SUN Behavioral Delaware Tackles the Serious Challenge of Teen Drinking in New Blog Post
June 07, 2021 at 16:12
A Delaware study found 21.7% of teenagers had consumed alcohol within the last month. That's one reason SUN Behavioral Delaware, a treatment center based in Georgetown, DE, recently published a blog post titled, “Community Is Key: Addressing the Issue of Underage Drinking and Substance Use in Delaware.”
The first step in the prevention of teen substance use is starting education about these issues at a much younger age, said Peggy M. Geisler, co-chair of Delaware Goes Purple and CEO of the Sussex County Health Coalition. The Delaware Goes Purple initiative was initially started to address Delaware's opioid epidemic.
Community plays a vital role in addressing the problem of underage drinking and substance use in Delaware, the post explains. This issue needs to be addressed because the teenage years are full of confusion, excitement, and frustration. During this period, teens are asked to accept more and more responsibility every day. When this is paired with peer pressure and the intense need for a sense of belonging, that creates a perfect storm for experimentation with substance use.
Geisler said she believes in the idea of “gateway drugs” that can open the door to a teen considering using substances that are even more harmful and addictive.
The center's post says it's important to note that peer pressure, along with the lowered inhibitions caused by drug use, can be a recipe for addiction. The result is that teenagers could put a highly addictive substance into their systems that has certain consequences that cause them to choose to use. Many times, that is the way addiction occurs.
Alcohol is well known to cause dizziness, loss of motor function, and memory loss. These symptoms of inebriation are all due to the way alcohol interacts with the brain. Studies have shown that the human brain is still developing well into a person's 20s, with very significant development occurring during the teenage years. The period of physical growth during puberty is very apparent, but it’s important to realize that the brain is also undergoing significant changes.
Research has shown that drinking alcohol while the brain is still developing can alter or stall this process, leaving a person with potential brain damage they may carry with them throughout the rest of their life.
As Geisler said, “A person’s brain doesn’t stop developing until after age 21, so substance use can be detrimental to their neuroplasticity, affecting their ability to form normal behavioral pathways in the brain.”
From the ages of 16 to 21, not only is the brain still developing, but in a natural progression toward adulthood, a person is accepting more and more responsibility each day. So not only does substance use during these crucial stages of development deeply ingrain addiction into the neural pathways of the brain, but the development of a person’s place in society can also be arrested.
Geisler believes the solution to the issue of teen substance use, as well as many other issues, lies in the support system that can only be achieved through a genuine sense of community. “Our lack of reliance, interconnectivity, and support from one another is what drives most of the social issues that are creating problems within our society, whether it’s substance use, racial inequalities, depression, loneliness, you name it.”
Those who are interested in learning more about the services provided by SUN Behavioral Delaware can check out their website, or call or email them. They can be contacted 24/7.
For more information about SUN Behavioral Delaware, contact the company here:
SUN Behavioral Delaware
21655 Biden Ave
Georgetown, DE 19947