Prevention Quest

Ben Franklin said,” An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  He wasn’t wrong. Prevention is what we need. Now! Abuse of and addiction to alcohol, nicotine, and illicit and prescription drugs cost Americans more than $700 billion yearly in increased health costs, crime, and lost productivity Tens of thousands loose their lives, while others live in degradation and despair, all due to substance abuse. These frightening statics, together with our own personal experiences with the drug epidemic bring home the real need for action. The question is: what to do, who will do it, and how can we accomplish our goal of stopping, or at the very least slowing this freight train down? Ben Franklin has prescribed an ounce of prevention. I suggest WE seriously take his advice. By we, I mean all of us working together to support those at risk, and that’s a good many of us

What is prevention?  The dictionary defines prevention as, the action of stopping something from happening or arising. To keep from occurring. For prevention professionals here at Twin County Recovery Services, the goals of prevention are to delay or prevent altogether the early onset of substance use. If prevention is to be successful it requires constant monitoring.

Who can prevent substance abuse? Everyone in the community. We all have something to contribute.  Parents, educators, family members, friends, neighbors, clergy, community members, each one of us can be a force for prevention in positive ways.

Prevention professionals from Twin County Recovery Services, Inc. here in Catskill, in cooperation with school districts, bring prevention programs into Greene County classrooms from grades kindergarten through high school These programs are designed to teach kids the personal and social skills in positive ways that support healthy growth and development. Children who grow up able to make good decisions, build relationships, problem solve, and resolve conflicts are better able to avoid the pitfalls of drug addiction.

New York state, in an effort to assist parents and family members struggling with communicating their concerns to teens, offers helpful tips on how to start the conversation on  Talking to each other in open and honest ways is key to sending kids important messages on the destructive nature of substance use. The Combat site is another excellent resource which offers information on warning signs, resources for help, and real stories. Both these sites have huge amounts of valuable information.

Sharing family values, being open to your child’s questions and answering honestly influences your child’s attitudes and perceptions of the world. Use age appropriate conversations to help children understand the risks and consequences of choices they might make. Be consistent in what you say and do. Remember that kids watch us and learn not only from what we say but from what we do. Our actions send powerful messages. Use real world examples to illustrate your points.

Community coalitions are great ways to foster prevention at the community level. Coalitions provide activities that increase knowledge of substance use and abuse, sponsor campaigns for underage drinking and other dangerous behaviors. Coalitions are advocates for policy work to change or improve laws and regulations. If you are not involved with a coalition consider joining us in P.A.S. It On, a Greene County community based organization whose goals are to promote Prevention, Awareness, Solutions and alternatives to use, while supporting recovery and encouraging healthy decision making.

Contact Helen Exum (518) 943-2036 ext 321 at Twin County Recovery Services, Inc. for more information.