Mental Health in the News – West Point cadets among spring breakers who overdosed in Florida

Home > Mental Health in the News – West Point cadets among spring breakers who overdosed in Florida

Mental Health in the News – West Point cadets among spring breakers who overdosed in Florida

Welcome to Tykes & Teens’ “Mental Health in the News” series where our experts provide perspective on mental health and wellness issues that are making headlines.

A story happening in South Florida is making national headlines this week as West Point cadets are among spring breakers who overdosed in Florida.  In this episode of “Mental Health in the News,” Tykes & Teens’ CEO Eric Garza, MHA, LCSW, discusses the potentially deadly combination of risk taking behaviors common during spring break combined with drugs that look just like some over the counter medications.


The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) warns that one pill can kill and reveals that criminal drug networks are flooding the U.S. with deadly fentanyl.  According to their report:

  • DEA lab testing reveals that counterfeit pills often contain fentanyl and are more lethal than ever before with 4 out of every 10 pills with fentanyl containing a potentially lethal dose.
  • Criminal drug networks are mass-producing fake pills and falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills to deceive the American public.
  • Counterfeit pills are easy to purchase, widely available, often contain fentanyl or methamphetamine, and can be deadly.
  • Fake prescription pills are easily accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms, making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including minors.
  • Many counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opioids such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®).

View the complete report at

Tykes & Teens’ S.T.A.R.S. (Strengthening Teens in Acquiring Resiliency for Success) gives local pre-teens and adolescents who are struggling with alcohol, drugs or other dangerous behaviors the chance to make positive long-term change.  Through a combination of individual, family and group counseling, teens learn the coping skills necessary to manage peer pressure, anxiety, depression and other challenges without resorting to unhealthy behavior.

Program Goals:

  • Prevent substance use, delinquency and relapse by teaching healthy coping skills
  • Help participants develop anger management and conflict resolution skills
  • Improve communication and social skills to better deal with peer pressure
  • Educate parents on how to support and guide their teen to make better choices
  • Treat emotional difficulties such as depression, anxiety and behavioral problems that often lead to unhealthy behaviors

Signs of Substance Use

Be alert to changes in a teen’s behavior and appearance that may signal substance abuse. By recognizing potential warning signs, you may be able to help a teen in need of treatment. The following changes in behavior, when extreme or lasting more than a few days, may indicate a drug or alcohol-related problem and the need for further screening by a professional.

  • Sudden personality changes with no other cause
  • Loss of interest in once favorite hobbies, sports or other activities
  • Sudden decline in attendance or performance at school
  • Changes in friends and reluctance to talk about new friends
  • Deterioration of personal grooming habits
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty paying attention
  • Sudden aggressive behavior, irritability, nervousness or giddiness
  • Increased secretiveness and heightened sensitivity to inquiry

For additional information, visit

Thank you United Way of Martin County for supporting Tykes & Teens’ Youth Enrichment Services.

To learn how you can help make a difference in the mental health of children throughout the Treasure Coast, visit

#MentalHealthMatters #MentalHealthMattersEveryDay

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