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Safety, the teenager, and the college student

Car crashes, suicide, and violence are the most frequent killers of youth in the United States. As one might suspect, drug, alcohol, and tobacco use often overlap with these issues. The NOYS coalition works hard to educate and raise awareness about drug and alcohol misuse and their potential to cause injury and death. But safety is much, much more.

The teenage and college years are a period of tremendous change. They come with decreased supervision, newfound freedoms, and pressure to “fit in” while finding yourself. The independence may be empowering, but navigating so many new opportunities can also be tough.

Neuroscience tells us that brain development continues until about the age of 25. Some of the processes responsible for mitigating risky behavior are still being formed during these youthful years. Decisions made in haste, from emotionally-charged interactions to responses to peer pressure, can be fatal or result in a lifetime of physical, emotional, and medical challenges.

We don’t pursue safety for safety’s sake alone. We pursue safety because we want to see our youth given the chance to live life to the fullest. Eliminating unnecessary risk and creating a culture of intentionality helps build safety in our communities and create a space for youth to grow into adults who can more fully embrace the opportunities life has to offer.

NOYS works with youth ages 13-21, focusing on the biggest safety issues as identified by leaders in health, science, and academia. We then engage youth in a coordinated effort to change the current statistics. From safely using the road to grappling with failure or rejection, we invite youth to work with us to identify their biggest struggles, create programs to address those challenges, and evaluate and modify programs over time to maximize their impact and adapt to our ever-changing environment.

Our collective vision is to see that all youth and their families have access to culturally competent resources and live in communities supported by sound, strong, and relevant policies that positively impact youth safety. Our partnerships with authorities and experts in public health enable NOYS to share to share new trends and emerging science in three focus areas:

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