Upcoming town hall raises drug, alcohol abuse awareness

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Asem Abdelfattah

Assistant News Editor

The Department of Outreach is inviting Troy students to attend a town hall meeting that aims to show college students the effects of drug and alcohol use in the Trojan community, according to Kimbrlei McCain.

McCain, the coordinator of the Department of Outreach, explained that by educating students on the effects of such substances, the department hopes to fight the “substance abuse epidemic” that ravages the lives of many college students.

The Department of Outreach at Troy University will host a town hall meeting to discuss drugs and alcohol in the Trojan community on Jan. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hawkins Hall Auditorium.

McCain said the town hall aims to show college students the effects of drug and alcohol use and how to manage misuse.

“On many college campuses the use of substances such as alcohol or marijuana are normalized; however, college students are at a point in their development where addiction and mental health issues often arise,” McCain said. “A person’s brain is not fully developed until they are around 25 years old, so the substances that students believe are safe can actually cause harm to their brain development and impact their behavior, performance

and relationships in negative ways.

“By attending this event, students are likely to gain a better understanding of how drugs and alcohol impact their bodies, as well as learn ways to gain support if they are struggling with managing substances responsibly,” McCain said.

McCain said there is a “substance abuse epidemic” sweeping across the nation.

“Troy is not immune to the impacts of it,” McCain said. “In response to growing concerns about substance abuse, Troy University has developed The Department of Outreach to address prevention, early intervention and recovery here on campus.”

McCain emphasized the role of education, awareness and dialogue in addressing substance abuse issues in the community.

“There are several roles a person can play in reducing addiction in our community, but being educated about the realities of drugs and alcohol is a start,” McCain said. “To take it a step further, I would encourage the community to support people in recovery through hosting fun activities that are not centered around alcohol, educate young people in their lives about the risks of using drugs and alcohol, reduce access to prescription drugs by others and educate themselves on the risk of prescriptions and to challenge stigmas surrounding addiction.”

McCain encouraged students who are concerned about themselves or someone they know to be proactive by reaching out to campus resources such as the Department of Outreach or the Student Counseling Center. The Department of Outreach can be contacted at outreach@troy.edu, and the Student Counseling Center can be reached at (334) 670-3700 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Savannah Atkins, a senior social science and pre-law major from Freeport, Florida, said substance abuse is propagated due to lack of awareness.

“Substance abuse amongst the college population is a systemic issue that has not been dealt with, but rather encouraged and inflamed,” Atkins said. “More and more underage students are exposed to addiction without the knowledge of how dangerous the disease is. 

“Unfortunately, there’s lack of information on this campus, and campuses nationwide, to inform kids of these dangers and how to be proactive in preventing them from being another statistic.”

Atkins said everyone is responsible for curing the substance abuse disease.

“We are all responsible for the health of the student body, and I believe we can be the change we wish to see amongst Troy and the nation,” Atkins said. “Addiction is a disease and should not be cheered on; ‘one more drink’ could turn into an irreversible pain and grieving parents. 

“We can choose to make good decisions, educate and stand up for the right thing. Even with our friends, even at the bars.”

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