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Pilot Middle student essay winner

Friday marked the last day of in-person events at schools in Surry County related to Red Ribbon Week 2022.

Members of the county’s office of substance abuse recovery have teamed all week long with the Rotary Club of Mount Airy, Interact clubs, and law enforcement representatives from Mount Airy police, Surry County Sheriff’s Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration to make presentations to students on substance use disorder.

Some of the schools took part in an essay writing contest, and there were several stand out entries from Pilot Middle School. Below is the winning essay from eighth grader Vivian Lin who has some ideas on how to improve counseling, therapy, and rehabilitation centers that would make patients more comfortable and thereby increase participation in treatment of substance use disorder.

Her essay entitled “Substance Use as a Social Problem: Why is this happening and how do we fix it” follows in its entirety:

Substance use is something many people know about, so why aren’t we doing more about it? Even though people are trying to recover from something as terrible as addiction, people ignore this. They do not bother to try and make a change in society. However, there is no blame to be given here; most people have been under-informed regarding substance abuse and recovery from these disorders. Information that most have been fed from the moment they first learned about this refers to it as something that only people with problems or a desire to belong indulge in. But were you ever taught what you could do if you fell into addiction? Substance use is a common social problem; many areas of the communities where substance users dwell are affected, and the user’s families are some of the most affected.

In current rehabilitation programs, the clients have to pay for therapy sessions, and they sometimes have to drive far to get there. Along with commute and prices, some therapists create an unsafe environment because proper monitoring is not practiced. Making more comfortable client experiences can be easily achieved with some minor changes. The location of centers, cleanliness, and monitoring of employees will help solved these problems. Every one of these solutions will create a more comfortable and productive environment for client and employees alike.

Accessibility is one of the significant changes to implement when making substance rehab more common. Welcoming space in convenient places is what we should strive for; main streets, public parks, and other facilities that aim to help are all placements that should be considered. These centers should offer free services as non-profit organizations. Substance use disorders often cause tension with relationships and jobs, which results in many substance users becoming homeless and without a job. By providing free services, we give another chance to people who are less fortunate than others. Substance users should get an opportunity to choose between one-on-one or group rehab sessions; this way, they will be more comfortable with their situation no matter their choice. Rehab should not feel forced on someone; when recovering, it is best for someone to feel welcome and like their therapist wants to help them. Thorough background checks should be done on all rehab therapists; actions should be monitored and checked often to ensure the safety and comfort of clients. Finally, comfort should be a top priority in these centers. Comfortable seating and a clean environment are contributing factors to recovering from substance use disorders.

Accessibility will help many people get the rehabilitation that they need; placing these centers in easy to get to spots will increase attendance and success. Not needing to spend money on the program or as much gas to commute means that people are less likely to have a money problem as a reason to quit the rehab process. In addition to accessibility, inner comfort in these centers help create a sense of relaxation and focus. Cleaner meeting rooms paired with more comfortable seating and conversation create an environment for productivity and focus. More people that attend rehab means fewer substance users are straining relationships and harming society, which lessens the social problem as a whole. Giving a choice between group or individual rehabilitation meetings means comfort and allowing someone to make a choice that will help them grow as a person. All of these combined means a comfortable, welcoming environment with people who want to help others get better. Making sure that the therapists hired have a thorough background check and that their actions are monitored means that the chance of a therapist causing a negative experience for a client is significantly reduced. Making these changes will better the experiences shared between clients and employees, along with ensuring that a safe environment is created for many.

In conclusion, we should improve out rehabilitation centers to lessen the negative effects of substance use on society. Making rehab centers more accessible and comfortable for clients and employees means more success in rehab. Making the rehab centers a non-profit organization allows people less fortunate that others to attend the rehabilitation they need to better their lives; making services accessible gives people a chance to use that money for other things such as rent and food. Improving things about rehabilitation centers that seem so small can make a difference in people’s lives, so making these few changes can better the problem of substance use when it comes to all portions of society.



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