Peer pressure was just one of the many critical topics addressed by Mrs. Chanie Delman, LCSW, clinical director of Madraigos, with HAFTR’s eleventh grade this week. The workshop is a central focus of Madraigos’s school-based services where local school partnerships are formed and continuous efforts toward substance-abuse prevention make an impact on our community.
Highlights of the workshop included defining substance abuse, addiction, and gateway drugs, as well as addressing common myths pertaining to usage. The presentation included statistics from current studies on alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs and how the aforementioned substances affect the brain and the rest of the body. By educating students about the many forms of substance abuse and its prevalence, they gained a better understanding of the dangers and the importance to refrain. The students are now better prepared to recognize a potentially risky situation.
Besides learning about the facts of substance abuse, Mrs. Delman actively engaged the students in conversation about the importance of making wise choices when faced with peer pressure. Chanie Delman gave several real-life examples of peer-to-peer social situations and what smart reactions and choices would look like. The examples varied from situations when one is with friends on the weekends, winter break, and summer camp.
It was stressed that if the need arises, students should be proactive in getting appropriate support. Mrs. Delman encouraged the group not to be scared to address these topics as if they are taboo. Instead, students were empowered to confide in a trusted adult and present the situation. Additionally, students were advised how to respond when they see a friend engaging in unhealthy behavior and making poor choices. The students became aware of the importance of their role and understood their responsibility.
The students especially appreciated the discussion related to making responsible choices when they go away for college or participate in seminary programs in Israel. These coming stages offer greater independence but pose unique challenges as teens are separated from their support systems at home and school. Teens and young adults were urged to keep these lifesaving messages fresh in their minds.
The workshop ended with a short video interviewing teen substance users about how the substance negatively impacted their life. The students appreciated hearing real-life accounts of how peer pressure can lead to experimentation with drugs and alcohol and how it can ultimately ruin one’s life. Teens completed a quick survey for Madraigos to help them better understand the face of substance use within our community. While substance use/abuse may not be something they struggle with on a day-to-day basis, the students left feeling stronger with their newly acquired knowledge and ready to face the myriad issues surrounding substance use and peer pressure.
Madraigos thanks HAFTR for inviting them to conduct this workshop to give students the tools they desperately need. Madraigos looks forward to continuing to work with the community to provide education, support, and guidance in our local schools. If you would like your school to arrange a Madraigos workshop on peer pressure and substance abuse, please contact Chanie Delman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-371-3250, ext. 2.