end the conversation, keeping it going regardless of age. 

Local drug education resources are here to help with the goal of helping people of all ages make knowledgeable decisions about drugs and alcohol.

Jody Boulay is a mother of two with a passion for helping others. She currently works as a Community Outreach Coordinator for DRS to help spread awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.