NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Generation S.O.S., a national nonprofit organization that brings peer-driven substance misuse awareness and prevention programs to students across the country, is kicking off the new school year by bringing its message of hope and help to middle school, high school and college students across the country.
Generation S.O.S. programs consist of free, informative, interactive in-person meetings for teens and young adults to learn from peers about preventing substance misuse and other mental health challenges. Students who have experienced drug and mental health issues share their stories and provide information, tools and coping skills on substance misuse. Programs are geared toward substance misuse awareness and prevention, not treatment.
“This is a classic example of how an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Jim Hood, CEO of Generation S.O.S. “It is much easier to build strong adolescents than it is to repair broken adults. Prevention is infinitely more effective and impactful than treatment, yet most dollars get allocated for treatment programs; this must change of we are to get this problem under control.”
Robin Aviv, founder of Generation S.O.S., added that “this is not about preaching an anti-drug message to kids; it is about peers sharing their stories, highlighting the warning signs and offering tools and coping skills to prevent others from going down the same destructive path they did.”
The statistics are staggering:
- Addiction/drug overdose is the leading cause of death under 30.
- More people die from addiction-related incidents than from car accidents and gun violence combined.
- Students are 200X more likely to die from drug overdoses than school shootings.
- Fentanyl is involved in two-thirds of all drug overdoses.
- More Americans die every two weeks due to alcohol, drugs and suicide than in the 20 years of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
At every meeting, Generation S.O.S. invites a young adult speaker to share their journey through mental health challenges, substance misuse, addiction and recovery. The stories are raw, the anxiety real and the loneliness familiar. While addiction often has damaged everything in the young speaker’s life, each story is one of courage and hope. The message is simple and powerful: Prevention is more effective than treatment.
Mental health issues, stemming from a variety of causes, are increasing among teens at an alarming rate. Reports have indicated that at least half of all children under the age of 18 will experience some sort of mental health issue or crisis. In many instances, this will lead to substance misuse. Despite the availability of support, oftentimes the stigma of needing help for a mental health issue prevents teens from getting the assistance they need.
Generation S.O.S. is a national nonprofit organization that brings free, peer-driven substance misuse awareness and prevention programs to students at middle schools, high schools and colleges across the country. Students learn about the risks of substance misuse/overdose as well as coping skills, how to help a friend in trouble and get help if they’re struggling. The organization’s mission is to help teens and young adults make life-saving choices about substance misuse and other mental health issues. Generation S.O.S. has taken its message of hope and help to more than 100,000 students in schools across the country. More information is available at www.GenerationSOS.org.