The national program staff of Reclaiming Futures, communities helping teens overcome drugs, alcohol and crime, is sporting orange today and celebrating some superstars in support of Unity Day and National Bully Prevention Month.
In 37 communities across the country, Reclaiming Futures experiences the excitement of helping kids build positive outcomes. But, without support for physical, social and emotional development, young people can run into problems, like bullying and substance abuse. Research shows a clear link between the two:
- Teens who bully their classmates are more likely than others to use substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana.
- Both school bullies and their victims are likely to abuse alcohol after a bullying episode.
- According to data published in 2011, 17% of young people at the door of the juvenile justice system meet criteria for substance abuse disorders; in detention, 39% do.
Because of the relationship between emotional health and substance abuse, we’re always cheering on colleagues who are working with young people and helping break the cycle early on.
Today we’re sending special kudos to Playworks, for empowering school staff and proactively managing students to reduce bullying behavior.
We are grateful to Playworks and all organizations that raise awareness and inspire action to prevent bullying and build healthier kids, communities and schools. Keep up the good work!
Pictured above: Reclaiming Futures national program staff, clockwise from upper left: Jim Carlton, LJ Hernandez, Donna Wiench, Christa Myers, Susan Richardson, Cheryl Reed and Cora Crary.
This post also appears on Playworks.org.
Susan Richardson is national executive director for Reclaiming Futures. Formerly, she was a senior program officer in the health care division of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in North Carolina, where she led a three-year effort involving the state's juvenile justice and treatment leaders to adopt the Reclaiming Futures model by juvenile courts in six North Carolina counties. She received her B.S. in Public Health, Health Policy and Administration, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Updated: February 08 2018