St. Xavier High School recently held a drug and alcohol program for incoming freshmen and their parents. David Tarullo, program manager for St. Vincent de Paul’s Ozanam Men’s Homeless Shelter and Recovery Programs and a professional in the field of alcohol and drug counseling, was asked to host the educational portion of the program. The invitation was particularly meaningful for Tarullo, who is a former St. X student. “I was a freshman in 1999-2000 and was asked not to return sophomore year as a result of drug-related behaviors and influence,” Tarullo says. Tarullo ultimately received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work. St. X’s initiative to educate parents was started by alumni and concerned professionals in the community of St. X a few years ago to teach parents about the risk factors that lead to substance abuse problems in high school students and how to handle such situations, Tarullo said. Tarullo talked about the reality of extremely high rates of first-time drug/alcohol use for adolescents ages 12 to 17, as well as the high incidence of emergency hospital visits and addiction rates for that same age group. Other topics included: Risk factors for young men to develop addiction; signs and symptoms of adolescent drug use; family influences and risk factors; parental methods of protection; methods for addressing the realities of substance abuse during adolescence; and treatment options.
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