Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 - Experience, Strength, and Hope

Name: Kalinda ...
From: Riva, MD
School: South river high school
Votes: 0 Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 - Experience, Strength, and Hope

Experience, Strength, and Hope


Addiction
Awareness Scholarship Experience, Strength, and Hope


It
is very distressing for me
to
hear
about
a
fellow

student’s addiction to drugs or alcohol. Since I have a s
trong
family history of
alcohol
and tobacco addiction, mental illness
,
violence, and suicid
e
attempts,
I do not take it lightly or
cast
blam
e.
My maternal grandmother and aunt have struggled severely with
depression,
post-traumatic stress, anxiety,
or
substance
abuse to the point of feeling helpless with an attempt to hurt
themselves. While I do not know the details of my grandmother’s
overdose,
my
aunt chose acetaminophen seven tablets at age 16. This was eight
months after said grandmother died in a terrible car accident in
which my aunt
,
who was not under the influence,
was
the driver.

However, she had risky use of alcohol since age 13. Unfortunately,
there are many similar stories affecting all demographics. As a
nation, we are dealing with an addiction crisis as more and people
feel they have no other choice.

Our
generation is dealing with

a

lack of adequate mental health and trying to solve the multifaceted,
enormous problem of
addiction.
Nevertheless,
let me start with a positive story to give us hope. My
aunt,
who has suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder

since the accident,
has
accepted her alcohol dependency as a problem and
learned
so much in
her
rehabilitation and recovery program
.
She discusses openly about the knowledge she gains from nameless and
numerous
friends
at her meetings
,
scientific
addiction literature
,
journaling, her sponsors and sponsees, and individual and family
counseling. She has the gift of freedom and has been sober for three
years!
Even
though
her
occasional co-dependency jargon
can
be annoying for
us,
I know

she
is healing herself and striving to help us and others
become
more
aware. She
is
in a position now to advise others desperately ready to end their
suffering to develop their own unique strategy. And, these amazing
stories are occurring throughout our country as well. Therefore,
t
here
is tremendous hope for

those addicted to anything to restore their wellbeing, mental
capacity, and soundness and prevent a relapse
through
education and access to care that will impact this and future
generations.

One
of the most comprehensive
586
page
article that I read was
Addiction
Medicine:

Closing
the Gap between Science and Practice

by
the
National
Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (
1.)
This task force broke issues down into themes based on internal and
external forces over the short-term and long-term. Since I can not
explain it all in a short essay, the
solutions
for our society is
that
government officials have to work closely with leaders in public
health, insurance companies, and health care facilities

because addiction is a disease of the brain that is influenced by
environment and genetics. As

the covid pandemic has taught us, this is

challenging
in a fragmented health system governed by individual states.
Conversely, the best solutions may not be uniform and may vary
depending on state or county
needs
and
their citizens’ values.

Let
us begin with easy and effective laws. For example, if a patient
receive
s
care
for
addiction,
and is deemed safe to go home,
health
care providers could communicate rapidly to

a community or insurance case manager or peer intervention specialist
to check on the patient within 24 hours and then regularly
via
telemental health
to
monitor and guide cessation.

Besides providing short-term support, the mental health specialist
can arrange for more virtual visits, home visits, quick coping
reference cards, and local support group information (now called peer
norm groups.) This can lead to prevention of
recurrences
by changing patterns of thought and limiting risky use.
Also,
it
is
imperative that biochemical neuroscience becomes the foundation of
how society interprets addiction in order to decrease the stigma and
clear up confusion so people can reach out sooner for help.

Access
to
addiction
specialists need to improve especially in underserved areas. We

should foster
incentives
for people to choose careers related to
this.

Laws should be passed to increase reimbursement rates for these
and
their related
conditions.
Another example of a straightforward law could be automatic
screening
and intervention at all sports physicals and health supervision
visits. Having this discussion early and often creates awareness that
can initiate prevention so that tailored, multidisciplinary treatment
can begin before a crisis occurs. People need to know that there are
specific psychologists, social workers, and support groups for
addiction as teenagers. And, they need to know there is no shame in
this, that they are not alone, and that they deserve forgiveness and
another chance. Peer norm groups should be accessible, such as in a
high school club with a teacher or community facilitator. On the go,
apps can be explored and used as daily reminders and contain tools to
navigate various circumstances. Parents, school,
providers,
and government officials
can
work together. The “Plan-Do-Check-Act” algorithm will be
imperative in any system change.

Addiction
rates
are recently increasing especially for young adults. In addition, all
age groups are facing a tough situation no
w
with the covid pandemic crisis

which has resulted in
financial
stress
,
social isolation, mental instability, and vulnerability. This can
lead to unhealthy choices.
The
data should be coming out
soon
about
how that has affected the
addiction
and relapse
rate
and it probably not good.
Yet,
this is also an incredible time to learn, change or buildup care
across this great country.


We
should
not lose hope in
strengthening
mental
health
services
and
addiction
prevention.
With
encouragement,
empathy,
collaboration, and hard work,
communities
can
campaign for more resources
and
the
generational prison of despair and confusion can be stopped. We are
all in this together because the si
lent
sufferers could be neighbors, classmates, colleagues and even family
members. A gently nudge,

smile,

kernel of knowledge,
and
an open mind
can
be a critical step in
recovery.
Recovery is freedom which is the basis of our country.
Each
one of us can learn and teach others so much about
addiction
so
that

quality, evidence based programs and allocation of resources can be
promoted. We can be an example for so many other countries with
similar issues.

1.
National
Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA
Columbia). Jun 2012. Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap between
Science and Practice. New York, NY: National Center on Addiction and
Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia
)


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Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 - Experience, Strength, and Hope
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