Advice To Parents

Dr. Joseph Lee and Heather Burton, Director of Clinical Services at Hazelden and a Member of Drug Free Collier’s Coalition Council.

Dr. Joseph Lee and Heather Burton, Director of Clinical Services at Hazelden and a Member of Drug Free Collier’s Coalition Council.

An audience of family members and mental health professionals was enthralled and enlightened by Dr. Joseph Lee’s relevant lecture on youth and addiction during a recent community presentation at Hodges University.

Dr. Lee, a psychiatrist, author and adolescent addiction and mental health expert, works with families across the country helping them deal with drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other pressing matters that teens struggle with today. As the medical director for Hazelden’s youth services, his address was particularly pertinent in today’s context of an ever-expanding array of available drugs and rapidly shifting cultural perspectives.

Co-hosted by Hazelden’s addiction treatment center in Naples and Drug Free Collier, Dr. Lee’s presentation provided a compelling combination of scientific data, interesting graphics and inspiring anecdotes to drive home his key points.

Entitled “Parenting, Family Culture and Addicted Youth,” the presentation was designed to help participants:

  • Develop a new perspective on addiction and mental health treatment for youth
  • Understand approaches for fundamental parenting skills in crisis
  • Identify the importance of family culture and parental leadership
  • Recognize common misperceptions that interfere with parenting

“All too often, parents gain knowledge and access help too late in the process,” said Dr. Lee. “My goal is to provide an honest look at what parents need to know to guide their teens through these critical years.”

Participants received a wealth of helpful parenting tips, which included ways to handle negative feelings. Dr. Lee compared it to taking out the trash. It’s not always pleasant and sometimes stinky, but if parents get rid of the “trash” every day, they will be better off.

For the teachers, law enforcement and mental health professionals who attended, continuing education credit was available. Remarks from attendees following Dr. Lee’s three hour presentation were overwhelmingly positive. “Dr. Lee’s presentation was highly informative, easy to understand and certainly provided important insights for anyone working with youth,” said Melanie Black, Executive Director of Drug Free Collier. “We are honored to be part of this amazing event and thank our partners at Hazelden for supporting local prevention efforts in Collier County,” Black added. Following the lecture, there was a “Meet and Greet” with Dr. Lee and a signing of his latest book, Recovering My Kid.

This was the first of Hazelden’s “Frankly Speaking” 2014 lecture series. Hazelden, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1949, helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. The Naples site opened in 2010. Built on decades of knowledge and experience, Hazelden offers a comprehensive approach to addiction that addresses the full range of patient, family, and professional needs, including treatment and continuing care for youth and adults, research, higher education, public education and advocacy, and publishing. It currently has facilities in Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois and New York.

Hazelden’s next community presentation will be on: “Recovery and Addiction – Secrets, Shame and Surviving” presented by Phil Werdell, MA and Mary Foushi, BS on March 18 at Hodges University. Learn more at

Drug Free Collier actively works with Hazelden and other community partners to find solutions designed to protect our youth from substance abuse. Recognizing that substance abuse and addiction can happen in the best of families, Drug Free Collier offers hope. Since most addictions begin during the teenage years, Drug Free Collier is reaching young people with important initiatives to support healthy decision-making.

School-based prevention clubs known as the CORE Society are essential and play a significant role in creating communitylevel change by providing positive peer influence. For more information visit

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