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Prevention: What I Wish I Had as a Recovering Addict.

I grew up in the era of prevention that was the D.A.R.E. program, ‘tough love’, and “Just Say No”. These methods, for me, didn’t prevent me from experimenting with substances, and instead added shame, fear, and invalidation. It made me more sneaky and secretive.

If I could look back at my struggles with mental health and addiction, and try to think of a way the struggles could have been prevented, I think about the messaging that was given to me growing up. Whether it was judgmental media or presentations at school, the delivery and content were horrific.

I believe what would’ve been helpful prevention methods within messaging would have been to have frequent guest speakers that were people with lived experience, close to my age group. Hearing someone close in age share their experiences would’ve helped me relate and less stigmatized. I also believe that having more messaging around mental health and coping skills would’ve prevented a lot of issues that I faced. Had I been taught in depth about mental health, stigmas, grounding techniques, and mindfulness practices, I could’ve been able to handle the things I was going through.

All of the prevention tactics taught in school perpetuated stigma and kept families suffering in silence. I remember messaging coming across as if addiction was a choice and made me question foundational beliefs I had of my loved ones. These prevention methods were also a cookie-cutter approach, assuming that one-treatment-fits-all. As many of us know, what works for one doesn’t always work for the other, and that’s ok.

So to the prevention professionals and parents, allow prevention to include meeting someone exactly where they are at. Focus on what can be worked on and put a pause on the rest. Try to avoid a fear and/or shame based method and instead approach situations with empathy, grace, and love.

Strength-Based Approach to Substance Use Prevention, Youth Panel with Dr. Ijeoma Opara

A great Youth Panel of Connecticut teens talking about what they would like to see in prevention. The panelists are a part of New Britain Youth Prevention. This event was put on by the Prevention Training & Technical Service Center.

In this panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Ijeoma Opara, the youth panel comprised of Black and Latina girls discuss various topics such as:

  • Challenges they face regarding consequences of substance use
  • Their involvement in their community and prevention programs
  • How professionals and families can best support the development of girls of color

You can watch the video below:

Watch Ally Share What She Learned at a Naloxone (Narcan) Training

Watch Blogger Ally share what she learned at a Naloxone (Narcan) training! Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Watch the video & other shared videos: https://turningpointct.org/category/media/videos/

Join in on the conversation about Narcan here: https://turningpointct.org/lets-talk/topic/new-naloxone-narcan-video/

Follow Ally’s blog about her experience with addiction recovery: https://turningpointct.org/lets-talk/forum/addiction/

Share your video!

For more information on Naloxone (Narcan), trainings, pharmacies, and more, please visit: http://www.ct.gov/dmhas/cwp/view.asp?a=2902&q=560348


Intramuscular Naloxone


Intranasal Naloxone


Intranasal Naloxone


Intramuscular Naloxone


Minority Mental Health Month

This is Your Democracy!

Its been a very long 24 hours and today is a very sad day but regardless, we are still alive. I’m getting up today and I am getting out to work as hard as I have been doing over the last couple of weeks and months. If you voted, great, if you didn’t this is the time to get together and make something out of the next four years. This is your country. Democracy is still alive and well. If Trump can do it, you can do it!

I choose to call this country my home and I will fight to make it my home though I don’t know what the next few months will bring. When I started my asylum case I had moved to a country that was lead by the first black president; gay marriage was legal in more than half the states in the United States, and America was entering a new era of human rights. Only, one year in and that is on the verge of a complete transformation, I now have to make my case in a country that is controlled by a complete conservative government, by means of the executive and legislative power. Much of what I believe in could be reversed.

The fear is lingering, the headache is starting and while I believe that through support and through the efforts of strong willed people, who will do everything to protect our human rights, whether as immigrants, people of color or LGBT individuals, I believe that every single one of us who believe in morals and good values have to start working together. There is hardly any room for pointing fingers.

Come the new year, many of us will have to fight for our freedom and the very least of our human rights. Many of us will be fighting to live in a country free of hate crimes and bashing. Many of us will be fighting not to return to countries where our lives are at stake. And many of us will be fighting for jobs and a roof over our heads.

Maybe we will be more grateful for what Obama was able to achieve in the last four years. I believe he will continue to fight for us. I believe that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and all the people we wished could be the next president, will continue to fight for us. I don’t believe that these good women and men will let the grace of America fade. Likewise, you and I. Lets make the next four years matter for everyone! For immigrants, gays, lesbians, single black parents and everyone who deserves a better future.

Mind Your Meds: Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

Drug Abuse

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

I have always loved Florence + the Machine and each album she’s released has been phenomenal.
I have a problem where I grow attached to older albums and I tend to be harsh towards newer albums until I soon become obsessed over the new album.

Florence’s album “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” came out just as my best friend came home from a 6+ month treatment facility in Wisconsin. Florence is one of the many artists we blast on road trips, so it was natural for us to dissect her new album together.

Florence normally includes biblical and greek mythology references in her music and each song is full of beautiful harps, strings, etc. This album, however is full of brass instruments and is more “stripped down.” She said she listened to Taylor Swift’s advice and followed her heart on this album; it is a collection of songs of heartache from a bad relationship. Each music video is part of her Odyssey to getting over her relationship.

My favorite song in her new album is “Queen of Peace.” I included the video – the original music video is extremely intense, but there is a bit of nudity so I didn’t want to post it on here.

Queen of Peace
I purchased tickets to see her this summer (SHE’S AMAZING LIVE!!!) because 2016 has been full of tragedy and I felt this was a chance to spend time with my mother while we can. Florence has helped both of us during dark days, so it will be a nice getaway to see her in concert.
Are you going to any concerts this year? How do you connect to their music?