Baltimore County Now
Dave Goldman, Chief
Bureau of Behavioral Health
Baltimore County Department of Health
On St. Patrick’s Day, it is customary to wear green clothing and honor Irish traditions. On the college scene, wearing green is optional, but drinking green beer – now that’s another story. The Urban Dictionary calls St. Patrick's Day the most important “alcoholiday” of the year. The trend to use March 17th as an excuse to drink excessively has gained popularity over the years and for some, has become an accepted norm.
The availability of drinking games, inexpensive drink specials, and failure to check IDs on St. Patrick’s Day promotes underage and high-risk drinking among patrons of all ages. Local bars, taverns and restaurants, however, can be a part of the solution to this phenomenon - not just on St. Patrick’s Day, but all year long by exhibiting responsible practices in their sales and service of alcohol. Our County Liquor Board works actively with bar and liquor store owners to offer training and ensure compliance with all applicable laws.
The list of potential problems caused by underage and high-risk drinking should be the impetus for communities to work together to curb underage and high-risk alcohol consumption. It is well known that alcohol diminishes inhibitions and affects judgment, which can lead to a variety of poor choices, including unplanned sexual activity, aggressive behavior, academic problems, etc.
So please don’t let this St. Patrick’s Day be another time you “look the other way” when you see festively dressed minors congregating outside of a bar. Do our County a favor and support the efforts of the Baltimore County Combating Underage Drinking Coalition. The Coalition is working to reduce youth access to alcohol, increase community recognition of the associated problems, and pursue policy change regarding underage and high-risk drinking. The Coalition meets monthly and community members are welcome. For more information about the Coalition, call the Baltimore County Department of Health at 410-887-3828.
Dave Goldman, LSWC-C
Chief, Bureau of Behavioral Health
Baltimore County Department of Health
We all know someone who has been impacted by alcohol or drug abuse. It could be a friend, family member, neighbor, and certainly no one is exempt-even celebrities and sports figures. The path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs – even when it starts as a prescription!
Addiction is a complex illness characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persists even in the face of devastating consequences. No one says they want to be a drug addict when they grow up, but over time a person's thinking becomes compromised and seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive.
Treatment is not simple, but it works! Treatment programs typically incorporate many components, each directed to a particular aspect of the illness and its consequences. Addiction treatment must help the individual stop using drugs, maintain a drug-free lifestyle, and achieve productive functioning in the family, at work, and in society. Because addiction is a chronic disease, people cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured.
Behavioral therapy and medication can be important elements of an overall therapeutic process. A continuum of care that includes a customized treatment regimen—addressing all aspects of an individual's life, including medical and mental health services—and follow–up options (e.g., community – or family-based recovery support systems) can be crucial to a person's success in achieving and maintaining a drug–free lifestyle. For more information on substance abuse treatment services in Baltimore County, call 410-887-3828.