The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Misconceptions about alcohol discussed

By Shelly Williams and Rosa Martinez Rodriguez/se news editor and reporter

Alcohol and nicotine are the two most abused drugs in the United States, a panel told SE Campus students last week.

Randy Lockhart, Arlington narcotics police officer; Cynthia Savage, Recovery Resource Council, and Deborah Vation, intervention specialist for Arlington ISD, discussed the consequences of drugs and the resources available to those with drug problems during the Drug Abuse Issues in Tarrant County discussion Feb. 10 on SE Campus.

Vation said the main drug seen among students today is alcohol. She said she thinks there is so much alcohol seen with students because many people don’t believe it’s a drug.

“I think that’s the real misconception. There’s a breakdown somewhere about alcohol and people think that it’s not a drug, but it’s a very dangerous drug,” she said.

Use of prescription drugs in schools has increased recently. Triple C (a name derived from Coricidin Cough and Cold over-the counter medicine), Ritalin, Adderall and Xanax are a few that taint school hallways.

“I can’t say that it’s a new problem, but it is an ongoing problem,” she said.

“Again, our students feel that since prescription drugs come from a doctor, it’s not a bad thing, that maybe it’s OK to take the hydrocodone after dad’s had back surgery or mom’s had surgery,” she said. “Not only are they using it, but they’re selling it as well.”

Vation said that marijuana hasn’t gone away either. Kids tell her it needs to be legalized and there’s nothing wrong with it.

“They say it’s just a natural herb and that it’s OK to smoke pot,” Vation said.

However, Lockhart said that in 99 percent of the places where police serve warrants for drug busts for other narcotics, they find marijuana.

Vation said some of the warning signs of drug abuse include loss or increase of appetite, unexplained weight loss or gain, extreme hyperactivity and excessive talkativeness. Other behavioral signs include changing friends or activities, dropping grades and skipping school, along with continued dishonesty and an excessive need for privacy.

“If you have a child who never likes to clean a room and all of a sudden they’re up cleaning all night, wiping the walls down, you might want to check that child out and make sure they’re not into meth,” she said.

Vation said early prevention starts at home by involvement in children’s lives and a great deal of communication.

“Be a role model. How can we tell our children not to drink, not to smoke, not to do all these things if we’re sitting there and we’re passed out drunk?” she said.

Setting rules and consequences along with knowing their friends and locking away medication and alcohol in the household will help keep children away from using drugs, Vation said.

“Don’t take for granted that a sweet, straight-A student who says ‘Yes, ma’am’ and ‘No, ma’am,’ who goes to youth service, that they wouldn’t take those prescription meds,” she said “Talk, talk, talk and educate early on the dangers.”

Savage said if one person has a problem with alcohol or drugs, it affects every family member.

“The hardest thing about having someone you know with an addiction is that we can’t enable them,” she said. “As long as you enable them, their problem will keep going on. If they don’t suffer any consequences, they will not stop.”

To close, Savage offered ways to help those with a drug abuse problem and said that for those who need help, treatment is not expensive.

She talked about the Sunshine Club Program for children ages 5-12 who live in high-risk environments to help develop the skills to beat the odds of hardship.

Savage said other programs available for early prevention include Ground Zero, Project Alert, Project Ascent, PATHS and Love and Logic.

Savage described Recovery Resource Council as a front door key treatment.

“You don’t have to have a penny in your pocket to come in and get treatment,” she said. “If we have a heroin user come in, for example, they will put them in detox and in-patient treatment, and the state will pay for it until they’re completely detoxed.”

The council operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Savage said those who want or need help can knock on the door any day Monday through Thursday at 7:45 a.m. Patients can see a counselor and get an evaluation.

“Whatever the individual needs, whether it’s out-patient or in-patient treatment, that’s what we’ll have for you,” she said.

For more information, visit www.recoverycouncil.org or seek a school district’s substance abuse counselor. TCC has licensed professional counselors available full time for anyone who needs aid.

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