Category Archives: Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE)

Tigard Turns the Tide works together to prevent teenage substance use disorder


We all understand how important teenage alcohol and substance use prevention education programs and resources are to any parent challenged with an addicted child or knows someone with a substance abuse disorder. But did you know that nine out of 10 adults with substance use disorders started using before age 18?

In surveys, Tigard High School (THS) 11th graders have self-reported substance use from 2012-17.  The data shows significant teenage substance use with significant increases over that five-year period. The most current study in 2017 revealed the following substance use percentages: 25% used alcohol; 22.8% used marijuana (these numbers are rising quickly since use of recreation marijuana for adults has been legalized); 15.1% used electronic cigarettes/vaping  (these numbers are rapidly increasing among teens); 9.7% used prescription drugs (without a prescription), and 7.6% used tobacco

Tigard’s population has an estimated 1.4% growth rate over the next few years and these numbers will no doubt increase without continued substance abuse prevention education and family resource(s) support.

At THS, Tigard Turns the Tide (TTT) has been instrumental in working with our youth to prevent substance use disorder since 1994. This was the year the organization was incorporated by Connie Ramaekers (a lifelong Tigard resident and teenage substance abuse advocate and educator).

Through THS, the Stop Tigard Underage Drinking and Drug Use (STUDD) club, many of our youth can remain alcohol and drug free in a positive environment.

Why should we all care about reversing the current trends? 

Because our children are our future. And just like good stewards of land, water and air, we need to nurture our children. It is they who will take care of our grandchildren and environment when we no longer can.

In my opinion, there is no other organization throughout Washington County that works harder to prevent teenage substance use disorder than TTT in partnership with our schools.

Lilian and Jack sum up a future of hope for a teen free substance abuse society through partnered prevention programs “where one person can make a difference in changing hearts, minds and lives of the many” and they do!

My freshman year I decided to join a club called STUDD. We had a school assembly with Chris Herren, a former NBA Basketball star. It was eye opening to see and hear someone who had everything and lost it all because of substance use disorder. Hearing Chris’s story told me there was hope. That is why TTT and STUDD are so important. They offer hope for the future and a platform to help and talk to my peers. Lilian, 11th grade

STUDD is more than a club It is a support system and a safe place for students to be actively involved and the opportunity to make a difference. STUDD provides positive peer pressure and peer pressure is huge at this time in our lives. Jack, 12th grade.

How do I identify the common signs of at-risk teenage substance abuse? 

If theres a family history of substance use disorder; a mental or behavioral health condition, such as depression, anxiety or attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); impulsive or risk-taking behavior; a history of adverse childhood events, such as bullying, a history of abuse, low self-esteem or feelings of social rejection, please talk to your primary care provider about your concerns. Your child’s mental health is as important as their physical health.

How can I help my child to be drug and alcohol-free?

You can learn more at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids  If you have concerns that your child might be using alcohol or drugs, a good place to start is your child’s primary care physician.  Your child’s mental health is as important as their physical health. 

Learn how to help prevent unhealthy substance use disorders and other behaviors. And you can learn more about volunteer opportunities at:

Good health to you and your family!

 Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a Fit Healthy Lifestyle Consultant with MirrorAthlete Corp., and former Tigard City Councilor. A strong proponent of City involvement in expanding recreational opportunities for everyone. 2020 copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., To learn more about MirrorAthlete and free monthly newsletter, visit:

Committee Forms to Expand Recreation Opportunities in Tigard


Above: Tigard Community Recreation Committee (TCRC) [L to R]: Marland Henderson, Connie Ramaekers, Neal Brown, Patti Atkins, Marc Woodard and Gabi Miller comprise the TCRC committee.

Updated: 1/11/2020 by Marc Woodard

Tigard Community Recreation Committee (TCRC) is a not for profit committee of citizens with a goal of expanding city recreation opportunities for everyone. The committee is working on a plan to raise enough money to construct a community recreation facility in Tigard — run by the YMCA.

Why the YMCA? The YMCA has a 175-year history of operating more than 2,700 facilities, serving 45 million people worldwide, and there is no other community recreation builder that competes with cost and excellence of services, programs, activities and community engagement and outreach. Everyone regardless of age, economics and/or lifestyle orientation is welcome.

There are many reasons Tigard needs to expand community recreation opportunities for everyone.

