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Individuals and families in our county, state and nation continue to face an unprecedented public health epidemic-substance use disorder and addiction.  The conversation surrounding this disease remains conflicted.  Why?  Largely because of a societal view forged over generations that is informed by prejudice and ignorance and translated into language that diminishes a population of people who are struggling with a complex brain disease-addiction.  The disease of addiction is preventable.  But, there are significant cultural forces at play that serve to create and sustain an environment that celebrates risk taking behavior and then demonizes those who fall prey to the disorder/disease.  Let’s think about this for a moment.  The alcohol, gambling, pharmaceutical and tobacco industries are corporate giants with deep pockets.  Those business models, like most successful models, seek to develop strategies that drive consumers to their products.  And the consumer market for alcohol and drugs, driven by marketing and advertising, is broad and deep.

It is ironic that while addiction may be viewed as a moral failing, the  lack of morality and ethics (moral failing), that led to the public health epidemic of prescription drug use and the subsequent heroin epidemic,  seem to be about financial gain at the expense of moral and ethical behavior. Think for a moment about the last time that you sat in front of the TV or went to the movies or online.  You probably were entertained by numerous commercial advertising that suggested there is a pill for every illness,  good times are seldom absent alcohol  (and often to excess) and  gambling is now a sanctioned past time online-a sport.

Currently, all 50 states in the US are wrestling with the consequences of prescription drug abuse.  Dutchess County is no exception.  So how do we make this right?  We commit the resources necessary to prevent the disease and we start by addressing prevention education.  On the heels of the government settlement with big tobacco, states throughout our nation were provided with the funding to mount a public health campaign educating people about the risks associated with the use of tobacco products.  That campaign was successful.  The perception of harm attached to the use of tobacco products increased incrementally over time. This has had a tremendous trickle down to our youth.  In a recent youth survey conducted in Dutchess County, engaging approximately 5000 8th, 10th and 12th graders, roughly 87% of youth recognized the harm in smoking.  Parental disapproval of smoking supported that youth  perception of harm.  The same cannot be said for the use of alcohol, marijuana or prescription drugs.  The use of these substances for our young people; adolescence through young adulthood, places this population at significantly higher risk if they use.  Why?  Because their brains are still developing and the introduction of alcohol and drugs  significantly increases the risk of substance use disorder/ addiction.

So where do we begin?  As with most things, we begin with a conversation, supported by facts that serve to inform and educate.  With that in mind, we need to pay attention to our words.  Language is a powerful tool. To that end, I would like to invite you to thoughtfully examine the article below and challenge you to begin to “Think Differently” about this complex brain disease.


Elaine Trumpetto, M.A.


Parents Supporting Parents: The parent support group is currently undergoing reorganization.
Saturday, September 10: Color Blaze Run – More information, Click Here
Saturday, October 29: Second Annual Masquerade Ball “Lifting the Mask”

More information for upcoming events and programs can be found on our website events calendar or by contacting our office at (845) 765-8301 or e-mailing Victoria at vchumas@capedc.org.


Alive @ 25 Information: Click Here for the 2016 Schedule. Contact at 845-765-8301 x110 for questions or to sign up! Victim Impact Panel Information: The Victim Impact Panel runs the FIRST THURSDAY of each month, excluding July. Click here for the 2016 Schedule.
Contact Victoria at 845-765-8301 x100 for more information or for volunteer opportunities!
*Donations for CAPE are deposited in the Prevention Foundation to be used for Prevention Programming