Samantha Mauser of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) informed SJC students of the dangers of substance abuse during an online seminar last month.
LICADD provides therapy and counseling for those seeking help with substance or drug abuse, while also addressing such mental health concerns as anxiety and depression.
Mauser delved into how coordination, emotion and motivation develop in the brain first, whereas reasoning, impulse and control develop last. With the average age of first-time drug use being between 11-13, there is an incredibly high risk of addiction during pre-teen years, she said.
“People may use drugs if one or more of six areas is struggling: physical health, emotional health, relationships, education, financial, or a recurring craving,” Mauser said, while noting the drug and substances young people most commonly get addicted to are alcohol, marijuana and nicotine found in cigarettes and vaping devices.
“It’s about being aware of what we’re inhaling and introducing to our body,” she added.
The potency of marijuana continues to substantially increase, she said. Addiction used to take on average about six to eight years to fully develop, but with increased potency and distribution, it can take only six to eight months to develop.
Spreading these facts and reaching out to a friend who may need help or advice can help prevent or stunt addiction. LICADD provides the following services: individual and family counseling, family support and education, anger management/emotional regulation, harm reduction and Naloxone training.