Substance Abuse Prevention

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    Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention

    Substance abuse can simply be defined as a pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes. The DSM-5 defines drug abuse as "the use of illicit drugs or the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are indicated or in a manner or in quantities other than directed."

     Students who abuse substances may:

    • Fail to fulfill major role obligations (e.g., poor work performance or repeated absences from work or school, and or household)

    • Use substances in situations that are physically hazardous (e.g., driving an automobile or operating machinery when impaired by substance use)

    • Experience substance-related legal problems (e.g., substance-related disorderly conduct, DUI)

    • Continue to use substances despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or worsened by the effects of substances (e.g., arguments or physical fights)

    Substance Use Disorder/ Dependence:

    Drug dependence is a condition resulting from the prolonged and usually intense consumption of a drug or drugs which has resulted in psychological and/or physiological dependence on drug consumption. This dependence causes significant problems in one or more areas of the person’s life. According to the DSM 5, substance use disorder/drug dependence is a cluster of cognitive, behavioral, and physiological symptoms indicating that the individual continues to use a substance(s) despite significant substance related issues.

    The DSM-5 term for substance not only includes psychoactive chemicals of abuse but also medications and toxins with psychoactive effects and includes the following 11 classes of chemicals: “alcohol, amphetamine or similarly acting sympathomimetics; cannabis; cocaine; hallucinogens; inhalants; nicotine; opioids; phencyclidine or similarly acting arylcyclohexylamines; and sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics”.

    Students who are dependent upon a substance may experience:

    • Tolerance, which refers to the need to increase amounts of the substance in order to achieve intoxication or the desired effect. A sign of tolerance is a diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of substance.

    • Withdrawal, which is the development of a substance-specific syndrome when substance use is stopped or decreased. The type and length of withdrawal symptoms vary depending upon the substance. A sign of withdrawal is the need to take the same or similar substance in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

    • Take substances in a larger amount or over a longer period of time

    • Want to cut down or control substance use, but may be unable to do so

    • Spend a lot of time and effort doing whatever is necessary to obtain the substance or recovering from the negative effects of using the substance

    • Give up or reduce social, occupation, or recreational activities because of substance use

    • Continue to use the substance despite awareness of physical or psychological problems that are either caused or worsened by substance use

    Commonly abused substances include:

    • Opiates and narcotics are powerful painkillers that cause drowsiness (sedation) and sometimes feelings of euphoria. These include heroin, opium, codeine, meperidine (Demerol), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and oxycodone (Percocet, Percodan, and Oxycontin). * Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants include amphetamines, cocaine, dextroamphetamine, methamphetamine, and methylphenidate (Ritalin). These drugs have a stimulating effect, and people can start needing higher amounts of these drugs to feel the same effect (tolerance).

    • Central nervous system depressants include alcohol, barbiturates (amobarbital, pentobarbital, secobarbital), benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, Xanax), chloral hydrate, and paraldehyde. These substances produce a sedative and anxiety-reducing effect, which can lead to dependence.

    • Hallucinogens include LSD, mescaline, psilocybin ("mushrooms"), and phencyclidine (PCP or "angel dust"). They can cause people to see things that aren't there (hallucinations) and can lead to psychological dependence.

    • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient found in marijuana (cannabis) and hashish.

    Symptoms of drug use

    Some of the symptoms and behaviors of drug abuse/dependence include:

    • Confusion

    • Continuing to use drugs even when health, school, work, or family are being harmed

    • Episodes of violence

    • Hostility when confronted about drug or alcohol usage

    • Lack of control over drug abuse - being unable to stop or reduce drug or alcohol intake

    • Making excuses to use drugs

    • Missing work or school, or a decrease in performance

    • Need for daily or regular drug use to function

    • Neglecting to eat

    • Not caring about physical appearance

    • No longer taking part in activities because of drug abuse

    • Secretive behavior to hide drug use

    • Using drugs even when alone

    Help Resources:

    At Brighton High School contact:

    Lance Mitchell    Prevention/Intervention Youth Specialist

    242 – 5000 ext. 5012

    Community service providers:

    Tony Klein Director, Rochester Regional  

    368 – 4718

    Rick Briggs  Director, Westfall Associates

    473 – 1500 ext. 240

    Carly Constantino Regional coordinator, Conifer Park


    Margie Taber    Program Coordinator, Delphi recovery

    464 – 2230

    Additional support:

    Is your child breaking home curfew/runaway, not attending school and or being physical within the home?

    Contact F.A.C.T (Family Access and connection team)

    753 – 2639

    Needing support to address your own thoughts and feelings regarding your child’s drug usage?

    Family Recovery Network: Janice Holmesfamily

    Al – Anon family groups