Opinion

Prevention is everyone’s business

We cannot educate, arrest or meet our way out of violence, suspensions, substance misuse, youth arrests, suicide and non-suicidal injury. Substance misuse costs Durham $250 billion per year, according to a 2012 Duke Center for Child and Family Policy report.

There are approximately 13,000 high school students in Durham Public Schools (DPS). The student sitting next to your son may be one of approximately 2,500 students who participate in risky behaviors. Private and charter schools are not exempt. The opioid epidemic is at our doorstep. The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths for non-Hispanic Blacks increased 63 percent. The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths for Hispanic persons increased 43 percent. Of the DPS high school students who have taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription 14.1 percent are black, 14.4 percent are Hispanic, 16.8 percent are white and 19 percent identify as other.

Effective prevention is the same whether the focus is cancer, diabetes or kids using drugs. We must use prevention strategies designed to “immunize” all youth against the contagion of all risky behaviors. Let’s Achieve Health Hand in Hand (AHHH) by creating an empowered, resilient community. Let’s plan for zero. Zero violence, suspensions, substance misuse, youth arrests, suicide and non-suicidal injury.

We have enough important activities for everyone who is interested. Answer the Call to Action on June 16, 2017, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.with James (Jim) Conway, senior facilitator, Search Institute and others.

To register, contact Wanda Boone, executive director, Together for Resilient Youth wanda.durhamtry@gmail.com.

Wanda Boone

Durham

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