Program helps families fight substance abuse

Reporter staff

Approximately 10 percent of society is addicted to drugs, pills, alcohol or other substances, and an average of four people surrounding the addicted suffer the side effects.

Between ages 12-25, the stats more than double for untreated substance abuse disorders. Mercer Island youth, according to a governmental study, exhibit higher than normal attitudes that drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana is cool.

Mercer Island’s Chemical People movement of the early ’80s addressed local substance abuse and helped provide a drug counselor at the high school. Now, several Mercer Islanders have joined the board of the Science and Management of Addictions (SAMA) Foundation that brings hope to those in the struggle.

The terrifying trap that locks family members into the addiction battle can seem futile -— or can miraculously end in recovery. SAMA’s approach is to bridge that gap with a “navigator program” to coach and support families through the discovery stages to treatment and recovery.

“You lose connection with your child the moment addiction takes over,” says an involved local parent who remains anonymous. “This navigator program helps educate us, direct us to support and helps us learn to manage the mine fields.”

SAMA, which strives to eliminate the disease of substance addiction in youth, presents an event for parents concerned with their teen’s substance abuse 6-8 p.m., Sept. 27, at Seattle Central Community College.

Registration is requested by Sept. 12. Contact or (206) 328-1719. For general inquiries, phone (206) 822-SAMA.

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