Those whose lives have not been as directly touched by substance abuse may not be as aware or educated on the signs or what to look for in friends, family members or coworkers who may be affected by substance abuse. National Substance Abuse Prevention Month is an ideal time to get more information and grow the knowledge base by sharing it with others.
In support of this month, consider some of these important factors that are related to substance abuse:
- Addiction and substance abuse can happen both with legal and illegal drugs – whether through alcohol, prescription painkillers, street drugs or a combination of these. Often, addiction to prescription drugs can happen when someone is simply following their doctors orders as given.
- Substance abuse is never an intended outcome. But even a one-time use of a drug can rewire the brain for addiction and it’s important that young people in particular are aware of this.
- Whether drug use is recreational or through medication misuse, this can be a sign of larger, underlying problems in life whether due to self-medicating mental health issues or trying to escape from life problems.
- Addiction and substance abuse can be influenced by a person’s genetics as well as family patterns. A person with a family member who has substance abuse problems is more likely to struggle with addiction as well.
Support a Loved One
Those who have a friend, coworker or family member who may be struggling with an addiction or some form of substance abuse might want to take National Substance Abuse Prevention Month as an opportunity to care for them. This could mean showing support by telling a person in recovery how great they are doing, or by addressing a person who may have a problem with substance abuse.
Educate Young People
One of the most important parts of substance abuse prevention is to connect with and educate children and young people before they have access to drugs, alcohol and other mind-altering substances. Statistics show that 90% of addiction and substance abuse problems begin before the age of 18, which means educating youth is vital for prevention.
Some experts say that the age of five is a good time to begin talking to children about alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Parents can bring up the topic through conversation that is on the child’s level or they may want to introduce children’s books on the subject.