Pediatrician and child psychologist to speak on adolescent substance abuse

PARK CITY, Utah — The Park City Education Foundation’s Educator and Student Wellness Speaker Series will continue on December 5 with its second speaker, Dr. Jason Rafferty.

Rafferty, a pediatrician and child psychologist, will give a talk titled “Tripping through Adolescent Substance Abuse and Experimentation: What Parents Need to Know” at 7 p.m. in the Blair Education Center of the Park City Hospital. This talk will cover what parents need to know about substances teens are being exposed to, the risks associated with substance use, and the underlying reasons for teen substance use.

“We’re going to be looking at some of the trends, mostly national, around substance use, leading up to the pandemic,” Rafferty said. “The pandemic, clearly it’s sort of thrown a lot of things off because with kids being schooled at home and things like that, it’s been a little bit different. But looking at some of the trends, which really show significant increases in vaping marijuana use, at the same time, some decreases around alcohol and combustible cigarettes. We’ll talk about some of the some of the dangers out there when it comes to using pills off the street when it comes to things being laced with fentanyl.”

Rafferty will also discuss ways parents can effectively engage their teens in discussions about substance use.

“I’m going to finish up with some suggestions on ways parents can talk to their kids about substance use so that their kids will engage in a conversation that won’t seem like they’re overly paternalistic or that the parent was just sort of talking down to them or anything like that,” Rafferty said. “talking about what they might actually see, some of the dangers, and some of the risks around marketing messages that are a little bit deceiving to young people. Being able to bring those things up, I think, gives parents a lot of legitimacy in terms of talking in a way that kids are really going to be receptive to, in a way that really makes a difference.”

Rafferty is a Harvard Medical School graduate and completed post-graduate training through the Triple Board Residency at Brown University. He has additional master’s degrees from Harvard University in public health (MPH) concentrating on Maternal and Child Health and Education (EdM) focused on adolescent development and psychology.

Rafferty is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and an attending psychiatrist and pediatrician specializing in the care of adolescents with substance use disorders in the VISTA intensive outpatient co-occurring disorders program at Bradley Hospital.

This is a free community event, and translation will be provided.

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