This bulletin board was designed to accompany the national community leaders videoconference that took place on February 26, 1998. The national call-in show was designed as a town meeting, with a panel of experts exploring the issue of addiction and presenting effective models for addressing it. Viewers were encouraged to call in or post messages to this bulletin board, which focuses on community involvement in solving the problem of addiction to alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs.
This bulletin board is still open for comments (see instructions, below). In addition, a new discussion forum is now in place for viewers of the CLOSE TO HOME series and visitors to CLOSE TO HOME ONLINE.
To join this online discussion, simply click on one of the discussions below, and submit a message to the topic of your choice. (Each of the five discussion areas has its own list of topics.) Please note that this is a public forum, and libelous and/or obscene postings are not allowed. Postings for products and services for sale are also not allowed.
The theme of our conversation today is "community" -- a word that can be defined as "a group of people having common interests." Alleviating the problem of addiction concerns all the communities in America.
In our first panel, "Building Active Communities," we ask, how can citizens gather locally to make meaningful progress in fighting addiction?
Communities come in all sizes. The most intimate community is, of course, the family. Within the family, healthy attitudes toward alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can be reinforced -- as can cycles of addiction.
Family strengthening programs help parents, including addicted parents, improve their family skills, and reduce the risk factors of addiction for their children.
Your workplace is a community also -- a community that has always had addiction in its ranks. Up to half of all workers' comp claims are related to substance abuse. The cost of alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace amounts to an estimated $140 billion a year. The latest report from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration finds that substance use decreases when employees have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
The last community we focus on is the healthcare community, which is enormously important to all of us. We expect doctors and nurses to be informed about all the things that matter to our health. But when it comes to substance abuse, healthcare professionals can miss the signs of addiction. Additional training is helpful, as is full disclosure by the patient.
Take a Step Day is April 1st, 1998, the beginning of Alcohol Awareness Month. We'd love to hear what activities your station or organization is planning. If you have some to share, please post them here. Then watch this space for others' ideas in the coming months. If you have questions about Take a Step Day, please e-mail Annalisa Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.