Weems Community Mental Health Center has announced that prescription drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent in Kemper County.
The mental health center hopes to target the problem by spreading awareness through various community events.
“We’ve done several speaking events including Darryl Strawberry, Judge Hatchet, Jimmy Nichols, and last night we had Katie Costner come in. We’re going to be running commercials and billboards,” said Prevention Coordinator Catherine Joyner.
According to state epidemiological reports, prescription drug and alcohol abuse is seen mostly among high schoolers and college students. In response, the center is visiting schools implementing a substance abuse prevention program.
“It focuses on life skills that will help them not to do drugs, like focusing on self-esteem, and especially stress. A lot of times if they get too stressed out about things, that’ll lead to drug abuse. And then we focus on the side effects of those drugs,” said Joyner.
The center is also advising parents to not share their prescription drugs with their children and to not allow underage drinking.
“It can definitely hurt them someday, or it can hurt them now, especially at their age. Before the age of 25, your brain is still growing. It can definitely damage your brain,” said Joyner.
The center gives final tips on how to prevent prescription drug abuse not only in young people, but also adults.
“Always keep your medicine locked up if you can, so that children won’t get into it or other family members. And monitor yourself. If you see yourself starting to take more than what your doctor has prescribed to you, it’s time to talk to your doctor about that,” said Joyner.