Everyone Can Play a Role in Addressing Addiction in 2021

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Everyone Can Play a Role in Addressing Addiction in 2021

Addiction and overdose statistics for 2020 are disturbing.  For instance, did you know that more than 81,000 people died from drug overdoses during a 12-month period ending in May 2020?  According to the CDC, disruptions to daily life resulting from COVID-19 mandates has led many people to turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.  As there seems to be no solution to the virus upcoming in the near future, what are the options for addressing addiction in 2021?

Strategies for Addressing Addiction in 2021

Addiction specialists agree there are four pillars to a firm foundation for addressing addiction. Those pillars are (1) education, (2) prevention, (3) intervention, and (4) evidence-based, affordable treatment.  So, with these guidelines in mind, what role can individuals play in helping reduce addiction and overdose statistics?

First of all, the most effective contribution society can make toward addressing addiction in 2021 is to help change the stigma about addiction.  It’s unfortunate that in our information/technology-based environment, far too many people still believe substance abuse is a moral failing.  As long as this stigma persists, it will prevent thousands of individuals from getting the help they need to overcome addiction.

Next, the following suggestions provide a guideline for those who want to be part of this life-saving effort.

How Individuals and Families Can Help

It’s not unusual for families of an addicted person to stay silent about the issue.  Shame, guilt, and fear of the consequences cause these folks to avoid reaching out.  Also, they may be unaware of the impact their behavior can have on the struggling loved one.  Why is this important?  Because, the sooner a person gets treatment, the better the outcome.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Learn the facts – Addiction is a medical disorder, not a moral weakness.  Educate yourself and your family about how drugs affect the brain and body.
  • Advocate for changes in your community – Take an active role in drug education or awareness events or hold or help plan an event in your neighborhood.  Support your local school’s prevention efforts.  Participate in national campaigns such as Red Ribbon Week, National Recovery Month, National Overdose Awareness Day, and more.
  • Talk to your child about substance abuse – Generally, these conversations aren’t easy, but, parents have more influence over their children than they think.  Listen to their opinions, answer their questions with facts from reliable sources, and have the talk more than once.  Also, set an example by not drinking or using drugs yourself.

Keeping our youth free from substance abuse is crucial to addressing addiction in 2021.  This goal can be reached by gaining the support and cooperation of anyone who has influence in a child’s life.

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Academic Institutions and Educators

Prevention programs in schools and colleges can have a significant influence on our youth. Equally important, these programs help students understand the risk factors of substance abuse and contribute to addressing addiction in 2021 by reducing substance use statistics involving adolescents and young adults.

Things educators and schools can do:

  • Implement intervention/prevention programs – The programs should target academic, social, and emotional learning to address substance misuse risk factors.  Of course, by providing consistent messages, these programs are implemental in reducing drop-outs and addiction statistics.
  • Provide support for treatment – Counselors and health care programs can provide student screening and referrals to treatment services for those with substance use problems.
  • Promote non-shaming language – Teaching students to avoid terms like “addict” or “abuser” or “druggie” can reduce stigma and open their minds to learning about the medical nature of addiction.  As a result, students who have substance use problems won’t be afraid to reach out for help if they aren’t faced with negative judgment and attitudes from their peers.

Many teachers, professors, and school counselors may not be aware of the amount of influence they have on today’s youth; therefore, it’s vital that they learn the facts about substance abuse in order to provide the education, guidance, and support our youth need during their formative years.

Learn About Our Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment Today

Despite improved education and prevention efforts, many individuals will need treatment for substance abuse in the coming years.  At A Forever Recovery, our goal is to provide effective evidence-based, individualized treatment methods to those in need.

Please contact us today if you know someone who needs our services.  Of course, addressing addiction in 2021 is a national responsibility, so let’s all do what we can to make a difference.

Resources:

  • cdc.govOverdose Deaths Accelerating During COVID-19
  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Chapter 7: Vision for the Future: A Public Health Approach

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