October 1, 2014

"At-Risk Youth in the Suburbs" Town Hall Meeting October 23, 2014

When we think of at-risk youth, suburban communities are often the last places that we associate with children, adolescents, and teens in trouble. Growing poverty and homelessness,changing demographics, and the easy availability of high-risk drugs are among the factors challenging the common perception of the suburbs as a haven for young people. Learn more about the growing risk for young people in the suburbs. Sit down with legislators, experts, and providers for a Town Hall meeting examining the unique challenges facing youth in our communities today and discussing the resources and options for helping.

Please join the Illinois Collaboration on Youth and the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association at the Wheeling Township Community Center on Thursday, October 23, from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. We will learn more about the adolescent brain development, risk factors, assets, and resources for youth and families in the suburbs. The goal is to look at trends occurring in Chicago suburbs and discuss how we can work together to address these emerging issues. Our panelists include Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield), Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Westmont), Anne Studzinski of the Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition, along with co-sponsors the Illinois Collaboration on Youth and the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA). Don't miss out on this opportunity to engage in an important dialogue and work on solutions together!

September 29, 2014

New Stevenson Coalition Event Tommorrow

As many of you know, there is a new community coalition dedicated to preventing underage drinking and drug use for our youth.  The coalition is called Stand Strong.  We are hosting our first event next Tuesday, September 30th at Stevenson High School from 7:00-9:00 pm.  The event is located in the Performing Arts Center (Parking Lot B) and is free and open to parents from all districts! 

The event will feature a panel of experts talking about what our kids are exposed to in terms of drugs and alcohol and what we, as parents, can do about it.  The experts on the panel include:

Bruce Johnson, CEO Nicasa
Dr. Laura Parise, Specializes in Addiction Psychiatry at NorthShore University Healthsystem
Maura Mooney, L.S.W, C.A.D.C., NorthShore University Healthsystem
Claudia Kasten, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney,
Officer Tom Branick from SHS and the Lincolnshire Police Department
Cristina Cortesi, Substance Abuse Counselor at SHS
Troy Gobble, Principal of SHS
Chelsea Laliberte, Live4Lali, SHS grad and the sister of a boy who passed away from a heroin overdose.
Chief George Filenko, Round Lake Park Police Department, Lake County Major Crime Task Force
Mike Ledvora, in recovery from opioid addiction/Co-founder of The Other Side sober nightclub
Sarah Comm, recent high school graduate in recovery, and her mother
Stuart and Laurie Kessler, parents of a recovering child
Director Chris Sullivan, Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group, providing drug sample exhibition.

The more I study and learn in this area, the stronger I feel as a parent to (try) to keep my kids free from drugs and alcohol.  I believe it isn't a "for sure" that our kids will experiment with drugs and alcohol in high school (50% of seniors do NOT drink).  I believe that I can TRY to keep them making good decisions.  I also believe that as parents we give each other power if we are informed.  SO, won't you join me next Tuesday to learn more from this impressive group of experts? 

Registration is not required, but is suggested.  To register, go to  http://notmykid.eventbrite.com.

September 4, 2014

DEA Take Back Day

Want to get rid of your unwanted or unused prescriptions? The Lake County sheriff's office has set up three collection points, open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sept. 27, which is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. 

They are: 

  • Beach Park Village Hall, 11270 W. Wadsworth Road, Beach Park; 
  • Volo Village Hall, 500 S. Fish Lake Road, Volo; 
  • Fremont Township office, 22385 W. Route 60, Mundelein. 

The sheriff's office collected 685 pounds of medication at the spring 2014 Drug Take Back event in April. Last year, Lake County collected 8,300 pounds of medication. Ridding medicine cabinets of these prescription drugs prevents children from accidentally consuming them and unauthorized users from obtaining them.

You can also drop your medication off at 17 spots in Lake County, to find the nearest location follow this link.

August 25, 2014

Frequent Marijuana Use in Teens and Young Adults Can Affect the Brain: Researchers

Using marijuana at least once a week can lead to cognitive decline, poor attention and memory and decreased IQ in teens and young adults, according to researchers at the American Psychological Association annual meeting.
Krista Lisdahl, Director of the Brain Imaging and Neuropsychology Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, noted that 6.5 percent of high school seniors reported smoking marijuana daily, up from 2.4 percent in 1993. Among young adults ages 18 to 25, almost one-third said they had used marijuana in the last month, Lisdahl noted in a news release. She said a 2012 study found people who have become addicted to marijuana can lose an average of six IQ points by adulthood.
“It needs to be emphasized that regular cannabis use, defined here as once a week, is not safe and may result in addiction and neurocognitive damage, especially in youth,” Lisdahl wrote in a study she so-authored in the journal Current Addiction Reports.