Drug Addiction Among The Deaf

Drug And Alcohol Abuse

Today kids grow up learning about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. They are taught to abstain and just say no. But that wasn’t always the case, especially not 30 years ago. Drugs could be a fascinating mystery to the right person.

That means a lot of people tried drugs without knowing what was involved. They did not think it could lead to addiction. They did not realize what they were giving up or giving into. Thankfully nowadays there is a lot of information out there about drugs.

The internet is a big part of why it is so much easier to gather the facts. People aren’t so easily duped anymore.

One In Seven

The National Association on Alcohol, Drugs, and Disability estimates that one in seven deaf people in the United States suffers from substance dependency, compared to one in ten hearing people.

Only a small amount of these people are receiving the help that they need. Problems of communicating are the most significant barrier.

Deaf people can get frustrated as is trying to explain themselves to hearing people. Add in addiction and withdrawal symptoms, and it can be downright impossible. Deaf people find the struggle to communicate not worth the effort. This can lead to fatality from withdrawal or overdose.

Communication Issues

There is a strong problem in the deaf community when it comes to drug addiction. It has been proven that they have more of a problem seeking help. The programs set to help addicts are for those with hearing, and even when they try to help deaf people it isn’t good enough.

There isn’t enough accessibility to the deaf for substance abuse treatment.

There are support groups specifically designed for deaf people, but they are few. Some treatment centers have special services, but not many.

Communication is the main issue for deaf people. If the first thing they have to do is call a treatment center on the phone, there is already a barrier. It can make sense that what is hard for an addict to do is almost impossible for a deaf addict.

What Can Be Done To Help Deaf Addicts

There are lots of steps that can be taken to help deaf addicts better. It can help to train staff to deal with TTY functions on phones.

It can also help to have interpreters who are certified. Often well-meaning individuals offer to translate but aren’t particularly good at it. That can be frustrating for deaf people.

It isn’t surprising to note that there are more addicts in the deaf community than the population as a whole. They have a smaller sample size, so it’s more likely to be common.

Deaf people are less likely to be appropriately informed about drugs. They are less likely to hear of dangers by casual conversation.

Not much of the very necessary anti-drug information is catered to deaf people. This can leave them uninformed.

This just means we need to work harder to find ways to communicate the dangers of drugs to deaf people. It wouldn’t be hard to help make treatment easier to seek. No one should ever fall through the cracks.