Drug and alcohol misuse is often a sign of depression, a silent cry for help for those who may be overwhelmed by emotional distress. Unfortunately, seeking counseling still carries a social stigma in some cultures and too many people have neglected to address emotional problems in a healthy manner, instead turning to the temporary quick fix of drugs or alcohol. Then, when a person uses poor judgement while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are viewed by society as a criminal. Kate Mahoney, Executive Director of PEER Service, is a licenced Cllinical Social Worker with 30 years experience in the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders. She discusses the need for families to take the stigma out of substance abuse and allow loved ones to seek and receive the help they need for emotional distress. She urges society to decriminalize drug and alcohol addiction. When teens act out with excessive drinking or drug use, they are crying out for help but are often met with punishment rather than assistance. Kate, who has done extensive work with youth parents and schools, has been awarded by the Illinois Acoholism and Drug Dependence Association for her presentations on cutting edge clinical issues at national conferences in Atlanta, Philiadelphia, St. Louis, and New Orleans. She discusses signs of emotional distress and ways to help those who need help to seek it out without fear of ridicule or rejection.
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