“Inside Rehab” by Anne M. Fletcher reviews 15 treatment programs and determines there’s a disconnect between what’s being done to treat addiction versus what’s proven to work scientifically. Addiction, from a Roman law having to do with “surrender to a master,” is scientifically proven to be a chronic illness resulting from genes, environmental factors and an individual’s risky behavior. Fletcher’s ideas were the backdrop to my watching “Lockup: Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility,” about a maximum-security prison for males from age 12 to one minute before turning 22 (!). We meet young men, hear about their sad, violent, abusive lives, and learn that prison is a family value. It’s heart-wrenching.
Being part of the CV Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition, a prevention coalition, I was especially interested in the comments of two young men who said that no matter what any adult said to them, no matter what they knew to be right or wrong, good for them or bad, they were going to do the things they wanted to do anyway. No influence could stop them from guns, drugs, crime and teenage parenthood. They echoed the words of a local young man who told me nothing could have been said or done to keep him from the difficult path he chose.
So what works to help adolescents overcome a crippling master? Fletcher says family-based treatments work best. If that’s the case, could we argue family-based preventions are equally successful? Almost 25% of parents do not think they can influence their teen’s use of alcohol, drugs or tobacco. Still, I’d like to think that teaching parents and non-parental adults about the 40 Developmental Assets and holding parent education workshops will continue to build strong families and benefit kids in CV. As a community that cares, we can do our best to also reach the ones who think they’re beyond our influence.
To this end, come to our next Youth & Family Committee meeting on Thursday, June 6 at 5 p.m. in the Coalition office, 3131 Foothill Blvd. You don’t have to volunteer; just come and learn more about the Coalition!
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Congratulations, graduates! And to all students: have a good and safe summer!
Suzy Jacobs is the executive director of the Crescenta Valley Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition. You can reach her at email@example.com.