How bad is the problem in pennsylvania?

Drug overdoses have surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental deaths both nationwide and in Pennsylvania.

What Puts Us at Risk of Developing an Addiction?

Risk of developing an addiction can depend on these four major “ABCD” factors.

A – Age of First Use

1 in 4 Americans who began using addictive substance before age 18 developed an addiction vs. 1 in 25 Americans who began using an addictive substance after age 21 developed an addiction.

Source: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 2011

B – Big Life Changes

Traumatic experiences can push people into drug or alcohol misuse. These include:Divorce / Breakup, Financial Challenges, Health Issues, Death of a Loved One, Moving, Domestic Violence, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse.

Source: Partnership for Drug Free Kids and the Center for Motivation & Change

C – Co-Existing Mental Health Condition

50 – 75% of those being treated for substance misuse also have a diagnosable mental health disorder. 60 – 75% of teenagers with a substance use disorder have a co-existing mental health issue

Source: SAMHSA’s TIP 42

D – DNA: Genetics/Family History

Genetics account for 50 – 75% of addiction. Teens are more likely to develop an addiction if their parents or grandparents struggle with an addiction.

Source: Developed in collaboration with the Partnership for Drug Free Kids and the Center for Motivation & Change

How Do Substances Affect Brain Chemicals and Cause Addiction?

Addiction affects two main chemicals in the brain: Dopamine and Serotonin. Serotonin controls mood, memory, sleep and cognition. Substance misuse can negatively impact all of these. Dopamine controls pleasure, motor functions, compulsion and reward. Drugs increase dopamine levels, giving the user a temporary high.

Nearby Counselors, Therapists and Support Groups

Working with a counselor, therapist and/or support group is a strong first place to begin if you’re battling addiction or if you live with someone who is. There are a number of counselors, therapists and support groups in the Harrisburg area specializing in addiction and substance misuse.

The West Shore Free Church task force’s provision of these resources does not constitute or imply its endorsement or recommendation of the listed service providers. Each of these resources has provided success to someone we know, but every person is different.

See List of Counselors and Therapists
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Additional Resources & Information

Have more questions?

Contact the 24/7 hotline from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at 1-800-Get-Help.