Teen/Youth Blog

TAC Talks: Utilizing School Resources

TAC Talks: Utilizing School Resources

TAC Talks is a collection of video segments, developed with the creativity and insights of HC DrugFree’s Teen Advisory Council, and presented in the style of TED Talks, hence the name TAC Talks. Originally presented as a part of a community program, they are now available as smaller segments by topic. This TAC Talk on…

TAC Talks: Time Management

TAC Talks: Time Management

TAC Talks is a collection of video segments, developed with the creativity and insights of HC DrugFree’s Teen Advisory Council, and presented in the style of TED Talks, hence the name TAC Talks. Originally presented as a part of a community program, they are now available as smaller segments by topic. This TAC Talk on Time Management is…

TAC Talks: Transitioning from Middle to High School

TAC Talks: Transitioning from Middle to High School

TAC Talks is a collection of video segments, developed with the creativity and insights of HC DrugFree’s Teen Advisory Council, and presented in the style of TED Talks, hence the name TAC Talks. Originally presented as a part of a community program, they are now available as smaller segments by topic. This TAC Talk on Transitioning from…

TAC Talks: Motivation & Perseverance Solutions

TAC Talks: Motivation & Perseverance Solutions

TAC Talks is a collection of video segments, developed with the creativity and insights of HC DrugFree’s Teen Advisory Council, and presented in the style of TED Talks, hence the name TAC Talks. Originally presented as a part of a community program, they are now available as smaller segments by topic. This TAC Talk on Motivation &…

The Hidden Costs of Prom Night

The Hidden Costs of Prom Night

Prom Night can be one of the most memorable evenings of a teen’s life…but at what cost? Of course, there are the traditional expenses such as formal attire, tickets to the event, and maybe even splurging for a limo! But what about the optional costs of Prom Night? If a student is found to have…

Letter from the Superintendent Regarding High School Proms

Letter from the Superintendent Regarding High School Proms

This week, acting school superintendent, William J. Barnes, sent out an email reminding HCPSS families how dangerous Prom season can be for teens. We are sharing this message to echo the desire for young people to create wonderful memories while making responsible choices that help to keep themselves and others safe. As we approach the last…

Reflections on Life Skills

One of our long term Teen Advisory Council members, Malhar, was a part of our college student team teaching our recent Life Skills class. In the essay below, he outlines his experience. What really made this experience stand out was the hands-on approach we took. Rather than just lecturing, we engaged the students in discussions, role-plays,…

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week: What’s Your WHY?

What’s Your WHY? #MyWHYNDAFW HC DrugFree asked teen and adult residents of Howard County, MD their WHY: Why they care about drug & alcohol related education, prevention resources, and why leading by example matters. This is what they said… HC DrugFree is proud to partner with the The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and…

TAC Talks: HoCo Teens Present Thoughtful Insights in Meaningful Student Lead Program

TAC Talks: HoCo Teens Present Thoughtful Insights in Meaningful Student Lead Program

You’ve heard of TED Talks. Now, we’d like to introduce TAC Talks! On Monday, March 18 HC DrugFree’s Teen Advisory Council (TAC) presented “insider information” for parents, educators, middle school students, and their high school peers during this special student-lead community program. This special event covered a range of thought-provoking topics, chosen and presented by Howard County…

In the Weeds: Cannabis in College

In the Weeds: Cannabis in College

Hey high schoolers and parents! Let’s talk about something that’s on a lot of minds these days: marijuana. On July 1, 2023, the State of Maryland legalized some amount of cannabis use and possession. Since it was now legalized in the state for people over 21, it’s easy to think that college campuses are all…

HoCo Grad and Former TAC Member Reflects on HC DrugFree

One of our long term Teen Advisory Council members, Malhar, is a part of our college student team teaching our Life Skills class that begins next week. In the essay below, he outlines his experience with HC DrugFree, Life Skills, and the impact both have had on his life. Academic and professional life has been…

Mental Health and Vaping in Teens and Young Adults

Mental Health and Vaping in Teens and Young Adults

Recent research by the American Heart Association has found that teens and young adults (ages 13-24) who vape nicotine and/or THC are more likely to also report symptoms of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts than teens who do not vape. Of those who vape, around 20-30% reported that they started vaping to help cope with stress,…

Spring 2023 Life Skills Class Recap

Spring 2023 Life Skills Class Recap

This week, HC DrugFree completed another series of Life Skills classes for middle and high school students! Classes were comprised of more than 30 enrolled students, several older high school mentors from HC DrugFree’s Teen Advisory Council, and an amazing team of college students who taught the class with oversight from HC DrugFree’s adult staff.…

HoCo Kids Didn’t Sugar-Coat Their Reactions to THC Candy

HoCo Kids Didn’t Sugar-Coat Their Reactions to THC Candy

“NOOOO! Not my Skittles!” One Howard County middle school student lamented. “I can’t believe the companies would allow this,” another replied. “But I like Nerds…” another concerned student chimed in. These are just a few examples of the reactions we received when Howard County students in HC DrugFree’s Life Skills Class were shown photos of…

Parents, You Are Most Influential!

