Students and their families are not immune from the crippling effects of alcohol and substance abuse. Regardless of their socioeconomic statuses, drug abuse by a family member can create trust issues and lead to a strain on the family unit. When parents abuse drugs or alcohol they risk losing lifelong friendships, careers they have worked hard for, financial devastation and setting a poor example for their children. Substance abuse by children and teens can ruin a student’s chance at having a successful future and career as their friends and families lose confidence in the student’s decision-making skills.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, begin by talking with a parent, teacher or guidance counselor as the first step. For more information, consider the following resources:
Substance Abuse Research
Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR): The University of Maryland at College Park’s CESAR offers information and articles on substance abuse and the problems it creates for families, communities and the individual.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and Research: The Johns Hopkins Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and Research is an invaluable source of information on alcohol, opioid, nicotine and other drug dependencies.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center: “The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center (ADARC) conducts multidisciplinary research on the behavioral and biological aspects of substance abuse.”
Addiction and Substance Dependence Research: Scripps Research Institute explains addiction and substance abuse and their impact socially and individually.
Substance Abuse Prevention
Above the Influence: “Our goal is to help teens stand up to negative pressures, or influences. The more aware you are of the influences around you, the better prepared you will be to face them, including the pressure to use drugs and alcohol.”
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD): SADD was originally founded as an organization to help students say “No” to the dangers of drinking and driving. They have since expanded to encourage role-modeling and positive peer pressure to prevent destructive decisions, mainly underage drinking and drug use as well as risky behaviors.
Substance Abuse Prevention Program (SAPP): SAPP provides prevention resources for classrooms in the form of training classes and electronic resources as well as professional development resource guides available on their site, most in PDF form.
How to Prevent Drug Use at Every Age: Video resources from The Parent Toolkit breaks down discussions parents can have with their children from preschool, kindergarten to third grade, fourth to sixth grade, seventh to ninth grade, tenth to twelfth grade and more encompassing middle, high school and college videos.
Alcohol’s Effect on Mental Health
Alcohol Use, Abuse and Dependency: Harvard University Health Service Health Promotion Office cites national surveys that report that one out of 13 American adults are alcoholic or abuse the use of alcohol.
Alcohol and Mental Health: Drinkaware discusses the disturbing effects of alcohol on brain chemistry, stress, depression, a person’s mood and the ultimate consequence of suicide.
“How does alcohol affect the brain?” Discovery Fit & Health answers this question by explaining how alcohol affects the different regions of the brain and to what extent, as well as some of the consequences.
Connections Between Alcohol Abuse and Mental Health Explains how much of certain types of alcoholic beverages are considered one “unit” and how many units per day are considered “sensible” for people to drink on a daily basis.
Drug Abuse and Mental Health
Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse: Chronic drug abuse may cause longterm or permanent changes in the brain, which may manifest itself in feelings of paranoia, depression, aggression or hallucinations.
Effects of Depressants (Narcotics and Other Stimulants): Ball State University describes the physical effects of being on and withdrawing from narcotic substances.
Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Sometimes mental health issues and substance abuse disorders ocur concurrently; this article explains some reasons why.
Drug Abuse and Mental Illness Fast Facts (PDF): A very comprehensive article and infographic shows the disorders that have an increased risk of drug abuse associated with them, as well as fast facts on drug abuse and mental illness.
Treatment and More Information
Is Al-Anon for you? Alcoholics Anonymous offers self-assessments to help you decide if Al-Anon may be able to help you if you have been either troubled by someone’s drinking, if you have grown up with someone with a drinking problem or if your life has been affected by another person’s drinking.
Alcohol Problems and Solutions: The facts and fiction surrounding common drinking and alcohol myths.
Evidence-Based Practices for Treating Substance Use Disorders: EPB-Related resources for those considering different treatment options for substance use disorders.
New Substance Abuse Treatment Resources with a Focus on Teens: Adolescents’ drug use and treatment needs as well, differ from those of adults. As such, a guide on treating teen substance abuse is now available.
By Ted Burgess