The MA Department of Public Health "launched its first statewide public information campaign to educate parents of middle and high school-aged children about the dangers of vape pens and e-cigarettes. The campaign, The New Look of Nicotine Addiction, seeks to spread the word that these high-tech products are harmful, that they contain nicotine which can damage a teenager’s developing brain and lead to addiction." Learn more at
While rates of teen smoking cigarettes have declined, Reading, like many communities has seen an increase in other types of nicotine use including vaping. Teens often perceive vaping nicotine as less risky than smoking, which has increased its popularity. However, there are serious health risks to consider with vaping, including lung disease. Last summer, the Chief of Police and Supt. of Schools sent info to all local healthcare providers including pediatricians on addressing vaping use with teens.
See attached for guidance provided to health professionals.
RCASA conducted vaping prevention info sessions for school faculty and parents throughout March and April. Presentations can be found under
Where can I learn more? RCASA has a wealth of resources on understanding substance use including vaping.
How do I bring it up my kids?
How can I help?
Reduce exposure of vaping by not allowing it in your home, cars, or closed spaces by other members of the family or guests.
Is vaping legal? To purchase nicotine products including vapes in Reading, you must be 21 years old. However, it's not illegal to possess these products unless you are on school grounds or using them in a public space including parks and recreational areas.
Is vaping allowed in schools? Nicotine use of any kind and paraphernalia is not allowed at school or on school grounds.
What is being done to educate students? Students are receiving vaping prevention info through their health classes. RCASA and the SRO also visit all 9th grade classes at least once per semester to address substance use.
What happens if a student gets in trouble at school for vaping? In addition to possible school discipline consequences, students are referred to RCASA for a 2hr education class (1st violation). For a second violation of school rules, students must visit their primary care provider for an assessment.
If you find out your own child or friends are vaping, we have provided resources on the RCASA website on how to talk about the health risks and the current legal parameters.
If you are concerned about vaping use on public property, you can report non-emergency information to police.
If you are concerned about vaping use at school or after-school, contact the school administrator.
The following Parent Toolkit is part of the OPERATION OPIOID PREVENTION PROJECT supported by the DEA AND DISCOVERY CHANNEL EDUCATION.
With support from Rotary Club of Rotary, RCASA has printed 165 hard copies of the toolkit to go home with 9th grade students participating in RCASA/Reading Police opioid prevention workshops at Reading Memorial High School during June 2018.
OPERATION PREVENTION Educator guides and materials for elementary, middle and high school will be provided to the Reading Public Schools for their review and possible integration into their existing health programs. Learn more @ https://www.operationprevention.com/
The following talk kit has great info to start the conversation, keep dialogue going, using teachable moments and much more!
For more about signs and symptoms of drug and
alcohol use, please visit Partnership for Drug-Free
Kids at www.drugfree.org.
Dr. Potee at RCASA Annual Meeting on YouTube
Full broadcast featuring RCASA Director, Jams for Jake and Marian Ryan
Straightforward drug prevention tips parents can use for kids of any age, from toddler to teenager to young adult.
More Sites & Publications w/Drug & Alcohol Info for parents
- Make a Difference
- How to Talk to your Teen About Substance Abuse
- Parenting to Prevent Alcohol Use
- Understanding Underage Drinking
Search Institute: Build Healthy Skills and Competencies in Your Family
- Developmental Assets for Early Childhood
- Developmental Assets for Middle Childhood
- Developmental Assets for Adolescence
Sites geared to children and pre-teens
Learn more about apps and smarphone safety
For adults only. Please view our exhibit.
Concerned about your child's substance use?
Get support for you and your family—call 1-844-319-5999
1. A dedicated phone and text Helpline for Massachusetts families (call 844-319-5999 or text HOPEMA to 55753), where parents can connect with master’s level specialists and be referred to parent coaches, who will listen to their challenges and help them develop an action plan toward their child’s recovery
2. www.graykenaddictionsupport.org highlights details on resources and tools Massachusetts families can access
Where should I start?
Check out how to approach the issue and find local resources
PARENT/FAMILY SUPPORT GROUPS (local)- compiled by RCASA as of 7/2015
(free groups for parents concerned about their child’s drug and alcohol use)
See the website for the many local meetings
Al-Anon for Parents
St. Margaret’s Church
111 Winn Street, Burlington
First Parish Church
Great Road, Bedford
Tuesday 7:30 pm
Nar-Anon for Families
115 Mill Street
De Marneffe Building
Room #132 7:45-9:15PM
Meeting Name: "Cope & Hope"
Monday: 7:45 pm
The Salvation Army Building
402 Massachusetts Avenue
Wednesday 7:00 pm
Please enter through Green Street entrance
Meeting Name: "Friends & Families In Crisis"
Learn To Cope www.learn2cope.org
All meetings begin at 7pm
Mon: BROCKTON: Independence Academy, the Recovery High School
460 Belmont Street, Brockton
Entrance to the school is at the far back of the building.
