Addiction is a destructive, sometimes fatal force in our society. In addition to providing drug rehabilitation programs, efforts toward prevention and education can help us beat addiction before it starts. By heading off substance abuse problems and supporting one another, we can lay the groundwork for a better, healthier future.
The Importance of Education in Adolescence
Because the use of drugs or alcohol in one’s youth increases the risk of becoming addicted, educating young people about the effects of drug and alcohol abuse during their extremely formative teen years is still one of the most effective and easily employed methods of addiction prevention.
While structured programs like D.A.R.E. have been challenged by some, providing some manner of substance abuse education to adolescents is extremely valuable in keeping them informed about the potential physical, mental and legal repercussions of use. As with anything else we teach our children, healthy habits built in youth become healthy habits for life.
Hold Strong Against Peer Pressure and Avoid Questionable Situations, if Possible
Although we hear the most about peer pressure among groups of juveniles, even adults are susceptible to being pressured by friends, family, and others in their peer group. If you know that certain friends or groups of people are involved in substance use and may try to pressure you into “partying” with drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol, try to avoid the situation altogether.
If you find that certain groups of friends continue to put you at risk of using, it may be time to have tough conversations with them about their behaviors and/or find new groups of friends with a healthier mindset.
Don’t Try It (Not Even Once)
In today’s “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) culture, it can seem harmless to give a certain drug a try “just to see what all the fuss is about.” Unfortunately, not everyone responds to substances in the same way. While some may find it easy to take drugs once, experience the high, and never do it again, others can become addicted with a single use (especially in the case of highly addictive substances like heroin and methamphetamines). The best way to prevent addiction is to avoid the use of addictive substances altogether.
Appropriate Role Modeling
Especially in the case of children and adolescents, humans are deeply affected by the behaviors modeled to them by parents, mentors, and other authority figures. If a parent struggles with alcoholism or drug abuse or models reckless or irresponsible behavior in front of his or her children, those behaviors become normalized, in addition to creating the potential for neglect.
By modeling healthy behaviors—including seeking help from a drug or alcohol rehab for one’s own substance abuse issues—parents can illustrate the importance of self-care and strengthen familial bonds.
Screenings and Intervention Resources in Schools
A fairly controversial method of deterring young people from getting involved with substance abuse is to start performing routine random drug and alcohol screenings. Of course, some worry that random drug testing will trend more toward profiling of students rather than truly random testing.
Regardless, the idea has been used at a variety of schools across the country in an effort to keep kids on the straight-and-narrow. A less aggressive method might be to simply provide students with confidential counseling and school-provided intervention resources to help kids address concerns they may have about a friend’s substance use.
Better, More Accessible Healthcare
It is also important that society as a whole work toward improving mental and physical health care and reducing the stigma surrounding various mental or behavioral struggles. Often, individuals with undiagnosed or untreated mental or physical health conditions start self-medicating with drugs or alcohol to numb pain or discomfort. If we can openly discuss these issues and improve access to appropriate health care, we may be able to reduce the incidence of such dangerous self-medication.
Strengthening Laws to Keep Certain Substances From Being Abused
Addiction prevention isn’t something that only at-risk individuals and families with adolescent children should be responsible for. In addition to educating teens and adults about the dangers of addiction and promoting self-management to avoid temptation, we can also work together as a society to keep addictive substances from ending up in the wrong hands.
One commonly discussed solution is to impose additional taxes on alcohol and tobacco to help reduce the likelihood of use (this is especially useful in deterring younger users with less expendable income). Other laws can be imposed that restrict access to certain prescription medications, as well as regulate the marketing and advertising of addictive substances to ensure that it does not attract young people.
How Do I Know if I Already Have a Drug or Alcohol Addiction?
If you have any question about whether you might already have a drug or alcohol problem, consider the following:
- Do you feel like you need to drink or take drugs daily to feel normal?
- Is your substance use negatively affecting your relationships? What about your ability to work?
- Does going without this substance cause you significant physical or emotional distress that makes it difficult to function?
- Have others pointed out the excessive use of drugs or alcohol? Have you denied its severity?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions—especially if you answered “yes” to multiple questions—it may be time for a professional evaluation by addiction specialists at a drug rehab center like BlueCrest Recovery Center.
Where Can I Find Rehab Centers Near Me?
If you believe that you or a loved one may have a drug or alcohol addiction, the professional rehabilitation experts at BlueCrest Recovery Center in Woodland Park, NJ can help. With our holistic philosophy of treating the mind, body, and spirit, we’ve helped hundreds break free from addiction and regain control of their lives. We combine proven clinical therapies with compassionate human interaction and uplifting spirituality to reshape our clients’ lives and give them renewed purpose in the world.
BlueCrest Recovery Center offers adult clients (we do not treat teenagers at our facility) comprehensive inpatient and outpatient programs, intervention services, group, and family therapy, comprehensive aftercare and much more. We also work closely with addicts’ families to help them better understand the reality of addiction and help them form a good support network for their loved one after program completion. All client information is kept 100% confidential.
If you’re ready to fight back against addiction and enjoy life again, call us today at (973) 453-5384. Our trained addiction specialists will work with you to assess the severity of your addiction and determine a safe, appropriate treatment plan. If we determine that you require a detox period before beginning a program, we will also set you up with a referral for outpatient detox with medical monitoring.