Copeman Presentations: Substance Education

By Ms. Kirsten Bowles, Junior School Counsellor 

On May 30, Amra Dizdarevic, Nurse Practitioner from Copeman Healthcare, met with grades 6/7 parents and students in separate presentations to educate on substance use among children and youth. Click here for her presentation slides. 

Parent Presentation: Ms. Dizdarevic provided statistics on substance use among youth in BC, focused on cannabis, alcohol and vaping as the most commonly accessed substances in youth aged 13-15 years. Through a fascinating examination of the developing adolescent brain, high-risk and novelty-seeking behaviours were considered within the context of neuro-biology. This provided much insight into the reasons for and consequences of experimentation in this age group.

Student Presentation: Ms. Dizdarevic offered true/false statements regarding substances that revealed surprising data, especially regarding widespread misinformation on vaping, the most rapidly increasing experimental substance in this age group. Students received science-based information and statistics and were encouraged to make informed decisions for their health and wellbeing. Following the presentation, many students’ takeaways were the same: Don’t do drugs.

This is a great starting place for children to understand the risks of and reasons for substance use. They can then evaluate situations and make decisions accordingly. But it’s not always so straightforward, and our work isn’t done: ongoing conversations at home, parent-facilitated and child-centered, are the greatest protective factor against adolescent substance abuse and other high-risk behaviours. It is in the home that attitudes and values form. Parents have their greatest influence on their child’s development and wellbeing.