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An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

July 10, 2011
By CATHY BROWNFIELD, Family Recovery Center , Salem News

The best way to lower the incidence of youth substance abuse is preventing it, say the experts who work with American youth. Granted, even kids whose families advocate against alcohol and drug use do get into trouble sometimes. But parents can't give up or give in. Persevere.

Steve Sussman, Ph.D., writes in the April 2011 edition of The Prevention Researcher, "Considered across the lifespan, prevalence of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use and abuse is highest among adolescents and emerging adults. By 12th grade, 71 percent of youth in the U.S. have tried alcohol (54 percent have reported ever being drunk), 42 percent have tried cigarette smoking, 43 percent have tried marijuana, and 25 percent have tried an illicit drug other than marijuanasubstance misuse is among the most prevalent causes of adolescent morbidity [disease] and mortality [death] in the United States." About 5 to 8 percent of youth meet the criteria for substance abuse disorder diagnoses.

Some of the signs parents might watch for are:

Poor academic performance

Job instability

Crimes (stealing, vandalism, violence)

Teen pregnancy

STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)

DUI and related accidents

Treatment varies, depending on where the individual is in substance abuse. For instance, whether they have only "tried it" and stopped because they didn't like it, and whether they are in treatment for one drug and prevention of another or worse, need to stop the abuse and enter recovery. Prevention is for everyone. Knowledge can be a deterrent to abuse.

At Family Recovery Center, the Education Department works both the county's education system in the classroom setting with a number of programs including Aiming High, Youth Mentoring, Teen Institute (TI), and the Columbiana County Youth Coalition and outside of the classroom, Choices, Leadership Training and ADAPT (Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention Team).The agency reaches out to those adolescents and emerging adults who are at greater risk of substance abuse with Get Connected. Other education programs include Be Smart Be Safe for licensed drivers and passengers, Drug Free Workplace, and Community Wellness. More information about these programs is available at the Family Recovery Center web site at

"One well-respected meta-analysis of over 200 programs suggested that tobacco and other substance use access reduction, family programming, mass media programming, involvement of community organizations, and school-based programming may combine to maximize prevention efforts," Dr. Sussman writes. As you can see from the list of programs at Family Recovery Center, Columbiana County is providing those programs effectively. Additionally, FRC assists in making support groups accessible in local communities: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Alateen, to name a few. The agency is funded by partners in recovery and well-being including The Mental Health Services and Recovery Board, Jobs and Family Services, ODADAS (Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services), and United Way of Northern Columbiana County.

For more information about FRC services, contact us at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail,



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