Journalism & Entertainment From Farmington High School

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Journalism & Entertainment From Farmington High School

BKTV Studios

Journalism & Entertainment From Farmington High School

BKTV Studios

FSD’s Substance Abuse Program for Students

ASAP+%28Alliance+of+Substance+Use+Abstinence+Program%29+flier.
ASAP (Alliance of Substance Use Abstinence Program) flier.

According to UCLA Health, in the year 2010, 510 deaths among adolescents were recorded as a result of substance abuse in the United States. 10 years later, in 2020, that number accelerated nearly 20%, recording over 800 deaths due to this unhealthy phenomenon. Dr. Julie Downs, a school social worker and therapist, has opened up a new substance abuse program for youth in Farmington.

Individual appointments for this program have already begun, and after school resumes following Christmas break, a variety of support groups for parents and adolescents will become available.

“The program is primarily voluntary. A parent of a student or a student who is struggling with substance misuse can reach out to begin services,” said Downs. “Sometimes if a student has disciplinary action because of substance misuse at school, Dr. Krause can recommend services.”

When the program is completely up and running, the goal is to have “abstinence support groups,” or ASAP (Alliance of Substance Use Abstinence Program). Another objective is holding family therapy sessions and parent meetings, all while continuing individual treatment.

“My hope is to develop a school culture of transparency when it comes to substance use,” stated Julie. “Students can seek out confidential help in managing their use and gain an understanding of why they use, what their triggers are leading to using, develop healthy replacement coping strategies, and gain support from peers and professionals along the way.”

Downs has been a social worker for 24 years, beginning her position at the Farmington School District as a school social worker in 1995.

“I left after I completed graduate school and worked in the mental health field in order to obtain my License in Clinical Social Work with the state of Missouri,” she says.

Downs then started her private practice after obtaining her LCSW, and from there made a transition to working as a Dual Credit Coordinator at Mineral Area College. While at MAC, Julie taught social work courses also available through the University of Missouri-St.Louis. She also held a position at St. Louis Community College, managing dual credit and enrollment partnerships. At this time, Downs worked to obtain a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership.

“The commute for work in St. Louis took away from my family,” explained Julie. “I began working as a therapist in a school setting and eventually returned to my roots with the Farmington R-7 School District, primarily providing mental health services at Dayse Baker and now expanding my role as a district wide position working on mental health, trauma, and substance abuse services.”

ASAP is a confidential service available for students at the Farmington School District. The services take place on Tuesdays from 5:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Dayse Baker Learning Center – 608 Pine St., Farmington, MO.

“Students can talk freely and openly about substance use without fear of judgment or getting reported,” Downs elucidated. “When groups are initiated, all members will sign a non-disclosure agreement to keep membership and content completely private.”

For more information about ASAP, contact Dr. Julie Downs at [email protected] or 701-1395 ext 2121.

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Mady Washington, Journalism & TV Staff
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