Question of the Week

Febrary 24, 2003


"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Girls and young women who use alcohol and drugs are more likely than boys and young men to attempt suicide, according to a study on Wednesday. Girls also can get hooked faster than boys, even when
using the same or smaller amount of a particular substance, according to the study released at a briefing by Columbia University's National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, known as CASA....CASA head Joseph
Califano, who was President Jimmy Carter's secretary of health, education and welfare, said the study underscored the need for different approaches to prevention and treatment for girls and young women. 'Unisex prevention programs -- largely developed without regard to gender, often with males in mind -- fail to influence millions of girls and young women,' he said."

"Addiction to drugs is a serious, chronic, and relapsing health problem for both women and men of all ages and backgrounds. Among women, however, drug abuse may present different challenges to health, may progress differently, and may require different treatment approaches...."

"Drug addiction is a treatable disorder. Through treatment that is tailored to individual needs, patients can learn to control their condition and live normal, productive lives. Like people with diabetes or heart disease, people in treatment for drug addiction learn behavioral changes and often take medications as part of their treatment regimen. Behavioral therapies can include counseling, psychotherapy, support groups, or family therapy. Treatment medications offer help in suppressing the withdrawal syndrome and drug craving and in blocking the effects of drugs."

"How do drugs work? Drugs are chemicals or substances that change the way our bodies work. When you put them into your body (often by swallowing, inhaling, or injecting them), drugs find their way into your bloodstream and are transported to parts of your body, such as your brain...."

People take drugs for different reasons, and drugs affect different people in different ways. Just to name a few: family history, weight, medical background, personality, personal history, and gender can all play a role in determining how drugs affect a person. While some people may want nothing to do with drugs because they have seen the effects on friends or family members, others may choose drugs as an outlet because that is how
they have seen friends and family members cope.

For those who want to get out, or stay out, of the drug lifestyle, it can prove challenging. The reason for wanting out, in addition to all of the other factors in a person's life together determine what this individual needs to do.

Questions of the Week:
How can people who want to get out, or stay out, of the drug lifestyle, find ways to do so that will work for them? How can friends and family help to assure that those who want out will find a way that will be successful? How can students support and help implement a variety of treatment options in their communities?

Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.

I look forward to reading what you have to say.

Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum

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