Group to host community online event about teen substance misuse

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Prescription Drugs (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps / Rodolfo E. Toro)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — When teens experiment with illegal substances at a young age, it can have harmful impacts on their well being and health often causing problems later in life.

The Substance Misuse Awareness Project, or SMAP, plans to host an online educational event called “Equipped: Don’t be in the dark about substance misuse” on Tuesday, March 23, at 7 p.m.

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SMAP is a collaboration between New Hanover County Schools and a number of organizations including Coastal Horizons, Trillium, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department, and Cape Fear Coalition for a Drug Free Community.

The group’s goal is to raise awareness about substance misuse through educating kids, parents, teachers and school staff.

Tuesday’s event will start with a short presentation from a Coastal Horizons substance abuse specialist who will share research about the effects of substance use on the teen brain, the trends we are currently seeing in teen substance use, the signs of use, how to talk to your teen about substances, and local resources to support teens and families.

There will also be a panel discussion including representatives from Coastal Horizons, New Hanover County Schools, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department, a parent of a teen who struggled with substance misuse, and an adult who struggled with substances as a teen.

The event is geared for anyone who has children or works with pre-teens or teens in any capacity such as parents, teachers, school staff, counselors, mentors and youth leaders.

“The best way to keep our kids safe from substance misuse is to educate ourselves,” said SMAP member Amy Steelman. “I am personally looking forward to the section of the presentation on how to speak to your teen about substances.”

To register for the event, go to SMAP’s social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) via the group’s handle @SpreadSMAP. By texting the word “equipped” to 844-799-9911, you will get a link directly to your phone to register. Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom link in it. That email will also have a link to a form where you can submit questions for the panel ahead of time.

A recording of the event will be uploaded to all of SMAP’s social media sites after the event and will be emailed to anyone who registers for the event.