Substance abuse is a major issue in Middle Tennessee, and it is essential to comprehend the risk factors that can lead to addiction. Many of these risk factors start in childhood, such as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that can disrupt brain development and increase the likelihood of substance use disorder (SUD) in adulthood. Other risk factors include age, environment, and biology. Women are particularly vulnerable to substance abuse due to their bodies' different processing of medications and higher incidence of depression and anxiety. Tennessee's Office of Prevention Services works to reduce risk factors for substance abuse and increase protective factors for all Tennesseans.
Protective factors that reduce the likelihood of abuse include strong family ties, rules that are consistently enforced, and success in school. Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) has implemented a zero-tolerance policy for drug use in student residences. Excessive substance use can lead to serious problems in adulthood, such as difficulty keeping a job or being a parent. It can take months for a person who abuses drugs to mentally overcome their SUD and up to a year to stop having cravings. BlueCross has programs to support members affected by substance use disorder. It is important to be aware of the risk factors for substance abuse in Middle Tennessee and take steps to reduce them.
By understanding the risks and taking preventive measures, we can help ensure that Tennesseans have access to the resources they need to lead healthy lives.