The Problem is Bigger Than You Think
Substance misuse is stealing an entire generation and must be confronted in new ways. It is an adolescent-onset illness: 90%+ of the time the seeds are sown during teenage years. Often from taking pain medication after surgery for a sports injury or to remove wisdom teeth. Worse, with the opioid epidemic, a young adult need not have a substance issue to die of an overdose; it just takes one night partying with drugs laced with Fentanyl. As the age of first use decreases, the risks our kids face increases exponentially.
Overdose Deaths Reached Record High as the Pandemic Spread
More than 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in the yearlong period ending in April, government researchers said.
Middle-school children fall prey to fatal fentanyl overdoses
He had no idea that the pills he was taking were actually prescription knockoffs laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. Just a few milligrams of fentanyl can be a fatal dose.
The solution is closer than you think
Substance misuse and mental health coping skills directly from teens and young adults
The main coping skill I use is connection. I’ve got a gratitude list with a couple of friends and we check up on each other and we check-in and say “How’s everything going?” and what we’re grateful for today.
I have been working an AA program and stay connected with friends. That makes me feel less alone and isolated.
I do a lot of self-care. I’ve been drawing and painting and exercising. Exercising is great, the endorphins give me the kick, I’ve been cooking a lot and audiobooks are great. Also knowing when to separate and take time for yourself.Learn More
I have a big health and wellness routine. I work out a lot. I play a lot of tennis. I try to eat healthy. I drink a lot of water. Meditating. That always brought me a sense of relief.
Work on yourself and try to be the best person you can be. Call all of your friends and see how everyone’s doing. Try and reach out, stay connected, check in with people; see who needs a hand. It makes me feel better about myself. Try to stay positive and give off as much love as you can.Learn More
Putting my mental health first. 45 minutes of therapy a week helps. You can do it in person, on zoom, or on an app on the phone.
- Did I eat today?
- What brings me calm? A happy safe space?
- Ask for help.
I’m learning by listening to other people’s mistakes. I’m going to learn their lesson by listening to their story.
I spend a lot of time making the uncomfortable my comfort zone.
I am working on acquiring new skills so I can be comfortable around anyone I’m in front of.Learn More
When I was 20 years old I got sober. I thought getting sober was going to be the worst thing ever and that the fun was over. But I ended up being able to do everything I used to do.
I mostly have stayed sober because I’ve been happy. I’ve made friends with people who genuinely care about me and they call and ask me how I am. I’ve never had friends like that.
I was always using them for something or they were using me for something and now I have really nice friends.Learn More
I don’t do things that are unsafe for me. So, if I feel I’m at risk right now, I leave. I didn’t realize that was a thing I could do. You just leave, No one notices, no one cares.
I don’t have to make decisions right away, I can pause and take a second and think about the best way to handle a situation before doing anything.
At any point in the day if I am struggling with something there are at least 10 people I can easily call. At least one of them will answer.Learn More
A friend helped me to get sober and basically not die because he let me know he was there for me unconditionally. To have someone hug you and say I’m here for you, it’s going to be okay will probably stop you from killing yourself that day. At least it did for me.
The biggest thing is finding someone who I can be honest with.Learn More
Telling people that I wasn’t drinking was really scary. The idea of dating without drinking was really scary. It’s been 3 ½ years and my life has completely changed.
I started writing again and now I’m writing a book about being young and sober.Learn More
I got sober when I was 19. Sobriety gave me a choice, it gave me a chance to actually live.
I’ve gone to so many music festivals in sobriety, I’ve gone out clubbing so many times, been to so many parties. There’s nowhere in this world that I feel uncomfortable going because I’m sober. That’s my choice, and I don’t have to be afraid of any situation because there’s drinking around. I can go anywhere in the world because I’m free. When I was using it was a different situation. It’s given me present moment awareness, the ability to get in touch with who I am, what I like. It allows me to know what I’m feeling and not run away from those feelings.Learn More
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