‘SOMA Talks’ focuses on protecting teens from substance abuse

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The first in “SOMA Talks,” a three-part education series that focuses on teenage alcohol and drug abuse, will be Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at The Woodland, 60 Woodland Road in Maplewood. The other sessions will be April 18 and 25. These sessions are free and open to the public.

The current opioid epidemic is widely publicized in the news, which has raised public awareness about this public health crisis. While these stories accurately report statistics, what is usually absent from these articles is information about how to spot abuse by members of your family, what to do if abuse is discovered, and how to navigate and effectively cope with a recovering addict in your family. Addiction does not discriminate and is a major public health issue.

The Maplewood and South Orange Alliances, which are volunteer organizations that are funded by grants from the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, have partnered with ADAPT, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team of Essex County, to create a three-part education forum that focuses on teenage alcohol and drug abuse.

The first session will cover education and current trends, focusing on educating parents on the current abuse trends and how to create a trusted environment to talk to children and family members about substance abuse. The second session will cover signs of usage and addiction, focusing on the warning signs of drug and alcohol use and abuse and what to do when evidence is discovered. The third session will cover how to keep family members in recovery, featuring a discussion from professionals focusing on how to cope with this family disease, including erasing the stigma of addiction in the family.