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Letter: Party SAFE fosters substance-free youth


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From: Harry Cooper

Columbus

Received: May 16

May 12 to 19 is National Prevention Week. When is the last time you talked to a young person about the importance of being above the influence of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs?

According to statistics compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), on an average day, 7,811 youths age 12 to 17 use alcohol, 3,733 use marijuana and 2,503 use prescription pain relievers nonmedically for the first time.

Substance abuse often starts early. In a 2011 report, 13.7 percent of BCSC ninth-graders reported binge drinking within two weeks of being surveyed. Also, more ninth-graders reported using marijuana (12.7 percent) compared to cigarettes (12.4 percent) in the month before taking the survey.

Now is the time for us to make a difference in Bartholomew County by identifying resources, support systems and promoting positive events for youths in our community. Talking to youths about substance abuse and being involved in their lives can make a difference. Youths age 12 to 17 who believe their parents would strongly disapprove of their using substances are less likely to use that substance.

From 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Donner Park, the Foundation For Youth and Columbus Area Youth Ministry Alliance are partnering to host an event called Synergy. The organizations are promoting a new initiative called Party SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Entertainment). At Synergy, there will be many fun activities for Columbus teens, including mural painting, a scavenger hunt, games and live music.

Party SAFE has a student pledge to not use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs and a parent pledge to not purchase or allow illegal substances to be used on their property. Come to Donner Park on Sunday or the FFY anytime to learn more about Party SAFE.

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