Drugs are very present in Susquehanna County. That was one of the underlying messages of a special presentation on September 14th, at the Susquehanna Community High School auditorium. District Attorney Jason Legg, Trehab Drug and Alcohol Clinical Supervisor Traci Decker, and Trehab Prevention Specialist Andrew Granick spoke at the meeting, providing parents and community members with prevalence statistics, signs of addiction, information on drug progressions, and practical tips for preventing and addressing substance abuse in a loved one.
Misuse of substances in Susquehanna County is under recognized, and it is growing. Marijuana is the most abused drug among adolescents, and is often a gateway drug. Five years ago heroin use was not notable in the area; now fifty percent of recent referrals through the Susquehanna Office of Drug and Alcohol programs involved this drug. The speakers tied this trend to adolescent prescription medication abuse. Youth addicted to prescription pills will often eventually turn to heroin for economic reasons.
Parents were presented with some of the physical and behavioral warning signs of addiction, which included: excessive sweating, spastic shaking, drowsiness, mood changes, a loss of interest in personal appearance, and lying and not accounting for time. Tips for preventing and addressing substance use included: denormalizing the behavior, setting limits, monitoring medications, and acting as role models. Parents were encouraged to make use of Student Assistance Programs, and to contact the school or another service organization for help if necessary.
District Attorney Legg addressed the judicial side of the subject, stating that most of the county’s crime was directly related to drug use. He urged parents to look at the juvenile justice system as a resource, not an enemy, explaining that the number one priority of juveline probation workers was the good of the child.
Information is pivotal to fighting any battle, including the battle against adolescent substance abuse. Those having questions about this presentation, or desiring to host a similar discussion in a school or commumity group can contact Trehab’s prevention department at (570) 278-5237.