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A look at Substance Abuse Prevention week


Updated 4/29/16. See photo gallery of GAME PLAN Carnival below.

April 25 marks the beginning of Substance Abuse Prevention week, organized and hosted by the Wellness Center, Peer Resource (PR), Redwood Night Live (RNL) and the Twin Cities Coalition to encourage safety regarding substance use within the student body.

“We have really high rates of alcohol and substance use at Redwood and in Marin County in general,” stated Jennifer Kenny-Baum, wellness coordinator.

By junior year, 75 percent of students reported trying alcohol and 53 percent reported having used marijuana, according to the Redwood Healthy Kids survey.

GAME PLAN is an initiative to get students thinking about situations they may be in before they arise, particularly if students choose to use substances. The acronym stands for Getting around safely, Alternatives to using substances, Monitor (self and others), Evaluate the consequences, Peer/Self pressure, Limits, Awareness of self, surroundings and others, Numbers needed to stay safe.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, there will be presentations with Health Educator Jenn Epstein regarding the effects of alcohol on the body, and teachers may sign up to attend with their classes. PR will also have information tables set up in the morning on those days where students can interact directly with their peer counselors about substance use and how to be safe if they choose to use.

There will be a lunch time conversation led by PR in room 201 to explain GAME PLAN in further detail on Wednesday as well.

Kenny-Baum said the event will give students a better understanding by giving them an opportunity to ask their own questions.

“Asking questions like ‘What would that mean? What if someone chose to use? What are we talking about in terms of safety beyond a designated driver?’” she said.

Kenny-Baum emphasized the importance of students thinking about what kinds of situations they may be facing if they choose to use so that they have a plan on how to respond beforehand.

“Your response might be different if you are not entirely in your right mind,” Kenny-Baum added.

The main event will be a carnival on Friday, April 29 at lunch, which will offer music, games, and prizes on the South Lawn.

“Our hope would be that with something like the GAME PLAN concept, the numbers would go down and that we could potentially prevent some use and for students who do choose to use, help keep them safe,” Kenny-Baum said.

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Megan Millard, Author