April 2021 Newsletter

Happy friends are laughing at the park.

Student Assistance Program

April 2021

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Who we are

The Student Assistance Prevention-Intervention Services Program (SAPISP) is a comprehensive, integrated model of services that:

  • Fosters safe school environments
  • Promotes healthy childhood development
  • Prevents alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse

When to Refer to Student Assistance

You can make a referral at any time you have a concern about a student by submitting the referral form.

Some signs you may notice include:

  • Decline in school performance
  • Absenteeism or chronic tardiness
  • Levels of activity or alertness change from day-to-day
  • Talks freely about using or partying, or of family members using.
  • Paraphernalia, clothing, jewelry, pictures, and drawings centered on chemical use
  • Perfectionism or difficulty accepting mistakes
  • Withdrawal; a loner; separates from others.

As a rule, an isolated instance of poor or unsatisfactory performance is not necessarily grounds for a referral. However, if a student exhibits several of these signs, or there is a repeated pattern of behaviors, a referral is appropriate.

Positive Conversations Make a Difference! 

There is a day in the month of April that those of us in the prevention world take very seriously: April 20 or 4/20. As a Student Assistance Professional working with students, it can be a challenge to counter messages promoted by marijuana culture. One way we work to do this is to get students thinking about other meaningful and exciting aspects of their lives. The good folks at Natural High have collected images and stories from actors, athletes, and other relatable celebrities focusing on their reasons for staying sober. And, to their credit, they have curated some great material, available at naturalhigh.org. 

It has become apparent over the last year that positive prosocial activities are extremely important in young people’s lives. Student Assistant Professionals are here to assist students in finding their own personal reasons to refuse and recover from substance use. We are excited to help students make that connection and establish healthy habits through personal interests that will contribute to their lifelong wellbeing.

Another tool that Student Assistance Professionals utilize is educating youth on the dangers related to substance use. I find it fitting that we provide some of this information in April’s newsletter. We are all still learning about the risks of “today’s marijuana” partly because it is everchanging. But one thing we know for sure: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

Know the Risks of Marijuana  

This is an excerpt from an article published by SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Would you like to know more? Visit https://www.samhsa.gov/marijuana to read the full article. 

“Approximately 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will become addicted. When they start before age 18, the rate of addiction rises to 1 in 6.”

Know the risks before you use. 

Marijuana Risks

Marijuana use can have negative and long-term effects on:

  • Brain health: Marijuana can cause permanent IQ loss of as much as 8 points when people start using it at a young age. These IQ points do not come back, even after quitting marijuana.
  • Mental health: Studies link marijuana use to depression, anxiety, suicide planning, and psychotic episodes. It is not known, however, if marijuana use is the cause of these conditions.
  • Athletic performance: Research shows that marijuana affects timing, movement, and coordination, which can harm athletic performance.
  • Driving: People who drive under the influence of marijuana can experience dangerous effects: slower reactions, lane weaving, decreased coordination, and difficulty reacting to signals and sounds on the road.
  • Baby’s health and development: Marijuana use during pregnancy may cause fetal growth restriction, premature birth, stillbirth, and problems with brain development, resulting in hyperactivity and poor cognitive function. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals from marijuana can also be passed from a mother to her baby through breast milk, further impacting a child’s healthy development.
  • Daily life: Using marijuana can affect performance and how well people do in life. Research shows that people who use marijuana are more likely to have relationship problems, worse educational outcomes, lower career achievement, and reduced life satisfaction. 

Marijuana Addiction  

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive. Research shows that: 

  • 1-in-6 people who start using the drug before the age of 18 can become addicted.
  • 1-in-10 adults who use the drug can become addicted. 

Over the past few decades, the amount of THC in marijuana has steadily climbed; today’s marijuana has three times the concentration of THC compared to 25 years ago. The higher the THC amount, the stronger the effects on the brain—likely contributing to increased rates of marijuana-related emergency room visits. While there is no research yet on how higher potency affects the long-term risks of marijuana use, more THC is likely to lead to higher rates of dependency and addiction. 

References & Relevant Resources