National Health Center Week Addresses Children’s Needs
“More than 8 million children in the United States get their primary health care from a Community Health Center,” according to the National Association of Community Health Centers.
That’s more than 10 percent, a significant figure.
Community health centers first opened in 1965 with federal support to “provide highly efficient and cost-effective care.” Their services for children are mostly general pediatric care, getting ready for school, etc., but treatment for abuse of alcohol or drugs also needs to be a part of it.
There is no particular age at which children (usually defined as individuals younger than 18 years) start drug abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that at least some children start drinking, smoking, and abusing prescription drugs by age 12, but did not conclude that 12 was the youngest age.
How early they start may depend on what substances are around the house. Alcohol is pretty omnipresent, and curious young people may try leftover prescription pills too. That’s why people are encouraged to turn in unused meds rather than keep them around the home.
And, as an infamous public service announcement made clear, if parents use drugs extra-legally, their children may find and use them or be inspired to use them also.
The developing brain — through the mid-20s or late-20s — is most susceptible to substance addiction or dependence. And early substance use or abuse is more likely to lead to drug use and more severe drug use.
That’s not to say that every teen who sips a beer or smokes inevitably goes on to abuse opioids. Most do not.
But for those who do, the sooner they quit, the better the outcomes. Community health centers can help.
National Health Care Week devotes a focus day to:
Aug. 9 – Public Health in Housing Day
Aug. 10 – Healthcare for the Homeless Day
Aug. 11 – Agricultural Worker Health Day
Aug. 12 – Patient Appreciation Day
Aug. 13 – Stakeholder Appreciation Day
Aug. 14 – Health Center Staff Appreciation Day
Aug. 15 – Children’s Health Day
healthcenterweek.org – Children’s Health Day
sesamestreetincommunities.org – Sesame Street in Communities
nachc.org – What Is a Community Health Center?
sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
drugabuse.gov – When and How Does Drug Abuse Start and Progress?
sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Where Do Teens Get Their Drugs?
youtube.com/watch – I Learned It from Watching You: Anti-Drug PSA
healthcenterweek.org – National Health Center Week
https://healthcenterweek.org/focus-days – Focus Days
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