Neil Kaltenecker is executive director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse and a person in long-term recovery. She is also the Southeast Regional representative on the national board of <a href="http://www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org">Faces and Voices of Recovery.</a>
We are in the middle of celebrating Red Ribbon Week, the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. Sponsored by the National Family Partnership, Red Ribbon Week “serves as a vehicle for communities and individuals to take a stand for the hopes and dreams of our children through a commitment to drug prevention and education and a personal commitment to live drug free lives with the ultimate goal being the creation of drug free America.” Since 1980, Red Ribbon Week has been effectively used to target the substance abuse prevention message to school kids and families. Yet, the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows a disturbing trend in this country in the “continuing rise in the rate of current illicit drug use among young adults aged 18 to 25 — from 19.6-percent in 2008 to 21.2-percent in 2009 and 21.5-percent in 2010.” This increase appears to be driven in large part by a rise in marijuana use among this age group. Further, a recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 20 percent of teens have taken a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription.
Need help with my troubled teen. He is stealing from family members smoking weed very angry punching walls. I have tried everything he is only 16 years old and heading in the wrong direction reaching out for help please help me to save my child. ~Stephanie
Last year, my 20-year-old cousin was arrested for possession of oxycontin. After that, we discovered he had been addicted to it for at least a couple of years. He went into rehab, for two months and when he got out, he seemed to be fine. He has dropped out of college, but has been working for about six months now. Though he doesn’t earn a lot at his restaurant job, he has virtually no expenses. But, in the last few weeks, he’s been having money problems, not paying his rent and other bills. He says he just isn’t managing his money well. But we’re afraid he’s using again. He’s more distant than before, but denies he’s back on the drug. We can’t force him back into rehab, indeed we don’t even know for sure that he’s still got a problem. What should we do? ~“C”, Atlanta
My name is Neil Kaltenecker and I am the executive director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, a non-profit statewide organization dedicated to reducing the impact of substance abuse in Georgia’s communities through education, advocacy and training.
Amy Winehouse died of addiction. Though toxicology reports are so far inconclusive, we can look at her life and know the cause of her death. Many of us know what addiction looks like up close and personal and most, if not all of us know what addiction looks like from the gripping images of famous people struggling in front of us. Hopefully, we can convert this recent casualty into an opportunity for learning, and strive to create a better way to prevent this treatable chronic health condition called addiction. We know that people can and do recover!