The Hampden County District Attorney's Youth Advisory Board is composed of student representatives from high schools across Hampden County, working together to focus on issues facing high school students such as alcohol and substance use, abusive relationships and social media, and discussing ways to handle the difficult choices they face. Through this board, the students are able to have their voices heard regarding many of life’s challenges. This powerful video about vaping is just one example of the incredible work this group is doing.
The Operation Prevention Video Challenge is an annual challenge in which high school students from across the country create a 30-60 second PSA to raise awareness regarding the dangers of opioid use. This year several West Springfield High School students entered the challenge! Their hard work and important messages can be viewed below!
How Juul Made Nicotine Go Viral
"Juul tried to design a solution to a public health problem. It wound up creating another one. Since the first patent in 1930, electronic cigarettes have taken many shapes. At first they mimicked the packaging and physicality of cigarettes, with a cylindrical shape and light-up tip. Then they trended toward boxier designs, with low nicotine levels and high amounts of vapor. The Juul did things differently: it packed a high-nicotine, low vapor hit in a small, USB drive-shaped package, with a colorful range of flavors and a buttonless, intuitive design. It wasn't just a hot new e-cigarette — it was a hot new tech gadget. Now, middle schools and high schools across the US are nervous about how many kids are getting hooked on Juuls." -Vox read more here on Vox.com
Kirk Jonah Presents at the West Springfield High School
West Springfield resident Kirk Jonah, in a community presentation during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week. Mr. Jonah discussed the effects of teen substance use on family life from a father’s perspective.
“In 2016, my son Jack passed away in his bedroom from a heroin overdose,” said Mr. Jonah. “Since his death, I have been speaking to groups of parents to share my experience with hopes that I can hopefully prevent any more young people from succumbing to the same fate”, he added.
Since his son’s death in 2016, Mr. Jonah has been advocating awareness of issues related to opioid addiction, especially as it relates to youth and family. “I want every family to understand the impact this had on our family and his friends” said Jonah. “I am hoping that with my public appearances, I can help other parents identify warning signs of abuse and guide them to learn to prepare to be able to handle an addiction before it’s too late.
In the Spotlight with Superintendent Michael Richard
CARE Coalition Board Member, John Weiss, and CARE Coalition Coordinator Nikki Lewis appeared as guests on In the Spotlight, with Superintendent Michael Richard, where they discussed their respective roles in the CARE Coalition as well as up coming prevention and wellness efforts within the community.
Local West Side resident and CARE Coalition member, Kirk Jonah, appeared as a guest on, In the Spotlight, with Superintendent Michael Richard, where he discussed the impact of the opioid epidemic, including his family's own experience, and his upcoming presentations to spread awareness during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week.
WSHS DA Youth Advisory Board/CARE Steering Committee members Devin Svec, Haley Riddles and Alleyna Pitaso were guests on, In the Spotlight, with Superintendent Michael Richard, where they discussed their role on the YAB, CARE Steering Committee, and issues affecting high school students.
West Springfield CARE Coalition Provides Addiction Resources
Carolee McGrath sat down with West Springfield School Superintendent Michael Richard, CARE Director of Programming Christine Beaumont, and CARE board member John Weiss to learn about the CARE Coalitions continued education efforts surrounding the opioid epidemic, in our community.