Learn the Warning Signs of Substance Misuse

Prescription drug misuse symptoms can vary depending on the classification (type) of drug being used.
The three most commonly misused types of prescription drugs are: opioids, stimulants and anti-anxiety medications/sedatives.
It is important that you know the signs, so that you can better recognize when someone you love has a problem. Early intervention can save their life and potentially keep them from getting a criminal record. Persons struggling with opioid addiction span all races, sex, gender, age and socioeconomic backgrounds. Even though some are better at hiding their addictions than others, they might share some of the same warning signs.
How can I do that?
Visit the Mayo Clinic’s website to see what specific signs they have listed.
The Tennessee Department of Mental Health’s website is an excellent resource as well when educating yourself on what to look for regarding substance misuse.

These resources can better prepare you to talk to your family about addiction and substance abuse.

Encourage Joining a Narcotics Anonymous Support Group

Narcotics Anonymous Support Groups (NA) evolved from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in 1953 and has since grown into a world-wide organization aimed at sharing a way to be happy and live without drugs. Narcotics Anonymous is for anyone suffering from addiction, regardless of the substance used, and membership is free. NA Support Group meetings help people recovering from addiction by using a twelve-step program, sharing personal experiences with addiction and meeting on a regular basis. Encourage someone struggling with addiction to attend the meetings and access their books and information pamphlets, which are now available in 49 languages due to the global presence of support group meetings. The Tennessee NA website features contact information for 12 major areas in Tennessee that can offer assistance with finding a meeting near you. A NA Search app is available in Google Play or the App Store.

How can I do that?

Visit the NA website to find informational packets such as “Am I an addict?” and “Welcome to NA”.
Read “An Introduction to NA Meetings” to learn how NA Meetings are structured.
Find a meeting near you by visiting the NA Website or by downloading the NA Meeting Search app, available for iPhone and Android devices.

Support the Prevention Coalition in Your Community

In communities across Tennessee, anti-drug coalitions are working to reduce dependence on harmful and potentially lethal substances, in attempt to stop opioid overdose.
These coalitions are made up of people who care about their communities and are working to promote health and wellness.
Here are some ways coalitions benefit Tennessee communities:
Conduct community-based drug take-back events
Work to standardize penalties for alcohol and drug offenders
Education for individuals handling alcoholic beverage transactions
Monitor current smoke-free ordinances to encourage enforcement
Post anti-drug, anti-alcohol, anti-smoking billboards in the community
Offer a reward for information on illegal drug manufacturing
Engage youth to participate in drug, alcohol, and tobacco-free efforts.

How can I get involeved?1. Check out the Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Service’s website to learn more.
2. Click the link titled “Connect with an Anti-Drug Coalition in Your Area” to view an updated spreadsheet of coalitions and contacts
3. Support or join a coaltion in your area.

Ask About Coupling Vivitrol with Counseling to Reinforce Recovery

Opioid addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that affects people physically and psychologically. Effective treatment programs often focus on both aspects of addiction through medication and counseling.
VIVITROL is an injectable prescription medication used to help treat alcohol dependence and prevent relapse in opioid after opioid detoxification.
The goals of VIVITROL are to help reinforce and encourage recovery. VIVITROL is a non-addictive, once-monthly injectable drug treatment proven to prevent relapse in opioid-dependent patients when used in combination with counseling following detoxification. VIVITROL blocks opioid receptors in the brain while you work with the psychological aspects of counseling.
The combination of medical and psychological therapy attacks addiction on all sides, ensuring a safe and long-term recovery.
How can I do that?1. Curious about Vivitrol? Learn more by visiting the Vivitrol website.2. Call 1-800-848-4876 if you have questions about how to get started, and what is necessary during treatment.3. Click here to find a treatment provider.

