Is Social Media an Effective Tool to Fight Teen Drug Dependence?

Social media has been blamed for a number of issues experienced by teens and young adults – bullying and drug abuse, to name just two – so we know that it has the power to sway the behavior of young people. So residents of Brockton, MA decided to fight fire with fire and created their own social media page in an attempt to harness this influential force to create positive results instead of negative issues.

A private Facebook page has been created for local young people recovering from drug addiction, which in this region is most often related to prescription drugs. The site was set up just a few months ago and already more than 200 teens are utilizing the page to support each other in drug addiction recovery.

Teens Helping Teens

Dr. Joseph Shrand is a local youth drug treatment counselor. He says he is in awe of the support that teens struggling with recovery are offering to their peers through the Facebook site.

Shrand feels that the site sends the positive message to participants: “That’s what sobriety is. This is not something you’re meant to do alone.”

He is working to bring some federal government funding to the area in order to add personnel educated in the treatment of teen addiction to monitor the Facebook site 24 hours a day.

Eastern Massachusetts Heroin and Prescription Drug Epidemic Is Out of Control

There is every reason to believe that the Facebook page for local Massachusetts’s youth in recovery may grow very quickly; Eastern Massachusetts has a prescription drug problem that outpaces many major US cities, according to recent studies. In this region, the rate of emergency room visits due to heroin overdose and admissions to rehabilitation clinics for prescription drug abuse surpasses rates in Chicago, Detroit and New York.

Eastern Massachusetts Awarded Grants to Help Fight Teen Prescription Drug Addiction

The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has found that the opiate addiction epidemic in Massachusetts is affecting both cities and small towns. This is why SAMHSA is providing a grant to the region for $3.6 million to be divided up between eight municipalities including:

  • Brockton
  • Boston
  • Fall River
  • Lynn
  • New Bedford
  • Quincy
  • Springfield
  • Worcester

Each region is slated to receive $120,000 each year for the next three years for the purpose of fighting opiate drug addiction for youth ranging in age from 12 to 25 years old.

How has social media affected your teen and his or her use or understanding of drugs and alcohol? Leave a comment below and share your experiences.

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