Spring and summer are times of great change. They mark bittersweet ends as well as equally bittersweet beginnings. Many people experience such changes in the form of graduations from school.
Graduations are happy times where we celebrate the successful completion of school or other endeavors. They can also be exciting and scary, because the graduates are embarking on new lives. Some people might choose to drink alcohol or use drugs to commemorate this passage.
Drug and alcohol users might feel that these substances can help them celebrate their achievements, especially if they use these substances with others in a social setting. Or, they might feel anxiety and stress about leaving their familiar ways of life, so they’re drinking alcohol or abusing a drug to get drunk or high to distract them from their anxiety and distress.
But, getting high or drunk do not alleviate stress and other conditions. They can intensify them. If someone uses alcohol or drugs regularly and excessively, they could become addicted. If they’re also anxious, depressed, or struggling with other forms of mental illness, they could have a condition known as a dual diagnosis, comorbidity, or co-occurring disorder.
To treat a dual diagnosis, professionals address their clients’ addictions and their mental disorders. But, as we all know, addiction can hurt more than the people struggling with the addictions. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol needlessly kills many people — and many recent graduates — every year.
One organization that educates people on drunk driving is Project Graduation. Although the organization’s name might be less well-known than organizations such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), Project Graduation and other organizations help remind young people and others about the dangers of alcohol abuse.
For example, Project Graduation sometimes places mangled cars in front of schools. These cars received severe damage in alcohol- and drug-related accidents, offering stark reminders of what can happen when people drive under the influence.
Seeing is believing. People who think that drunk driving is no big deal might think twice after seeing such gruesome evidence. A large part of fighting drug and alcohol abuse involves changing the ways people think, not just the ways they act.