I have had the honor of attending an event for a women and children’s shelter. It is a wonderful event where there is a lot of sharing about women who had been homeless and are now self-sustaining. Many of these women have struggled with drug addiction. Some spoke about starting to use drugs at a very young age with parents who also used drugs. Some never imagined what life could be like without using drugs. But each of these women overcame their drug addiction in the face of lots of challenges. The united message from all of them is that they have emerged stronger and more confident now that they are learning to take responsibility for themselves without substance abuse.
The gifts that they described from their life clean and sober were countless. Many had lost their children and now have them back in their lives. Their self-esteem has grown leaps and bounds and they are working on gaining skills. Some of them have already become employed and are making their own way. And while I’d like to think that our teenagers, who had never been faced with the severe disadvantages that these women had, their addiction somehow brought them to the same place. Addiction does not discriminate; it is equally devastating no matter what your socioeconomic standing is. Listening to these women is such an inspiration. They come from very difficult situations and have chosen to seek a life of recovery and rebuilding. They are setting a good example for their children who will be better for it.
The Partnership at Drugfree.org announced today results from a National Study (PATS) which revealed teen misuse and abuse of Rx Drugs is up 33 percent since last reviewed in 2008. Among many findings, it shows that one in six parents (16 percent) believe that using prescription drugs to get high is safer than using street drugs. To ready more results of this news click here.
Experience with my teenagers was that prescription drug abuse led to addiction. Soon, they became “twenty-something” with a whole lot of problems and the chances of turning to street drugs became reality. Misuse of prescription drugs is not safe, is highly addictive, and as Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org says, “… the problem is real, the threat immediate and the situation is not poised to get better.” It’s heart whelming to know that organizations such as this are making headway educating, helping and fighting for our young people.
Unfortunately, not all organizations take the same action. Just today I was at Kaiser for a well check and the nurse asked me if there was abuse or violence in the home. I said no, and then I said “what if I said yes, what would happen?” She said there is no protocol for that; it’s just logged into the record. What a shame. What’s the point? I can think of so many things a big health organization like mine could do with a “yes” answer. I wish they would also ask, “Are there pre-teens and teenagers in the family?” And from an affirmative answer, the person is handed information about the dangers of the current drug epidemic, ways to get help and things to look for! At the very least, it would have been handy if they had mentioned that there is a national drug take back day this Saturday, April 27. This community wide event is sponsored by The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for not only ensuring proper disposal of prescriptions stored in your home, but also eliminating the possibility of these drugs getting into the wrong hands. Abuse of any kind takes awareness, but there has to be action too.
“Life is brutal. But it’s also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it. Life’s brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can’t be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty. So now I embrace both, and I live well and hard and real.”