Worries about teen substance use and the inherent risks to teen health and safety can be overwhelming for parents and communities. The Ridgefield Prevention Council (RPC) is committed to making a difference.

First, the good news: Many teens are making the smart choice to avoid drugs and alcohol. The 2016 Monitoring the Future Survey, a widely respected yearly national survey of drug trends (University of Michigan), showed downward trends in teen use of drugs and alcohol, except for marijuana use, which remained stable.

Yes, there are still many teens using drugs and alcohol, and taking extreme risks with their health and safety. And we all need to continue to work to reduce these risks in our community.

But, it is important to be reminded that a general air of suspicion toward teens regarding drug and alcohol use is not fair and not backed up by evidence.

We want to remind you to take the time to pay attention to all of the teens in our community making smart and healthy choices.

In the prevention world, we call it social norming: encourage healthy choices by “normalizing” them. When we notice and recognize all of the Ridgefield teens that are making healthy smart choices, we reinforce those behaviors and encourage others to emulate them. It becomes a perpetual cycle that can feed on itself and spread among a wide range of our teens.

So, please do your part in our community and take a moment to recognize a good choice being made by a Ridgefield teen whenever you see one.

Who knows, it just might be contagious!

For more information about RPC visit our website: www.ridgefieldpreventioncouncil.org  or our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ridgefieldpreventioncouncil.