New Hampshire Students Combat Substance Use Disorder in their Communities

(Durham, NH January 7, 2019) Nearly every community deals with the challenges of substance use disorder. It doesn’t discriminate and the effects are devastating. The problem might seem unbeatable, but young people throughout New Hampshire have the tools to fight back.

Students armed with knowledge mobilize in their communities and show how small changes in behavior, like the proper disposal of unused prescriptions can lead to big improvements. In ROADS TO RECOVERY II, teenagers from all over New Hampshire share their solution stories about hope, education and empowerment.

One way to combat substance use disorder is through frank and honest education and awareness programs. ROADS TO RECOVERY II explores local programs that empower teenagers to take the fight against substance use into their schools, neighborhoods and to the statehouse.

Young people from Dover Youth2Youth coach students from Laconia to be peer-to-peer mentors. "They are quite a force because they have the energy and they have some time on their hands and they are very action oriented," says Dana Mitchell of Dover Youth2Youth.

In a small pizza shop in Franklin, middle school students are busy folding stacks of pizza boxes and attaching drug awareness flyers to them. The boxes, with messages attached, will leave for delivery to someone's house, taking important messages about drugs right into the home. "It is hard to measure prevention because you don't know what you avoided happening, but if you're out there in front of it, maybe you're the louder voice and maybe you're making a difference," said Bob Lucas from the Franklin Mayor's Drug Task Force.

Sometimes reducing the incidence of substance use disorder  means getting kids outdoors. Exposing teens to outdoor activities can set them on the right path. And it creates leaders. "Instead of getting a high from substance use, they get that high from rock climbing or backpacking," said Sean O'Brien who founded Youth Leadership Through Adventure.

In his seventh season at Youth Leadership Through Adventure, student advisor Noah Schoenbeck encourages other teens to explore the outdoors, "When I joined this group I was not the person that I am today. I was struggling in school, I was going through hard times at home and I was barely motivated. Now I've found my passion in the outdoors." 

In a small pharmacy in Goffstown, students from Makin' It Happen meet with customers. They talk about the importance of prescription drug take-back. Unused drugs in a medicine cabinet, they say, can often end up in the hands of a classmate.

Host Jennifer Rooks leads a discussion at the Huot Technical Center at Laconia High School that explores the grassroots efforts going on in New Hampshire with guests from Dover Youth2Youth, students from Laconia High School, Youth Leadership Through Adventure and Makin' It Happen.

ROADS TO RECOVERY II airs January 17 at 8 on New Hampshire PBS with multiple airdates on NHPBS and NHPBS Explore. Learn more at: nhpbs.org/recovery.

ROADS TO RECOVERY II is part of the Granite Solutions project of the Granite State News Collaborative. For more behavioral health solutions coverage visit collaborativenh.org.

Major funding for the production of ROADS TO RECOVERY II is made possible by Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Bank of New Hampshire.

About New Hampshire PBS: New Hampshire PBS inspires one million Granite Staters each month with engaging and trusted local and national programs and services on-air, online, via mobile, in classrooms and in communities. Beyond its award-winning television programs, New Hampshire PBS is a leader in education and community engagement. www.nhpbs.org

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