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Chemical dependency programs to be added if county grant is received

Zoe Bodovinitz, Staff Reporter

Originally published November 30, 2017


The Teen Health Center sent an application on Nov. 1 for a large grant that would add services to help students with chemical dependency issues. Nurse-Practitioner Karen Boudour helped decide that a full time counselor for those specific cases would benefit the school the most.

“We looked at what we thought we were missing for this student body and felt like it was a drug and alcohol counselor that was here full time or close to full time,” Boudour said.

The grant comes from the county and about 36 school-based health programs, like the Teen Health Center, have applied, making it a tight competition for the money. If the Teen Health Center is chosen, they would receive about $100,000 per year for three years to make services accessible to students dealing with drug and alcohol abuse or addiction.

The decision to add these services to the Teen Health Center with the grant was partly based on the results of the 2016 Healthy Youth Survey that all sophomores and seniors took.

“Our vision would be somebody that’s in the building all the time, like our core staff already is. They would do outreach events for the entire school, things specially designed for particular clubs or groups. Maybe even depending on the interest, an AA group or a group for students who have substance abuse in the house or their parents have substance abuse issues,” Boudour said. “They could speak to the PTSA about what parents should know about drug and alcohol use in adolescents and they could talk to staff about what to watch for or how to react if they think somebody is using in class.”

There were 388 sophomores and 251 seniors that provided valid answers for the Healthy Youth Survey. Of those, 28.8 percent of sophomores and 51.6 percent of seniors said they had drank a glass, can or bottle of alcohol in the last 30 days before the survey. When asked if they had used any illegal drugs in the last 30 days, 27.4 percent of sophomores and 34.6 percent of seniors answered ‘yes.’

Students are always welcome to talk about these kinds of issues in the Teen Health Center with any of the nurses. This grant would allow more focus and direct attention to be put into these cases in order to help the students recover.

“It would increase the awareness of the dangers of substance abuse and the resources that are available and also provide one-on-one services for students that want help. It would not be something you’re sent to because you’re in trouble,” Boudour said, “it would be something that you are seeking out because you want help.”

Without knowing exactly how the county picks the schools that receive the money, the Teen Health Center hopes that the size of the student body they serve will give them a leg up.

“This is a big school so we’re talking about a large number of students. We also serve students at Center School so it’s both school put together which comes out, I think, to about 2,400. Our grant would cover a lot of students,” Boudour said.

The decision by the county should be made in the next few weeks and the Teen Health Center should know if they’ve been chosen to get the grant in December.

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Chemical dependency programs to be added if county grant is received