Growing up, I was taught that I shouldn’t use drugs. Even though others in my family had experienced problems with substance use, it didn't spark the kind of two-way discussion that would have allowed for an open dialogue. Today, things are different; my family and I talk openly about this important health issue. In fact, I have 6 nieces and nephews, and as each one reaches an appropriate age, I share my recovery story and make them aware of the dangers of drug use, the history of addiction in our family, and the importance of making healthy choices. I encourage you to do the same.
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Did you know that more than 43 million adults in our country struggled with mental illness in the past year? Half of us will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in our lives; one quarter by the age of 14. And more than 20 million adults have an alcohol or drug abuse problem.