A Continued Commitment to Our CommunityIn collaboration with DACCO
Across the globe, people are facing a variety of threats to their well-being. Even before COVID-19, young people in particular were experiencing numerous challenges related to mental health and prescription drug misuse. While the impact of the current pandemic on these critical public health challenges is not fully understood at this time, it is clear that Americans are struggling to manage day-to-day life.
Heightened emotional distress, disruption in routine, and increased levels of anxiety also bring an increased risk of non-medical use of prescription opioids in hopes of alleviating the sadness.
Having a diagnosed disorder such as anxiety, depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder in childhood or adolescence can increase the risk of later drug use and the development of a substance use disorder. Feeling depressed or stressed due to school often leads to initiation of drug use, which has implications for opioids specifically, as these medications can ease emotional distress and decrease feelings of worry or sadness, making their misuse very appealing.
For DACCO, this underscores the importance of educating youth on prescription drug safety, while also providing them with opportunities to deepen their understanding of their personal mental well-being. In partnership with EVERFI, DACCO is delivering primary prevention education to young people in order to prevent or significantly mitigate some of the greatest challenges they face.
The courses equip students with the skills to bolster confidence, boost emotional intelligence, and recognize signs that someone may need support, including the resources for such support. In addition, students are presented with the opportunity to develop and hone refusal skills, identify risk factors, and increase awareness of pro-social, healthy behaviors.
According to DACCO’s Chief Clinical Officer, Antoinette Hagley, “One of the most positive results seen through implementing the RxSmart Program in our community has been the genuine desire to help others that many students have expressed. It has been wonderful to see this generation show up for one another and be comfortable doing so.”
Providing access to primary prevention education programs serves to further DACCO’s goal of reducing the incidence of substance use and misuse in the community and the likelihood that youth and adults will engage in risky behavior. DACCO remains committed to improving the lives of individuals who struggle with an opioid use disorder through these types of community-level efforts aimed at preventing misuse from occurring in the first place.
To learn more about how DACCO’s Prevention Services can help you or a loved one during this time, visit www.dacco.org/services/youth-services/prevention-services.