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Teen Addiction Top 12 Identified in Expert Scott Gallagher's Program, The Power of Choice

A group of grade 7-12 students anonymously listed 92 different destructive habits with which they were struggling. Each teen admitted to having an average of four habits from which they wanted freedom.


When addictions expert Scott Gallagher visited as a school speaker, he asked teens he worked with to list their top "addictions." Students listed 92 different habits, a total of 1,031 times, a startling average of 4 habits per student.

The top 12 addictions teens identified were:
1. Junk Food
2. Internet/Computer Use
3. Marijuana and/or Hash
4. Alcohol
5. Tobacco
6. Sugar/Candy
7. Over Eating
8. Under Eating or Anorexia
9. Self-Harm (primarily cutting or wrist slashing)
10. S-e-x
11. Bullying or abusing others
12. Video Games

Gallagher has spoken to thousands of students across the U.S. and Canada about addictions. After doing general assemblies and workshops for those who were suffering from compulsive and addictive behaviors each participant was asked this question: "What habits(s) do you most want to stop or reduce in your life right now?"

For a relatively small group of students to self-identify this many bad habits and addictions seems incredible - yet, there was nothing unusual about the type of schools these teens came from and the communities they lived in ranged anywhere from low-to-high income.

''These weren't typical "at-risk" students," affirmed Gallagher, "those referred by school officials, guidance counselors or parents. For school staff, that was an eye opener. Many were unaware of how many students were suffering in silence, and they were stunned to hear of the multitude of addictive behaviors."

According to Gallagher, when dealing with addiction in youth, a common approach is to use "scare tactics," but trying to scare students out of experimenting with dangerous or illegal activities is not the most effective approach.

In fact, Dr. Gabor Mate, says in his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction:

"When it comes to drug education, most governments appear to view prevention largely as a matter of informing people, especially young people, that drugs are bad for them. A worthy objective, certainly, but like all behavioral programs, this form of prevention is highly unlikely to make. The reason is that the children who are at greatest risk are the least open to hearing the message..."

Those with addictions are often alienated or angry; those with serious behaviors and addictions are afraid, and desperate for a way out. When others are honest and direct with an addict, and they have practical answers to the problems students are facing, they are ready to listen.

As a school speaker, Gallagher uses his own personal story of addiction to connect with students and encourage them to attend his workshops and learn how to replace their bad habits with healthy ones.

His program, The Power of Choice, begins with a keynote assembly and is followed by workshops and a 28-day healthy habit program. More information on the program can be found on http://www.thepowerofchoice.ca

About Scott Gallagher

Addiction expert Scott Gallagher delivers a unique business and school program that teaches proven methods to prevent, reduce and eliminate all kinds addictions, bullying and other bad habits.

Scott Gallagher
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   Scott Gallagher
   The Power of Choice
   Thornhill,    NY,    L3T 5e4
   416-424-1200 (phone)

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