Prevention: (Noun); the action of stopping something from happening or arising. This is what the Suffield Local Prevention Council (SLPC) is all about. My name is Nikki Lengyel and I am the new Chairperson for the SLPC. I am incredibly excited to be a part of this important group that strives to make a positive change and raise awareness on multiple matters in the Suffield community. In the past, the Council has focused primarily on the topic of opioids due to the current crisis and concerning numbers of overdoses involving opioids. After much discussion, the Council has decided to broaden its prevention efforts and include other issues as well.
In the results that were gathered from the Youth Assessment Survey, which was completed by Suffield students’ grades 7-12 in June of 2017, it gave telling data about the types of substances students are using as well as how much of the substance they are using. The common substances of concern, or the most favorable substances to youth, were alcohol, electronic cigarettes and marijuana. According to the Final Report of the Suffield Youth Assessment Survey 2017, “about 27% of lifetime alcohol users report having consumed four or more drinks during a single occasion at least once in the past 30 days.” Youth are not only drinking alcohol occasionally or socially, they are drinking in excess amounts. We know the legal drinking age is 21 years old, yet according to the survey results, 43.3% of youth state that they obtain alcohol from parents with their permission. The SLPC’s goal is raise awareness on this issue and educate youth and their families about the dangers of underage drinking as well as hosting laws.
Another substance that has raised great concern in the Suffield community and all over the country is vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes. As of this survey which was completed in 2017, 12.0% of the youth that answered this survey stated they have used electronic cigarettes. Our guess is that number has only risen over the past few months. Vaping has become an incredibly popular activity and is advertised to be less harmful than cigarettes. Unfortunately, because the FDA does not regulate e-cigarettes, we do not know for certain what ingredients and chemicals are being added to the cigarettes.
SLPC’s goal is to reach as many youth, adults and families as possible and provide information to assist them in living healthy lives. The SLPC would love to hear from you and listen to any ideas you may have. Our Council is looking to become more proactive as opposed to reactive and your input means everything to us! We meet on the second Thursday of every month at 7pm in the Suffield Senior Center (145 Bridge St). Please feel free to come to one of our meetings or you can reach out to me via email email@example.com. We look forward to working collaboratively with our community to make Suffield the best town it can be.