CenterPointe Hospital Promotes National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

October was first declared as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month in 2011. Since then, October has been a time to highlight the vital role of substance abuse prevention in both individual and community health, to remember those who have lost their lives to substance abuse, to acknowledge those in recovery, as well as children, parents, family, and friends supporting them.

Studies show that the earlier an individual starts smoking, drinking or using other drugs, the greater the likelihood of developing addiction. 9 out of 10 people who abuse or are addicted to nicotine, alcohol or other drugs began using these substances before they were 18. People who began using addictive substances before age 15 are nearly 7 times likelier to develop a substance problem than those who delay first use until age 21 or older. Every year that substance use is delayed during the period of adolescent brain development, the risk of addiction and substance abuse decrease.

Millions of Americans suffer from substance abuse, which includes underage drinking, alcohol dependency, non-medical use of prescription drugs, abuse of over-the-counter medications, and illicit drug use. Over 400,000 Americans have lost their lives to opioid overdoses since the turn of the century.  While one life lost to drug addiction is too many, nearly half a million is unconscionable.

Every day, far too many Americans are hurt by alcohol and drug abuse. From diminished achievement in our schools, to greater risks on our roads and in our communities, to the heartache of lives cut tragically short, the consequences of substance abuse are profound. Yet, we also know that they are preventable. This month, we pay tribute to all those working to prevent substance abuse in our communities, and we rededicate ourselves to building a safer, drug-free America.

By stopping drug use before it starts, we can prevent the disease of addiction and create stronger neighborhoods across our country. Prevention strategies targeting the root of the problem are essential to curb drug use and help people lead healthier lives.  Early intervention helps prevent substance abuse and reduce the negative consequences of addiction before they occur.

All of us can play a role in preventing drug and alcohol abuse. As our children’s first teachers, parents and guardians can help by talking to their kids about the dangers of substance abuse. Alongside them, coalitions of teachers, faith-based groups, health care providers, law enforcement officials, and other local leaders are joining together to address substance abuse in their communities. Together, we will build healthy families, safe neighborhoods, and thriving communities by preventing substance misuse.

Broaching the subject of drugs and alcohol with a teen during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month can be a difficult task – but it’s worthwhile and can even be a positive experience if handled carefully. Teens (and young adults) often don’t know as much about alcoholism and drug addiction as you might think, so don’t assume they’ve already heard what you have to say.

Tips for Talking to Teens

Choose the right time to have a conversation. Make sure there’s no time constraint and that each individual is entering the discussion with an open mind.

  • Don’t lecture. Instead, ask the teen’s views on substance abuse and listen to his or her opinions and questions.
  • Discuss reasons to avoid drugs. Make it clear that abusing drugs or binge drinking at too young an age can damage brain development and emphasize how it can negatively impact things the teen cares about.
  • Brainstorm ways to resist peer pressure. For many young adults, saying “no” is half the battle, so it helps to act out a situation in which drugs are being offered. Most experts agree that role-playing is one of the most effective aspects of a substance abuse prevention program.

About CenterPointe Hospital

While substance abuse prevention is critically important for youth, help is also available at CenterPointe Hospital if treatment is needed. CenterPointe Hospital currently provides virtual outpatient therapy for adolescents – as well as treatment programs for adults and senior adults.

Treating behavioral health issues is not a one-size-fits-all solution. At CenterPointe Hospital clients find a range of care, as well as the understanding and nonjudgmental care to help them develop coping skills and alternative behaviors and find a new path to a healthier future.

CenterPointe Hospital can help individuals learn new, healthier behaviors and skills to take care of themselves differently, and also learn skills to deal with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, trauma and other mental health problems instead of turning to drugs and alcohol to numb their psychological pain.

To learn more about CenterPointe Hospital visit our website at: www.CenterPointeHospital.com