Substance use prevention is a critical issue in Middle Tennessee, as it is across the country. Coalitions for substance use prevention work to reduce dependence on harmful and potentially lethal substances, such as prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and childhood toxic stress are associated with an increased risk of substance abuse. Primary care providers in rural areas can play a key role in addressing substance use through screening to identify patients suffering from substance use disorder (SUD), encouraging them to seek treatment and referring them to appropriate treatment services.
The consequences of substance abuse can be far-reaching. People who are dependent on drugs may commit property crimes to obtain money to buy drugs, while participation in drug-related crimes often puts people in situations where other crimes are likely to be committed. In addition, substance use disorders can lead to an increase in illegal activities and have consequences for physical and social health, such as poor academic performance, worse health status, changes in brain structure, and an increased risk of death from overdose and suicide. The Tennessee Prevention Network (TPN) is comprised of 19 agencies in Tennessee that provide substance abuse prevention education.
The mission of the Tennessee Prevention Alliance (PAT) is to inform and advocate for alcohol safety, substance abuse prevention, and public health policies among Tennesseans and legislators. The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) of the SAMHSA aims to develop comprehensive systems through national leadership in the development of policies, programs and services to prevent the occurrence of substance abuse. The TDMHSAS receives a global grant for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse from the federal government to provide services and activities to support prevention, treatment and recovery to people who are at risk of suffering from or who have a substance abuse problem. In order to effectively support individuals affected by substance abuse in Middle Tennessee, it is important to prioritize funding and training for programs and oversight that are based on brain science evidence on addiction.
This will help guide decision-making and provide community alternatives to prevent people from being incarcerated. Rural religious and church organizations can also play an important role in promoting substance use prevention. In addition, Brenda Gadd is the president of Rethink Public Strategies, a women-owned public affairs firm that brings experience in achieving results in the development and implementation of strategic promotion at all levels of government. For a step-by-step guide on how to implement a substance use treatment program in rural areas, see the toolkit for the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders in rural areas.
Substance abuse prevention certification is a basic standard for professional competence in the field of prevention. In addition, he supported research faculty on topics ranging from prescription drug policy to Medicaid policy in Tennessee.