MUSKEGON, Mich. — A new recovery program will help Muskegon teens overcome their destructive behaviors and live a healthy life.

HealthWest, Muskegon County's community mental health services program, is launching SMART Recovery for Teens. The program will help youth 13 and older with addiction recovery from things like smoking, drinking, fighting and drug use.

The program will be the only of its kind in West Michigan and just the second SMART Recovery for Teens program in the state.

“What you do as a teenager can set the stage for the rest of your life,” said HealthWest Clinical Supervisor Meaghan Dulin, who is helping to spearhead the program. “We are excited to work with the youth of Muskegon County to develop healthy habits that will stick with them and set them up for success.”

According to recent data, more than 21% of Muskegon County high school students surveyed have smoked cigarettes, and nearly 40% have had alcohol. The data revealed that 8% of surveyed high schoolers reported binge drinking in the past 30 days and the surveyed teens were, on average, only 14 years old when they reported being drunk for the first time.

Nearly 15% of surveyed high schoolers reported being offered illegal drugs while on school property in the past year and nearly 29% reported trying marijuana.

“It’s clear that Muskegon County teens are using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco,” Dulin said. “We’re here to provide them with a safe, welcoming space where they can come together to work on changing those behaviors that hurt themselves and others.”

Meetings will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday starting on Oct. 22 at HealthWest Transition Age Services facility, 131 E. Apple Ave., 3rd floor. The meetings are free.

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