Recreation saves lives just like police officers but in different ways. It is true, when youth are provided safe and organized after-school activities of interest juvenile theft, vandalism, drug use and other mischief decrease, while purposeful and productive lifestyles flourish. This can be validated through year-after-year police incident analysis, community health surveys and city recreation polls.

While safety is important, it is usually not the main reason someone moves to a city. Today we (parks and recreation] are everything from drowning prevention to after-school care for children, to the only social interaction a senior citizen might experience [South University, 2019]. For many that use recreation facilities these places provide not only social interaction, but a real sense of belonging to community through connections that bond people – in ways that’s good for developing cities.

Regular engagement in physical activity is an essential component of healthy well-being aging. Physical activity improves physical function and provides social and mental health benefits that all contribute to improved quality of life for older adults [NRPA, 2019]. Recreation programs provide places for health and well-being that are accessible by persons of all ages and abilities, especially to those with disabilities. [NRPA, 2010].

For the sake of health and wellness justice affordable health literacy education and recreational activity should be made available to everyone, not just the affluent.

Throughout the nation young people are facing an obesity crisis. Today we are seeing too many diseases that were, not too long ago, rarely linked to young people (e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) [Stanford, 2015]. Cities that fill recreation youth-gap activities K-12 schools no longer provide are more attractive to parents, active seniors and business looking to live active and productive lifestyles in safe places.

“To learn more about TCRC, visit our booth co-located with Tigard Turns the Tide (TTT) at the Tigard Street Fair September 7th, or our website at

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a Fit Healthy Lifestyle Consultant with MirrorAthlete Corp., and former Tigard City Councilor. A strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2019 copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete and free monthly newsletter, visit:

Honest and Tough Conversations Can Save Lives


One of the top 10 causes of death for Oregonians is suicide. Oregon has more deaths each year from suicide than motor vehicle accidents. There are more than 600 deaths by suicide and more than 1,800 hospitalizations due to suicide in Oregon each year. The friends and family members (suicide loss survivors) left behind are forced to navigate the tragedy of loss. In many cases, suicide loss survivors are left in the dark. Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly.

Suicidal thoughts, much like other mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of pain from an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.

Crisis resources

  • If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide hotline/Lines for Life (Oregon) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  • If you are uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can text 273TALK to 839863 at Lines for Life in Oregon. They also have veterans and teen peer support available.

Know the warning signs

Any person exhibiting these behaviors should get help immediately:

  • Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like, I wish I wasn’t here, but can become more overt and dangerous
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Talking, thinking or writing about death
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior
  • Putting their affairs in order and giving away their possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Mood shifts from despair to calm
  • Planning, possibly by looking to buy, steal or borrow the tools they need to commit suicide, such as a gun or prescription medication

If you are unsure, a licensed mental health professional or your primary care provider can help assess risk. These services are a covered benefit with many insurance plans, including Oregon Health Plan.

Risk factors for suicide

Teenage and adult suicide prevention support and resources are available within the article. Contact suicide prevention crisis resources listed and/or call 911 immediately if experiencing suicidal thoughts. Please feel free to reach out through the resource provided in the article and/or make a comment and the author provide additional insight.

Research has found that about 90 percent of individuals who die by suicide are experiencing mental illness. A variety of things may put a person at risk of suicide, including:

  • A family history of suicide.
  • Substance abuse — drugs and alcohol can result in mental highs and lows that exacerbate suicidal thoughts.
  • Intoxication more than one in three people who die from suicide are found to be currently under the influence.
  • Access to guns.
  • A serious or chronic illness.
  • Gender although more women than men attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to die by suicide.
  • A history of trauma or abuse.
  • Prolonged stress.
  • Isolation.
  • Age people under age 24 or above age 65 are at a higher risk for suicide.
  • A recent tragedy or loss.
  • Agitation and sleep deprivation.

Can thoughts of suicide be prevented?

Mental health professionals are trained to help a person understand their feelings and can improve mental wellness and resiliency. Depending on their training, they may be able to provide additional ways to help including:

  • Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, can help person with thoughts of suicide by recognizing unhealthy patterns of thinking and behavior, validate troubled feelings and learn coping skills.
  • Medication may also be used if necessary to treat underlying depression and anxiety and can lower a person’s risk of hurting themselves. Depending on the mental health diagnosis, other medications may be used to alleviate symptoms.

One difficult conversation can save a life

Have this crucial conversation with someone you love, you can talk with passion and strength around suicide prevention. The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can save a life.

Reference: [i]

Patti Atkins, ARP PR Patti, Marketing and Communications, LLC Email: