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Local Health Group Helps Snuff Out Teen Addiction

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The recent FDA announcement that teen use of e-cigarettes or vaping has become an “epidemic” is of particular concern to the addiction experts at the Child Guidance Clinic for Central CT (CGC) in Meriden.

The nonprofit counseling service that specializes in providing comprehensive evidenced based behavioral health evaluation and treatment, crisis intervention and outreach services to children and their families, also offers treatment for substance use, including individual and group therapy, focused on making healthy choices, relapse prevention, and substance use prevention.

“The best antidote for addiction is to prevent it in the first place,” said Kristina Goldbach, LMFT, Program Manager of Outpatient Psychiatric Services at CGC. “We want to reduce and prevent substance use in adolescents by educating teens about the dangers of any and all substance use, including cigarettes and vaping, as well as alcohol, synthetic marijuana, illegal drugs and prescription medications.”

CGC outpatient services for substance use treatment are offered to youth and their families and can assist in making the behavioral, psychological, and lifestyle changes to prevent substance use, become drug and alcohol free and avoid relapse.

Program components include:

  • Evaluation
  • Group Treatment
  • Individual and Family Therapy
  • Family Education and Support

“Our unique methodology gets to the root of addictive behavior by working with the entire family,” explained Jim Maffuid, LMFT, Executive Director of CGC. “In fact, we will soon be expanding our services to offer outpatient substance use services to adults.

Additionally, CGC offers screening and referral of parents in their Intimate Partner Violence and Child First Programs.

Goldbach shares statistics about teen drug use in our state from preventionworksct.org:

  • Connecticut’s youth drink at rates 26-28% higher than their peers nationally.
  • Almost 1 in 5 high school students in the state report using marijuana at least once in their life.
  • Painkillers and prescription drugs have been misused by 10% of Connecticut teens.
  • Law enforcement and concerned adults struggle to address the availability of new synthetic drugs in their communities.

The site states that Connecticut has experienced a rise in “K2”, a form of synthetic marijuana, which is made by spraying industrial chemicals on dried plant material then sold as potpourri or herbal incense. It is intended to mimic the effects of THC, the naturally occurring active compound found in marijuana. Side effects include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation and hallucinations.

“Unfortunately it is relatively easy for kids to purchase K2 in local convenience stores and online, which contributes to their mistaken belief that it must be harmless,” said Goldbach. “The same logic applies to e-cigarettes. With candy flavors like chocolate and fruit, along with its availability in retail outlets, they dismiss the detrimental effects of nicotine.”

Even more alarming is an April report in the journal Pediatrics that kids aged 12 to 14 who used e-cigarettes were 2.7 times more likely to try marijuana than their peers. Moreover, the nicotine contained in e-cigarette vapor could be altering the brain chemistry of young teens.

The brain is still developing and nicotine use could cause changes in the central nervous system that contribute to long term use.

“Our goal is to steer children toward a healthy lifestyle before the use of drugs and alcohol negatively impacts their functioning and leads to other problems, such as family conflict, educational and employment difficulties, and legal issues”, concludes Goldbach. “We want families to know that recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process. Don’t wait until you or your child arrives at rock bottom before reaching out.”

CGC is a community partner that has a close working relationship with agencies in the greater Meriden/Wallingford area to connect families with the services they need—like a safe place to live, medical care, job training, or a good preschool.

Founded in 1957, the nonprofit Child Guidance Clinic of Central Connecticut provides comprehensive evidenced based behavioral health evaluation and treatment, crisis intervention and outreach services to children, adolescents and their families in the greater Meriden area. Accessible services are family-centered, strength based interventions that are solution focused with measurable outcomes.

The multi-disciplinary team of experienced clinicians provides innovative, educational and empowering services. For more information visit www.cgccentralct.org or call 203-235-5767.

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