Monday, April 27, 2009

Who is at risk of substance abuse disorders? How did you grow up?

"There are between 28 and 34 million children and adults in America, today, who are unique. They are unique in that they are more likely than any other identifiable group to become alcoholic, They are the people who grew up, or are presently being raised, in alcoholic homes."

Claudia Black, It Will Never Happen To Me, p. 4

Dr. Black's book from which the above quote was taken was published in 1981. Nothing has changed since except, I suspect, the number of vulnerable people to develop alcoholism is larger.

GCASA was a relatively large and effective prevention program and the funders of GCASA's prevention programs mandate that we focus on youth, but youth often are not the problem; it is the parents and other adults in the community who behave in irresponsible ways when it comes to alcohol and drugs.

60% of GCASA's treatment admissions in 2008 which numbered over 1,000 people reported that they grew up in families where alcohol or drugs were a problem.

Commercials and advertising glorify the use of alcohol, tobacco, gambling as the way to enjoy life. While the social use of these substances and activities may not be harmful, use can easily become abuse, and abuse can become dependence and then great harm can be done.

Cultural norms and attitudes have slowly been changing and yet we, as a society, have a long way to go in questioning the role these substances and behaviors play in our society and the consequences that the use of these substances and behaviors have on not only our individual health, but the health of our communities and society.
This is article #5 in a series on Substance Abuse, A Family Disease.

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