Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Support
Attention Parents: Are you concerned that your child may be using alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs (ATOD)? If so, there is a place to turn…. Everett High School offers parents and students confidential ATOD abuse screenings. Additionally, services such as support groups for students struggling with a family member’s addiction, individual counseling, referrals to services in the community such as mental health, and parent phone consultations are available. It should be noted that I do not diagnose or provide mental health therapy, but rather, screen for signs and symptoms that may indicate a need for further evaluation with an outside agency and/or psychiatric clinic. When there is a need, I will meet with students on a regular basis to provide support and guidance.
Can I call the prevention/intervention specialist (PI) without my child’s knowledge? Yes, you may request that I not tell your child you’ve called.
Can I call the PI to ask questions and discuss concerns without having a screening? Yes, screening is not required. Can teenagers develop addictions? Absolutely! In fact, teenagers are more vulnerable to developing addictions because their organs are not fully developed. Research shows that kids who start drinking before age 15 are 4 times more likely to develop addictions than someone who waits until they are 21 before they start (excerpted from "Dr. Knight's top 10 reasons why drinking alcohol is dangerous for young people" in the book Freaked Out book #7 from the award-winning Beacon Street Girls' book series).
Can I force my son/daughter to go to treatment? Yes and no. By law, children thirteen and over have a right to choose whether or not they go to treatment. They also have a right to confidentiality, meaning they may choose to not sign a release allowing me or the treatment center to discuss the result of an assessment and/or progress in treatment with a parent or guardian. However, it is my experience that when parents set firm boundaries and consequences, children will go to treatment, sign releases, and participate in services offered.
Can I speak to the PI about issues in the family related to substance abuse/mental health and have the conversation remain confidential? Yes, you may also ask that your child receive support services at school to manage the impacts of family substance abuse. The child does not have to live with the family member/s to qualify for support services at school. Can I call in confidence if I am a concerned friend or relative of the child to voice concerns? Yes, it takes a village to raise children.