In the field of substance abuse, we talk about prevention frequently. What does prevention truly mean? Educating the public? Yes. By educating the public, do we bring awareness to the community? Absolutely!
That education may lead some of us to have an “Aha! moment.” But what do we know about substance abuse prevention? We can Google it and find many definitions.
But to really understand a little about substance use and dependence, a good example would be when you are having dinner with someone and you see that he/she is drinking heavily, and yet when he/she gets up, the person shows no signs of impairment. That means that the person has a high tolerance for alcohol (he/she has been consuming ever-increasing quantities over time, which leads them to drinking more and more to get the same effects), and he/she is dependent on alcohol.
Other examples include: If you find a friend or a teenager withdrawn, isolated, displaying major changes in his/her routine; or you even may find residue of substances in his/her room, in the middle of a book, inside a writing pen mechanism (which can double as a smoking pipe), or having hole in the middle of an apple or a banana, or any other item that would look unusual to your eyes – for any of these, please note that your teen or friend needs help.These are just some of the clues, however. Don’t underestimate the ability of someone to hide addiction, especially in the early stages.
For more information about the signs and symptoms of substances use and misuse, and for resources, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/substance-use. You may access the Charlotte County community resources hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 941-205-2161 anytime.
Do you know someone at risk? Do you find yourself not knowing how to help? Do you want to become involved with helping youth make a better choice before there is a problem in the first place? Charlotte 2-1-1 can connect you to support resources, volunteer opportunities and even speakers who can come and speak to a gathering about these topics.
Get involved today. You may just be the hand up that keeps addiction from destroying a life.