Substance abuse among youth is a significant problem in Mitchell County.
According to data from the Iowa Youth Survey, Mitchell County youth reported significantly higher 30 day alcohol use than the average Iowa student. Along with the Mitchell County school administration & Mitchell County Substance Abuse Coalition, we at Bridges want to help prevent substance abuse within our community.
We invited Jay Pedelty of Prairie Ridge Addiction Treatment Services to present at our final Bridges Speaks workshop. Pedelty is a Certified Prevention Specialist and Prime for Life Instructor who has extensive experience working with young people.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Foundation for the Enhancement of Mitchell County (FEMC), we were able to offer this event free of charge to the community and include a meal.
Jay’s interactive presentation demonstrated how prevalent alcohol’s advertising is in our communities & media. The advertising of alcohol features cartoons that appeal to kids and substance abuse is normalized on billboards & greeting cards. This all serves to reduce young people’s’ perception of the substances’ risks.
We learned the most abused substances include alcohol, prescription drugs and marijuana. Substance abuse rates correspond with availability which is why many are concerned about issues surrounding the legalization of marijuana. Learn more about Jay’s thoughts on the issue in this recent KIMT interview.
As Bridges Mentoring Program moves forward, we want to increase our efforts to prevent substance abuse among youth in our community. Research proves that mentoring works! A Big Brothers Big Sisters study found that youth who participated in a mentoring relationship for 18-months were more 46% less likely to use illicit drugs than those without a mentor, and 18% less likely to consume alcohol under the legal age.
For more information about substance abuse prevention & recovery resources, visit Prairie Ridge’s website. You can also attend a Mitchell County Substance Abuse Coalition meeting held on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. at the Mitchell County Services Building in Osage.
Contact us to learn more about how you can donate your time, talents or resources to our mission of creating meaningful mentoring relationships in Mitchell County.
*Special thanks to Jay Pedelty for donating his time and insight, FEMC for sponsoring the event, Signatures Supper Club of Northwood, Iowa, and the staff at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church of Osage, Iowa for offering their space as a location