California to fund programs toward substance abuse

By Leonardo Cervantes

While there are already thousands of people struggling with substance abuse, the next best course of action is to prevent the future generation from becoming addicts.

Elevate Youth California, is a statewide Department of Healthcare Services program aimed at addressing substance use disorder. 

“California awarded nearly $17 million to 44 community-based and tribal organizations to develop and increase substance use disorder prevention services through civic engagement and culturally competent programs,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.

 One of the best ways to ensure one doesn’t become addicted to substance abuse is by taking preventive measures. 

It is essential to hammer down all the harm substance abuse can have on a person and the impact it has on their loved ones’ lives. 

Drugs and alcohol harm a person physically, mentally and can alter their appearance. 

It can also lead to many broken bonds with longtime friends and family members for being unable to quit and communicate with them.

Mental health was often an afterthought in this country but over the last few years, there has been a spotlight on awareness and symptoms. 

A lot of the time people who suffer from mental health, like depression, often keep to themselves and don’t express themselves to other people. 

Mental health illnesses lead to substance abuse. Anxiety and depression make people feel uneasy and terrible about themselves, so they might start abusing drugs and alcohol to numb the pain.

While drugs and alcohol are substances that can numb the pain, there are many other ways to cope. Exercising can be a way of keeping the mind and body occupied. Also, finding a hobby like reading or watching movies are activities that can help. 

Having attainable dreams and goals can also help as it will likely remind people the tasks that must be completed in order to achieve their dreams.

The EYC program can also potentially reach students before they enter high school. 

Teenagers are susceptible to peer pressure and can easily be influenced by wrong crowds. 

More counselors for young adults would be beneficial. 

Sometimes teenagers are stubborn and think they know it all and won’t take advice from their parents because they might view it as parents nagging. 

Having guidance outside of family might help with getting  messages across to a teenager because it’s from different people they don’t interact with every day.

Instead of drowning their sorrows with drugs, they can also get help from a therapist. Some teenagers are incapable of opening up to their parents and loved ones, so talking to a professional that can help them with any question they have can do wonders for their future. 

The EYC can also help with basic stuff that kids might not think they need help with. 

Communication is key in any act of life, but especially if a teenager is in need, they can get better lessons on how to ask for help without the need of feeling ashamed.

Self-medication is only a solution to hide and mask the feeling instead of getting cured. Once the high of drugs and alcohol wears off, it can lead to a depressive state. This has a negative effect on one’s well-being and mental health. 

While depressed, a person can be susceptible to thinking they need to take more substances in order to hide the pain they are feeling. 

If they continue abusing substances it will only harm their body and well-being. Thus begins the cycle of becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. 

This change will surely reduce the number of substance abuse-related incidents for future generations.

 While it’s impossible to put an end to substance abuse, the next best alternative is reaching the youth early in their life and using  preventive measures in order for them to never feel the need for illegal substances.

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