Youth Survey Shows Decrease in Alcohol Use; Marijuana Use on the Rise
Louisa Hufstader

A survey of more than 800 students shows underage drinking on the Vineyard is down, but marijuana use is higher than state and national averages.

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Parents Organize Party After Prom
High school juniors and their prom dates, as well as juniors who aren't going to the event, are welcome to attend the after prom party at the YMCA.
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Youth Task Force Survey Notes Rise in Teen Stress Issues
Ivy Ashe
This year's Youth Task Force survey on behavior risk showed a rise in teen mental health issues. The survey was administered to middle school and high school students in the fall.
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Youth Task Force Calls Island to Act
Theresa Manning

While we all know Martha’s Vineyard youth face unique challenges, great work is being done to ensure that these challenges are being faced head-on. Based on recent surveys, we know that all the way through middle school, our youth are making excellent, healthy choices, at rates higher than national averages. This is the result of community collaborations and the careful, concerted effort of our parents and schools to ensure that our youth are informed, invested and empowered. We are aware that there is much work to be done.

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Youth Task Force Receives Substantial Five Year Grant
Ivy Ashe
The Martha’s Vineyard Youth Task Force will be able to continue promoting a healthy Island, thanks to a recent grant from the federal Drug Free Communities programs. Totaling $625,000, to be distributed over a five-year period, the grant enables the Youth Task Force to continue its substance abuse prevention work, co-coordinator Theresa Manning said on Monday. The Youth Task Force was established in 2004 by the Dukes County Health Council after statistics showed substance use among Vineyard youths to be higher on average than state levels.
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Youth Task Force Expansion
The Dukes County Health Council Youth Task Force will expand its services into career counseling for young adults thanks to a three-year grant totaling $212,800 from the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation. The funds will be used to facilitate Project Next, which will provide support to the young adults population on Martha’s Vineyard through a variety of programs and initiatives. The project will begin with a series of focus groups and assessments as well as open office hours to provide financial and career counseling.
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Marijuana Law Worries Youth Leaders
Katie Ruppel

As the Massachusetts Department of Public Health scrambles to write regulations for the medical marijuana law that went into effect Jan. 1, towns are preparing for their own kind of scramble amid the prospect of medical marijuana dispensaries in counties across the state. They don’t have long, Martha’s Vineyard Youth Task Force coordinator Theresa Manning warned the Dukes County commission this week.

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Youth Task Force Takes Teen Pulse On Drug and Alcohol Use
Sara Brown

Citing a community effort to counter teenage drinking, the Youth Task Force announced last week that a youth behavior survey shows a decrease in alcohol use by Island teens, though the rates are slightly higher than the national average.

But they also cited concern about a rise in marijuana use, saying that the legalization of marijuana has contributed to increased use by teenagers.

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Youth Task Force Says No to Marijuana
Sara Brown

With Massachusetts voters being asked in November to decide whether to legalize medical marijuana, the Dukes County Youth Task Force has come out against the proposal, saying it would exacerbate existing marijuana use by Island teens.

“The Youth Task Force feels committed to opposing ballot question three, primarily based on the fact we don’t want there be more access for kids for marijuana,” task force coordinator Theresa Manning told the Gazette.

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Youth Task Force Meets and Mulls Over Substances, Consequences and Chowder
Megan Dooley

There’s nothing like a piping hot cup of New England’s finest potage to warm parents to the idea of talking to their kids about drugs and alcohol.

The Martha’s Vineyard Youth Task Force welcomed its highest turnout yet of seventh and eighth grade parents to this season’s final Chat and Chowder event at the West Tisbury School on Tuesday night. The dinner and discussion were held the previous week at four other Island schools.

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