Long School of Medicine

Breaking the Silence: Addressing Youth Substance Use

Holly WaymentHealth Information for the busy parent in 10 minutes or less.

Host Holly Wayment, Physician Relations Specialist Sr., talks to leading pediatric experts in the field.

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In this eye-opening episode, Holly welcomes Dr. Jennifer Sharpe Potter, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center and director of the Be Well Institute, to discuss the critical issue of youth substance use.

Dr. Potter sheds light on the alarming trend of decreasing ages for first-time alcohol and drug use in the United States, with children as young as 12 being exposed. She emphasizes the importance of recognizing warning signs and initiating conversations about substance use to create a supportive environment for young people.

The discussion delves into the stigma surrounding substance use and the historical perspective of addiction treatment, highlighting the evolution from viewing it as a moral failure to recognizing it as a medical issue. Dr. Potter also addresses the dangers of sharing medications and the rising threat of fentanyl contamination in illicit drugs.

Additionally, the episode explores the misconceptions about marijuana, its increased potency, and the risks it poses to young people, particularly those with mental health conditions. Dr. Potter underscores the need for proper education and the importance of modeling healthy behaviors for children.

The conversation concludes with a look at the resources available through the Be Well Institute, including outpatient treatment programs, recovery support services, and housing programs for young adults. Dr. Potter provides valuable information on how to access these services and the critical role of naloxone in reversing opioid overdoses.

Join us for this vital discussion on addressing youth substance use and the steps we can take to protect our children and communities.