Terry Stevens
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Any age. Any gender. Any race. That’s the hard truth about substance use, which can target a 12 year old or a retiree struggling with aging.

September is a time to pause and promote the benefits of substance use prevention, treatment and recovery. Recovery Month has been celebrated each September for 25 years, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Treatment is crucial, and the key is convincing someone to seek the help they need. That’s why the theme for this year’s Recovery Month is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out.” The goal is to encourage people to openly talk about substance use disorders and the role treatment can play in recovery.

When it comes to substance use, we’re talking about everything from alcohol and illegal drugs to prescription medications. It is important for someone to seek help as soon as they recognize they have a problem. At Cenpatico, we can help. We’re dedicated to improving lives through innovative treatment options that are effective.

Parents should know that children are vulnerable to substance disorders. A SAMHSA study found that in 2012 alone there were nearly 3 million people age 12 or older who used an illegal drug for the first time. More than half were under the age of 18.

Research has found that children between the ages of 7 and 9 who do poorly in school and have inappropriate social behavior are more likely to be involved with substance use by their early teen years.

There are warning signs to indicate someone has become addicted. A change in behavior, change of friends, weight loss or gain, becoming secretive about where they go and what they do are strong indicators. You can find a helpful checklist at http://www.ncadd-sfv.org/symptoms.html.

There are many resources available. Cenpatico of Arizona provides important information on its website as does the Arizona Department of Health Services/Division of Behavioral Health Services.

Help is available and this month, remember to speak up and reach out.

• Terry Stevens is CEO of Tempe-based Cenpatico of Arizona, funded through a contract with the Arizona Department of Health Services/Division of Behavioral Health Services (ADHS/DBHS) and AHCCCS.

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