Dealing With Substance Abuse

June 28, 2021

Substance abuse differs from addiction. Many people with substance abuse problems are able to quit or can change their unhealthy behavior. Addiction, on the other hand, is a disease. It means you can’t stop using even when your condition causes you harm.

Many people, but not all, start using a drug or first engage in an activity voluntarily. However, addiction can take over and reduce self-control. Being in school poses a challenge for many students. They have so many emotions to deal with and process. Most of them struggle with everyday issues, some have coping mechanisms, but most don’t. The students have many subjects to deal with, and minimal time to handle them all. Waking up at 4am, getting very few breaks in-between, and going to bed after 11pm can be draining for anyone. Many of these children are traumatized by life situations that they have not been able to deal with, and have, therefore, not received recovery. There is a strong link between childhood trauma and addiction. Most of the children who are addicted to drugs and or alcohol will report to being abused as children. The war on drugs is often a war on traumatized people that just need help.

Talking to the girls at the Choice Club mentorship program brought many of the above facts to light. The girls all know of a friend who abuses drugs and the toll it has taken on their lives. One girl said that her friend who was very bright in school suddenly started abusing alcohol after her parents separated. She did not know how to cope with the situation, and she was initially not able to share her emotions with anyone. She became a loner, was easily irritable, and not long after she started running away from school and hanging out with the wrong crowds. It took the intervention of the guidance and counselling team at the school to bring her back to her senses. She learnt to open up, share what she was going through, and eventually received the help she needed through counselling.

Helping the students learn the dangers that drugs pose is easier than having to deal with the consequences of drug addiction. When a child or anyone in a family abuses drugs, the whole family suffers, and more so in a school set up.

We teach the students to create a life in and out of school that will help them stay away from any temptation to abuse drugs. Developing a habit of reading novels, carrying out healthy activities like hiking, volunteering in social activities that help the community are examples of wholesome activities. For those that have an addiction problem, we encourage them to create a life where it is easier to not use drugs. If one does not create a new life, however, all the factors that brought on the addiction will eventually catch up.

Drugs are in our schools. It is a sad reality, but one that we must face and find ways to handle.

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