Substance abuse is a serious issue that can have a devastating impact on individuals and families in Middle Tennessee. Regular use of drugs and alcohol can lead to physical and mental health issues, such as chronic diseases, organ damage, anxiety, depression, developmental delays, apathy, withdrawal, and other psychosocial dysfunctions. In addition to personal adversity, substance abuse can cause family crises and put many aspects of family life at risk, sometimes resulting in family dysfunction. It can also lead to academic difficulties, injuries due to accidents, physical disabilities and illnesses, gang involvement, drug trafficking, prostitution, and an increased risk of homicides among young people. Demarco Moore, a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, is an advocate for drug addiction treatment and recovery.
He emphasizes the importance of providing adequate resources to students struggling with substance abuse. Students who have problems with substance use can contact campus staff or visit the Counseling Services located at the Keathley University Center. Table 1 shows the percentage of students from sixth to twelfth grades who reported having used various substances and having participated in criminal or threatening activities. Ninety-one young people between the ages of 12 and 17 died from drug abuse in 1993 (Office of Applied Studies, 1999). The liver plays a vital role in the body's metabolism and detoxification processes, which can be severely affected by long-term substance use. It is important to be aware of the physical warning signs of drug abuse as well as the psychological warning signs.
Decreased grades, truancy and other activities, and increased chances of dropping out of school are problems associated with substance abuse among adolescents. Abusing drugs and alcohol while in college is very risky and can quickly lead to addiction. Substance abuse can drain a family's financial and emotional resources (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 199).It is essential to be aware of the short-term effects of substance abuse in Middle Tennessee so that individuals can take steps to prevent it from happening. Schools should provide resources to students struggling with substance abuse so that they can get help before it is too late.
It is also important for families to be aware of the warning signs so that they can intervene if necessary.