Friday, March 28, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) - Preventing Addiction

Kids are Doing a Lot More Than You Think, and at an Earlier Age

Recent studies show that the average child begins to drink and smoke cigarettes at age 13! This means that about half begin younger than that. Parents are rarely aware of this until their kids are several years older. By then the kids have begun other, even more dangerous activities such as drug use and underage sexual activity.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sue Scheff: A Search for Answers Inside America's Teenage Drug Epidemic

Author and mother, Meredity Maran, writes a very compelling story of her own struggles with her teen as well as taking an upclose and personal look at teen drug addiction.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sue Scheff: Early Alcohol Prevention

By Connect with Kids
“If you have your first drink before age 14, you're 4 times more likely to develop alcoholism in your life than if you wait until after age 20.”

– Susan Tapert, Ph.D.

By the sixth grade most kids are trading in their dolls and toys for other hobbies like organized sports, clubs at school, and endless hours on the Internet. But, according to new research, around age 11, some kids may be trading their barbies for booze. When do most kids start drinking alcohol? Kim was only 12 when she started.

“I was drinking and then I was smoking, and then I tried so many different drugs,” says Kim, 15.

“She was experimenting with drugs and liquor. We had to put all the liquor away in the house, and she was going to friends houses and sampling,” says Jim Skinner, Kim’s father.

According to a study by the University of Minnesota, one in six children start drinking by the sixth grade. Research shows the earlier kids start the more likely they are to become addicted.

“If you have your first drink before age 14, you’re 4 times more likely to develop alcoholism in your life than if you wait until after age 20,” says Susan Tapert, Ph.D.

That’s why, experts say, the first line of defense against alcohol and drugs is parents who talk to their kids often and start when they’re young.

“You know, I can’t tell you how many times parents come in and they have never, never approached the word drugs or alcohol with their kids. They just want to ignore it. If they ignore it- it will go away and their kid won’t be involved,” says Shirley Kaczmarski Ed.D., educational director.

“Let them know the risks of their behaviors, and what the consequences might be and you can help them with handling those situations, and knowing what to do in order to avoid them,” says Rhonda Jeffries, M.D., pediatrician.

After months in counseling and a year in a school for troubled teens Kim is now drug and alcohol free.

“I’m very proud of myself,” says Kim.

The study also found the earlier kids start drinking, the less receptive they are to alcohol prevention programs.

Tips for Parents

Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows the function of the central nervous system. Alcohol actually blocks some of the messages trying to get to the brain. This alters a person's perceptions, emotions, movement, vision, and hearing. (Nemours Foundation)

An effective way for parents to show care and concern is to openly discuss the use and possible abuse of alcohol and other drugs with their teenager.

Warning signs of teenage alcohol and drug abuse may include:

Physical: Fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes, and a lasting cough.

Emotional: personality change, sudden mood changes, irritability, irresponsible behavior, low self-esteem, poor judgment, depression, and a general lack of interest.

Family: starting arguments, breaking rules, or withdrawing from the family.

School: decreased interest, negative attitude, drop in grades, many absences, truancy, and discipline problems.

Social problems: new friends who are less interested in standard home and school activities, problems with the law, and changes to less conventional styles in dress and music.

The Consequences of Underage Drinking:

(National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

A person who begins drinking as a young teen is four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than someone who waits until adulthood to use alcohol.

During adolescence significant changes occur in the body, including the formation of new networks in the brain. Alcohol use during this time may affect brain development.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 20, and the rate of fatal crashes among alcohol-involved drivers between 16 and 20 years old is more than twice the rate for alcohol-involved drivers 21 and older. Alcohol use also is linked with youthful deaths by drowning, suicide, and homicide.

Alcohol use is associated with many adolescent risk behaviors, including other drug use and delinquency, weapon carrying and fighting, and perpetrating or being the victim of date rape.
Identifying adolescents at greatest risk can help stop problems before they develop. And innovative, comprehensive approaches to prevention, such as Project Northland, are showing success in reducing experimentation with alcohol as well as the problems that accompany alcohol use by young people. (NIAAA)


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Nemours Foundation

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Rage and Teen Violence

"I don't care what you say I am doing what I want to do! I hate you and you just don't want me to have fun!" "All my friends are allowed to stay out late; you are mean and want to ruin my life!" "You have no idea how I feel and you are only making it worse!" When a difficult teen is out of control, they only can hear themselves and what they want. It is usually their way or no way! There are so many factors that can contribute to these feelings. The feelings are very real and should be addressed as soon as you see that your child is starting to run the household. Teen Anger may lead to Teen Rage and Teen Violence which can soon destroy a family.

Again, local therapist* can help your family diagnosis what is causing the negative behavior patterns. Conduct Disorder is one of the many causes to harmful behavior. Many times you will find a need for a positive and safe program to help the teen realize where these hurtful outbursts are stemming from. Parents tell us constantly, they are looking for a "Boot Camp" to achieve their mission to make their child "pay" for the pain they are putting the family through. In some cases this can create a Violent Teen.