Consider Faith Based Counseling Services

Faith support is designed to assist an individual in developing their spirituality as an integral part of their recovery from addiction.
If you know someone struggling with addiction, help them find a Spiritual Counselor who encourages patients to overcome addiction by covering practices and principles such as:

  • establishing a relationship with a higher power
  • identifying a sense of purpose and mission in one’s life
  • achieving serenity and peace of mind
  • utilizing spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, and yoga

Faith-based counseling can be performed in a group or individual setting. Most group and individual sessions should be expected to last roughly 60 minutes in duration.

How can I do that?

1. Visit the TN Department of Mental Health’s Recovery Support Services page.

2. Click on the Addiction Recovery Program Providers list to view a list of certified spiritual counselors.

Contact the Lifeline Peer Project

The Lifeline Peer Project helps people struggling with substance abuse gain access to substance abuse recovery groups. They can assist areas in starting Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, and other self-help support groups. The 10 Lifeline coordinators also speak publicly about their own personal experience with recovery.
How can I do that?
1. Visit the Lifeline Peer Project website.2. Find your Lifeline Peer Project region.3. Contact your regional Lifeline Peer Coordinator to ask about resources in your area for recovery.

Distribute Patient Education Resources for Opioid Addiction from AHA and CDC

The American Hospital Association and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently published a new patient education packet on opioid prescription use. These resources include information on the risks of using opioids and what complications can increase those risks. The packet also includes information on alternative options for pain treatment as well as recommendations if a patient is already using opioids (how to safely store prescriptions, how to correctly dispose of them, etc.)
The objective of this packet is to promote discussions between medical providers and patients about opioid use by providing relevant, evidence-based information.
How can I do that?1. Go to the CDC’s website on “Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain”2. Go to the box on the right of the page that is labeled “Guideline Recommendations”3. Download the PDF by clicking on the “Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain: Recommendations”

Find a TN Opioid Clinic

Opioid clinics focus on overcoming each patient’s physical opioid addiction, by treating individuals with the correct medication in combination with counseling and skill development. As progress is made on a medical and psychological level, workers at the clinics then focus on helping the patients understand how they will be able to put their lives back together. Clinics work to rehabilitate the aspects of a person which are suffering the most as a result of addiction, including building on top of the strengths of that person, protecting that person’s rights to privacy, respect, and dignity, and assisting in the development of a better quality of life. 

There are many different levels of treatment available at opioid clinics across the state. This includes inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, drug and alcohol detox, sober living, medical treatment, counseling services, and motivational therapy. Help someone struggling with addiction find the resources they need for recovery at a nearby clinic.

How can I do that?
Learn more about Adult Substance Abuse Treatment.
Find a Tennessee Opioid Treatment Clinic near you.
Use the Provider Directory to find state funded treatment providers and the services they can provide.

Join a Natural High Club (High School)

Founded in 1994 by Jon Sundt in response to the loss of his two younger brothers to addiction, Natural High has a vision of every kid growing up to pursue their own natural high and learning to do life well. The program focuses on education and character and goal development for young people. Students often look up to athletes and celebrities, and Natural High uses this to their advantage by showcasing celebrities and athletes who choose to live naturally high.
Don’t be fooled though. Natural High is far from a celeb-filled marketing campaign. The basis for the program is rooted in Reasoned Action Approach, Social Norms Theory, Sparks Theory, 40 Developmental Assets and the 16 Prevention Principles. A resource page for educators connects them to activities and videos that can be broken down by length, student interest, speakers, knowledge depth (of the subject) and modalities for use in their classrooms. Students can get involved of their own initiative by visiting the ‘Students’ section of the Natural High website. They can make a Natural High club on their school campus, become a part of the youth leadership team or take the pledge to live naturally high. This building of community and engagement helps maintain students’ interest while informing them of alternatives to substance misuse.
How can I do that?If you are a middle school or high school student…1. Ask your teacher if they would be willing to sponsor a Natural High club on campus.2. When you have a teacher that will sponsor your club, fill out Natural High’s ‘Start a Natural High Club’ form
If you are an educator…Fill out Natural High’s ‘Begin Teaching Natural High’ form.