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Substance Abuse and December Observations

  • Substance Abuse and December Observations

    Substance Abuse and December Observations

    Around the world December is a month of religious celebrations, new beginnings, and the closing out of another year (for those following the Gregorian calendar, that is.) With Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and other celebratory holidays taking place in December, it can be easy to forget the important things- and even easier to slip from the sober path.

    You can read about the triggers of relapse and preventive measures here.

    It’s important to remember, in this time of celebration, that the gift-giving holidays are not the only things being observed this month. Below is a list of three December Observations we urge you all to acknowledge and incorporate into this holiday season.

    National Drunk & Drugged Driving Month

    Last week I touched on the increased problem of drunk driving through the holidays, and what some companies such as Uber and Lyft, as well as the local police departments are doing to crack down on it. Well, with the beginning of December, the holiday season is in full swing straight through the rest of the year. As such, it only makes sense that this month is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Month, in order to spread awareness and prevent unnecessary tragedies.

    Many bars across the country are teaming up with driving services to prevent their customers from driving while under the influence. Law enforcement agencies, healthcare organizations, and substance abuse prevention advocacy groups air public service announcements and host events to raise awareness of the deadly effects of impaired driving.

    For more information, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp or check out events in your local area!

    AIDS Awareness Month

    AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is a syndrome caused by an infection of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Not all who are afflicted with HIV advance to the AIDS stage of the disease; despite medical advancements and strides in understanding this impactful disease, there still remains a colossal stigmatization against people living with HIV and AIDS.

    Though we now know HIV is not transmitted through casual touch, saliva, or shared utensils, people continue to shun and shrink away from those who openly live with HIV. This unfortunately leads some to keep their HIV status secret, causing the virus to continue spreading nearly unchecked.

    Shared needles and unprotected sex continue to pose serious threats to the community of people with substance abuse disorders.

    At the moment there is no cure, however treatment and research is making it possible to live a full, fulfilling life; a HIV prevention medication is currently in development. HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was.

    AIDS Awareness Month events and public education helps raise funds for further research and preventive measures.

    For more information visit https://www.aids.gov/ or your local health care provider for screening and educational materials.

    Universal Human Rights Month

    The human condition varies vastly across the world; variations based on world economic status, gender, race, disability, religious practices, and so on. Universal Human Rights Month brings awareness to the living conditions of people around the world or within our own country whose universal rights are being infringed upon or utterly revoked.

    These violations of basic human rights leads to deplorable living conditions, mass genocide, war, death, and suffering. People around the world who feel powerless to change their situations turn to substance abuse as a means of coping with things most Americans could never imagine facing. While the addiction epidemic in the U.S. is costing thousands of lives a year, it is not sequestered to our corner of the world. People are suffering everywhere.

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights protect people from slavery, discrimination based on race, color, sex,national origin, religion, or other status, torture, fair jury, and peaceful assembly- rights that have been violated repeatedly in recent history.

    By standing in recognition of the Universal Human Rights, we stand with our neighbors, brothers, and strangers in peril to say we will not accept less than what is our right to obtain. A united front against the injustices of the world can provide the change we need to provide a brighter future for tomorrow.

    Image: “Happy Holidays” by Marcus Quigmire. Licensed under CC by 2.0.

    Were you aware of these December Observances? How are you planning to contribute! Let us know!

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