Arvin is a small but prevalent city in Kern County, in the state of California. Arvin is located about 15 miles southeast of the larger city of Bakersfield, at an elevation of about 449 feet.  As of the 2010 census, as reported by the United States Census Bureau, the population was 19,304, up from 12,956 at the 2000 census.  The population boom has been attributed to the increasing strength of the economy there.

In the year of 2007, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), listed Arvin as having the highest levels of smog of any community in the United States, in spite of efforts taken in the city to do something about it. The city’s level of ozone, smog’s primary component, exceeded the EPA’s acceptable limits an average of 73 days per year between 2004 and 2006.  This tanked property values here, which caused a population boom in the area.  The economy also improved as a result of it.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Arvin

Being that Arvin is a busy, and bustling middle-class city, the city also has been suffering with intensive and increasing substance abuse too, as has been all other cities in California for that matter.  It’s an epidemic across the nation too.  For example:

• A substance abuse problem is generally speaking measured by the number of people affected by it. In the United States, there are 25 million Americans who are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

• This might not seem like a huge number but considering the overall population of the country, it is actually quite concerning. When put into perspective of a per capita nature, about one out of every 13 Americans is addicted to drugs or alcohol, which certainly makes the issue a lot more disturbing.

• This means that statistically speaking every single American has at some point in their lives crossed paths to some degree with an addict, about one out of every five Americans has had a close relation with an addict, and one out of every 10 Americans was in some way adversely affected by a drug or alcohol abuser.

The Solution

Drug and alcohol addiction has definitely made a strong appearance in Arvin.  But if one is concerned about the possibility of a family member or loved one abusing drugs and alcohol, how does one make absolutely certain as to whether or not this is the case or not?  Obviously, you would want to know for sure before you confronted your loved one, to avoid the potentials for denial or for a very awkward and embarrassing moment.

The truth of the matter is while experimenting with drugs doesn’t automatically lead to drug “addiction”, necessarily, early use is definitely a risk factor for developing a more serious addiction later. That’s why you want to catch it early on – if you can.  The risk of drug abuse also increases greatly during times of transition too, such as changing schools, moving, or divorce, so watch out for these factors in the lives of people who you already are suspicious of. The challenge for parents of potential users and for other family members and loved ones of potential users is to distinguish between the normal, often volatile, ups and downs of just life in general and the rampant, distinguished, and very worrisome red flags of substance abuse.

Some of these signs include, (especially as pertains to teens as they are the most troubling drug use demographic in Arvin):

• Having bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils; using eye drops to try to mask these signs
• Skipping class; declining grades; suddenly getting into trouble at school
• Missing money, valuables, or prescriptions
• Acting uncharacteristically isolated, withdrawn, angry, or depressed
• Dropping one group of friends for another; being secretive about the new peer group
• Loss of interest in old hobbies; lying about new interests and activities
• Demanding more privacy; locking doors; avoiding eye contact; sneaking around

So, when these signs are seen and noted, what does a parent or family member in Arvin do to handle the situation?  Here are five steps to take:

1. Lay down rules and consequences with the individual.  Don’t be a tyrant about it, but make your point known.  Ultimately, your teen should understand that using drugs comes with specific consequences, bad ones too. Don’t ever make hollow threats or set rules on your teen that you cannot enforce, or it will ruin your position of authority with them.

2. Monitor your teen’s activity and really keep an eye on them now. Know where your teen goes and who he or she hangs out with and weigh in heavily on their decisions. It’s also important to routinely check potential hiding places for drugs too, like in backpacks, between books on a shelf, in DVD cases, or make-up cases, or in furniture or on their person even. If the problem persists, it’s time for rehab.

3. Encourage other interests and social activities that aren’t drug or alcohol-related. Expose your teen to healthy hobbies and activities, such as team sports and after-school clubs and other extracurricular activities.  Get them involved in groups.

When it all comes down to it, rehabilitation will be necessary if they don’t stop abusing drugs and alcohol immediately.  If it comes down to it, you might have to send them off to rehab to actually address their addiction problem properly.  Keep this in mind, and be ready to do this if necessary.