Substance Abuse Tips

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What is substance abuse?

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is defined as a chronic, progressive, relapsing disorder resulting in physical and psychological dependence on chemical substances. Patterned substance use can lead to failure to fulfill major responsibilities, physical degeneration, legal problems, and interpersonal and social problems. Substance abuse can be treated successfully, but it does need to be identified and accepted, and it requires ongoing management in many cases.

While substance abuse is a health problem, education and prevention are major tools in the fight against it and its ramifications. Substance abuse charities that address the prevention and treatment of drug and alcohol abuse also provide support to dependent individuals and their families.

How can we help prevent and reduce substance abuse in our communities?

Substance Drug and Alcohol Dependence Prevention and Treatment Programs

According to a recent survey, 3.6 million Americans are habitual cocaine users and more than 33 million are regular binge drinkers. More Americans have died in drunken driving accidents than in all the wars the US has been involved in since the nation was founded. Tobacco kills 430,000 Americans every year. The abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise. Despite these dire statistics, there are signs of hope: much is being done to prevent and treat drug abuse.

Education and prevention programs, especially those focused on children, are starting to influence behavior, so that drug use rates among teens have leveled off. Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) have raised awareness and opened communication, making drunk driving more of a taboo, so that the number of drunk driving deaths overall has been dropping. Needle-exchange programs, while controversial, work to lower rates of HIV transmission, and drug treatment programs helping many addicts reclaim their lives.

*These education, prevention, treatment and support programs need your support and participation: consider donating to or volunteering today.

How can I help people with substance abuse issues?

Organizations Helping People with Addictions Need Your Support

Let's face it: shelters, treatment centers and halfway houses are not necessarily glamorous destinations for donations. Helping animals and children may make you feel warm and fuzzy, and those groups do need your support, but organizations that help people with dependency issues sometimes suffer from the effects of society's judgment.

Before you fall into the trap of choosing emotional or high-profile causes over these behind-the-scenes charities, think twice: addicts and dependent people are struggling with illness; they are not lazy or bad, and they and the organizations that serve them desperately need public support. While it is ultimately your decision to which organizations you donate, and all charitable giving is laudable, do think about those less well-known charities, such as halfway houses and shelters. Your gift will make a real impact for the organization, its clients, and your community will benefit, too.

What are some organizations that provide substance abuse prevention and treatment services?

Join Together Supports Community-Based Efforts to Reduce, Prevent, and Treat Substance Abuse

Primarily grant-funded, Join Together focuses on the prevention, reduction, and treatment of substance abuse, as well as on gun violence prevention. Most recently, Join Together has focused attention on strengthening community capacity to expand the demand for and supply of high quality drug and alcohol treatment. Through the organization's web sites and services, partnerships with twenty-nine cities and alliances with co-sponsors, Join Together helps communities develop and implement strategies that will encourage dependent persons to seek treatment.

Join Together Online (JTO) leverages the Internet to support people working on substance abuse and gun violence issues. For more information on Join Together's substance abuse programs, visit

How do charitable organizations help people with dependency issues and their families?

Services Regarding Substance Abuse

Many broad-range charities include the education about and treatment of substance abuse in their services. The Salvation Army, for example, offers Substance Abuse and Dependency programs that promote alcohol and drug awareness and provides treatment and rehabilitation programs for addicts.

The Family Care Foundation (FCF) focuses on substance abuse education, awareness, and prevention by introducing drug education to school curriculums, using music, drama, audio-visual aids, and other youth-oriented mediums to teach children about the dangers of substance abuse.

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Heidi Splete