Understanding Connections Between Substance Use and Other Life Problems

New online courses from Hazelden Betty Ford help people see how marijuana, alcohol and other substance use may be affecting their lives
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CENTER CITY, Minn. (August 25, 2021)—New online education courses offered by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation aim to help people who are questioning or confused about their substance use, or beginning to experience negative consequences—understand how marijuana, alcohol and other substance use can contribute to a myriad of life problems and how to make changes to prevent future consequences and reduce ongoing risks. "We want to help people recognize and address substance use issues as early as possible by providing them with an accessible, low-threshold opportunity to—first and foremost—learn and understand more about substance use disorders and how to prevent, mitigate and overcome them," said Heidi Martell, an experienced addiction and mental health counselor who supervises Hazelden Betty Ford's Risk Reduction Education Program. "Addiction is an all-too common health condition but it's one that often develops over time and is harder to recognize in oneself than other illnesses—especially early in its progression—which is why information, education and motivation are so important to taking those first steps toward any kind of change."  

Led by a certified instructor, the new courses are offered online in variable durations, ranging from eight to 24 hours, including a 12-hour cannabis-specific course. They are available nationwide and to people around the globe, utilizing Prime for Life®, an evidence-based motivational prevention, intervention and pretreatment program specifically designed for adults who make high-risk choices. With a self-directed version on the way, these courses will become the newest offerings in Hazelden Betty Ford's growing catalog of telehealth solutions.

"Historically, most substance use services have been designed to help those in late-stage addiction who have hit some sort of ‘rock bottom,' which is like waiting until people have a heart attack to help them with their heart disease. Our new Risk Reduction Education Courses are one way we're reaching more people and expanding earlier-stage options within our continuum of services—providing helpful, expert information and inviting compassionate, dignified conversations that can be a catalyst for change," said Joseph Lee, MD, president and CEO of Hazelden Betty Ford, the nation's largest nonprofit system of addiction treatment, mental health care, recovery resources and related prevention and education services.

Other resources and services now available include insurance-eligible virtual Intensive Outpatient addiction treatment; mental health care; a free one-day virtual Family Program, available in English and Spanish; a virtual Children's Program; and numerous digital recovery support tools, such as mobile apps, podcasts and an online peer community.

About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient addiction and mental health care for adults and youth, the Foundation has treatment centers and telehealth services nationwide as well as a network of collaborators throughout health care. Through charitable support and a commitment to innovation, the Foundation is able to continually enhance care, research, programs and services, and help more people. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in its services and throughout the organization, which also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction. Learn more at HazeldenBettyFord.org and on Twitter.