Parents, You Are Most Influential!

Submitted by a Howard County parent and teacher According to a poll of students in the HC DrugFree Spring 2023 Life Skills class, of the 62% of the students who answered the question “What do yo think influences your decisions the most?” almost HALF said their parents. A little less than half of respondents said peers. What…

Volunteering for International Overdose Awareness Day

Volunteering for International Overdose Awareness Day

On Wednesday, August 31st, Howard County held an International Overdose Awareness event at St.Johns Episcopal Church in Ellicott City to recognize those who have overdosed or been affected by opioid misuse . Many organizations were present. The event offered different resources, including Naloxone Training, an Overdose Response Demonstration, and a Program of Celebration. I represented…

TAC Grad Says Experience Fostered Leadership & Professional Skills

TAC Grad Says Experience Fostered Leadership & Professional Skills

Submitted by Howard County college student (former TAC member): In high school I was looking for ways to get involved with community groups for service hours and to make friends. I naturally found the Teen Advisory Council (TAC) when looking for programs that fit. The TAC was helpful because I felt like I was part…

Teens Discuss Marijuana Use

In a collaborative effort with the Kerala Cultural Society, recent HCPSS grad and member of HC DrugFree’s Teen Advisory Council (TAC), Adhithyaa Nair was interviewed by Sidhaarth Raghunath about issues related marijuana use in teens, including different perceptions about the safety of marijuana use, how it affects the nervous system both in the short and…

There’s Still A Lot More I Need to Learn

I thought the Safe Driving program HC DrugFree presented to teens and parents in December was very informative because it felt like a natural next step from everything we already discussed in HC DrugFree’s Life Skills Classes to the Middle Schoolers. It’s funny, actually, I learned that there’s still a lot more I need to…

HCPSS Grad Discusses Substance Misuse in High School

I’m a college student who graduated from HCPSS a few years ago. I regularly heard stories from friends and saw posts on social media about teenage parties. Despite not attending these parties, word quickly got around of everything that happened. Drinking, vaping, and smoking marijuana were all popular activities. Typically, a few people would bring…

Former HCPSS Student Recommends Life Skills Classes for Howard County Students

Middle schoolers should take advantage of the Life Skills classes this summer! Watching Netflix, playing video games, and going to the pool are all great ways to relax while not in school but the summer break is also a perfect opportunity for middle schoolers to do things that are beneficial to their well-being in other…

Free Life Skills Classes for Grades 6-9

Free Life Skills Classes for Grades 6-9

FREE and back by popular demand!!! Life Skills Training for Grades 6-9 8 FREE online sessions July 13 – 28, 2021 HC DrugFree is providing another series of FUN and interactive skills-based classes designed to promote positive health and personal development. This curriculum was designed for students in grades 6 to 9, but for slightly…

Teen Advisory Council Update – Exploring Mindfulness

Teen Advisory Council Update – Exploring Mindfulness

We were so fortunate to have HCPSS Psychologist, Catherine Panzer, join us for our March TAC Meeting. Ms. Panzer has been a school psychologist in Howard County for for 21 years and enjoys teaching students and adults about mindfulness and how it can help them cope in today’s stressful world!

Giving Back to Howard County with the Life Skills Class

Since I moved to Howard County in fifth grade, I have been able to grow up—through elementary, middle, and high school—in this community. Now that I am over halfway done with college, I have had time to reflect on my experiences in the Howard County Public School System. Looking for a way to give back…

FREE Life Skills Classes for Howard County Students

FREE Life Skills Classes for Howard County Students

FREE and back by popular demand!!! Life Skills Training for Middle School Students 15 FREE online sessions to begin on January 27, 2021 HC DrugFree is providing another series of FUN and interactive skills-based classes designed to promote positive health and personal development. This “Middle School” curriculum was designed for students in grades 6 to…

KNOW Connection: Scavenger Hunt Slideshow and Results

KNOW Connection: Scavenger Hunt Slideshow and Results

Have you ever made a snowman out of household items? Or painted a rock with a positive message to hide somewhere in the community? Perhaps you’re passionate about donating to your local animal shelter or to a food pantry. While some of these things may not seem like a big deal, when you embrace “random…

