Juvenile Justice Information Exchange Speaks to Vulnerable Population

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In one of the best uses of the Internet related to addiction in teens and young adults, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) offers real life stories of addiction. These come as videos and testimonials from addicts designed to speak to peers in a way that traditional “don’t do drugs” messages cannot.

In one example, posted on Youtube, Angelia Negron talks about how prescription drugs ruined her life. In a tear-filled interview, she describes in detail her struggle with an addiction to Xanax and the loss of a promising basketball career.

The simple method of recording addicts telling their stories, in their own words, parallels one of the most powerful features of group therapy (and 12 step programs). The idea is to break through the lies addicts tell themselves when they recognize in these tales their own lives and losses. When Angelia talks about being in detox at 18 for Xanax and cocaine, and what withdrawal felt like, cannot be tossed aside or easily ignored.

Other material at JJIE talks about heroin use, gang involvement, “oxy,” and a long list of common temptations. Additionally, the site doesn’t avoid other topics of interest to young adults trying to find a way in the world. Things like homosexual rights, bullying and even gender reassignment are touched on.

For professionals and those wanting to do more in the addiction treatment and prevention area, there is also a grants section. This area lists programs and monies available for educators or community organizers.

For more information, check out their resources page where there are toolkits available for a wide variety of problems. The toolkits are designed with juveniles in mind and with an eye toward intervention. Included is basic information as well as age appropriate, real-world stories from peers. The resources are free.

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