Leaders in emergency medicine and addiction medicine from NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island shared insights, anecdotes and information on addiction prevention and substance abuse with more than 400 eighth graders on Thursday, June 13 at I.S. 98 Bay Academy.
“Every day at our hospital, the Emergency Department, Chemical Dependency Services and Inpatient/Outpatient Services care for patients suffering from addiction,” said Registered Nurse Jonathan Nover, associate executive director of nursing.
“To combat this public health concern, it is our mission to reach beyond the walls of the hospital and help the community we serve, most importantly the youth of our community,” he said. “If we can empower our youth to question their choices, to second-guess making the wrong decision, to feel brave and find methods to cope with teen stress, then we have made a difference.”
The event was arranged by the Shorefront Coalition, a non-partisan volunteer organization dedicated to promoting civic engagement, aiding youth and seniors and increasing broader participation in community affairs.
“I want each of you to think of 7-11,” said Dr. Mark Kindschuh, chairperson of the Department of Emergency Medicine. “You can only survive seven minutes without air, and every 11 minutes, an American dies of a drug overdose.”
The students, who will be graduating on Friday, June 21, asked important questions. They inquired about the dangers of vaping, why Juuling can be risky and how Adderall can impact them later in life.
One student asked, “Alcohol is a substance and is a major part of our culture. Is it risky for me to drink?”
Oluwaseun Ajibade RN, MSN, director of Nursing-Behavioral Health, challenged the students to think about coping mechanisms to deal with stress. The students discussed how exercise, sports and other hobbies can help them when they are under pressure. “Count your blessings, and not your problems,” said Ajibade.
According to a statement from NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island, the goal of this training is to reach young students before their high school years, in hopes of instilling in them important skills that will help them make smart decisions throughout their lives.