Community Conversation on Underage Substance Use

The Rye Youth Council, in partnership with the Rye City School District and the RHS PO, will present a panel discussion, “Teens and Substances – Their Health, The Law and Your Liability.”

Published March 7, 2014 5:47 PM
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The Rye Youth Council, in partnership with the Rye City School District and the RHS PO, will present a panel discussion, “Teens and Substances – Their Health, The Law and Your Liability.”

 

The Rye Youth Council, in partnership with the Rye City School District and the RHS PO, will present a panel discussion, “Teens and Substances – Their Health, The Law and Your Liability.” Parents and high school students are invited to attend the program Wednesday, March 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Rye High School Performing Arts Center. Organizers are confident that the discussion will present new and relevant information, and hope it will lead to a continued discussion at home.

 

The Rye Youth Council Players, an improv troupe of Rye High students, will act out several troubling yet plausible scenarios. These will be discussed from both the legal and health perspective by a panel, which will include representatives from the Westchester County District Attorney’s office and the Westchester County and Rye police departments, and an ER physician from White Plains Hospital. Ellen Morehouse, Executive Director of Student Assistant Service Corp., will moderate the discussion, and “nothing will be off-limits.”

 

The audience will learn about important provisions such as the New York State Social Host law and the 911 Good Samaritan Law, and there will be plenty of information on helpful resources and prevention programs.

 

“This is a very difficult issue that we need to address,” says RHS Principal Patricia Taylor. “We care about our youth and want to see them make good choices.”

 

Recent statistics are cause for concern. According to a 2012 survey by the Student Assistant Service Corp., the average age of onset for alcohol use in Westchester County is 13.9. The same survey states that 16.1 percent of 9th graders, 30.1 percent of 10th graders, 41.1 percent of 11th graders, and 52.8 percent of 12th graders reported using alcohol over the course of the previous month. And while hard to imagine, more accidental deaths in New York State are due to an overdose in alcohol or drugs than are caused by traffic accidents.

 

Teens don’t always realize the various risks associated with substance use, and their parents can be unaware of their own legal obligations. Adults often tend to downplay drug and alcohol use as a rite of passage for adolescents, and sometimes even enable such risky behavior.

 

“We are glad to be joining with the PO and the Youth Council on this important discussion,” says Dr. Frank Alvarez, Superintendent of Schools. “Community dialogues heighten awareness for all and often lead to changes in attitudes and perceptions.”

 

Rye High School teachers will incorporate the issue in the classroom where appropriate. Some upper level classes will provide extra credit for attendance, and teachers will aim to reduce homework and tests the following day.

 

This event is the second of its kind to be held in Rye. The first one, also organized by the Rye Youth Council, took place in 2007, and was attended by more than 600 people. Many parents reported afterwards that it led to honest and constructive conversations with their children.

 

“If we can start such conversations again in our community, the evening will have been a success,” says Judy Secon, Rye Youth Council Executive Director. “We truly hope that many parents and teens will take the time to come and keep talking about it at home.”

 

For more information, contact the Rye Youth Council office at 967-3838 or email jsecon@ryeyouthcouncil.org.

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