Advocating for Better Access to Drug Abuse Reduction Services and Resources in Gainesville, VA

Drug and alcohol misuse can have a devastating effect on individuals, families, and communities. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. The Department of Aging Affairs administers programs and services for older people throughout the Florida state through 11 area agencies on aging (ADRCs). These ADRCs provide information and assistance about state and federal benefits, as well as about local programs and services.

Social workers can be instrumental in helping patients with substance use disorders by providing comprehensive services that are essential for successful treatment, such as finding stable housing, job training or employment opportunities, and accessing recovery supports and other resources available in the community. In the past, approaches to these issues were based on misconceptions and prejudice, leading to a lack of preventive care, late or nonexistent diagnoses, and poor access to treatment and recovery support services. This exacerbated health disparities and deprived countless individuals, families, and communities of healthy outcomes and quality of life. We still don't fully understand how the brain changes associated with substance use disorders occur, how individual biological and environmental risk factors contribute to those changes, or the extent to which these brain changes are reversed after long periods of abstinence from alcohol or drug use.

Although the process of implementing these programs in communities has been slow, resources are available to help individual communities identify the risk factors for future substance use among young people that exist in their community and to choose evidence-based prevention strategies to address them. In addition, they can promote knowledge of the medical nature of addiction, in order to encourage acceptance of opioid treatment programs and other integrated substance use disorder treatment services in the community. It aims to understand and address the wide range of factors that interact with each other and that influence substance abuse and disorders related to substance use in different communities, coordinating the efforts of various stakeholders to reduce both problems. The research analyzed in this report should eliminate many of the ingrained but incorrect stereotypes about substance abuse and disorders related to substance use, such as that alcohol and drug problems are the product of defective behavior or a deliberate rejection of social norms.

Substance abuse is the use of alcohol or illicit or prescription drugs in a way that could cause harm to users or those around them. Professional associations can play a critical role in establishing workforce guidelines, advocating for curricular changes in professional schools, promoting continuing vocational training, and developing evidence-based guidelines that describe best practices for prevention, screening and evaluation, brief interventions, diagnosis, and treatment of substance-related health problems. Parents, schools, health care systems, religious communities, and social service organizations should be involved in implementing comprehensive, evidence-based, and sustained community prevention programs. At the same time, many states are introducing drug policy changes ranging from requiring the use of prescription drug control programs (PDMPs) to eliminating mandatory minimum sentences related to medications.

Social service systems provide services to individuals, families, and communities in various capacities often in conjunction with the health care system. Companies can take steps to ensure that the public is aware of the risks associated with substance use including the use of medications with addictive potential alone or in combination with alcohol or other drugs.