Despite the myriad changes Adventure Recovery founder Tim Walsh has undergone in the ensuing years, one thing remains constant: The No. 1 concern of teens who struggle with substance abuse remains, “I don’t want to get sent away.”
“Recreational cannabis means that we are talking about cannabis. That’s a good thing. Young people are asking unsolicited questions, neighbors are talking to each other. … We developed norms … We’re starting to talk about what does safe use look like for adults? What is the norm?” –Chris Tucci, Railroad Street Youth Project deputy director
The techniques and approaches Foote advocates are not specific to any particular substance or circumstance; rather, they address the fact that communication gets much more fraught, and the stakes get much higher, when kids enter their teen years.
I was recently invited to be the guest speaker for two journalism classes at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington. The students, about 35 all together, had prepared questions for me based on their reading the day before of my recent four-part series, “Addiction in the Berkshires: Sara’s story.”
“When I was younger, I was an A student, in the 98th percentile on all the tests. I did ballet. You wouldn’t have thought I would end up the way I did. All my teachers thought I had a lot of promise and would do well in life.”
Berkshire County ranks highest for suicide rates in the state. Between 2007 and 2016, rates rose dramatically for individuals between the ages of 15 and 19: There was a 50 percent increase for females and a 31 percent increase for males.
The Railroad Street Youth Project’s South Berkshire Community Health Coalition is partnering with the Center for Motivation and Change in New Marlborough on a three-part training for parents who are concerned about their child’s drug and/or alcohol use.