Teen Health Week 2019

The Importance of Changing Social Norms Among Teens

BlogRx is a content series developed by the Prescription Drug Safety Network to discuss the prescription drug safety landscape.

Teen Health Week (April 1-7, 2019) is a global initiative that encourages teens to take charge of their physical and mental health and develop healthy habits they will use throughout their lives. Established in 2016 as a joint program by the Center for Education of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Department of Public Health, and Real Talk with Dr. Offutt, Teen Health Week is now a global program with activities in 37 countries on 6 continents.

On Friday, April 5th, Teen Health Week’s daily theme focuses on substance abuse and misuse. To further shine light on the importance of prescription drug safety, we asked Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of Health for the Department of Education, to discuss the impact of prevention education and provide guidance on how students can support their peers. Part two of the two part interview is below.

Dr. Levine is currently the Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine.

Dr. Levine is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders. She is also a board member of ASTHO, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

Why is it so important to change social norms among teens and how can misperceptions act as a barrier to action?

It is very important for teens to be aware that these people who are suffering from the disease of addiction need help. If they have overdosed, they need immediate help to save their life. Someone who is not breathing will soon die if they do not get emergency medical attention.

There are some people who label those suffering from this disease as a junky, an addict, or someone who doesn’t deserve help. That is not true at all. If someone has had a few heart attacks, but continues to maintain the same lifestyle, eat the same foods and not change their behavior, we do not tell them that they do not deserve help. We must treat those with the disease of addiction the same way.

Sometimes, those who are affected by this disease may not know that they need help. Having someone important in their life who cares about them and wants them to recover from this disease is often an important step to getting them to want to seek treatment.

To learn more about youth prevention education, visit prescriptiondrugsafetynetwork.com