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A Community Event to Help Kids Avoid Drug Abuse By Judy LinkAdult Volunteer Western New York NY Sponsored by Kids Escaping Drugs and the Niagara County D.A.R.E. Officers this was the first year this event was held. Its purpose was to raise money to continue fighting drug and alcohol abuseand to assist families in prevent- ing drug abuse. The Western New York Young Marines were invited to participate by the Sher- iffs department. In recent years the Sheriffs department has conducted drug demand reduction classes for our unit. This event enabled our unit to promote a drug-free life style to young people in our community and to ob- tain a greater visibility locally. Our Unit Commander Dan Guiher and Executive Officer Scott MacLeod pre- sented Sheriff Deputy Pat Wil- liams with a check for 100 on the units behalf. The event was held at the Sanborn Fire Company in Sanborn NY. Other participants in the event were the Ni- agara County Sheriffs Department the Niagara County SWAT team the Niag- ara County Probation Department and Niagara County Sheriffs Explorers. The public was drawn to the event with attractions such as bounce houses a petting zooa basket rafflea cook out a car show and local karate schools performed demonstrations. The Sher- iffs depart- ment had their horses there and brought in a Sheriffs he- licopter which landed so the kids could see it and later they did a fly- over with the sirens blaring. There were also tours of their mobile command cen- ter. Our unit had a tent manned by our Young Marines. We had plenty of Drug Demand Reduction flyers pencils slap bracelets stickers and coloring books which the Young Marines handed out throughout the day. We also had a recruitment table set up for anyone wishing to join our unit. We received positive feedback from the Sheriffs department and the Ni- agara County Sheriffs Explorers them- selves were very impressed with the unit and coming from another youth orga- nization that meant a lot. A few of the older Explorers took some brochures to promote us to other kids that might be interested. Kids and adults at the event were also inter- ested in who we are and what we do. And as always we received many compliments on the units behavior. self-importance typically elaborated into an organized system. Panic disorder the disorder in which debilitating anxiety and fear arise fre- quently and without reasonable cause. Dual diagnosis having both a mental disorder and a substance issue. To begin Id like to present some statistics According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA 26.7 of people with mental health issues abused illegal drugs in 2012. This is compared to the 13.2 of the general public that abused drugs in 2012. According to the Journal of American Medical Association or JAMA 50 of the people who have severe mental health issues also have some form of a substance abuse problem. JAMA also reports that 37 of alco- holics have a mental health issueas do 53 drug addicts. People with certain medical conditions are more likely to use and abuse illicit substances. This rate goes antisocial or social anxiety disorder bipolar manic depression and lastlyanxiety disorders panicgeneral. A little closer to home 2 of every 10 veterans turn to substance abuse ac- cording to the U.S. Department of Vet- erans Affairs. It is advised that people at risk for mental health issues note they can often be put in danger by chronic substance abuse. Teens using drugs are put at a higher risk for mental health issues because heavy drug abuse can alter the cognitive and social development thus a whirl- wind of depression and anxiety is re- leased. The problem with such abuse is that the mental illness is made much worse or can initiate the onset of a hidden disorder. The patient gets addicted to the highs physically and psychologically. They believe the drug is needed in order to control their mental health when in reality it is far from the truth. A sad addition is that both mental dis- orders and abuse have hereditary fac- tors at play making some people far more susceptible to both over a longer period of time. So whats the logic of those with mental health issues abus- ing substances Why do it Well liv- ing with depression anxiety paranoia and restlessness are the most common symptoms of those people who are try- ing to self-medicate. We must also note that medications for mental health issues are not flaw- less and can often come with very unpleasant side effects. Schizophren- ics take medications for these hallu- cinations that can cause depression. Some depression medications can cause paranoia. These side effects can seem overbearing and instead of tak- ing another medication to combat such things people try to compromise it with drug abuse. In closing mental health issues can be made much worse by substance abuse.The prevalence is heavy but it is treatable. No one can get better alone. Turning to someone can be the differ- ence between illness and wellness. ESPRIT Page 5