CMHA Suicide Awareness Group, Mental Illness Family Support Centre and the North Okanagan Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Local Action Team have come together to host a panel and community resource fair at the Vernon Recreation Centre auditorium Nov. 23. (Photo submitted)

Addiction prevention highlighted in panel

The panel and resource fair runs at the Vernon Recretion Centre auditorium Nov. 23

Community groups are coming together to help combat addictions in youth.

Statistics show that addictions are one of the most dangerous and destructive issues facing youth in our community, with reports stating that 85% of Canadian teenagers have consumed alcohol and 50% have consumed illegal drugs. The most at risk to develop addictions are youth under the age of 25.

CMHA Suicide Awareness Group, Mental Illness Family Support Centre and the North Okanagan Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Local Action Team have come together to host a panel and community resource fair at the Vernon Recreation Centre auditorium Nov. 23 in an effort to educate the community on this issue at the local level as well as provide information on community resources available to those in need. The panel runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the presentation and panel discussion at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Dr. Michael Ocana will lead a discussion on Youth Addictions: Prevention through Relationships, to be followed by a panel discussion to include Dr. Kevin Miller; Doug Rogers, Vernon School District substance abuse prevention counsellor and a parent and youth with lived experience.

“Prevention is the key to helping youth in our community,” Rogers said. “We need to explore what we are doing to help kids make better choices to lead healthier lives. Youth today are faced with unique challenges and it is more important than ever that schools, services providers and family members get actively involved in the lives of their kids.”

“Prevention and early intervention are critical strategies in addressing youth substance use,” said Julia Payson, CMHA Executive Director. “We are thrilled to we can discuss relationships as prevention as a community.”

To learn more about the Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon Branch or to make a donation to improve mental health in the community, visit www.vernon.cmha.bc.ca or call 250-542-3114.

RELATED: Vernon School District proactive in drug prevention

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