A new addiction recovery program is launching today, Oct. 22, to help Muskegon County teens stop smoking, drinking, using drugs, fighting, and more.
HealthWest, Muskegon County’s community mental health services program, is starting the SMART Recovery for Teens program, which will work with individuals who are 13 and older with addiction. According to a press release from HealthWest, it’s the only program of its type in West Michigan and just the second SMART Recovery for Teens program in the state.
“What you do as a teenager can set the stage for the rest of your life,” said HealthWest Clinical Supervisor Meaghan Dulin, who is working to spearhead the program. “We are excited to work with the youth of Muskegon County to develop healthy habits that will stick with them and set them up for success.”
HealthWest officials are hoping the new group will both empower teens who are struggling, as well as drive down the number of youth addicted to drugs and alcohol. Nearly 40 percent of Muskegon County high school students have drunk alcohol, and 21 percent have smoked cigarettes, according to state data. Eight percent of surveyed high schoolers reported binge drinking in the past 30 days, and those same students were, on average, 14 years old when they reported being drunk for the first time.
According to state data, nearly 15 percent of surveyed high schoolers reported being offered illegal drugs while on school property in the past year and close to 29 percent reported trying marijuana.
“It’s clear that Muskegon County teens are using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco,” Dulin said. “We’re here to provide them with a safe, welcoming space where they can come together to work on changing those behaviors that hurt themselves and others.”
The SMART Recovery for Teens meetings will be held from 4:30-5:30pm every Tuesday, beginning Oct. 22. Meetings will be held at the HealthWest Transition Age Services facility, located on the third floor of 131 E. Apple Ave. There is no cost to attend the meetings.