Are you addicted?


Image: Frankileon

I hope that got your attention…I’m addicted to Ice Tea and Chocolate. I wake up in the morning and look forward to the “large unsweetened iced tea with lemon” from Dunkin Donuts. In the afternoon the chocolate kiss candy calls my name and I pop 1,2, maybe 3 candies without even thinking. Why do I do these things and experience a “low” without them? It’s because of the feeling I get after I drink the tea or taste the chocolate…instant happiness, contentment, could I say, euphoria (not quite)?

Heroin gives a sense of euphoria: intense feelings of well -being, happiness, elation and joy. Who wouldn’t want to experience these feelings especially if your current mood state tends toward melancholy, sadness and depression or if your environment is filled with negative influences? We tell students to stop using but we don’t have an answer for what to do instead.

What is the alternative? Natural highs are ways to produce some of these same feelings without using medication. Here are some examples of natural highs: exercise (intense aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes), yoga, meditation, worshipping with faith based community, practicing a hobby and/or spending time with family/friends. Problem is that for many young people natural highs do not seem to compare with the euphoria of chemical highs.

So, what is the answer to the heroin/drug use problem that we are observing with some of our young people? How do we combat this growing issue? How do you think communities could be addressing this issue?  Forming community coalitions with many stakeholders representing law enforcement, youth serving agencies, faith based groups and private business could help with focusing on the issues that we all face. Another possibility is growing after-school programs to provide positive alternatives to being home alone or walking the streets.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced a great answer to this growing problem? We’d like to hear from you. Let’s begin the dialogue here and have our whole entire region benefit from all of our expertise. Thank you in advance for your contributions.

williams_Penny_WEB_1307Penny Williams
pwilliams@ocmboces.org

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