The world was already going through the opioid crisis before the epidemic, but things have worsened. As the economy nosedived and social isolation orders remained in force, patients used drugs and alcohol to function. Furthermore, people suffering from mental health problems could not access healthcare and remained isolated from the world. So, patients became increasingly dependent on substances.
Research suggests that the situation will escalate. Substance abuse does not just harm the patients, but it also has financial repercussions. Patients and public health organizations spend millions of dollars on health care and legal fees to fight the menace. Since addiction is a chronic disease, there are several long-term effects on our health. Co-occurring mental disorders complicate the treatment of patients struggling with addiction.
Drug abuse also has social consequences. It affects the friends and families of users. So, there is a higher chance of foster child placements, child abuse, and sexual assaults. Patients are also more likely to suffer from work-related injuries.
But, patients are often in denial. They either do not accept they have a problem or ignore the warning signs. Unfortunately, substance abuse makes patients abusive and violent. So, patients are more likely to hurt themselves or their friends and family. Therefore, it is vital to get help as soon as possible. Users can visit inpatient treatment centers to get guidance for their condition. While inpatient treatment is expensive, most rehabs offer financial aid for treatment. For example, Serenity at Summit helps patients explore their healthcare financing options to make medical care affordable.
The need for a community plan
Communities need to address the rising drug abuse numbers to improve public health. A community project can help them address the problems. The plan not only identifies the specific drugs within a society but also highlights issues among adolescents. It updates current programs and helps develop short-term goals to measure success. Community plans assess the success of ongoing programs as well. Furthermore, it shows us how to use our resources efficiently.
Following are the steps to counter substance abuse through a community plan.
Step 1 Assess the issue: The first thing is to assess the drug abuse problem. Participants must consider the scale of the problem as well as the patient population. Each community has a different subset that struggles with substance abuse. For example, metropolitan areas have a large youth community of users. Comparatively, adults health are more likely to struggle with addiction. The first step helps raise awareness of the issue and select the prevention program.
Step 2 Form a community group: A successful drug prevention program must divert attention from unfavorable activities. Therefore, these practices must engage the population and keep them occupied. You must partner with several groups and individuals to increase resources. Each community will match its values and needs to offer activities that address its issues. So, communities with youth drug abuse can involve schools and teachers to support teenagers.
Step 3 Establish your goals: Like any project, community programs require us to set goals to measure success. Therefore, participants must draft a goal statement about what they want to achieve for the future. The goal statement is an opportunity to set some purposes to specify measurable results. The objectives should be small and long-term to keep members motivated. The goal statement should be short and catchy because it will be a part of marketing campaigns.
Step 4 Choose activities: Communities can introduce several activities as an alternative to users. However, the first step is to gather information about the activities available within the community. Participants can also look through past experiences with community substance abuse programs. A meeting of the community group can bring several ideas about the most beneficial activities. The activities can be alternatives to deviant behavior or future-oriented. Participants can also host drug-free events such as battles of the bands and sports tournaments. So, if people have positive things to do, they are less likely to use drugs.
Step 5 Develop a plan of action: The program contains information about the objective. It also specifies who is responsible for each aspect of the program. Furthermore, the policy also notes the resources needed for each part of the program. It includes lists of all the available resources as well. Your plan of action will also highlight how much money and space you need for the program.
Step 6 Evaluation: We must evaluate each program to determine if it helped us achieve all the goals or not. The evaluation will describe the objective and decide whether participants implemented each step successfully. A questionnaire can provide participants valuable feedback about the program. Similarly, statistics can identify whether programs helped decrease hospitalization for substance abuse.
Step 7 Education: A substance abuse prevention program can encourage positive behavior amongst people. Therefore, public health departments must divert funds to such policies. But, all stages of the plan are time-sensitive. For example, participants can do the first three steps as soon as possible. However, the rest of them require some time. Another way to address substance abuse is through education and awareness initiatives. Public health officials, town leaders, and teachers should discuss the detrimental effects of substance abuse within the community.
Substance abuse is rampant worldwide. Not only do drugs and alcohol harm our health, but they also affect society. Therefore, officials must give some serious thought to the issue. A community action plan can provide some ways to address this growing trend.