His 6-foot-4 frame folded into the small wooden sailboat, Keaton Hohl waved and shouted “Ahoy!” to each passing boat on Lake Union.
The trip was a chance for Hohl, who is 20 and experiencing homelessness, to have some fun on this cloudy August afternoon. But it was also an opportunity for him to talk about his drinking with Johnny Ohta, a chemical dependency counselor for homeless youth with Ryther, a mental health agency in Seattle. An avid sailor, Ohta is also a board member at the Center for Wooden Boats and often takes clients out sailing.
When I took my first breath in this world, it was while being placed into the arms of a child herself. A drug-addicted and alcoholic mother at the age of just 16 and, needless to say, my mother was a very reckless, sad, incapable parent.
Garry Powers stands on Alameda Street near the North Vignes Street overpass, across from a smoke shop and a Vietnamese restaurant. He’s on the edge of Chinatown and a couple of miles north of Boyle Heights, a neighborhood once rife with gangs.
At the National Collegiate Recovery Conference Wednesday at Kennesaw State University, Michael Fishman, Director of the Young Adult Program at Talbott Recovery Campus in Atlanta, neatly summed up everything he had learned in 22 years of treating addiction in young adults. The recurring theme of his keynote address: It’s complicated. “Most young adults are generally poly-substance abusers,” he said. They aren’t just using marijuana; they’re also drinking, Fishman says. It’s not just opioids, it’s opioids and anti-depressants or any other combination.
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.
Get your questions about recovery from addiction and treatment answered by experts during a Twitter chat held today from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. ET and hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This event will create a dialogue with experts in the recovery, treatment and prevention fields, to allow the public to ask questions and learn more information. They hope to spread the message that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover. This September #RecoveryChat will celebrate Recovery Month and will be co-hosted by Dr. Westley Clark, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and Kathryn Power, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. You can participate by following and tweeting with the #RecoveryChat hashtag on Twitter.
In a world where celebrities, athletes and the superstars of society pop in and out of rehab and treatment centers as if going to a day spa, it is easy to be misled to believe that one stop fixes all. Today the public is led to believe that addiction and recovery is a destination rather than a process, and for too many of today’s young adults, this image glamorizes addiction and minimizes the hard work of recovery.
Teen addiction is “the largest preventable and most costly public health problem in America today,” according to a recent report discussed by the the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Researchers at Columbia University National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that 75 percent of high school students nationwide have used addictive substances, such as cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine or prescription drugs. And these numbers don’t include incarcerated adolescents or those who have dropped out of school. Addiction is more likely for “the underdeveloped teen brain,” heightening the possibility of impaired judgment and bad decisions throughout life, the report says. It also says that teens who are exposed to parents’ substance use disorders are more than three times as likely as other teens to have a substance use disorder themselves.
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!
Chad Hepler’s story of addiction began when he was 14 years old. What started as a search for social acceptance and a hit of marijuana culminated in a parent-led intervention and stint at a wilderness treatment center. “Marijuana IS a gateway drug,” he said. “I don’t care what anybody says.”
His drug use may have started with marijuana, but soon began to regularly include alcohol and experiments with other substances. Hepler may have found what he was looking for at a young age, but the lifestyle was anything but sustainable.