Thursday, November 29, 2012

Schools, county must find dollars to combat teen drug abuse

The Gazette
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Duchy Trachtenberg, Bethesda
The writer served as an a-large member of the Montgomery County Council from 2006-2010 and had maintained a private clinical practice specializing in dolescent addiction prior to her election.

Recently, there was an important dialogue that took place at the Montgomery County Council building. A joint Education and Health and Human Services work session addressed the current status of drug abuse in our schools, notably the epidemic of prescription drug abuse by middle and high school students. In attendance were MCPS officials who discussed data trends, administrative challenges and possible school service improvements.

This is a subject I have first-hand knowledge in. For many years I had worked in the community with both students and families touched by the challenge of alcohol and drug addiction. Of course, I brought these skills to the dais during my County Council term as budget decisions were made and the few times MCPS participated in council discussions on this urgent problem. And I must admit after hearing from countless clinicians, parents and students on this topic after this recent public conversation, I find myself frustrated once again by the all-too-familiar finger-pointing and unnecessary delays at swift and decisive action.

The solutions for this growing community crisis are clear.

First off, there needs to be an established protocol for screening, early intervention and responsive services at every school location. This requires a firm commitment from both the Board of Education and our superintendent. That means sufficient dollars to staff the guidance units appropriately. Plenty of other school districts across this country could serve as models for a school-based program.

Read more HERE.


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