CAMBRIDGE: Spaulding Hospital
1575 Cambridge Street
Use main entrance and follow signs to the 3rd Floor Chapel.
Use free visitor parking in Lot E on Hovey Ave.
Tue: QUINCY: Eastern Nazarene College
180 Old Colony Ave
Use main entrance and watch for signs.
TEWKSBURY: Tewksbury Memorial High School
320 Pleasant Street
Wed: LOWELL: Saints Medical Center
1 Hospital Drive
GLOUCESTER: Rose Baker Senior Center
6 Manuel F Lewis Street (enter through the main door)
Park in adjacent lot or in back of building
Thur: SALEM: Salem Hospital
81 Highland Ave
Davenport Conference Room 102A
Park behind the hospital by Shaughnessy/Spaulding North, back entrance. Room 102A
WORCESTER: Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital
309 Belmont Street
This is a brand new facility, located within a campus of very old building. It is important to go straight to
the end of the roadway. The entrance is secure so you will have to sign in at the front door.
Parent Support Group
15l Merrimack Street, 5th Floor, Boston
1st Baptist Church
Oakland Street, Medford
Parents Helping Parents
155 Main Street, Lowell
99 Dartmouth Street, Malden
First Community Church
55 Otis Street, Medford
Tue, 6:30 -8pm
Lemberg Children’s Center
415 South Street, Waltham
121 Washington St Medford
Tue 7 pm
Wilmington United Methodist Church
87 Church St, Wilmington
Thu 7 pm
Family Support Group
14 Porter St., East Boston
Friends and Family Support
Lahey Behaviorial, Danvers Treatment Center
Middleton St., Danvers
SMART Recovery for Families
McLean Hospital, Belmont
DeMarneffe Bldg – Cafeteria, Rm 118
Sponsored by Barile Family Funeral Homes of Stoneham and Reading
2016 Bereavement Ministry "Comfort the Sorrowful"
Saint Patrick Parish
71 Central Street
Stoneham, MA 02180
Grief Support Drop-In Evenings
2nd Monday of each Month (except holidays)
Grief Support Group
Meets seasonally for 6 consecutive Wednesday evenings (call Saint Patrick's to register)
Spring: April 20 - May 25 Fall: October 5 - November 9
Emmaus Ministry 1-Day Retreat for Parents Grieving the Loss of a Child
Saturday, September 24
9:30am - 7:30pm
(please call Saint Patrick's to register)
Watch the RCTV Broadcast of Dr. Potee's presentation in Reading @ RCASA Annual Meeting https://youtu.be/UrNfyaL3Bv8?t=45m43s
Watch the full RCASA Annual Meeting, which includes DA Marian Ryan and Dr. Potee https://youtu.be/UrNfyaL3Bv8
As promised, Dr. Potee has allowed us to share her presentation from the 11th Annual RCASA Meeting. Thank you to all that attended and to Dr. Potee for her insight and knowledge.
Dr. Ruth Potee is board certified in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine, she is a physician with Valley Medical Group in Greenfield, providing a full scope of family medicine with special interests in women’s health, pediatrics, addiction treatment, psychiatric illness, and pain management. Dr. Potee is nationally recognized for her public speaking style that skillfully blends scientific research with an understanding of the challenges of raising healthy teens. She is an extremely dynamic and sought after speaker who, in response to the ongoing opioid epidemic, has made it her mission to educate the public about the nature of addiction and why it is the only brain disease that is 100% preventable…“It’s chemistry, not character”.
Learn more about Dr. Potee's work at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjyvRQFbseQ
More recovery month events at Community Education
Lynn Lyons, Author and Therapist presented an insightful workshop to an audience of 300 adults, including parents and school staff on October 17, 2017 from 6-8 p.m. Lynn addressed the "Worry Cycle" including strategies for teens and their parents on managing anxiety.
Learn more about her books, DVDs, and online resources
Book Titles co-authored by Lynn Lyons and mentioned at the event:
ANXIOUS KIDS, ANXIOUS PARENTS:7 WAYS TO STOP THE WORRY CYCLE AND
RAISE COURAGEOUS & INDEPENDENT CHILDREN
PLAYING WITH ANXIETY:CASEY’S GUIDE FOR TEENS AND KIDS