APRIL 15, 2010

Dr. Phil Petersen will present at two forums on Thursday, April 22. Alcohol, Drugs and the Teen Brain, will be held in the gym at Timberline School at 8:15 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. at the OHS Teen Center.  Students, parents and community members are invited.

Alcohol, drugs, and the teen brain forum April 22

    The Clearwater Substance Abuse Workgroup and Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics are partnering on a forum about the physiological affects of alcohol, street drugs and non prescribed medications on the development of the teen brain. Dr. Phillip Petersen will present the forum, Alcohol, Drugs and the Teen Brain, at 8:15 a.m. at Timberline School in Weippe at a school assembly that will be open to parents and the public.  He will repeat the presentation at 7:00 p.m. at the Teen Center at Orofino High School. Both will be held on Thursday, April 22.

    “I don’t think most teens or their parents realize that the adolescent and teen brain is not yet fully formed. It is still developing neurologically so the impact of alcohol and drugs on the developing brain is greater than the effect on an adult, fully matured brain,” said Dr. Petersen.  “It’s a rather complex interaction, but worth learning about if kids are to make good decisions at this point in their lives.”

    Dr. Petersen was the presenter two years ago at a class on this topic designed specifically for teachers offered through Lewis Clark State College.

    According to Betsy Stemrich, RN, CSAW member, the physiological implications on substance abuse by young people is extremely important to understand. The physical consequences of binge drinking can also be devastating, she said.  Over 1400 student deaths per year in the United States are attributed to underage drinking and over a half million injuries are reported.

    “CSAW recognizes that underage drinking and substance abuse is a community issue. Our goal is to help educate the public and arm them with facts so everyone can do what is necessary to protect our young people,” said Stemrich.

    The forums are free and open to the public. The OHS Health Occupations Student Association is helping publicize the event to the students at each school. Parents are also encouraged to attend.