KNOW Connection (a socially-distanced) Scavenger Hunt

‘Tis the Season to be Socially Distant…but we want to be Jolly, too! This holiday season looks a lot different than it has in years past, and many people are having a difficult time due to lack of connection. But what can we do about it? We would like the Teen Advisory Council to safely…

Students Learn Life-Saving Tips During COVID-19

I was so grateful that HC DrugFree hosted an online CPR training in partnership with the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services. Ever since school moved online in the spring I have been seeking chances to learn important skills. After learning the proper way to perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver on both…

Teen Recommends CPR Training

Before attending this HC DrugFree event provided by the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, I spent little time informing myself on the necessity of CPR. I would learn about CPR in school, but the details are hard to remember as the last time being taught it was around 3 years ago. This…

What Local High School Students Think You Should KNOW

Parents need to tell their kids that they don’t need to get pressured by other students to try various drugs and things. Kids are too scared to say, “No.” Parents and teachers need to help kids KNOW how to say NO.  It is especially bad when kids get pressured, then get addicted. The kids need…

Two 2019 Senior Week: Staying Safe in Ocean City Programs

Monday, March 18, 2019 at Howard High School and Monday, April 1, 2019 at Marriotts Ridge High School Parents (and grandparents!) and high school seniors are invited to attend two 2019 Senior Week: Staying Safe in OC programs. Both events will begin at 7:00 PM. Once again, Ocean City Police Cpl. Howard Caplan, Howard County Public…

Take Back Day Comments by Howard County Student Volunteers

I am grateful to live in a community where people can come together to help one another. The drive-thru was a great way for people to dispose of things they did not need/could abuse in the future. I am grateful that so many people were willing to volunteer and drop-off medications despite the weather because…

Teens or Younger May Want to Read Sunny’s Story

In a recent newsletter, HC DrugFree suggested to our followers that you may want to read Sunny’s Story  We asked 2 Howard County Public School students entering 9th and 11th grade as well as adults to read Sunny’s Story and share their thoughts with you: 9th grader: Sunny’s Story is about a dog, Sunny, who was…

Senior Week 2018: Through the Eyes of a Teen

Senior Week 2018: Through the Eyes of a Howard County Teen In partnership with the Ocean City Police, Ocean City Beach Patrol, Howard County Public School System and the PTSAs, HC DrugFree holds at least 2 Senior Week: Staying Safe in Ocean City programs each school year. Our goal is to prepare teens and parents for…

Yippee!!! Senior Year

Senior year!!! What is supposed to be a breeze was so stressful. But don’t let the stress get to you and try not to procrastinate too much. As I get ready for college, I know I’m prepared. The Howard County Public School System has prepared me education wise, by allowing me to take all honors,…

Dear Maryland/Howard County Parents, Teachers, Adults:

We are now in an age where widespread drug and vape usage has increased; now it is not an uncommon sight for school bathrooms or classrooms to be shut down because of needed cleaning or prevention of rapid drug use. Soon where students leave high school environments or go to college there will be more…

What I’ve Seen at HC DrugFree Teen Advisory Council (TAC) Meetings

I have been an HC DrugFee TAC member for the past half year. Attending meetings has helped me see the issues students of different grades, schools, and genders have experienced because they’re very different from mine. I’ve learned that an issue like drugs is not only about what my eyes see, but about the experiences…

Locked School Bathrooms

In high school, the presence of drugs is definitely inevitable. There’s always going to be that “bathroom” in school that is infamously known as a place for drugs and exchanges. For students, it becomes a serious issue. People have to avoid these spots that are meant for a simple human necessity. It’s important that teachers…

Smoking Marijuana in School Bathrooms

I find it both frustrating and surprising that bathrooms are being locked in high schools because teens are smoking marijuana in them. The distinct smell fills the bathroom and makes it hard to stay in there for more than 15 seconds. I shouldn’t have to walk upstairs or across the building just to use the…

Vaping at School: Teen Perspective

Vaping has become an epidemic in HCPSS schools. From foggy cars to locked bathrooms, not a day goes by where I don’t see another reminder of this growing trend. First, it was cars. Then, it was the bathrooms. Now, students are taking hits from their Juul or vape pen in the middle of the classroom.…

What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

At HC DrugFree’s recent Teen Advisory Council (TAC) meeting, high school teens discussed what they would tell their younger self entering 9th grade. Here are their answers: Drugs including alcohol have never made a teen’s life better or easier. Don’t stress about everything. Relax. Stressing is a waste of time. Start a club to get…