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HOUGHTON – One of the goals of Keweenaw County Sheriff Curt Pennala’s concept for the Mental Health Presentation in Eagle River on May 27, 2021, was to help the public better understand mental health, to begin to eliminate the social stigma regarding mental health. disease and those who want or need professional help but are afraid to ask for it, due to the pervasive stigma. The presentation, he said, was organized because “It was time for the community to have a conversation about mental health and the stigma that goes with it.

Topics for the event included services available in the area as well as those that are lacking. With September being alcohol and drug recovery month, the conversation Pennala hoped for continues. This week, he is guiding the community toward ending the stigma attached to those who want to end the cycle of addiction and begin treatment and recovery, those who are already in recovery and family members who have been affected. by the addiction and behavior of a family member.

Gail Ploe, prevention specialist and addiction counselor in Western UP’s health department, said the Facing Addiction through Community Engagement program has been launched to examine what is missing in local communities and what can be done to fill these gaps.

“One of the things that became very obvious from the start is that we don’t have a lot of support programs for family members,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of education programs for children; young kids, middle school, high school, kids who may be struggling with family addiction, and so some of the initiatives we’re working on will address those things.

Ploe said one of the things to focus on is learning about adverse childhood experiences, or ACE. Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are potentially traumatic events that occur before a child turns 18. Such experiences can interfere with a person’s health, opportunities and stability throughout their life and can even affect future generations.

An August 17, 2017 report, Children Living With Parents With Substance Use Disorder, by Rachel N. Lipari, Ph.D. and Struther L. Van Horn, MA, stated that substance use disorders parenting substance use (SUD) can have negative impacts on children, including lower socioeconomic status and more difficulties in school and social settings and family functioning compared to children living with parents without SOUTH. . Children with a parent with SUD are at risk of direct effects, such as parental abuse or neglect, or indirect effects, such as reduced household resources.

The report was compiled long before the COVID pandemic skyrocketed substance use, and drew on data from the 2009-2014 National Drug Use and Health Surveys (NSDUH) to determine the number of children living with a parent who had SUD (alcohol consumption). or illicit drug use disorder). The figures are staggering:

About 8.7 million (12.3%) children, aged 17 or younger, lived in U.S. households with at least one parent who had SUD. About 7.5 million (10.5%) children lived in households with at least one parent who had an alcohol use disorder, and about 2.1 million (2.9%) children lived in households with at least one parent who had an illicit drug use disorder in the previous year.

The annual average of 8.7 million children aged 17 and under living in U.S. households with at least one parent who has had SUD highlights the potential extent of substance abuse prevention and treatment needs for the whole family – from substance abuse treatment for affected adults and prevention and support services for children, something Gail Ploe said FACE was organized to look into.

The report divided the statistics into households consuming alcohol and households using illicit drugs and according to the age of the children.

Overall, about 7.5 million (10.5%) children, aged 17 or under, lived in households where at least one parent had an alcohol use disorder. An annual average of 1.2 million children aged 0 to 2 (10.1% of this age group); 1.2 million children aged 3 to 5 (9.9% of this age group); 2.4 million children aged 6 to 11 (10.2% of this age group); and 2.7 million children aged 12 to 17 (11.3 percent of this age group) lived with at least one parent who had an alcohol use disorder.

About 1.6 million children, aged 17 or under, lived in a two-parent household with at least one parent who had an illicit drug use disorder, and about 538,000 children lived in a single-parent household with a parent who had an illicit drug use disorder.

“In other words,” the authors wrote, “About 3.1% of children living in two-parent households lived with at least one parent who had an illicit drug use disorder in the past year, and 2.6% of children living in single-parent households were living with a parent who had an illicit drug use disorder. . “

The report went on to say that among the study subjects: Of the 538,000 children residing in single-parent households with a parent with an illicit drug use disorder, 111,000 lived with their father and 427,000 lived with their mother. . About 3.8% of children living in father-only households lived with a father who suffered from an illicit drug use disorder, and 2.4% of children living in households composed only of one person. mother lived with a mother who suffered from an illicit drug use disorder.

“As parental substance use and SUD often occurs in households facing other challenges (eg mental illness, poverty, domestic violence)” the authors reported, “The recovery process may need to extend beyond drug treatment to produce the changes in a family that are necessary to ensure a healthy home environment for a child. “

However, there is hope for those who want to end the cycle of addiction and abuse. Drug addiction is a treatable disorder, says the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Research into the science of addiction and the treatment of substance use disorders has led to the development of research-based methods that help people stop using drugs and return to productive lives, also known as under the name of recovery.

“Research shows that when treating opioid addiction (prescription pain relievers or drugs like heroin or fentanyl)”, the states of the NIDA, “Medication should be the first line of treatment, usually combined with some form of behavioral therapy or counseling. Medicines are also available to help treat alcohol and nicotine addiction.

The first step in stopping and reversing the community-wide drug addiction epidemic, however, is to remember that drug addiction is a disease of the brain, it is not something people choose to do. And like other chronic illnesses such as heart disease or asthma, drug treatment is usually not a cure. But the addiction can be managed successfully. Treatment enables people to counter the disruptive effects of addiction on their brains and behavior and take back control of their lives. What people with SUD need to feel safe before seeking treatment and recovering is not social stigma, but compassion, encouragement and support from the community.

To learn more, please visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse website at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery.

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