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Warning Signs For Substance Abuse

August 10, 2011, 5:33 PM by Don Jorgensen

Warning Signs For Substance Abuse
SIOUX FALLS, SD - With less than two weeks until the first day of school, the DUI arrest of a South Dakota superintendent is raising questions.

A trooper picked up Lance Witte Friday night on Interstate 90.  It's the fifth DUI arrest on the Wessington Springs superintendent's record. 

KELOLAND News has contacted Witte, the district and school board members. But at this point, no one will comment on how the district is responding to the latest accusations.

People in KELOLAND may be shocked to hear about Lance Witte's troubles. But experts say his story is not all that uncommon and that sometimes people have to hit rock bottom before they seek help.

Nearly 23 million Americans have a problem with drugs or alcohol. But oftentimes, those people don't seek help. 

"It's probably one of the most difficult things for people to do is admit they have a problem," Executive Director of Face It Together Sioux Falls Mary Hitzmann said.

Hitzmann says alcoholism is a disease that isn't mentioned in public often; that's because of the label that's attached to it: alcoholic. 

"If there are individuals who have problems with drugs or alcohol, they can very quickly be stigmatized or made to feel ashamed or fearful that they may have a problem," Hitzmann said. 

For that reason, many don't seek help. Hitzmann says there are warning signs that shouldn't be ignored. 

"If their habit of drinking and/or using substances other than alcohol causing problems with their relationships, with their responsibilities at their jobs with family and friends, are they having financial and legal issues and are they finding they're having difficulty not drinking when they say they want to stop drinking," Hitzmann said.

If you or someone you know thinks they have a problem, you can contact Face It Together Sioux Falls at 605-274-2262 or www.faceitsiouxfalls.org

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