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Linn Together Aims to Address Substance Abuse in Teens

When parents arrive at their teenager’s middle school registration, it is the start of a new chapter in their lives. Middle school poses new worries and concerns for parents about what types of activities their kids may be participating in, including being offered alcohol or other drugs. This is where Linn Together steps in.

Linn Together’s mission is to prevent youth alcohol and other drug use and help improve communication between parents and kids. With funding from Samaritan Health Services’ Social Accountability grants, the organization has been able to increase their reach with parent toolkits they hand out at middle school registration days.

"The parent toolkit has helpful conversation starters for parents and information on drug and alcohol usage in Linn County,"€ said Kathleen Magnuson, volunteer with Linn Together. “There is a lot of misinformation out there about how many teens are using these substances, which makes kids think that everyone is doing it."

In fact, in Linn County alcohol and other drug use has been decreasing over the last several years. This is thanks in part to the efforts that Linn Together has made to reach as many parents as possible. Linn Together partners with other local organizations to help share information, and provides parent toolkits in both English and Spanish.

"Law enforcement, health care organizations, schools – we all have an interest in reducing the issues surrounding substance abuse,” said Darwin Merrill, a Linn Together volunteer. Parents just want to help, and they need a place to turn to for resources."

For Kathleen, the positive impact of Linn Together’s work resonates with her both as a volunteer and as a parent.

"I have a 16-year-old son and I know that he will have opportunities to try these things, just like any teen will,” she said. “But I can feel more confident knowing that we are able to have these conversations and there are resources available to help."

 In 2016, Linn Together:

  • Served 1,862 youth during the first six months
  • Provided 80 hours of volunteering at school registration events at seven middle schools in Linn County
  • Connected with 747 parents and distributed 875 parent toolkits (including 85 Spanish toolkits)

Learn how Linn Together is partnering with teens and parents to help educate them about drug and alcohol abuse prevention.

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Other Partners in Supporting Programs and Services for Healthy Teens:

  • Jackson Street Youth Shelter
  • Pregnancy Alternative Center
  • Sweet Home Pregnancy Care Center
  • Second Home
  • Youth Development Council