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    Will Social Distancing Lead to Teen Substance Abuse Spike?

    Stressed Teen Student

    During this indefinite period of social distancing many families are already struggling with challenges related to health, finances, and isolation. Now that many students are entering their fourth month of being academically and physically homebound, another potential threat is on the horizon: how teens respond to the stress building up around and inside of them.

    As Florida International University recently reported:

    The coronavirus outbreak has been a stressful situation for many, which may drive people, including children and teens, to use substances like alcohol or tobacco products in order to cope.

    Recent data has shown that people sheltering at home from coronavirus reported significantly higher rates of negative mental health effects relating to worry or stress, compared to those not in social isolation. These effects may be pronounced in households with adolescents, as this group is at a higher risk for mental illnesses such as depression, and do not have the same access to key mental health services during this time.

    Here in Maryland, various resources exist to support those struggling with substance abuse.

    In the context of school safety, Safe Schools Maryland is a 24-7-365 resource to report anonymously threats to the safety of schools and students; therefore, if you know of a peer struggling with a non-emergency challenge that could put the peer or others in danger, make sure to report the what you know using the anonymous reporting system, which is available by downloading the app (Google Play Store | Apple App Store), completing the web form (click here), or by calling 1-833-MD-B-SAFE / 1-833-632-7233. For emergencies, always call 9-1-1.

    Remember, even over the long hot summer, Safe Schools Maryland remains fully operations and is just one more resource available to keep our students and our schools safe.