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21 for a Reason Blog

Connecticut has established 21 as the legal minimum age for drinking alcohol, purchasing tobacco products, cannabis use, and casino gambling. The 21 for a Reason Blog provides information about the risks of these activities for underage youth and discusses why the minimum age is 21 for a Reason.

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Pride and Prevention: Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth and Reducing Substance Use

June is Pride Month: an opportunity to honor the place of LGBTQ+ people in our communities, and to celebrate love and equality. Yet this year’s celebrations come amid a wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation and surging numbers of hate crimes against LGBTQ people. Rather than erasing Pride Month, this backdrop of controversy underscores the need for its very existence.

Now more than ever, how we support LGBTQ youth is crucial to their safety and well-being. To mark the start of Pride Month, we’re taking a look at how this moment calls for authentic and effective allyship, better legislation, and much-needed systemic change.

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Posted 6/1/2024

May: A Month of Youth Empowerment

May is a powerful month for health awareness. Three important initiatives converge, each with the potential to make a lasting impact on the lives of young people: Mental Health Awareness Month, National Prevention Week (held the second week of May), and World No Tobacco Day (May 31st).

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Posted 5/7/2024

April is National Alcohol Awareness Month

As we transition into a new month and a new season, we also begin observing National Alcohol Awareness Month. Each year, April puts the focus on both the causes and the effects of alcohol use disorder, and on the most effective strategies for preventing substance use disorder before it begins.

In Connecticut as well as across the country, alcohol is the most commonly used of all substances, leading many to feel a false sense of security about its risks. But alcohol consumption can have catastrophic impacts on our health, our families, and the safety of our communities—and it’s time to talk about that.

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Posted 4/1/2024

Every Story Matters: Bringing Youth into the Fold During Problem Gambling Awareness Month

“I blew $500 dollars on one stupid game.” “I’m gambling on my phone before class and during the school day, even during the 2-minute walk to my next class.” “I’ve borrowed money from friends, family, everyone. There’s no one left who trusts me.” “I thought I hit rock bottom before—but this is definitely rock bottom now.”

Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2024 logoMarch is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is Every Story Matters—a reminder, says the National Council on Problem Gambling, that “every narrative, battle and triumph related to problem gambling is significant.” Bringing these accounts to light is no small undertaking, for even as online gambling continues to see explosive growth, we’re less likely to hear the stories or see representation of those who struggle with it. Because problem gamblers exhibit no outward symptoms and are often plagued by a deep sense of shame, this is often called “the silent addiction”—and for underage gamblers, who may fear legal repercussions, this silence is even more pronounced.

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Posted 2/29/2024

SERAC Reflects on Youth Prevention Wins in 2023; Looks to the Year Ahead

In the fight to prevent youth substance misuse, Connecticut remains at the forefront, with strong prevention programs, available funding from settlements, and a long list of services and programs to address and treat addiction. Our state continues to make progress, yet there is still crucial work to be done. Take a look at what’s ahead in 2024.

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Posted 2/6/2024

Meet SERAC’s Local Partners in Youth Substance Use Prevention

Time after time, studies show that stopping youth substance use before it ever starts is the most effective and most cost-efficient way to combat the use of alcohol, cannabis, nicotine, and other drugs. By increasing the age at which young people first try these substances—or by preventing it altogether—we can also avert lifelong addictions, which most often begin during the teen and adolescent years. Because prevention is so critical, SERAC partners with many organizations at the state and local levels to strengthen our efforts and amplify our impact.

By working together, we can share needs assessments and best practices, make the most of substance use prevention funding and resources, and ultimately address the root causes and impacts of substance misuse. Today, to highlight the power of collaboration, we’re putting some of our partners in the spotlight.

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Posted 1/5/2024

Combatting Youth Holiday Stress Through Community Connection & Self-Care

It may be “the most wonderful time of the year” — but for many of us, the holiday season brings a wave of stress and anxiety as our to-do lists swell and our shopping lists grow ever longer. Recent studies show that even kids and teens aren’t immune to holiday stress, and that can spell trouble for those without adequate coping skills and support systems. While routines are interrupted by winter breaks and adults are preoccupied, young people may be at heightened risk for substance use as a way to self-manage their emotions.

Here, we’ll take a look at potential triggers for holiday stress in teens and adolescents, and explore two powerful ways of combatting it: by getting involved in the community through volunteer work and by making time for self-care.

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Posted 12/13/2023