We feel that when you place a negative child into a negative atmosphere, most children only gain resentment and more anger. There are some cases that it has been effective; however we do not refer to any Boot Camps. We believe in a Positive Peer Culture for teen help to build your child back up from the helplessness they feel.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sue Scheff: Smoking Pot and Lung Damage

By Connect with Kids

“This latest study shows that you have destruction of lung tissue, reduction of lung vital capacity and a decreased ability to exhale if you smoke marijuana. What’s probably the most disturbing part of this latest article is that it shows that a cigarette is really much less potent than a joint of marijuana.”

– Fadlo Khuri, M.D., oncologist

According to the latest Monitoring the Future report, more than 40 percent of 12-graders have experimented with marijuana. In fact, it is the most commonly-abused illegal drug. While parents, teachers and physicians have been warning kids about pot for years, new information shows it’s even more dangerous than we thought.

Andrew was 14 years old when he first tried pot.

“I didn’t even inhale it all the way, I just took it into my mouth, but I loved the taste. I knew that I liked it,” says Andrew Wolpa, 18.

From there he experimented with alcohol, painkillers, mushrooms and almost every drug -- except one.

“I never smoked cigarettes because those things will kill ya, you know,” says Wolpa.

But according to a study by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, smoking one marijuana joint is equal to smoking five cigarettes at the same time.

“This latest study shows that you have destruction of lung tissue, reduction of lung vital capacity and a decreased ability to exhale if you smoke marijuana. What’s probably the most disturbing part of this latest article is that it shows that a cigarette is really much less potent than a joint of marijuana,” says Fadlo Khuri, M.D., oncologist.

And he says smoking pot can lead to emphysema and lung cancer.

“That’s a real problem because we only cure about 15 to 17 percent of all the people who present with lung cancer nowadays. So this is a disease in which you have a 1-in-6 chance of surviving it for five years or longer,” says Khuri.

Khuri says that talking about painful and serious diseases is one way to persuade kids not to use marijuana.

“Confronting them with the data, showing them what the outcomes are with lung cancer and emphysema, with what some individuals would consider even moderate marijuana or cigarette use,” says Khuri.

Andrew says even though he’s in rehab, he’s not ready to quit.

“I don’t want to be clean yet. I’m not there,” says Wolpa.

Tips for Parents

From the Nemours Foundation:

Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the United States. It is a dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves of the plant Cannabis Sativa. A stronger form of marijuana called hashish (hash) looks like brown or black cakes or balls. Street names for marijuana include pot, herb, weed, grass, Jane, reefer, dope, and ganja.

Marijuana is typically smoked in cigarettes (joints or spliffs), hollowed-out cigars (blunts), pipes (bowls), or water pipes (bongs). Some people mix it into food or brew it as a tea.

Marijuana is just as damaging to your lungs as cigarettes – and some reports show that it is even worse. Steady users suffer coughs, wheezing, frequent colds, and respiratory infections, such as bronchitis.

There are more than 400 known chemicals in marijuana. A single joint contains four times as much cancer-causing tar as a filtered cigarette. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)


Nemours Foundation
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sue Scheff: Abuse of Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drugs

Generation Rx: The Dangers Of Legal Drugs

Many parents have had “the drug talk” with their children … warning them about illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. But did you know that kids today are getting high using over-the-counter (OTC) drugs such as cold tablets and cough syrup? They are also using prescription pain pills – stealing them from their parents or buying them online – as well as taking other kids’ ADD medicines or selling their own. Just because these drugs are legal, they can still be highly addictive, physically harmful and even deadly. Many kids don’t know that. Parents have to teach them. Generation Rx will show you what you need to know.

Could your child be abusing OTC drugs or prescription pills? Would you know what to look for? Could you tell the warning signs if your child was high on these drugs? In Generation Rx you’ll hear true stories from real kids who thought it was safer to use drugs from drugstores or pills that doctors prescribe ... and didn’t realize they could get hooked or hurt.

Generation Rx will help families learn the facts about OTC and Rx drugs – and why they can be just as lethal as illegal drugs. Parents will learn the types of situations kids get themselves into with drugs like these. You’ll hear from other parents who had no idea … until their children were already involved with drugs. And most importantly, you will learn the steps to take to help keep your child off legal drugs.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Sue Scheff: Preventing Addiction - Giving Kids Ways to Say NO to Drugs

A generation ago, with the idea to prevent drug addition for future generations, former first lady Nancy Reagan launched her famous anti-drug campaign with the slogan, “just say no to drugs.” Sadly, addiction and drugs still plague our children despite the best efforts of educators and parents. The benefits of drug prevention are real but our approach to prevention has not been successful.

