Season 1, Episode 7

A Youth’s Perspective on Substance Misuse and Prevention & Mental Health Wellness

Jun 3, 2022

Passionate youth are leading the way on the efforts to improve the opioid crisis in NH. Listen to learn how young people are working directly with Governor Sununu to reach their peers with motivational messaging to avoid substance misuse, prevent suicide and promote well-being.

Involving youth in the prevention of substance misuse engages multiple of the known protective factors that get at the root causes of substance use. When youth have opportunities to engage with mentors, build connections to family, schools and community, and develop meaningful skills and interests, they are more likely to avoid or delay substance use. Governor Sununu recognized the power of convening youth around the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other substances when he established the Governor’s Youth Advisory Council on Substance Misuse and Prevention (GYAC). The purpose of the Council is to advise the Governor, from a youth perspective, on legislation, events, and media pertaining to substance misuse for the people of New Hampshire.

In this episode you will hear how young people across NH are rewriting the script on substance use in their schools and communities through involvement with social media campaigns; the arts and theater; and education and training. They break down the misconception that most youth use substances and replace it with empathy, knowledge and resilience.

Additional Resources:

Governor’s Youth Advisory Council on Substance Misuse and Prevention website

Governor’s Youth Advisory Council on Substance Misuse and Prevention on Instagram

Governor’s Youth Advisory Council

Host & Guests

Featured Guest:

Jacob Lebroda, Hailey Dubois, Eliza Zarka

Host: Christin D’Ovidio


Episode Transcript (PDF)

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Jacob Lebroda is a high school junior from Derry, New Hampshire. Having been in a suicide prevention education program and youth risk behavior survey committee at his school, he joined the Governor’s Youth Advisory Council this year to broaden his advocacy efforts to the state level! He is eager to continue working with his fellow council members and promoting a substance-free message all over New Hampshire. When he isn’t involving himself in the council, Jacob can be seen conducting his marching band, competing at DECA business conferences, or even working with students around the globe to increase worldwide financial literacy!

Hailey Dubois is a high school sophomore from Jaffrey, New Hampshire. After being nominated and accepted into the council in September 2020, Hailey has grown additionally passionate about mental health advocacy and substance misuse prevention, and has even started a subcommittee within the council to help run the GYAC Instagram. Hailey is also treasurer on her school’s Student Council and a part of Interact, a community service club. She can be seen playing on Conant High School’s varsity field hockey team and hanging out with friends and family.

Eliza Zarka currently serves as the Addiction & Behavioral Health Coordinator for the Office of Governor Chris T. Sununu. She also sits on the Governor’s Youth Advisory Council on Substance Misuse and Prevention, as the Governor’s liaison. Prior to this role, Eliza earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Connecticut where she double-majored in Human Rights & Communication, and minored in Sociology. She is passionate about helping under-served populations as evidenced by her volunteer work at food pantries, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and with AmeriCorps. Outside of work, Eliza enjoys playing with her dog, Posey, and making playlists for every occasion.

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