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Addiction to substances can bring along many disorders

By CATHY THOMAS BROWNFIELD

Family Recovery Center publicist

You can say that addiction only happens to other people. You can say you aren’t dependent on any substances. You can say you tried it but you’re just fine. You can say everyone does it. But that doesn’t mean any of that is true. There are consequences from actions for everyone. Substance abuse is a brain disorder or disease.

Disorder is “the disruption of normal physical or mental functions, a disease or abnormal condition.” Disease is “a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness, sickness, ailment.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) advises that about 43.7 million Americans aged 18 and up experienced some form of mental illness in 2012. “Mental disorders involve changes in thinking, mood and/or behavior which affects how people relate to each other and make choices.”

Substance use disorders come about with repeated use of alcohol or drugs which result in health problems, disability and becoming unable to meet responsibilities in the user’s life. Recent reports have raised concerns about the use of marijuana among college students which, for the first time, has wider use than regular cigarettes. The Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA) reported on the release of data from the University of Michigan. You may believe that marijuana is harmless, but there are at least 47 agencies across the state who are working toward marijuana-free communities, some of which are the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Ohio Farm Bureau Association, Ohio Manufacturers Association, Ohio State Medical Association-Hilliard, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, mental health and recovery services boards, school districts and counseling agencies across the state. Why would they push for marijuana-free communities if the substance is harmless?

SAMHSA says marijuana “is the most used drug after alcohol and tobacco in the United States.” Immediate effects are things like distorted perception, difficulty with thinking and problem solving and loss of motor coordination.

Long term marijuana use is related to respiratory infections, impaired memory and exposure to cancer-causing compounds, SAMHSA reports. Issues may include building a tolerance to it, cravings for it and withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, restlessness, nervousness, anger or depression within a week of stopping use.

The CADCA report on the University of Michigan release states that more high school graduates do not believe marijuana use is dangerous, however young people do believe the synthetic marijuana is dangerous and are not using it. Amphetamine use and Ecstasy use have leveled off. Cocaine use continues to rise. Use of heroin among college students has been very low over the past several years.

Addiction to substances doesn’t affect just the poor or the weak. It can happen to your parent, your sibling, one of your best friends, or maybe to you. Substance abuse is risky business that messes with your life, your future. Sometimes it is accidental. Sometimes it is a choice the user makes and the consequences can be very difficult to make your way through.

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues. For more information contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.