Nurses Specializing in Mental Health and Addiction Are Being Stationed in The Schools to Help At Risk Teens

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Finding the required support systems and networks to keep teens off drugs can be a very difficult endeavor indeed, and when you live in a place that is referred to as “Oxy Town” this vital resource could not be in more demand. The real name of the Canadian town that is somewhat of the focus of this article is: Chatham-Kent. This town is now experiencing a change in substance abuse, and the culprit is none other than the deadly fentanyl patch. A drug that is significantly more powerful even than morphine, and one of the reasons for it’s new surge in popularity is the fact that policies implemented by the Canadian government have made it difficult to purchase and tamper with prescription medications like OxyContin. By tampering with we mean crushing and snorting the pills as well as melting them down and injecting them directly. So we do have to thank our federal health department for these measures, but it seems like taking care of these issues is similar to playing a game of whack-a-mole at an arcade. One drug gets hammered down by the government and another just pops up, and in this case a very dangerous one.

As mental health and addiction services tend to go hand in hand, there is some positive news coming out of Chatham-Kent. They are taking the unique approach of placing mental health specialists in their high schools. They’ve trusted the expertise of nurses who know a lot about mental health and addiction as they’ve worked in hospitals and clinics across the province and have learned a great deal.

Reaume-Zimmer said these nurses help identify young people with drug problems, noting, “just like any chronic disease, the focus needs to be early.”She added the goal is to shift this conversation for youth off the use of substances and building good networks of support. “When they’re feeling badly, who do they have to talk to about issues versus resorting to substance use, which typically . . . numbs some emotional pain for them?” Reaume-Zimmer said. She said the mental health and addictions nurses are creating some good relationships with addiction program and mental health service providers throughout Chatham, Windsor and Sarnia.

It’s measures like these that will make a significant impact on the lives of those teens who may be at serious risk of developing mental illness problems and addictions. Both issues are extremely difficult to deal with, especially in secretive teenagers who often do attempt to self-medicate. Teens face a myriad of problems while their brains and bodies undergo fast changes during their junior high and high school years, not to mention the inevitable peer pressure and desire to experiment in order to fit in at social events and house parties. All-in-all, however, with trained medical professionals in the schools there can only be more good news coming, as they possess the skills to identify and reason with teens who may be at an elevated risk to both try and possibly become addicted to a variety of substances.

Teens need our help, especially when it comes to mental illness and addiction, which could have a serious impact on the rest of their lives.



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Sobriety Foundation

Nurses Specializing in Mental Health and Addiction Are Being Stationed in The Schools to Help At Risk Teens

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