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Almost 20% of Americans take some sort of drug daily to relax, according to a recent Gallup Survey. In Pennsylvania, about 22% reported taking a drug each day to affect mood or boost relaxation. The states with the highest levels of daily use were West Virginia (28%), Rhode Island (26%), and Kentucky (25%). Respondents weren’t asked specifically about which drugs they were using, so the definition likely includes substances such as alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs, and recreational drugs. But do those substances really help people relax or reduce stress? The survey also discovered that those who took drugs nearly every day to relax had significantly lower Well-Being Index scores than those who rarely or never took drugs or medication for relaxation. Doesn’t sound like effective stress relief, does it? What do you choose? National Prevention Week, which runs May 17-23, 2015, is a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) initiative to increase public awareness and action regarding substance abuse and mental health issues. Part of National Prevention Week’s efforts to raise awareness includes the I Choose Project, which empowers people of all ages to make a conscious choice regarding substance abuse prevention. SAMHSA invites people to submit photos that feature their healthy alternatives.

I Choose SAMHSA

Amy Sechrist, Certified Prevention Specialist, Compass Mark

Learn more about submitting your “I Choose” pic to National Prevention Week. Healthy Relaxation and Stress Relief Tips Life is full of challenges, whether it’s finding nursing care for an aging loved one, parenting a special needs child, or managing a tough work transition. Self-medication is never healthy, and it’s never an effective long-term solution. Here are just a few of many drug-free stress relief alternatives:

  • Exercise regularly to produce endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemical.
  • Get proper sleep so you can feel rested and ready to take on the day.
  • Meditate to reduce stress hormones and relax the body.
  • Say “no” to tasks and requests that aren’t a priority.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you’re overwhelmed; talk with a friend, join a support group, or seek professional therapy.

Which healthy coping strategies do you choose? Addiction Prevention Resources for Lancaster, PA and Lebanon PA Parent Resources Educator Resources Employer Resources To learn more about effective substance abuse and addiction prevention strategies, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.  

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