Why is drug education important? Understanding the impact of alcohol and other drugs is undoubtedly an invaluable strength. Knowing how drugs impact the body, the long and short-term effects of substance abuse, and the possible risk factors involved are all key in the prevention strategy. Research continues to provide substance abuse experts with more material to help educate community members on the dangers of illicit substances and drug misuse. Life-saving skills can develop from newer, evidence-based research and educational materials.
Drug education is not just for teachers or drug-free advocates and counselors. Everyone can benefit from the knowledge obtained from addiction researchers and specialists. It can help create safe and effective treatments as well as reduce the potential for increased substance abuse rates throughout a community.
Resources Provide Needed Education
No one questions the severity of the nationwide drug epidemic and its devastating impact on millions of lives. Alcohol and drugs undermine health and destroy futures, especially among the nation’s youth. To combat rising trends in addiction and addiction overdoses, experts are creating educational programs that use evidence-based training to help inform community members of peer pressure, mental health concerns, prescription drug abuse, prevention strategy, and much more.
The best solution is to reach young people with effective, fact-based drug education—before they start experimenting with drugs. Tweens, teens and young adults who know the facts about drugs are much less likely to start using them. -Drug Free World
The majority of local outreach programs seek to address community violence and drug use by properly educating residents, physicians, law enforcement, educators, and all pillars in the community about the lasting impact of addiction.
Prescription Medications: Changes in Policy
A great example of educational resources that evolved due to growing trends in substance abuse rates are those that surround the issue of prescription narcotic abuse.
Prior to 1990, physicians rarely prescribed opioids to patients other than those combating pain due to certain cancer types. By 1999, 86% of patients using opioids were using them for non-cancer pain. Communities, where opioids were readily available and prescribed liberally, were the first places to experience increased opioid abuse and resulting overdoses. In 2015, the National Survey on Drug Use and (NSDUH) found that 6.5 million Americans over the age of 12 used controlled prescription medicines non-medically, second only to marijuana and more than past-month users of cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogens combined.
The sharpest rise in drug-related deaths occurred in 2016, with over 20,000 deaths from fentanyl and related drugs. Shortly after, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued comprehensive guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain outside of cancer treatment and end-of-life care.
By 2018, newer educational material revealed the truly devastating effects and widespread consequences of overprescribing opioids for general pain relief. As a result, more physicians took new approaches tor pain management. This is another reason why drug education is important.
Local Outreach Programs
Local outreach programs tend to focus on the local community needs, however there are larger scale programs aimed at informing the country about current drug related concerns. The United States Department of Health and Human Services is currently using a five step model to help address the opioid epidemic in the United States. The first step is to properly inform all Americans of the impact of the opioid crisis.
Drug education is not to be taken lightly and is a crucial factor in addressing deep seeded concerns that may perpetuate substance use disorders. Learn more about the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services is utilizing drug education to help address nationwide addiction.
What is Drug Education?
Drug education is a general term, but it incorporates several areas of alcohol and other drug recovery. It may refer to:
- Research & development
- Preventive treatment
- Early childhood or in-school education
The term drug education refers to the attempt to inform those living in a community where psychoactive drugs may be widely available and or could have a significant effect on families, politics, and finances. It is used to help teach the effects drugs may have on physical health.
Drug education can be presented in many different formats including:
- Open Community Board Meetings
- Employee Assistance Programs
- Hospital and clinical training
- Wellness Coaching
- Research papers
Why is Drug Education Important?
Beyond providing help in substance abuse prevention, drug education is a large proponent of providing safe and healthy resources that promote healthy living. For example, it may raise awareness of community needs, such as a lack of available gyms, lack of proper community health facilities or addiction treatment options, and a lack of safe and healthy recreational activities. Drug education shows what resources may be missing in an affected community and can increase awareness and safety in the community.
For further examples of current drug education resources, visit Drug Policy Alliance here. They discuss the potential for harm reduction, parenting, advocacy, and stigma regarding community drug use.
Accessing Community Drug Education
Drug education is progressing in significant ways as newer research seeks to address disparities among various communities. Previously, an abstinence-only policy was widely believed to be the best method in addressing addiction. Unfortunately, programs like D.A.R.E didn’t produce the intended results. Experts think this is because abstinence education doesn’t give students the tools needed to make safe decisions or find help when substance abuse is already an issue.
More funding is helping to develop evidence-based systems for educating youth and community members in rural and urban environments. Some resources that provide access to community drug education include:
- U.S. Department of Education
- National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) – Impaired Driving Division
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
- National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Office of National Drug Control
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Office of Safe and Healthy Students
Is there a Need for Drug Education While Struggling with Addiction?
Yes. Participating in drug education while struggling with addiction is highly important. Several rehabilitation programs and relapse prevention programs use drug education to help inform clients about the severe impact drugs and alcohol have have on their personal and professional lives.
Drug education in rehab facilities develops awareness of possible triggers that may risk current progress toward sobriety. Furthermore, drug education can reduce the potential for relapse as patients can become aware of risky people, places, and situations. It is helpful to avoid such triggers or develop skills to overcome certain relapse triggers. Common triggers may include:
- Fear of Relapse
Becoming aware of these triggers and how they may personally impact a person suffering from alcohol or other drugs is critical. Triggers will always be present in all communities. Being able to identify triggers decreases the potential to accidentally place one’s self in a risky position that can jeopardize current progress.
AspenRidge: Educating Clients in Recovery
AspenRidge is a premier substance abuse and mental health treatment center. Our highly trained staff incorporates drug education in the form of skill building to safely and effectively aid in long-term recovery. AspenRidge offers various programs, all of which seek to address various levels of substance abuse and underlying mental health concerns that may prevent long-term recovery.
Please contact AspenRidge at 855-678-3144. Our compassionate staff will help to verify insurance options and to clarify treatment options available at AspenRidge Recovery Centers.