This Mālama Ola Minute focuses on teen substance abuse prevention. Learn how to celebrate responsibly especially during graduation season and beyond. This column is brought to you by the Kamehameha Schools Health Services Department – Mālama Ola (To Care for Life).
Graduation season is here! Over the next few weeks, thousands of teens across Hawaiʻi will be celebrating this joyous milestone surrounded by loved ones. It is also a time to think about safety and how to celebrate responsibly. How do we ensure that the promising lives of our youth are not abruptly cut short by an accident that could have been prevented?
The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (2016) found one of the leading causes of deaths among adolescents aged 15-24 years is accidents (unintentional injuries) resulting in over 10,000 lives lost. That is almost an 8 percent increase over the previous year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that fatal motor vehicle injuries account for the largest proportion of fatal vehicle-related injuries among U.S. adolescents between the ages of 15 and 24. Most adolescents killed as passengers are in vehicles driven by other adolescent drivers.
The National Vital Statistics Reports-CDC (2017) reported the death rate from drug-induced and/or alcohol-induced causes for age 15-24 is 69.5/100,000.
According to the Vital Statistics of Hawai‘i from the 2016 State of Hawaiʻi Data Book, there are over 80,000 15-24 year-olds in Hawai‘i nei. With these high-risk probabilities, it is estimated that over 50 of our keiki in the adolescent age group will die in Hawaiʻi due to alcohol and drug use.
KS understands the need for supporting our haumāna to help them be successful both at school and in life. From the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website there are many things you can do to help your children stay away from drugs and make good choices:
Talk with your children about alcohol and drugs. Explain why alcohol or drugs can hurt their health, their friends and family, and their future. Tell them you don't want them to drink alcohol or take drugs that they aren’t supposed to.
Impaired Driving: Talk with Your Kids
Preventing Teen Drug Use
Talking with your Teen about Drug Use: