Michele Slater, a mental health counselor with Griffin and Associates, LLC, joined David Shepherd Wednesday morning on WTWO 6:30 Today to discuss the issues surrounding teen addiction locally, and an event coming up to help teens who are suffering.  You can see the full interview in the video box above.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Teen drug and alcohol use is on the rise in the Wabash Valley, according to a spokesperson for Griffin and Associates, LLC, an organization that provides mental health services to the community.

“Yes, I have seen an increase of teen addiction [locally],” says Michele Slater, a mental health counselor with Griffin and Associates. “I think isolation, depression, anxiety not receiving treatment is the reason and then addiction starts to impact the teenager.”

“Due to generational trauma in our community, the disease of addiction begins in the adolescent years. The disease of addiction can start with adolescents due to teenagers dealing with depression and anxiety and the teenagers have not identified positive coping skills to help themselves.”

Red flags parents should look out for

Health officials urge parents to check on their kids and watch for warning signs that they may be dealing with mental health or addiction issues.

“The warnings can include isolation, locking bedroom doors, anger, headaches, changes in mood, losing interest in school and sports, resisting discipline, and making excuses often,” explains Slater.

This fall, Griffin and Associates will host an intensive outpatient group to help those adolescents who may be suffering from addiction.

“Griffin and Associates started the intensive outpatient group this summer and it went well, and we want to continue to help adolescents in our community with their mental health and addiction. The clients will work on changing their thinking, changing behavior, and changing attitude. We have an adult group and adolescent group three days a week for three hours each time to help teenagers and adults find hope for their life.”

Support is available for local teens

The support group will be held three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Griffin and Associates, LLC is located at 2901 Ohio Blvd. Suit 116-7.

For more information, or to sign up, call (812) 917-7151 or email mslater@griffinandassociates.org.

Teen addiction by the numbers

15% of high school students reported having ever used select illicit or injection drugs (i.e. cocaine, inhalants, heroin, methamphetamines, hallucinogens, or ecstasy), according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CLICK HERE to read more from the CDC on teen addiction.

Risk Factors for High-Risk Substance Use

Risk factors for youth high-risk substance use can include:

  • Family history of substance use
  • Favorable parental attitudes towards the behavior
  • Poor parental monitoring
  • Parental substance use
  • Family rejection of sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Association with delinquent or substance using peers
  • Lack of school connectedness
  • Low academic achievement
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Mental health issues

High-Risk Substance Use Prevention

Research has improved our understanding of factors that help buffer youth from a variety of risky behaviors, including substance use.

These are known as protective factors. Some protective factors for high risk substance use include:

  • Parent or family engagement
  • Family support
  • Parental disapproval of substance use
  • Parental monitoring
  • School connectedness