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Proposal: Drug Use in Cumberland, MD

It's safe to say that drug use is one of Cumberland biggest problems today. Addiction can stem from a bad childhood, using painkillers, and many more things. It can happen to anyone these days due to the availability of drugs and opioids all around us. Those who are addicted tend to be destructive to themselves and others. Getting help for addicts and preventing addiction before it even starts would be a way to eliminate the issue as well as getting the community helping each other and lifting up one another. 

The Issue

Problem Defined

The problem I am trying to solve is the overuse of drugs in Cumberland. This has been an ongoing issue for many years now and those addicted cannot find adequate help in the area. Most people who come in contact with the issue turn a blind eye. They want the problem gone, but are not willing to help with solutions. Education is a priority for preventing people from getting addicted. 

Background
Expand all bullets
1.
How Addiction HappensMORE

Many people think that people become addicted to drugs from peer pressure or just deciding to try it at a party. While this is sometimes true, there are a wide variety of resons why it happens https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction

2.
Addiction MORE

Even though addiction can sometimes be brought on by making that initial choice to try drugs, it is an illness. addiction can change your brain to crave the drug and prioritize it over everything else. When you quit the drug, withdrawal symptoms occur. Physical sickness takes over the body and the need to take the drug becomes much stronger, which is why it is so hard to get over addiction. 

http://www.prescribechangeallegany.org/what-is-addiction.html

3.
Overdosing MORE

Those who are using painkillers after a surgery or using heroin to get a high and all those in between are at a high risk for overdosing, fatal or non fatal. according to the Western Maryland Health System, there have been 1,816 overdoses since 2014. However, this number is only counting the non-fatal overdoses.

http://www.prescribechangeallegany.org/state-and-local-stats.html

4.
Getting Help MORE

Getting help for somebody with a drug addiction is difficult and frustrating, especially if they are not willing to change. This can be hard because their addiction is almost always their top priority. It can also be hard because of withdrawal symptoms and many other factors. Receiving help as a drug addict can also be just as hard because of the same reasons as well as trying to avoid triggers. Triggers can be something that urges the addict to relapse. It can be a certain person, place, a memory, a thing etc. 

Sources
1.
Prescribe Change Allegany

Allegany County Health Department -

http://www.prescribechangeallegany.org/index.html

This website navigates you through almost everything about drug addiction: how it happens, what to do in an overdose, how to get help, etc. It's very informational about all things related to addiction

Go deeper
1.
Prescribe Change Allegany- state and local stats

Allegany County Health Department - (Invalid date)

http://www.prescribechangeallegany.org/state-and-local-stats.html

This page on Prescribechangeallegany.org is informative on the state and local statistics regarding drug abuse. the statistics are on overdoses as well as the age the the youth are using drugs. 

Authors


Kaitlin Daniels
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The Solution

Proposed Actions
Expand all bullets
1.
Education MORE

These days, the main tactic used to prevent drug addiction is to scare the youth. Showing before and after pictures of a drug addict, telling them what physical changes will happen to their bodies, scaring them into being cautious with whoever they meet in the fear that they will get peer pressured into trying drugs. The better strategy to prevent drug addiction would be to educate over scaring. Showing the youth how addiction happens, what addiction is, and how to help an addict would show the youth just how scary addiction can be not only physically, but mentally. It would also help them be more understanding to those suffering from addiction and learn how to help. This would be beneficial to both the individual as well as the community. 

2.
Positive Reinforcement MORE

Another potential solution to the drug problem would be stopping it at its source, the youth. Most drug addiction happens in younger people and progresses as they age. One town in Ohio has implemented a voluntary program in which students who can keep a 2.0 or above GPA and pass a random drug test are eligible to win prizes "ranging from an iPad to a new car".  If we can replicate this program it has potential to reduce the amount of people who become addicted. 

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xw8mv4/a-small-towns-answer-to-the-opioid-epidemic-is-actually-working

Expected Results
Expand all bullets
1.
A Better CommunityMORE

using both of these tactics to overcome the issue of drug use in Cumberland. We can stop the youth from becoming addicted both now, and in the future. Using education teaches the youth about drugs and those who are addicted. Using positive reinforcement teaches them that there are better things out there than just drugs.

Budget

For the education portion of the solution, there would be no expenses because it's just a shift in whats already being taught. However, for positive reinforcement, there would be a slight expense depending on what the prizes are. Using donations and moving around school funding would be a great help. 

The Conversation

3 months ago
I am very passionate about this issue because I have had somebody in my life become addicted to drugs and choose their addiction over me. Watching somebody go through that is frustrating and saddening. This is why I chose to talk about this issue and try to fix it

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