Empowering adolescents and families to live a life free from the disease of addiction through community outreach, education and early intervention.
Underage alcohol and drug use remain one of the most serious public health threats facing adolescents in the Western New York region. According to the Center for Disease Control, accidental overdose has become one of the leading causes of death in the last decade among people ages 18-25. Underage drug and alcohol use often result in perilous outcomes for youth, as the consequences have longer term and far reaching implications. The Center for Addiction reports that 9 out of 10 people with addiction started using substances before they turned 18.
Young adults continue to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana recreationally without realizing the consequences of this behavior. According to a recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over half of high school seniors have consumed alcohol in the last year and a third of seniors have used marijuana in the past year. Through a survey of area school children who utilized our Face2Face Program, we have learned that accessibility to substances is no different for children in our city, suburban, or rural school districts. In fact, these substances are likely readily available in their own homes, including prescription pain medications.
The opioid crisis alone has truly transformed into an epidemic that is ravaging communities across the Western New York region. According to the Erie County Health Department in 2017 there were 268 confirmed opioid related deaths in Erie County and the next big threat to teens is right around the corner. We are noticing an increase in the use of vaping devices among middle and high school students. Not only are these devices directly marketed toward teens in similar ways that cigarettes were marketed in the 60s and 70s but vaping devices are now available that allow the user to discretely vape marijuana making them even more dangerous than was first suspected. With the ever changing drugs trends, the need for community outreach and education about the dangers of experimentation and consequences of substance abuse and addiction is needed now more than ever.
History of KED
KED is dedicated to providing a full spectrum of resources to the community. Through the Face2Face Program and the Renaissance Campus, KED reaches tens of thousands of adolescents and their families each year. In the face of the current opioid epidemic, KED has risen to action.
There is, however, much work to be done. KED remains committed to reaching every community in WNY with viable education for both adolescents and adults, while also providing services to intervene in the early stages of adolescent addiction when treatment can be most effective. It is the hope that with Face2Face outreach and awareness, the stigma of addiction can be eliminated.