A Simple Saying: Savvy Saves Us

Written by Merlyn Karst

Definition of Savvy:  Having shrewdness and practical knowledge and the ability to make good judgments. . Synonyms include common sense, discernment, and understanding.  Being savvy is incredibly important. in living our daily lives. However, Savvy can’t serve us if it is displaced by the craving and pursuit of mind-altering drugs.  Unfortunately, it often leads to the mental health disorder called addiction. Unusable, savvy can’t save anything or anyone.  The costs incurred with drug addiction in areas of financial, mental and physical health, and family distress, is life changing. Much attention is being given to opiates. Also deserving of attention is that deaths of young adults in their twenties and thirties are increasing alarmingly due to cirrhosis of the liver, a very preventable disease. Also know that one can overdose on alcohol. It’s called alcohol poisoning. This is the result of the excessive use of the drug alcohol, accelerated through binge drinking.  Data show s that 88,000 deaths are related to the use of the drug alcohol.  The economic costs are estimated at over $250 billion per year. As one who has had the experience, this conclusive data doesn’t mean much to a family who loses a loved one. Alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful. It is out to kill but first wants to get you alone.  It is important to know that whether a drug that kills is legal or illegal—dead is dead.


FDA: “Too many kids” now experimenting with e-cigarettes. Vaping.  — the established new delivery system for drugs — is invading (invaping?) our youth culture. Primarily, the drug involved is nicotine but so is  marijuana. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and millions are spent to overcome the “habit”. It’s called addiction.  Marketers of vaping promote the idea that it may help to stop smoking; however, a vaping starter kit is offered for $16 at the same time. Note: one must be of legal “vaping” age — 18 or 21 — depending on the state.  Since when have the young paid attention to the legal age for drinking and drug use?  Though denied by makers, vaping is appealing to kids Young minds have no savvy to measure for risk assessment and diminished brain development and are unaware that chance of addiction is real. Nicotine is a drug that our brain receptors love and want more of. The young person finds a new feeling and the brain likes repetition. When I first heard about kids describing flavors they liked, I thought they must be talking about Jelly Bellies.  Flavors like cookies & cream, cups o’ peanut butter, bubble gum, mango, and cool cucumber. These are vaping flavors with kid appeal, delivered through an easily concealed system and laced with nicotine. Kids, of course, suggest they only vape for the flavors. I suggest Jelly Bellies or better yet, Life-Saver candies.


Individuals and families are living in quiet desperation due to alcohol and other drug mis-use and addiction. Addiction not only haunts those caught in its trap but the family as well—especially when kids are involved.  I remember a poster made by a child showing mom on the couch, arm flung out with empty bottle on the floor. Caption:  Mom naps a lot. What isn’t said but thought —why do I make her so tired?

In Colorado’s Betty Ford Children’s Program, boys and girls, seven to twelve years old, learn about alcoholism and drug abuse and how to separate the person they love from the disorder that consumes them.


There is help for those seeking support in dealing with drug addiction and certainly, for a parent suffering from addiction, which is the mental health related substance use disorder. (SUD).  Your Hub is a community service that provides a diverse amount of information about events, recognition, profiles, and resource information. There are many faces and places providing healing and hope. —faces to provide experience and peer support and—places to provide safety and comfort.  A new and growing community and corporate resource, Face it TOGETHER  (FIT) has opened a new facility at 636 South Broadway in Denver.  Advocates for Recovery (AFR) at 6981 Federal Blvd, Denver, provides welcoming faces and a place along with many social events. These organizations, along with the Peer Coach Academy, offer peer coach support and training.  Colorado’s Health and Human Services provides grant support to many agencies to provide recovery support services. The web is a great source of information as is various hot lines. The Colorado Alcohol and Drug help hotline is 844-244-3171.  Please seek support in dealing with a crisis that affects individuals and their families.




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