Drug Usage and Deaf People
We tend to
ignore those who do not affect our lives. Most people don't see the
influence that other cultures have on their own. If members of another culture
aren't communicating with us, then we think nothing of them. They mean
nothing to us. There is a lack of knowledge regarding how to
interact with Deaf people. This lack of knowledge leads to fewer
resources being made available to help Deaf individuals in need of
assistance. Deaf individuals make due with a fraction of the
resources that Hearing people do in the world. As you're walking up
to a cash register in a store, you don't see someone signing to you.
In a hospital a doctor isn't signing to you either. The lack of
people knowing sign language affects the Deaf.
Communicating with others is necessary for a healthy way of life.
often have a lack of drug awareness. Drugs affect a Deaf person's
body the same as they do a hearing person. Drugs enter the blood
stream and take control of the brain. It affects the way people feel
and the way they act. They can cause a lot of damage to the body.
is often a big problem when a Deaf child has Hearing parents. Deaf
children have a hard time telling their parents what is going on in
their life. This makes the connection between the child and the
parents almost nonexistent. When a Hearing child is using drugs the
parents can see the symptoms by the way the child doesn't talk or by
a change in language or behavior. A Deaf child doesn't talk to their
parents and often shies away already. Their symptoms are often over
looked and not recognized as a problem. Deaf children often face
more stress in their lives then Hearing children. This stress can
often lead to drug abuse. They can't communicate to just anybody.
The lack of friends, the lack of love and being accepted by others
is every stressful. This stress will often lead to drug use. Deaf
people have a hard time going into programs for drug abuse. Many
services aren't available. Unlike Hearing people they cannot
communicate in sessions without an interpreter. It's hard enough to
find and get through a drug abuse program. Finding a program and
being able to get through that program while being Deaf is another
obstacle in itself. Additionally, many Deaf people find it hard to
find transitional living after residential living. There are few
programs that will work with the Deaf.
When a Deaf
person is being arrested they have no one they can communicate with
to help them understand what is going on. The officer may be reading
their rights but is anyone signing to them? How much will they
understand? Judges and others will often use a piece of paper and a
pen to communicate to a Deaf person in court. They may provide
information in written form to the Deaf person about the trial.
There is very little help for the Deaf to go through this process.
While a Deaf person is in prison they are often attacked by other
inmates not for being different but for not being able to talk.
Other inmates think Deaf people are being disrespectful, when not
being able to understand commands. Some prisons do not have a
telecommunication device for the Deaf (TTY). That makes it
hard to communicate with loved ones.
There needs to
be more common knowledge of the Deaf. Interpreters are needed
in all court rooms. Deaf children need to have knowledge of drug
abuse. Programs for Deaf people with drug abuse issues need to be
established. Some big cities are trying to help the Deaf population
with substance abuse. They're coming up with tools to help the Deaf
better communicate but funding is a problem. Funding needs to be
available to such programs to better serve the Deaf community.
Bitco David(2012,June.5).CrimeDime. Crimedime.com/2012/06/05/Deaf-in-prison-what-challenges-do-Deaf-inmates-face/
Fesler, Nathan(2009, April.4). Drug Problem Among Deaf and Hard
of Hearing Individuals .www.mncdDeaf.org/articles/problem_ad.htm
Harvel, Wayne(2008, March.27). Substance abuse and the Deaf --ASL
You can learn American
Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™
by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars