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Suffolk County Coaches To Be Trained To Spot Substance Abuse In Student Athletes

Jay Shah
Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn speaks to the press on Tuesday about the rollout of the substance abuse education program for school athletic coaches in Suffolk County.

Suffolk County will expand a pilot program that brought substance abuse education workshops to high school athletic coaches.

The program creates workshops for school coaches and staff. They are taught how to identify students who could fall victim to substance abuse after injuries or trauma. It covers abuse of nicotine, alcohol, marijuana and opioids.

Steve Chassman, who helped design the program, says athletic coaches are in a unique position to help at-risk youth.

“Usually the seedlings of substance abuse disorder starts in high school. This training is engaging coaches, giving them necessary information to identify signs and symptoms, to give them concrete resources through vignettes and case examples of suggestions of what they can do.”

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn is an advocate for the program.

“What we will have is caring adults who are close to our teenagers and are better educated on recognizing the signs and symptoms of a problem, and empowered to intervene.”

The program will be available to high schools throughout Suffolk County in the fall.

Jay Shah is a former Long Island bureau chief at WSHU.