How Are You Deciding?

Approximately 90 teens from 8 South Shore schools participated in a full day training designed to give them a solid knowledge base regarding the development of the adolescent brain, the impact on the brain of alcohol and drugs and how to use Creative Problem Solving for delivering the message back to their peers.

This was a pilot training day funded by the Sean McDonough Charitable Foundation and Adolescent Wellness, Inc.  The neuroscience presentation was by the nationally  acclaimed Dr. Marisa Silveri of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School.   The Creative Problem Solving segment was run by Russ Schoen and Gloria Rapport, nationally recognized experts in CPS.  The teens gained leadership experience, cutting edge exposure to the neuroscience of the adolescent brain and why substance use is harmful and should be delayed, and how to implement the CPS strategy in their schools to deliver the salient messages back to their peers, harnessing the power of the peer to peer voice.   The energy in the room was astounding with the teens demonstrating their desire to keep their friends safe and to make a difference with messaging.

The information gained from today’s training will be used to refine the process and to create the first “add on module” to the core peer training, “How Not To Keep A Secret”.  Substance Use was selected as the first additional training piece based on the research showing intersection of depression and substance use.  The teens left with a list of key points to deliver to their peers:

  1. Your brain is a beautiful and developing and needs to be protected and respected
  2. Substances impact your brain and impair learning, memory, judgment, decision making
  3. The earlier you use drugs/alcohol the greater the likelihood you will develop alcohol problems in adulthood
  4. Arm yourself with the science
  5. Name of the game:  delay, delay, delay.  Protect your brain and your life
  6. Risks are too great:  depression, anxiety, accidents, trauma, impaired learning and memory
  7. Actually, less than half of teens report drinking and using drugs
  8. Friends do not encourage drinking and high risk behavior
  9. Friends want friends to be safe for life
  10. The peer to peer voice is very powerful and important.  Be courageous and voice positive messages that are trendsetting.  Set personal and peer standards that encourage not using alcohol or drugs
  11. Reach out to a connected, trusted adult for help