Jail Cells to Brain Cells: Addiction and Abuse


Meaghan Allen, Troy Frank, and

On Sept. 29, the Roseville Community Coalition hosted a town hall meeting in RHS’s media center. This meeting featured Dr. Mark Menestrina, a medical field advisor for Reckitt Becnkiser Pharmaceuticals and a medical director of Southeast Michigan Community Alliance. The goal of the meeting was to make parents aware of what is going on with their kids when they aren’t around and how to prevent any destructive behavior. This meeting was to discuss drug abuse and addiction. Menestrina discussed that addiction, such as alcoholism and drug, is a treatable disease whereas abuse is a preventable behavior.It can take14 years or just three hours to go from the negative to the positive. With the help of medication, counseling, and support groups, those who struggle with addiction can get help.

“Never doubt that a small group of Roseville citizens can change the world… indeed it is the only thing to do,” Menestrina said.

Trips to the emergency room because of abuse of prescription drugs are greater than those where marijuana or heroin were used combined.

Recently, synthetic bath salts, under the slang Cloud 9, were being sold to teenagers in gas stations for $20, according to Fox 2 news and Macomb County Police. Reported by The Detroit Free Press, Macomb County Executive, Mark Hackel issued a health order on the drug. Six high school students across Macomb County have been hospitalized because of this drug. K2 is similar to Cloud 9, except for a couple different compounds. Catching the sellers of Cloud 9 is difficult, this is why Menestrina and the town hall held the meeting.

According to Menestrina’s presentation, one in seven teenagers has experimented with prescription drugs to “get high.” Prescription drugs among 12-13 year olds are the number one choice to get high. Trips to the emergency room because of abuse of prescription drugs are greater than those where marijuana or heroin were used combined.60 percent of teenagers say that getting prescription drugs is easy because they have access to them right in their home from a medicine cabinet, a relative, or from a friend. Again, this can lead to addiction and even death.

“It’s amazing to see how people get drugs,” Roseville’s Chief of Police James Berlin said, at the town hall meeting.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) affects all of society, but young people especially because the prefrontal cortex, which is the front lobe of the brain, is not fully developed until the age of 23. Kids under the age of 14, are four and half times more likely to develop an SUD, seven times more likely to get in a motor cycle or vehicle accident, and are 12 times more likely to get injured due to alcohol and drugs. Teens are more susceptible to become addicted to cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine, and a high percentage of teens will abuse drugs. Some of the leading causes of death include injury, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, homicide, and suicide because of alcohol and drugs.

Children have a tendency to over-estimate the harm of drugs with their peers, and parents tend under-estimate by thinking that everything going on with their kid and their environment is okay.

There are risks and signs of knowing when someone could or may be addicted to drugs. One way to tell is the family’s medical history. Also, if their mood iserratic, low self-esteem, and becoming dysfunctional.

“Look at grades, hygiene, and friends,” Menestrina said.

Ways to prevent the development of addiction to drugs is strong family morals, high expectations, a strong social bond, and religion, such as being part of a youth group. Parents can also remove prescription drugs from the medicine cabinet, safeguard medication at home. Other ideas also include warning their children or teens that taking prescription medication without supervision from a doctor, or overdosing can be just as dangerous and lethal as taking illegal drugs. Menestrina advises parents to supervise their child’s internet usage and talk to their child’s friend’s parents.

Alcohol was another issue in the presentation. A doctor can predict if a person is an alcoholic based on the chemistry of their brain. This then can cause alcohol related problems. In the year 2001, 1,700 college students died from them, 599,000 were injured,690,000 assaults, and 97,000 sexual assaults occurred as well based on Menestrina’s presentation.According to a poll taken of Livonia Youth, a social networking site, 80 percent have reported that they get alcohol from their older friends or siblings, and 62 percent from home without their parents knowing. 30 percent get alcohol from their parents and 23 percent get it from their friends’ parents. They only get away with this because 91 percent of them that were surveyed said that their parents were clueless, and 38 percent of them had said that their parents are okay with them drinking.

“This is why people come, like young people, to get more information about addiction and abuse,” Berlin said.

If you see someone with a possible abuse or addiction problem, stand up and speak out.

Use the Drug Tip Hotline at (586) 493-7830. Your information will remain 100 percent confidential.