Choices Program

Choices Mission

The Council on Recovery Choices Program and EHS in partnership aim to reduce high-risk behavior through a comprehensive education and counseling program involving all members of the school community: students, parents, faculty, and staff.

We work together for in‐depth understanding of the particular needs and issues of the school’s community. We focus on reducing risk by education and skills-based strategies to increase the use of executive function skills.

The on-site, full-time Choices Counselor is integrated into our community to provide seamless education, counseling and support. The Choices Counselor serves as a consultant and advisor for staff and faculty to better understand, identify, and develop strategies for working with those demonstrating high-risk behaviors. Our goal is to reduce stigma for counseling and support and increase empathy within our community.

You can reach the Choices Counselor below:
Mary Secrest, LMSW, LCDC

Choices Counselor, Episcopal High School

713-512-3481 or email

Confidentiality: All comments, questions, or concerns remain confidential.

The Choices Topic is How to Prevent High Risk Behavior Over the Summer!

Did you know your brain is not fully done developing until age 25?

The last part of your brain to develop is the prefrontal cortex, which governs skills such as empathy, decision-making, judgment, impulse control, emotion regulation, frustration tolerance, and abstract thought.

Remember This:

  • Teens who wait to use drugs or alcohol until age 21 are likely NEVER to have problems with addiction during their lifetimes
  • Teens who have a genetic predisposition to addiction and wait until age 21 are 40% LESS likely to have problems with addiction

Key Takeaway: Delay, Deny, Discourage use.

When you introduce drugs or alcohol into your body, your developing brain STOPS developing!

We call this arrested development.

Drugs and alcohol literally shut off the use of most of our brain. This is why it is hard for people to make good rational decisions when they are under the influence.

Fact: Engaging in drugs and/or alcohol will stunt one’s psychosocial maturity level.

This means if you engaged in these behaviors at 14 and stop at 17 you are as mature as a 14-year-old. But there is time to catch up if you stop now!

Marijuana: Did You Know?

  • Although teens may think everyone is using marijuana, research shows that there have been declines in youth use
  • The short-term effects of marijuana include lack of motivation, problems with memory and learning, distorted perceptions, challenges with problem-solving, decrease in motor coordination, increased heart rate, dry mouth, and anxiety, to name a few
  • The long-term effects of marijuana use include chronic cough, bronchitis, induced mental illnesses, depression, and personality changes
  • Marijuana comes from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa
  • The active ingredient is THC (delta-9—tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • Marijuana effects everyone differently at different times

For more information, Check out the links below!


Addiction can be a scary word, but we all must know what the road to addiction looks like to intervene as soon as possible: Review the chart above. Contact the Choices Counselor, Ms. Mary Secrest, at if you have questions or concerns about what addiction may look like in someone you love.

Did You Miss It?

Click here for the September 2019 Parent Forum: Parenting 101-The Menninger Clinic

Click here for the September 2019 Choices Handout: Alcohol and Binge Drinking

Click here for the August 2019 Choices Handout: Science of High-Risk Behaviors

Click here for the May 2019 Choices Handout: Technology Use, Gaming, & Gambling

Click here for the April 2019 Choices Handout: Vaping & Marijuana Use

Click here for the video from the March Distinguished Speaker Night: Re-Thinking Resilience by Dr. Kelly Jameson

Click here for the March 2019 Parent Forum: Preparing for Summer: Myths & Trends of Alcohol, Drugs, and Teen Behavior

Click here for the March 2019 Choices Handout: Prescription & Illicit Drugs

Click here for the February 2019 Parent Forum: Healthy Relationships Presentation and Video

Click here for the February 2019 Choices Handout: Healthy Relationships

Click here for the January 2019 Choices Handout: Gambling

Click here for the December 2018 Parent Forum: A Guide to your Teenagers Mental Health

Click here for the December 2018 Choices Handout: Eating Disorder & Body Image

Click here for the November 2018 Parent Forum: Body Image

Click here for the November 2018 Choices Handout: Mental Health

Click here for the October 2018 Parent Forum: The Science of High Risk Behaviors

Click here for the October 2018 Choices Handout: Bullying and Relational Aggression

Click here for the September 2018 Choices Handout: Alcohol and Binge Drinking