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Substance abuse programs - The key to prevention of substance abuse among youngsters

Substance abuse programs – The key to prevention of substance abuse among youngsters

“I was more addicted to self-destruction then to the drugs themselves … something very romantic about it”

― Gerard Way

Adolescence is one of the phases of life when confounding queries and doubts pop up in a warped mind. During such a challenging phase when the chances of being misunderstood are higher, most of the youngsters often opt for self-destructive path of drug abuse to explore their identity and overcome stresses and strains of growing up, as rightly mentioned in the above quote.

As drug abuse changes brain functioning, using drugs at an early age can disrupt the brain functioning in the areas crucial for memory, learning, motivation, judgement, etc.

Usually, abusing drugs at an early age increases a person’s chances of developing an addiction and suffering from this problem even in adulthood. Therefore, the prevention of early exposure to drugs can help to avoid the development of addiction.

People are most at risk of developing drug addiction when they are transiting from one phase to another. In early adolescence, children face new and daunting social and academic environments during their advancement from elementary to middle school. Often, during this period, they are exposed to a range of substances of abuse, such as cigarettes, alcohol, etc. Being in the developmental phase that predispose them to risk-taking behaviors, most of the adolescents are incapable of taking sound decisions after weighing the pros and cons.

When they advance to high school, teens are more likely to be exposed to a greater variety of drugs due to the influence of older teens and social activities where drugs are used. Considering the widespread prevalence of substance abuse, it is essential to conduct preventive education in schools as to prevent students from experimenting with substances of abuse and thus reducing the risk of developing a substance use disorder (SUD) later in life.

 Prevention programs nip the problem in the bud

In the light of the above revelation, it is important to educate children, teenagers and adults (parents) alike about substance abuse to clear doubts pertaining to many misconceptions about commonly used legal and illegal substances, such as alcohol and marijuana. Many youngsters are not aware of the addictive potential of common substances of abuse. The focus of substance abuse education is to inform individuals about the repercussions of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as recommend ways to avoid, stop or seek help for substance use disorders (SUDs).

Regardless of the perceived risk of harm, all substances of abuse should be covered in the education program to keep everyone informed of the facts and get rid of misconceptions. It is also important to incorporate information on newer ‘designer’ drugs, such as synthetic marijuana, Spice, K2 and bath salts (synthetic cathinones), marketed as harmless to avoid any kind of misstep from the side of users.

The dissemination of the recommendations of prevention programs in the early years of a child’s development can help to dissuade the surge of problematic behaviors. Being an extremely sensitive issue, it is essential that the key concepts of substance abuse are conveyed to the youth in a way that they can understand, believe and accept them. Moreover, the content of such programs should be determined according to the age of the participants. At the end, these prevention programs should be able to empower young people to understand that the risks of abusing substances far outweigh the perceived benefits.

The way ahead

According to several studies, research-based substance abuse prevention programs are effective in terms of positive outcomes, particularly when implemented properly, Many of such programs have been able to reduce the abuse of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs. Therefore, education programs need to be based on scientific evidence, research and accurate before being launched in the public domain.

According to the Monitoring the Future 2016 Survey Results, the use of alcohol, tobacco, etc. have dropped in grades 8, 10 and 12 between 1996 and 2016. This declining trend is attributed to the increased awareness among the youth, made possible by prevention programs incorporated into the school curriculums.

Besides physical and mental health, substance abuse increases the risk of encountering serious problems in their academics, social and family relationships, etc. among students. Therefore, it is essential to spread awareness among youngsters to avoid early exposure to substances.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse and addiction, contact the Colorado Detox Helpline to access the detoxification treatment centers in Colorado. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-730-5807 to get the details about the detox centers in Colorado. Alternatively, you can chat online with our experts for further information.

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