Finding the Way Out of Teen Addiction


Bethel AME Church
2 Auburn Street
Paterson, NJ 07501

Sponsored by New Jersey Citizen Action, Salvation & Social Justice

No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide…The Way OUT 

1 Corinthians 10:13

The Problem

New Jersey is facing a major public health crisis with the misuse of drugs and alcohol by young people. This risky behavior is hurting our children’s chances at a healthy future and costing the state millions of dollars. Studies tell us that alcohol use doubles during high school years. Considering impending recreational marijuana legalization, the opioid crisis, and the sobering fact that New Jersey’s drug overdose fatality rate is 3x the national average, people of faith must be involved in a public health solution to these challenges.

The Theology

God has consistently provided a way outfor people in bondage. The Apostle Paul reminds the Corinthian community of God’s liberation for the Jews who were in bondage in Egypt and so illustrates for them that God has surely provided a way outof any spiritual, emotional, physical or mental health issue people may face. African Americans saw this theology as essential to freedom and survival in the United States. This very same illustration is powerful and applicable for vulnerable teens who face the oppression of addiction. There is a way out!

The Solution…….#SBIRTisTheWay-Out

“The early identification and intervention of youth at risk of substance misuse is essential if we are to stem the growing tide of addiction and overdose plaguing our state and our nation.” Steven Kairys, MD, MPH, Chairman of Pediatrics, Jersey Shore University Medical Center

Using a proven early intervention 3-step strategy called SBIRT, schools can help identify at-risk youth and empower them to make better, healthier choices leading to a more positive future. By asking a few simple questions, trained professionals can screen young people to identify possible substance misuse, perform brief intervention using motivational interviewing and/or refer them for appropriate treatment should a problem exist. SBIRT has three elements:

·Screening. A certified professional asks a few simple questions to identify possible substance misuse.

·Brief intervention.In cases where there are indications of potential drug/alcohol misuse, a brief intervention using motivational interviewing will be conducted. (This group of young people was often missed in previous screening and treatment efforts.)

·Referral to Treatment.When misuse is severe, the young person will be referred to a specialized addition treatment program.

SBIRTisTheWay-Outbecause the research shows that SBIRT is an effective way to reduce drinking and substance abuse problems.

SBIRTisTheWay-Outbecause it is an evidence-based tool that has been endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute on Drug Abuse and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force among others.