Drug Use in Oakland County

Executive Director at Greater West Bloomfield Community Coalition, Lisa Berkey Helps To Answer Our Questions on Substance Abuse.

Drug Use in Oakland County

Drugs are a topic that can be very sensitive to everyone who is affected by them. Whether that be family members or the abuser, drugs can take on a major role in the lives of those who are touched by them. Many of us may know someone who has abused or is abusing drugs right now, and we just want to find a solution. Fortunately, I had the chance to come in contact with Lisa Berkey, a woman who works with the Greater West Bloomfield Community Coalition (GWBCC). GWBCC is a coalition to reduce high risk behaviors including alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, to help teens grow to their greatest potential. This organization helps teens and adults 18 and up with substance abuse and practices ways for them to overcome it.

The main concern of drug use falls between the kids ages 13 and up. Around these age adolescents are susceptible to peer-pressure and assume that if everyone else around them is doing it then they should do it as well. According to michigan.gov, “10.7% of Michigan residents aged 12 years and older have reported to using illicit drugs in the past month. “

When I was given the chance to contact Ms. Berkey, I asked her a number of questions. The main focus of my questions were how can drugs affect you and or your friends and family as well as what leads a person to want to start using drugs. “Curiosity, peer pressure, self-medicate health problems or physical pain to fit in, to escape.” says Ms. Berkey on what leads teenagers to want to use drugs. Ms. Berkey wants kids at West Bloomfield to know that,”Nothing good ever happens from drug use.  Nobody intends to get addicted.  There is always help- just ask for it-teacher, counselor, administration, parents-etc.”

The effect drugs can have on your family as well is what most people should think of. Ms. Berkey explains, “Family members become sick as well. They are often codependent, meaning that they are so wrapped up in the problem of the user that it impacts their ability to live their own life. Family members experience stress, worry, depression, physical problems, trouble sleeping… the list is endless. They learn to lock up valuables, supervise the user closely, etc. It impacts their daily functioning.” By having substance abuse potentially impact your daily function, you are not only hurting yourself, but also those around you who love and care for you. Ms. Berkey says that the signs of a person who is addicted to drugs/has a drug problem is to,”Be familiar with signs of drug use.  The most common, in no particular order, are: change in sleep habits, appetite, energy level/motivation, mood/personality, friends, activities, grades, job performance, unusual financial problems, selling items, peculiar odors or attempts to cover up odors, presence of drug paraphernalia, use of eye drops, slurred speech, deterioration in physical appearance and personal hygiene, involvement in delinquent behaviors, extreme dress, language, opinions or behavior.”

 It is important for people of all ages who are affected by drugs to know that they are not alone. “Maplegrove Center is the Henry Ford Health System Chemical Dependency program in WB.  We have inpatient programs for adults ages 18 and up, and Intensive Outpatient Programs for adults and adolescents, ages 13-18. We also get FREE help at Maplegrove,as we have multiple programs to support the families. We also host 12 step meetings here.” says Ms. Berkey when asked on what you can do to get help or you know of someone who can use help.

If you have any questions or concerns about substance abuse or know of someone who is abusing drugs please feel free to visit, www.gwbcoalition.org. You can also contact Executive Director, Lisa Berkey, at [email protected]