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P.A.R.T.Y. Program Highlights Increased Drug Use As Concern For Windsor-Essex Youth

Friday June 20th, 2014, 2:52pm


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Drug use among youth in Windsor-Essex linked to motor vehicle collisions is on the rise in recent years, and officials say that this shows a need to increase education and awareness about this concern alongside drinking and driving and other risk-related trauma.

P.A.R.T.Y. – which stands for Preventing Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth – began its classroom-style sessions for students in 1994, focusing on the dangers of drinking and driving and other risky activity that can lead to significant injuries. It’s an interactive program that includes demonstrations by paramedics, former police officers, and hospital staff, as well as “role playing” where students play victims and other roles.

Officials note that in recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in drug use related to motor vehicle collisions. In 2011-12, the use of THC – tetrahydrocannabinol, the most recognized ingredient of marijuana – was found in 21% of youth under age 25 injured in trauma incidents. In 2012-13, that percentage rose to 55% and in 2013-14, remained much higher than two years ago at 46%.

“There is a sense that drugs aren’t the same as alcohol when it comes to getting behind the wheel, or attempting other risky behaviour,” says Diane Bradford, Manager of the Regional Trauma Program/Injury Prevention for Windsor Regional Hospital. “We can see by the statistics that we have collected that it is becoming more prevalent and combined with alcohol use is a toxic mix.”

On a brighter note, the number of trauma cases among youth under age 25 at WRH’s Ouellette Campus declined last year. The number of individuals treated for trauma injuries related to motor vehicle collisions, sports, falls and intentional harm totalled 13 in 2013-14, down from 29 in the previous year.

It is hoped that the P.A.R.T.Y. program has played some role in the decline. Since its inception in Windsor, the program has taught 4,134 students from 239 schools in the Windsor-Essex area.

Bradford expressed thanks to Windsor Police Service, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), physicians, volunteers, injury survivors and parents of fatally injured teens for their support in helping local students understand the potential impacts of the decisions they make.

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