Information for Physicians
We understand now that we cannot “punish” our way out of the opioid/substance abuse crisis our nation is in, particularly when it comes to our youth. Research has proven over and over that simply locking up an individual who is in addiction only leads to further abuse and additional criminal and mental health issues. It is critical to reach these individuals as early as possible to prevent them from becoming addicted or even experimenting with drugs which we know can sometimes lead to death in a very short time, even at its first use.
The Spring Green Educational Foundation’s Diversion Program is known for its success in working with youth early on at the first signs of drug/alcohol use. Many of the referrals received by the program are for underage drinking or use of an illegal substance such as marijuana. Each participant enrolled in the program who has received a referral for a violation of drugs or alcohol received an AOD assessment. All participants in the program take a comprehensive look into drug use with one important factor that must be noted; it is not enough to educate the youth about the physical/emotional/financial effects of drug use, we must help them understand why they are making these choices. Knowledge alone does not prevent change. There isn’t an adolescent on the planet who hasn’t learned from someone or somewhere that drugs can be harmful, yet they are still choosing to use. We must look at the why’s and then equip the youth for how to address and change this behavior pattern.
Through the SGEF 10-week program, offenders meet to understand the impact on their body and gain tools on how and why they can make better choices. Because we recognize that this is a family issue, all participants must have a parent or guardian attend a parent class which is held simultaneously. Through our highly successful opioid prevention film Chasing Hope: Middle and High School Edition, we cover all aspects of opioid and other drug issues, opening a dialogue with students on how to cope with the stress, anxiety and isolation too many youths are experiencing today. Random drug testing is done on all participants in the program throughout the 10 weeks.
Physicians are encouraged to contact SGEF for more information regarding concerns, referrals or questions they may have on the program at 419-250-0810.