The following is a meme going viral on Facebook:
“Unpopular Opinion: Weed isn’t a gateway drug. Alcohol isn’t a gateway drug. Nicotine isn’t a gateway drug. Caffeine isn’t a gateway drug.
Trauma is the gateway. Childhood abuse is the gateway. Molestation is the gateway. Neglect is the gateway. Rape is the gateway.
Drug abuse, violent behavior, hyper sexuality, self-harm (etc) are often the symptoms (not the cause) of bigger issues. And it almost always stems from a childhood filled with trauma, absent parents, and abusive family.
But ya’ll too busy laughing at the homeless, the crackheads, and meth addicts to realize that your own kids could be in their shoes in 15 years.
Communicate, Empathize, Rehabilitate
– Enlightened Consciousness”
If we overlook the angry edge and implication that families cause addiction, this meme has a kernel of truth. Addiction is not caused by the first use of a substance. It’s much more complicated than that. People who become addicted to a substance often have underlying issues such as poor emotion regulation, insecure attachment, and may have a history of trauma. They may have repeated failures, helplessness, hopelessness and feel demoralized. These issues are not going to be addressed in a 10-week class.
And prevention is not as simple as we’d like to think. Drug prevention education is insufficient to stop addiction. You can’t teach a course to young people and expect good results. Prevention has to be experienced throughout one’s lifetime in the form of protective factors.
So, what can you do? Do your part to create a healthy environment for families from birth through adulthood. If you can’t stop trauma, at least be a protective factor in their lives. Communicate, Empathize, Rehabilitate. In short, surround them with love.