Youth Substance Use in the Digital Age

In this episode, Youth Substance Use in the Digital Age, we speak with Drs. Andra Wilkinson and Asari Offiong from Child Trends to discuss current trends around availability and access to substances and opportunities to address these concerns within programming. During adolescence, risk-taking is a normative part of development. However, when youth engage in unhealthy risks, it presents challenges for their overall health and well-being. Substance use is a topic of great concern and is connected to sexual health, mental health, and even academic success for youth. It is important for trusted adults to be aware of current trends, perceptions, and realities of how substance use is woven into youth culture today.

Dr. Andra Wilkinson has over 15 years of experience in behavioral health research and has advised members of Congress, federal agencies, and two national expert panels on the relationship between substance use and mental health during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. For the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Dr. Wilkinson studied the relationship between childhood maltreatment and later delinquent behaviors, including substance use, and potential protective factors at the personal, family, school, and neighborhood levels. In partnership with various states and districts, Dr. Wilkinson has done a great deal of work on school-based behavioral health care as a potential equitably accessible source of care for adolescents. 

Dr. Asari Offiong is a Sexual and Reproductive Health Senior Research Scientist with expertise in community-engaged research focused on adolescent health, particularly preventing risky behaviors and promoting well-being among youth from marginalized communities.  Dr. Offiong has both research and practice experience that informs her work focused on youth. She served as the project research coordinator for 5 years on a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) study focused on reducing risky behaviors (sexual health and substance use) among Black youth affected by parental substance use in Baltimore. Dr. Offiong is also well-versed in several evidence-based programs, was an inaugural member of the Safe in Harlem coalition funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Drug-Free Community grant, and served as the Youth Advisor for the Safe in Harlem Teen Committee. 

The Elevate Youth Programming podcast was developed by RTI International and funded by FYSB. The Elevate Youth Programming content does not reflect the opinions of FYSB nor its training and technical assistance contractors but offers topics to provoke thought and provide grantees with tips and strategies to enhance programming.

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