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In recent years, substance abuse among teenagers has steadily increased since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Teen substance abuse related deaths have only continued to rise since then; with nationwide substance abuse related deaths being 1,146 in 2021, a sharp increase from the 954 deaths in 2020 (UCLA health, 2022). Teen substance abuse is determined by many factors, such as mental health, home/school environment, etc. In order to cope with these difficult emotions, teenagers turn to drug use to numb the feeling. Studies have shown that art based therapy and afterschool programs are effective in mitigating the risk factors for teen substance abuse (OJJDP, 2016). In accordance with this research, we have decided to utilize the arts (writing, studio art, etc) to prevent adolescents from using drugs to cope with difficult emotions.
Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health
Amaya, Gisselle; Lopez, Xunashy; Olumilua, Gabby; Palle, Mbange; and Williams, Kendra, "Healing With Feeling: Addressing Substance Abuse in Teens During the Covid-19 Pandemic" (2022). DC Health and Academic Prep Program (DC HAPP). 15.