Parent Alert June 2023

Preventing Substance Use by Supporting LGBTQ+ Students

“We have to transcend our differences to transform our future.” – Antonio Guterres

Research shows that youth are less likely to use substances when they experience fewer risk factors. These risk factors include things like prejudice, bullying, family conflict and rejection, and stress brought on by dealing with these issues on a daily basis.  A study published in 2018 found that LGBTQ+ youth are 12% more likely to misuse substances compared to their heterosexual peers, and that is mainly due to the fact that they experience the aforementioned risk factors at higher rates.

The increased rates of substance use in the LGBTQ+ community is not limited to students. LGBTQ+ adults have reported higher rates of substance misuse and substance use disorders. The National Institute on Drug Abuse shared findings from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health which found that LGBTQ+ individuals reported marijuana use, opioid misuse, and alcohol use disorder at double the percentages reported by the overall population. The Trevor Project had similar findings in their 2020 survey. These studies highlight the importance of creating safer environments for everyone because if we work together to change our schools and communities, then there is a chance that we can also reduce the rates of substance use and misuse.

Schools are doing their part by developing policies and procedures that seek to address LGBTQ+ concerns. Anti-bullying policies, safe spaces, and curriculum that addresses LGBTQ+ issues are just a few of the ways schools are making a difference. Community and family support, advocating for school policy changes, educating yourself on LGBTQ+ topics, and most importantly, showing youth that you are a safe person to talk to are a few of the ways we can support this vulnerable population outside of school. By supporting LGBTQ+ students we are reducing the risk factors they face which can lead to a brighter future for everyone.


LGBTQ Youth And Addiction
Preventing Substance Abuse Among LGBTQ Teens
Substance Use and SUDs in LGBTQ* Populations
Substance Use and Suicide Risk Among LGBTQ Youth
Why American LGBTQ Teens Are More Likely to Abuse Drugs

Preventing Summer Learning Loss

It is hard to believe that students are already on summer break. Students across the nation are excited for family vacations, free time, going to the park, and eating ice cream on a hot summer day. This time of year brings joy to a lot of students, but losing daily lessons in reading, math, and science results in many students experiencing summer learning loss. Studies estimate that students lose about one month of overall learning and two months worth of mathematical knowledge. Summer learning loss is a normal phenomenon, but there are ways to help students retain the knowledge that they spent the last nine months learning without having to sacrifice their fun. Here are some of the things you can do to help your student:
  • Sign them up for a summer reading program. Local libraries have programming and events specifically for students throughout the summer.
  • Take family trips to museums, zoos, and nature sites. These trips can be fun, and many of these places have interactive features built-in to help students learn new things.
  • Review skills on a regular basis. There are many resources available online that provide fun games and materials to help students retain their reading and math skills.
  • Help them develop a new skill. Many students have interests that lie outside of a classroom curriculum. You can help them apply the knowledge they learned in school to an interest or hobby they have.


Vaping Risks

Vaping has quickly become the main method of substance use among youth. This may seem like a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, but the truth is that vaping comes with just as many health risks. Vaping products contain nicotine, cancer-causing chemicals, and flavorings like diacetyl which is a chemical that has been linked to lung disease. Additional risks that vaping poses are accidental poisonings from e-cigarette liquid ingestion, and fires and explosions caused by defective e-cigarette batteries. Youth are more likely to use vaping products than cigarettes because of the multiple flavors like fruit, candy, and mint that can be used. As the image above shows, vaping products come in a variety of shapes and sizes which make them easy to hide. There is also some evidence that using vaping products as a youth can lead to cigarette use in the future. Please check out the link below to learn more about vaping and the risks it poses to youth.


Thank you for being a vital part of our community!