Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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June 20, 2011

Drug and Alcohol Abuse After a Disaster

PIERRE, S.D. -- Capital Area Counseling, with offices located in Pierre, wants family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers to be aware of signs and symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse after a disaster.

“The stress and anxiety people experience following a disaster will vary,” said Dennis Pfrimmer, CEO of Capital Area Counseling. “Many people may adopt or resume unhealthy coping strategies after a disaster. They may be abusing substances because of their disaster experiences. Even for people who have had long periods of abstinence from alcohol or drugs, stress is a very powerful trigger for relapse.”

Someone you know might have a problem with alcohol and drugs if:

  • They frequently wind up under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  • They are uncomfortable when alcohol or other drugs are not available. They have a few extra drinks before the evening begins that others don’t know about.
  • They regret things they’ve said or done when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • They handle all social celebrations with alcohol or other drugs.
  • They drink alcohol or use other drugs heavily after a confrontation or argument.
  • When faced with a problem, their immediate reaction is to drink or use other drugs.
  • Drinking or using other drugs changes their personality: from shy to outgoing or vice versa.
  • It takes more alcohol or other drugs than it used to, to get the same effect.
  • They miss work because of their substance abusing behavior.
  • They’ve been arrested for driving under the influence.
  • They’re angry or alarmed when others mention their substance abusing behavior.
  • Their hands shake in the morning.
  • They feel alone, scared, miserable or depressed.

Professionals are available for call-in and walk-in assistance if you or any of your family members, friends, neighbors or co-workers need to speak with someone about the consumption of alcohol and/or drug usage due to the recent flooding. All information is confidential.

Capital Area Counseling is coordinating the local behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse) crisis response with support from surrounding communities and other statewide partners. Individuals and families who have been impacted by the flood and are dealing with stress, anxiety, fear and other behavioral health issues are encouraged to seek professional assistance. Counseling is currently available at no cost to those who are being impacted by this disaster in Pierre and Fort Pierre.

  • Contact information:
    Dennis Pfrimmer
    Phone: 605-224-5811 (office hours) / 605-295-2311 (any time)
    Locations: 803 E. Dakota Ave. and 2510 E. Franklin St.