Now, drug and alcohol prevention research is available from Dr. John Fleming in the book Preventing Addiction. In this first-of-its-kind book, Dr. Fleming introduces real ideas to prevent drug use and alcohol consumption in our children based on medical science and on Dr. Fleming’s personal experience as a parent of four grown children. He helps to fully explain the phenomenon of addiction and shows parents the best new ways to raise and train children to avoid drug and alcohol addiction.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

(Sue Scheff) Self Control and Quitting (Teenage Smoking)

By Connect with Kids

“It was nerve-wracking, because you’re really thinking about it. It becomes your primary focus. It was all I could think about. The only thing I wanted to do was have a cigarette.”

– R.J. Williams, 22

Quitting smoking requires a lot of self-control. So does sticking to a diet, doing well in school, learning a new musical instrument, exercising regularly, and more. But if you focus on one of these tasks, will you have enough discipline for another? New research says maybe not.

R.J. Williams started smoking at 18. In less than a month, he was hooked.

“Probably within two to three weeks. You start thinking about it more and more, and then before you know it, it’s like, ‘Man, I want to smoke,’” says Williams, 22.

After four years, R.J. quit cold turkey. But smoking was all he could think about.

“It was nerve-wracking, because you’re really thinking about it. It becomes your primary focus. It was all I could think about. The only thing I wanted to do was have a cigarette,” says Williams.

Brain researchers at the University of Toronto found that resisting temptation uses energy in the “self-control” part of the brain -- so much so that it’s hard to give up something else simultaneously. For example, it’s not easy to quit smoking and go on a diet at the same time. Experts say that giving up tobacco requires even more self-control because it is actually three addictions rolled into one.

“There is a social addiction, a physical addiction and a psychological addiction that goes along with tobacco,” says Ramona Bennett, tobacco cessation coordinator.

That’s why she says getting your teen to quit smoking may require more than just a lecture.

“It may mean that they need treatment of some sort. They might need counseling. They may even need other help such as nicotine replacement therapy,” says Bennett.

Williams says what helped him most was a diversion.

“If I wanted a cigarette I would just exercise and do something. That helped me,” says Williams.

Tips for Parents

Realize that a smoking addiction can happen fast. Teens are at risk for becoming addicted to cigarettes soon after they learn to inhale. That’s when nicotine starts getting into their bloodstream. If you discover your child smoking, don’t dismiss the behavior as a passing phase. (Ramona Bennett, tobacco cessation coordinator, Georgia Division of Public Health)

Try to find your teen a tobacco cessation program in your area. Often, the programs are based in schools. (Ramona Bennett, tobacco cessation coordinator, Georgia Division of Public Health)

If your child is trying to quit smoking, ask your doctor to consider prescribing nicotine replacement therapy. According to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teens who use a nicotine patch are eight times more likely to quit smoking than those who use a placebo patch. Teens who use nicotine gum are almost three times more likely to quit than those who use placebo gum. Your doctor can determine the correct dose. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Since teens are often unable to see the long-term consequences of smoking, explain to them the current effects to their health. Nicotine is a stimulant that causes their heart rate to increase and their blood pressure to go up. Also, nicotine will change the chemistry of their brain, leading to addiction. Quitting smoking can improve the shortness of breath often felt during exercise. (Ramona Bennett, tobacco cessation coordinator, Georgia Division of Public Health)

Help teens understand that if they resist the urge to smoke, eventually it will pass. The urge to smoke will come back, but they must fight the urge each and every time. (Ramona Bennett, tobacco cessation coordinator, Georgia Division of Public Health)

Teens may need counseling to help break the addiction. The counselor can help them come up with a plan to deal with the physical, mental and social aspects of the addiction. (Ramona Bennett, tobacco cessation coordinator, Georgia Division of Public Health)


National Institute on Drug Abuse, Teen Tobacco Addiction Treatment Research Clinic
Ramona Bennett. tobacco cessation coordinator, Georgia Division of Public Health
Centers for Disease Control

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts: What your kids are doing shouldn't be a mystery

Who’s pressuring your kids? Who’s offering them alcohol or drugs? Who’s talking to them on the Internet? Whether we’re teachers, parents, counselors…sometimes we just don’t know what’s really going on in a child’s life.

If you want to talk to your kids about the challenges they face, but aren’t sure what to say, our programs will help…with real kids sharing their true stories, and advice from experts, educators and parents who have “been there.”

Click here for a fantastic educational resource to help you help your kids!

Do you have a struggling teen? At risk teens? Defiant Teen? Teen Depression? Problem Teen? Difficult Teen? Teen Rage? Teen Anger? Teen Drug Use? Teen Gangs? Teen Runaways? Bipolar? ADD/ADHD? Disrespectful Teen? Out of Control Teen? Peer Pressure?

Find about more about Boarding Schools, Military Schools, Christian Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment Centers, and Therapeutic Boarding Schools.