All through October stories have been chronicling the efforts related to national Red Ribbon Week and how drug education presentations were being taken into schools with the help of local law enforcement, community volunteers, and the Surry County Office of Substance Abuse Recovery.
Since Red Ribbon Week and Prevention Month have ended, Surry County residents are being encouraged to not let up on the effort. Talking to kids about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco need to be a year round thing, experts say.
The winning Red Ribbon essay from Meadowview Magnet Middle School was by Sophia Easter. The judges of the essay contest were struck by the tone of hope that carried through the essay.
What the Surry County Office of Substance Abuse Recovery has found in working with the community and their exhaustive interviews and surveys given is that there is still room for improvement in nearly all communities when it comes to demonizing those who have the disease of addiction.
To that end, Sophia offers that a positive mental outlook involving generous helpings of hope can help Surry County in its long-term fight against substance use disorder. She suggests community events to celebrate the good times can add to a sense of community. Also, a greater sense of understanding and compassion is needed so that those in need know they can turn to friends, loved ones, or even county based resources like those offered by SCOSAR in times of need.
Easter’s essay entitled “The Impacts of Substance Abuse” follows in its entirety:
Take a second and imagine what you think the world would be without substance abuse. You would probably see families with strong relationships and more population on earth. But because of substance abuse, that unfortunately is very rare to have. Substance Abuse is the excessive use of psychoactive drugs, such as alcohol, pain medications, or illegal drugs. People with Substance Abuse Disorder often have one or more health issues including lung or heart disease. Regardless of these negative consequences, people continue to make out that having or doing Substance Abuse is cool and is the new standard for Surry County.
This leads us to our first problem, Peer Pressure. Peer Pressure is the direct or indirect influence on peers. People all around Surry County have made having a Substance Abuse Disorder the new standard. Especially for young lives, they’re starting their addiction so young because of peer pressure from one another. They let their problems drag out into their important school life and their life continuously goes downhill from there. They don’t know how to reach out for help either because they’re just so young they don’t realize that they’re slowly shortening their lives for short periods of time to feel better.
Now let’s talk about our second problem, family relationships. Families are constantly torn apart by Substance Abuse. Children are constantly put into foster care and child homes because their guardians had a Substance Abuse Disorder. Even for the kids who don’t get put into foster care and have to deal with their parents having the disorder, do you really think it’s fair for them to live their childhood in all that trauma? As for the children who grew up in that kind of environment, as they grow up it’s common for them to develop the same Disorders and habits as their parents or guardians. People don’t realize the impact Substance Abuse could have on people around you.
Let’s wrap up the problems with this third problem and in my opinion the most important one, mental health. Substance Abuse is very dangerous and can lead to many ways of harm including physical, social, or emotional harm. You could get so addicted to it that you start to use it more, then twice a day, then 4 times a day, then you start to realize you can’t go without it. So you use it while you’re driving, working, or just simply anywhere. Then you start to depend on it when things get bad, it’s all you ever think about, and your mental health starts to go down and down and worse and worse. It starts to lead to you getting changes in the brain, including paranoia, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, and other problems. When this starts to happen you lose your hope, and you just stop caring.
Surry County needs hope, that’s our resolution to all of this. You need the hope that you can change for others and yourself. Even when you’re down and you feel like you can’t get up. Surry County needs a place where people can come and get hope and help without having to worry about paying for it. We need to build a trusted area where people can come and get the help they need. We need to increase community collaboration and decrease Substance Abuse by doing more celebrations and festivals in Surry County. We could put this plan into action by gathering a bunch of volunteers who want a change in Surry County as well and doing fundraisers to gather money and have more gatherings. This community needs to be closer because we only have one Surry County.
Substance Abuse is a major problem in Surry County and if we really want a change we are going to have to make it ourselves. If we want it to change, we need to quit talking and start doing. If we want families to be happy, fewer unemployed people, etc. We need to act now!