Your life matters and your family needs you…
Children’s Service Society is here to support you and those you love the most.
Children’s Service Society (CSS), is the oldest non-profit organization in Utah, focused on child welfare and family preservation, since 1884. In partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), CSS has developed a social awareness campaign (#Theyneedyou) to promote prevention-based education and resources. The goals:
– Reduce stigma and barriers of substance abuse treatment
– Educate and empower families to talk about drug prevention
– Highlight community resources that can help
** Please note, CSS serves as a community advocate for drug prevention, not as a treatment provider. If you, or a loved one are in immediate danger, please contact 911 or the Utah Crisis Line (800-273-TALK) to receive 24/7 crisis response, suicide prevention, and emotional support.
You're not alone...
The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS) reports over 31.9 million (11.7%) people in the United States, over the age of 12 years, reported using an illegal substance within the past 30 days. When the survey was extended to those who have used within the past twelve months, 53 million (19.4%) people over 12 years of age reported using an illegal substance. That’s nearly 1 in 5 people…
If legal drugs like alcohol, and tobacco are included, the number of Americans over 12 years who were current substance users jumps to over 165 million people, or 60.2% of the population.
It’s critical when learning the facts, to remember substance abuse is not an “us vs. them” problem, it’s an issue we face together. As substances have harmful effects on the user, many may forget how it impacts family and our community. Loving homes become divided. Trust begins to erode. Relatives may become guarded and isolate. Marriages may end. Communication becomes nearly impossible. Looking at systemic impacts, we can see an increase in incarcerations, hospitalizations, untimely deaths, higher rates of foster care placements, and increased rates of child abuse and/or neglect. The “cost” of substance abuse is estimated to be over $600 billion per year in lost productivity, health care, legal fees, and other damages.
One of the most staggering statistics is that 20% of children reported growing up in a home with a parent or caregiver who actively abused drugs or alcohol. When a child witnesses substance misuse, it can lead to devastating outcomes emotionally, socially, academically, and beyond. Children who witness substance abuse in the home are likely to misuse drugs and alcohol themselves, leading to a multigenerational cycle of addiction.
Also keep in mind, drugs don’t discriminate based on sex or gender, the color of your skin, your ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status… substance abuse disorders can happen to anyone, at anytime.
The statistics and information above is not meant to scare you straight… it’s meant to provide education and knowledge about the current drug issues we face… so we can do something about it. Sadly, we know that only 1 in 10 people experiencing a substance use problem, seeks treatment. That’s where you come in… continue reading below to find out how you can receive help… or help someone you love.
They need you…
(Find more stats + information at https://drugabusestatistics.org/)
If you're struggling, there's help...
The Utah Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Abuse (DSA) is charged with providing drug and alcohol abuse prevention activities in Utah. Information on the DSA may be found on their website: https://dsamh.utah.gov/. The DSA administrative office may be reached at (801) 538-3939.
You can reduce stigma, talk about what's happening...
When we talk about issues in our community, we can learn how to help. For some, substance use is seen as a “scary monster” that if we speak it’s name, we condemn ourselves to servitude. But in reality, addiction is just like any other chronic disease (i.e. diabetes, hypertension, COPD, etc.), that can be life threatening if left untreated. According to the National Institute on Drug Use, “more than 70,000 Americans died from drug-involved overdose in 2019, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids.” Over the past decade, that statistic has continued to increase.
But many of those deaths can be prevented…
It’s normal to feel apprehensive when talking with family or loved ones about substance use. If you’re struggling, you may be worried about what they may say, if they will still trust you, or if they will abandon you. The stigma surrounding addiction often complicates the issue, leaving the victim feeling helpless and overcome with blame and self-doubt. Although there’s a consensus from most professionals that addiction is a complex brain disorder with behavioral components, many in healthcare, the legal system, and our community see it as a moral weakness. That’s where we have the opportunity to make a difference. By breaking down the barriers to treatment, and extending our arms to help, we can serve as a beacon of hope. It’s not an easy conversation to initiative, but in can be life saving.
So let’s talk about what you can do to help a person with substance use disorder (SUD):
(1) Recognize addiction is a medical condition
— Take a look at how the Mayo Clinic defines SUD
(3) Use empathy to support treatment and don’t assume you know everything about a person
— Learn to recognize conscious and unconscious bias
— Empathy helps us connect to other people, and people to resources
(5) Tell positive stories and highlight success
— Use positive self talk to help build up your confidence to help yourself
Dive deeper into how you can reduce stigma, by watching the following TEDx Talk, featuring Dr. Carolyn Greer, Medical Director of the Bowen Recovery Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Then… keep reading below to learn more about how to talk to your kids about substance use prevention…
Prevention tips for every age...
Take advantage of teachable moments. Talk to your kids early and often. A strong bond with your child can reduce the chance of substance use, including the use of alcohol and tobacco.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports “people are likely to begin abusing drugs – including tobacco, alcohol, legal and illegal drugs – during adolescence and young adulthood. It’s better to talk about substance use BEFORE children are exposed. For many, it is harder to stop drug use than to prevent it. If you’re thinking “my kid won’t use,” read why it’s important to talk to every child from SAMSHA and watch the powerful video below:
While there is a range of effective prevention interventions that can be used in a variety of settings, each of them share a common task – learn to talk & listen about drug misuse. According to the NIDA, here are a few of the 16 principles intended to help caregivers think, plan, and deliver research-based prevention programs:
Principle 1 – Enhance Protective Factors
Principle 2 – Address all forms of drug abuse (legal and illegal)
Principle 3 – Talk about the types of misuse in your community
Principle 4 – Tailor information based on audience (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.)
Principle 5 – Programs should enhance family bonding + relationships
Principle 6 – Can be used as early as preschool to address risk factors
…Learn more, and about the remaining 10 principles at drubabuse.gov
Still not convinced you should have “the talk” with your kids about drug use? According to SAMSHA, 80% of children ages 10yr – 18yr said their parents were the leading influence on whether or not to drink alcohol. By not talking to your kids, there becomes a lack of rules/expectations and they’re left to decide for themselves what is acceptable to try, or not. For parents who assume it’s “safe” for children to try legal substances at home, think again… research shows teens who start drinking before age 15 are SIX times more likely to develop abuse or dependency issues than those who waited until age 21.
In short, it’s important to follow a few “quick tips” when talking with your children: (1) keep the conversation natural, open, and positive; (2) stay nonjudgmental; (3) Affirm to your child that you care; (4) Express your boundaries and expectations; (5) Talk about the unintended consequences of use.
Here are a few other articles and resources when preparing to support your child’s development: