Summer Series: Exploring Addictions (Part 3)

Monday, the 20th, Anthony Muller from Wedgwood Manessah Project, joined us to speak about Adolescent Substance Abuse for our third portion of our Summer Series:Exploring Addictions.

There used to be a big gap between Marijuana and Alcohol and the use of Cocaine and Heroin. But there have been changes in our culture that have filled in that gap and made it easier to move from the bottom to the top, including:

-Tweener drugs – Ecstasy, Lean (low level opiate) – mixed with Sprite
-OTC (cough medicine)
-Synthetic marijuana (spice, bath salts)
-Prescriptions (ADHD, sample drugs from homes, Xanax)
-Marijuana legalization

The result is that there is no more gap and it is easier for adolescents to progress in addiction. We have not hit the plateau yet with heroin – haven’t hit the norm yet in use. 

What drives our problem?
-Dopamine
-Addiction requires a family genetic component and use over time.  

The main key is how you manage pain.

We often use drugs and alcohol to manage pain. If those things worked, we wouldn’t have to keep using them. Don’t use drugs and alcohol for pain because they don’t work. Their effect is only temporary. Instead we need to get better as a culture at dealing with pain.


What else do we do when we have pain? Exercise excessively, Overeat, Act out abusively, Shopping therapy, et cetera.

We get temporary relief that also bring negative consequences. We deny or argue that there isn’t a problem which pushes us to shame and guilt, which adds to our pain.

The solution is not to find a way to get rid of pain, but to manage it. Treatment requires creating a relationship, seeing what is driving behavior, addressing what is going on and why in order to find some healing for that pain.

35% of people make significant recovery and it usually takes 5-6 episodes of treatment.

2 people in a room with different opinions. Argue about it and end result is both are more

What can we do?
Keep young people involved in positive activities and stay engaged with them.

Don’t bury your head

The longer you can delay onset of use, the better.