He added that alcohol is especially harmful to young people because it hampers developing brains. According to Ambers, education should begin at least by the freshman year of high school.
Ambers explained that addiction is challenging in general because it alters one’s mental capacity, physical being and spiritual center.
“The whole sense of right and wrong is corrupted, and it needs repaired,” he said. “The brain needs to heal, and it could take a year or longer.”
His worry is that people show little concern over the addiction epidemic because many believe that it will not happen to them. However, he believes with enough persistence from organizations such as the Grassroots Prevention Coalition of Clark County, more awareness will eventually happen.
He compared the efforts to another fight. When grassroots groups first targeted the tobacco industry, awareness eventually grew. He believes the same will happen with drug and alcohol use.
Julie Schwerer, director of Bliss House, agreed that awareness is the key. She also stressed the importance of educating parents of grown children who suffer from addiction because often the parents of the addict are enablers. While there are a variety of 12-step programs that are specifically for family members of addicts, Schwerer explained that it is a challenge to get them to attend.
Sgt. Jerry Goodin with the Indiana State Police agreed that it is critical to distribute the message of the dangers of substance abuse and alcohol abuse. As a member of law enforcement, he sees how the problem affects the safety of the community.
“I’m trying to help with solutions to get them from doing even doing the drugs and alcohol,” he said.
Sheryl has been clean for one year and eight months, and he hopes that through the coalition, others can receive the message to get help.
“I’m hoping that there are less deaths. This is a disease,” said Sheryl.