Posted on: February 14, 2014
Not too long ago, it seemed that heroin overdoses were in the news virtually weekly. There were community forums and discussions; heavy drug use among teens in DuPage and Will seemed ‘top of mind’ to all residents. All the talks were about how parents, schools, police, and other members of the community could work together and prevent any further tragedies from occurring.
Fast forward to today. It seems that heroin has been out of the news cycle since then. There have been sad situations that have occurred related to kids in the community, but they have been presented as outliers, not real representations of the issues that our communities face. In our practice, we see many teens struggling with not only heroin, but marijuana, prescription pain killers, and other substances. These substances are truly ruining many of their lives. Today, in the Chicago Tribune, there was an article about how DuPage county would like to create a treatment facility for those struggling with heroin as well as a way to formally track heroin deaths in the county.
The more that kids continue to be pressured to succeed in academics, sports, and other activities while not receiving emotional supports to assist them, they will be more likely to turn to substances to cope. Families must teach their children how to cope with overwhelming emotions, not run from them. Further, families must realize that their children’s success will be limited if they are not mentally and emotionally confident; the pressure and stress will get to them. Drugs is a viable option for many kids as they can quickly disconnect a child from their negative emotions and help them feel better. Families must be the viewed as the best way to cope with negative emotions, not substances. Families, work to convince and show your kids that you are there to support and help them in any way that you can. Hopefully that pattern will decrease the substance use that harms our local kids and communities.