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Miss Florida Partners with Advanced Recovery to Teach Tweens and Teens about Drugs

Teen drug abuse

Miss Florida 2017 Sara Zeng. Image credit:

Advanced Recovery Systems realizes that sending a drug counselor armed with statistics and other information to talk with young people about substance abuse is not always the most effective way to communicate the dangers of addiction and outline the resources available for help. That is why ARS is taking a slightly different approach by altering its presentation and its spokesperson.

The result? Real Talk with Miss Florida.

Miss Florida and Alcohol Abuse Prevention

This campaign involves partnering with the winner of the 2017 Miss Florida pageant and traveling to middle and high schools across the state to discuss substance abuse. The idea is for students to be able to learn about alcohol, drugs, and related topics in a safe environment.

During these presentations, teens are encouraged to speak frankly and discuss their real-life day-to-day challenges. Also, the event provides an opportunity for students to seek help confidentially by coming forward after the public presentation portion of the event.

This year, the Miss Florida title is held by Sara Zeng, who graduated from Florida State University in the spring of 2017 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. As a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority at FSU, Zeng notes that she experienced first-hand many of the pressures young adults face when it comes to alcohol and drugs. Zeng says, “Real Talk is greatly needed and will serve to facilitate meaningful conversations about drug and alcohol abuse, especially as it exists on campuses across America.”

More About Real Talk

Miss Florida’s Real Talk presentation is grounded in the prevention program known as The Alcohol Literacy Challenge, which was developed by a pair of nationally-acclaimed alcohol abuse researchers. The techniques in this classroom-based curriculum challenge teens’ beliefs about alcohol and its risks or effects, and it also equips them with practical tools and skills on how to successfully abstain from drinking.

This is the second year that ARS has partnered with Miss Florida for the Real Talk campaign. Courtney Sexton, who was Miss Florida 2016, traveled to numerous schools and spoke with thousands of teens about the dangers of addiction and substance abuse.

Teen drug abuse

Courtney Sexton, Miss Florida 2016, with students from St. John’s Country Day School in Orange Park, Florida. Image credit: Advanced Recovery Systems

While preparing for the Real Talk presentations, Sexton said she was surprised to learn about the current prescription opioid epidemic that is impacting Florida and the rest of the U.S. Almost two-thirds of the more than 52,000 overdose deaths in 2015 involved an opioid substance.

However, Sexton was most encouraged by how many teens sought her out individually after her Real Talk events. “With Real Talk, I leave a school and within an hour I have 15 Snapchat messages and 10 Instagram messages and five tweets from students reaching out looking for support,” she said. “Real Talk hits home with the students. It’s making an impact.”

Getting Help For Teens Addicted to Alcohol

Allison Walsh, the vice president of business development for ARS, says: “We firmly believe education and support are crucial to helping teens and young adults steer clear of substance use disorders.” Walsh encourages parents of teens who may be abusing drugs or alcohol to seek help from ARS or a similar substance abuse treatment facility.

Though recovering from substance abuse can be long and difficult, this disease can be overcome with proper treatment and a strong support system. Hopefully, the Real Talk program can help open conversations about these sensitive topics so that teens who are abusing alcohol or drugs can get the help they need.

Teen drug abuse

Allison Walsh and Miss Florida 2017 Sara Zeng. Image credit: Twitter

For more information on the Real Talk program or information about where to find professional, courteous treatment for addiction disorders, contact us today.

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