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‘Be Kind to Your Mind:’ Red Ribbon Week and the mental impact of drugs

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Each year, Red Ribbon Week offers a chance to learn more about the impact of drugs on the human body -- with educators across the country teaching children about the impact of substance use.

And, each year, a theme is picked -- this year it's "Be Kind to Your Mind, Live Drug Free." ABC-7 spoke with the Drug Enforcement Agency's El Paso Division about the impact of drug use on the mind, and how substance use can affect the mind.

DEA spokesmen say that for some drugs, such as fentanyl and fentanyl-laced substances, a single pill can cause a lifelong substance use disorder (SUD). An SUD is defined by the National Institutes of Health as a treatable mental disorder which affects the brain and behavior leading to an inability to control how much they use drugs, alcohol or medication.

More information can be found for drug types and substance risks through DEA webpages. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has more details about substance use disorders online.

If you need mental health support, there are a number of options:

  • 988: The National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline - Anyone can contact the Crisis line through phone, text or message any time, for any mental distress.
  • The 988 line has a dedicated Veterans Crisis Line
  • Emergence Health Network - EHN is able to offer many different forms of support for mental health and wellness. From pet therapy to addiction treatment.
  • NAMI El Paso- As part of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, there are some options listed on their website for support and connection. NAMI is focused on providing support to anyone with any sort of mental illness.

Avery Martinez covers mental health in the Borderland as part of ABC-7’s Be Mindful initiative. He is also a Report for America corps member. RFA places talented, emerging journalists in newsrooms like ABC-7’s to report on under-covered issues and communities. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.

Article Topic Follows: Be Mindful

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Avery Martinez


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