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Latest Research Suggests Long-Term Damage For Teens That Use Drugs And Alcohol

Black Hills Works/Lifeways

School health officials say the brain in young people who use or abuse drugs and alcohol does not fully rebound from the effects. They say abstaining from harmful chemical substances during adolescence is key to living a healthy adult life.

School health officials say young people use drugs and alcohol for a variety of reasons - to cope, to fit in with peers, or to have a new experience. And they say the long-term effects are alarming.

Paula Long Fox is a drug and alcohol prevention counselor at West Middle School in Rapid City.

“The adolescent brain is not fully developed until the age of twenty-five. Chemical use and abuse in the teenage years can permanently damage their brain,” says Long Fox.

Long Fox says teen brains are fragile, but, she says parents can offer healthy, natural alternatives.

“Encourage activities outside, encourage movement, encourage music, encourage taking risks on a stage with comedy - anything that is risk-taking in a way that’s not going to permanently change their brain,” says Long Fox.

Long Fox says parents can make a difference in whether their kids will use drugs. She says that frequent, frank conversations that address the harmful effects of chemical substances can help sway kids away from using drugs.

Black Hills Works & Lifeways is hosting Dr. Gregory Lester, PhD - The Teen Brain: Secrets to Understanding and Handling Teenagers on January 28th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Historical Performing Arts Theater in Rapid City.


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