Speaking & Education

K-12 Prevention & Education
When it comes to prevention, a captive audience provides the best chances of the message being heard. It is never too early to discuss the dangers and risks associated with substance abuse, and how to ask for help when something feels wrong emotionally. The dialogue of “drugs are bad” and that people who do drugs by default are “bad people” contributes to the stigma and shame young people deal with if they do find themselves in trouble with substance use. Creating age appropriate dialogue about addiction as a consequence of our choices, like cancer can be a consequence of smoking cigarettes or heart disease can be a consequence of poor diet and exercise, is a better way to approach the topic of drug use. These presentations blend first person experience with science and fact-based education and are geared towards prevention and early intervention of substance use and mental health related issues in school aged children.

Topics covered include:
• How addiction can happen unintentionally
• How our choices affect us in the long term
• How addiction changes the human brain
• Possible consequences of substance use including physical, emotional, social, and legal
• Age appropriate insight into the struggles of someone in active addiction and recovery

 

College & University Students
Presentations focus on my personal story as a survivor of a life-threatening drug addiction and learning to deal with chronic mental health issues in order to live my best life. While still somewhat prevention focused, these presentations are centered more on overcoming existing issues both mental health and substance related.

Topics covered include:
• How emotional and mental health issues can lead to addiction issues
• Being comfortable in your skin
• Science based information about addiction and mental health issues as they relate to the human brain and its pathways and neurotransmitters
• Understanding that dealing with these issues is a sign of strength rather than weakness
• Harm reduction strategies for those already engaging in substance abuse including how to access Narcan

 

Parents, Teachers, Administrators
Those who are in daily contact with young people are the primary sources of support and the first line of defense when it comes to prevention. Parents, teachers, athletic coaches, school administrators and school staff are also typically the first to notice a change in behavior that can be indicative of substance abuse or mental health issues. Understanding how to identify these issues as early as possible and knowing how to intervene can make the difference in a young person’s ability to overcome these challenges.

Topics covered include:
• Identifying early warning signs of substance abuse or relapse of previous substance abuse
• The importance of comprehensive care including mental health treatment
• The dangers of hypervigilance (“helicopter parenting”) and how it can have the reverse effect
• How to have a conversation with your child’s physician about your wishes regarding medications they may prescribe
• How to deal with injuries/illnesses when a child is prescribed opiates or other narcotics
• What to do if a child is in active addiction

 

Physicians, Health Care & Mental Health Professionals
Doctors, nurses, and health care professionals are often the first point of contact for someone dealing with mental health or addiction issues. Many doctors and even mental health professionals have only a basic understanding of addiction and the medications used to treat it. It is imperative that physicians do not create feelings of mistrust in MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) or do anything to encourage rash decisions on the part of a stable MAT patient. Treatment for addiction needs to be comprehensive and well understood by all a patient’s providers.

Topics covered include:
• Identifying early warning signs of addiction in patients
• Intervention strategies
• Fostering a greater understanding of the different MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) methods including which methods can be best for specific circumstances
• Providing insight into how addicts can falsify urine screens to better identify active use in MAT patients
• What to do when side effects of MAT may be causing medical complications without compromising the patient’s abstinence

For booking of speaking arrangements, please contact lauren@inangelsarms.com