What D.A.R.E. Forgot To Tell Us
You may recall the 1990’s campaign “D.A.R.E. to Keep Kids Off Drugs” and the program that accompanied it. Ironically in the 6th grade D.A.R.E. play, I played the bad chick who peer pressured everyone into drinking and using drugs. I don’t know if anything would have been different had I known the magnitude of the mental health issues amongst my ancestors. One side of the family had a history of alcoholism and the other untreated eating disorders, which I now understand are virtually one in the same. I do know that for someone with a rebellious addict mind, programs like D.A.R.E. only made me want to experiment more. Some things like stages of alcoholism or drug addiction statistics were perhaps a bit premature for what I was ready to listen to at 12. I also know that had I understood the neuroscience of why drug or alcohol abuse in someone under 25 affects the brain in a drastically different way than that of someone older, it would have caught my attention. Neuroscience tells us that if you take someone with possible addictive tendencies and introduce them to substances at a young age, their brain will essentially light up those neuropathways which can lead to craving, addictive behaviors, and substance abuse. There is no longer room for the, “it won’t happen to me” denial, because the proof is in the CT scans. The brain science that aids us in understanding addiction continues to catch my eye today. We need to start being more specific with kids so they understand HOW they are harming themselves from the first time they touch a substance. Read some fascinating information here on The Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on the Adolescent Brain.
8/27/2014 11:35:11 pm
Spot on. While they were giving a well intended message, no consideration of each student's internal struggles was ever addressed. For me it was social anxiety, and my inability to cope with the feelings that it generated. Alcohol and marijuana temporarily relaxed those feelings. No amount of preaching by anyone would have made me discard their use in my self-medication. And, yes, in a time of self-discovery and pushing boundaries to try and figure out who I was, it felt almost good to buck the system at the same time.
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about the master coach
Danielle, the Founder & Master Coach of RealYou Revolution, is a woman in long term recovery with a passion for helping others overcome their own personal demons – whatever they may be.