Between the societal acceptance of drinking, the recent legalization of marijuana, and the unrelenting opioid crisis, alcohol and drugs are available on nearly every street corner and in many doctors’ offices. Add to that the increasing presence of illicit drugs, and it becomes clear how use can easily slide into misuse.
“There is help in the community,” said Jennifer Faringer, Director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-Rochester Area (NCADD-RA). NCADD-RA’s programs are centered around prevention to break the cycle of addiction. “We focus on hope and decreasing the stigma of addiction.”
A substance use disorder (SUD), as defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is when recurrent use of substances “causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.” Substances can include alcohol, legal drugs (including prescription and over-the-counter medications, which can be taken for nonmedical purposes or in unintended ways), and illegal drugs (e.g., methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin).
Children are exposed to the glorification of substance use through advertising and social media, but when they’re exposed to actual substance use or drug activity in the home, they can suffer trauma and other adverse mental and physical health effects.
Just using a substance does not necessarily mean a person has a SUD. However, even without meeting the criteria for a SUD, a parent using substances can still trigger negative consequences for their children.