On the Road to Recovery
On April 14, COBE & VCU Life Sciences held “The Neuroscience of Addiction” event in the Harris Hall Auditorium. Over 100 people gathered to attend an event focused on substance abuse and young people.
Five different guest speakers were in attendance, including a MD, Ph.D. and interventionist. Each of these individuals brought a different perspective to the event, and provided facts about addiction and how it largely affects young people.
Substance abuse is a reality that affects many people every day. According to a 2012 report by the United Nations, drug abuse kills about 200,000 people each year. It is especially prevalent amongst young people, who often times find themselves pressured by their friends to experiment with drugs and alcohol.
Dr. Kevin McCauley, for the Institute of Addiction Study, mentioned just how many people are affected.
“I think that’s what is currently changing peoples’ minds about addiction. The problem has grown so large that almost everyone has a friend, family member or co-worker who struggles with this problem,” said McCauley.
During the event, a number of people in attendance were individuals who had actually battled addiction at one point of their life. Family members who were there in support of their love ones accompanied some of them.
One of the main points of the lecture, was to emphasize that drug users are not the only ones who suffer from their substance abuse addiction, their families do as well. People who are substance users sometimes bring down their family members, causing them to worry and in some cases, become substance abusers themselves.
This is particularly bad when a parent of a household suffers with addiction. Mothers and fathers who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction often cause unstable homes.
According to a 2014 report by WebMD, more than two-thirds of American families have been touched by addiction. Connor Bowie, who once battled addiction, spoke on how substance abuse runs through his family’s history.
“Drugs and alcohol has been through my family for my whole life. Like my mom and my dad and my grandma, lots of my family members are in recovery,” said Bowie.
The lecture on drugs and alcohol addiction put an emphasis on the fact that not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted. However, those who do experiment with drugs can very easily become addicted due to the effect that it has on human beings.
Drugs contain chemicals that disrupt the brains communication system. Many people operate under the assumption that people can just stop using drugs whenever they want, but the problem goes much deeper than that. Drug addiction is an actual disease.
Bill Maher, interventionist, commented on how drug addiction is a disease that is not always easy to quit. “I once battled alcohol addiction and there were many times I wanted to quit. However, I became dependent on alcohol and I soon realized I had lost control of my alcohol use,” said Maher.
Maher is a drug and alcohol interventionist who explained how drugs effect the human body. He has been lecturing for over a decade on drug and alcohol addiction and has traveled all over the country holding seminars.
Drug addiction is a reality that plagues thousands of people every day. However, recovery from the disease has been a reality for lots of individuals. Although some of them often relapse on their road to recovery, many people eventually stop using the substance all together. Rams on Recovery is a program that is meant to help students battling addiction.
Their mission is to provide an environment where students can succeed academically in their recovery.
Dr. McCauley, gave advice on how substance abusers can start their path to recovery.
“I think if I could give one resource to every community to deal with this problem it would be the easy availability of safe, sober housing. This is one of the best resiliency factors a person can have to improve their chances of recovery,” said McCauley.
Alcohol and drug addiction is a disease that has disrupted thousands of lives. It not only effects the drug user, but their families as well. However, programs like Rams on Recovery have paved a way for individuals to find support and move on to improved things in their lives.