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Substance Abuse Prevention: Not Just a Trend

trends SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION: NOT JUST A TREND

This week I want to talk about trends you know those things that are hot, new “thing” this week. Trends as we all know come and go, whether they be clothes, cars, styles or even substances of abuse. When talking about trends or things to be on the lookout for though, sometimes it is easy to become too focused on one thing, and once that trend has passed to relax and think “okay, we are safe”.

This happens in substance abuse prevention too. It is my goal to find topics that will provide information, education, awareness and ultimately move my audience to take action. Sometimes that’s easy and a topic falls into my lap; other times it takes some research on my part. This morning I caught myself looking for trends in drug use in Nebraska to help parents and youth know what to look out for, and knowing what is up and coming or new is important, because we need to know what dangers are lurking around the corners for ourselves and our children.

What we need to be careful of when speaking on trends is to remember that our fight against substances of abuse is not a trend and cannot be based upon one drug, trend etc… at a time. Drug trends ebb, wane and flow according to a number of different factors, but once they are here they never completely go away. The key to the battle is a concerted, collaborative, sustained effort in which we are a united front. We see an issue whether it be a child using, acting out or even a crime and we say that isn’t our problem, that is law enforcement’s problem or that child’s parent’s problem or the school’s problem, and therein lies the problem. We are not a united front standing together, we are islands unto ourselves and when the danger comes to our door instead of having each others backs we say “That is not our Problem.”

Do you remember learning in school those iconic quotes by Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, John F.Kennedy? Quotes like: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,’ “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.” “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” goodreads.com. These quotes from iconic leaders call for action. Men whom faced difficult, trying and dangerous times realized that inaction was not acceptable, and their words were for the masses a call to stand together against the coming darkness.

Our fight is not with drugs or alcohol, but with the prevailing attitudes in our society that have accepted the recreational use of these substances. Those attitudes and perceptions that drinking to excess, that getting high, wasted, being out of control are okay, cool and acceptable have placed our youth at risk. Alcohol has been around for 100’s of years, but drinking to the point of drunkenness was not accepted in society. Our youth have lost the meaning of moderation because they mimic what they see in our society, and our role modeling has been everything to excess. If you want something and you cannot afford it, charge it. Food is in excessive portions, everything has to be bigger and better to excess.

This Holiday Season is a good time to reassess our attitudes, beliefs, actions and perceptions. Take the time to really think about what we are role modeling. Let your children see you tell yourself “no” when you want something. Assess what you watch and talk with your children about the messages that they see around them. Be a part of change in your home, community and work.

Happy Holidays

Anita Wisecup

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