Friday, August 29, 2008

Mom's Advice May Curb Binge Drinking




“My mom is very level-headed, and she knows (I drink). She is very realistic.”

– Erik, college sophomore

College parties involving alcohol are common nationwide, and about one-quarter of all college students are binge drinkers. Twenty-year-old Erik says he is not a binge drinker, and one big reason is a conversation his mother had with him in the summer before his freshman year. “She told me, ‘I’m not na├»ve. I know you are going to drink. Just drink in moderation, don’t be stupid,’” Erik says.

That kind of warning, and particularly its timeliness, can be very effective, according to a study from Boise State University in Idaho. If mothers talk to their teens about alcohol during the period between high school and college, kids listen, the study found.

After one or more conversations with mom, the odds that a college student will binge drink fell from an estimated one-in-four, to as low as one-in-ten, according to the Idaho study.

A lot of what moms tell us as we grow up tends to stick with us for years, says Gary Santavicca, a family psychologist. “Whether we agree with or want to hear something that she has to say, typically since mother occupies such an important role in our lives, we are going to recall things that she communicates strongly and clearly to us,” Santavicca says.

The Idaho study also tested the effectiveness of specific warnings some mothers gave their kids. Most effective, moms should explain that drinking only makes problems worse, not better. Also, they should put into plain words how drinking could get teens in trouble with police, and how being caught drinking might lead to the publication of their arrest in the newspaper.

Erik says every time he drinks, he remembers what his mother told him about alcohol. “What bounces around in my head when I go to parties, use your head, and have a DD. All the time. Designated Driver all the time, that’s the most important thing,” Erik says.

Tips for Parents

Numerous studies conducted in recent years have noted the prevalence and dangers associated with binge drinking among college students. For example, some studies have revealed that the highest proportion of drinkers, heavy drinkers, and individuals with multiple substance dependencies have tended to be concentrated within the usual age range for college students.

According to research, some of the risks of binge drinking episodes include:

unplanned sexual activity
alcohol-related driving injuries and fatalities
sexual and physical assaults
date rape
physical injury
criminal mischief
property damage
trouble with campus and local police
Researchers have also found evidence for a relationship between parental characteristics and teen drinking tendencies. Some of the parental characteristics and beliefs associated with less teen drinking tendencies include:

parents' attitudes and beliefs about teens not drinking
limited parental alcohol consumption
parental disapproval approval of teen alcohol consumption
parental modeling of appropriate behavior
parental monitoring of the teenager
the quality of the parent—teen relationship
family management practices
parent—friend compatibility

A study, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, shows evidence that discussions of the risks of binge drinking between mothers and teens in the summer immediately preceding the adolescent’s first year of college can help to reduce or prevent binge drinking episodes for those teens. The researchers found that student beliefs about the positive or negative effects of drinking predicted binge-drinking activities. Specifically, if students believe that drinking improved their social behavior or lifestyle, they were more likely to use alcohol and have a tendency to binge drink. According to the authors of the study, however, if mothers talked with students about the negative effects of alcohol and the consequences of drinking, the teens were less likely to do so. In fact, additional preliminary studies indicate that one or more mother-teen discussions before attending college can reduce the statistical risk of those students participating in binge drinking activities from 20% to 10%.

The influence of parents on their teenage children’s use and abuse of alcohol can be very strong. The following suggestions, excerpted from a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism publication, provide ideas for ways that parents can positively influence their teens’ alcohol related behaviors.

Monitor alcohol use in the home

Connect with other parents to discuss potential alcohol problems among peer groups

Keep track of your teen’s activities, particularly after-school and on weekends.

Develop family rules about teen drinking. Incorporate family values and beliefs about appropriate behavior into the family rules for drinking.

Set a good example. Modeling appropriate behavior in the use of alcohol (i.e. don’t drink and drive) can be an important teaching tool to help your teen with drinking related decisions.

Don’t support teen drinking.

Help your child build healthy relationships.

Encourage healthy alternatives to alcohol.

References
Boise State University
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Teen Substance Abuse by Sue Scheff - Parents Universal Resource Experts


With today's society, kids have access to many different substances that can be addictive and damaging. If you suspect your child is using drugs or drinking alcohol, please seek help for them as soon as possible. Drug testing is helpful, but not always accurate. Teen Drug use and Teen Drinking may escalate to addiction.


We get calls constantly, that a child is only smoking pot. Unfortunately in most cases, marijuana can lead to more severe drugs, and marijuana is considered an illegal drug. Smoking marijuana is damaging to the child's body, brain and behavior. Even though marijuana is not considered a narcotic, most teens are very hooked on it. Many teens that are on prescribed medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera, Concerta, Zoloft, Prozac etc. are more at risk when mixing these medications with street drugs. It is critical you speak with your child about this and learn all the side effects. Educating your child on the potential harm may help them to understand the dangers involved in mixing prescription drugs with street drugs. Awareness is the first step to understanding.


Alcohol is not any different with today's teens. Like adults, some teens use the substances to escape their problems; however they don't realize that it is not an escape but rather a deep dark hole. Some teens use substances to "fit in" with the rest of their peers – teen peer pressure. This is when a child really needs to know that they don't need to "fit in" if it means hurting themselves. Using drug and alcohol is harming them. Especially if a teen is taking prescribed medication (refer to the above paragraph) teen drinking can be harmful. The combination can bring out the worse in a person. Communicating with your teen, as difficult as it can be, is one of the best tools we have. Even if you think they are not listening, we hope eventually they will hear you.


If your teen is experimenting with this, please step in and get proper help through local resources. If it has extended into an addiction, it is probably time for a Residential Placement. If you feel your child is only experimenting, it is wise to start precautions early. An informed parent is an educated parent. This can be your life jacket when and if you need the proper intervention. Always be prepared, it can save you from rash decisions later.


A teen that is just starting to experiment with substance use or starting to become difficult; a solid short term self growth program may be very beneficial for them. However keep in mind, if this behavior has been escalating over a length of time, the short term program may only serve as a temporary band-aid.


Drugs and Alcoholic usage is definitely a sign that your child needs help. Teen Drug Addiction and Teen Drinking is a serious problem in today’s society; if you suspect your child is using substances, especially if they are on prescribed medications, start seeking local help. If the local resources become exhausted, and you are still experiencing difficulties, it may be time for the next step; Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Problem Parents Contribute to Teen Drug Use


Source: LA Times


A survey on substance abuse among teens was released this morning that really lowers the boom on parents. The annual survey from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University calls out parents for contributing to drug and alcohol use among kids ages 12 to 17. Some parents fail to monitor their children's activities, do not safeguard medications at home that can be used for abuse, and do not set good examples for their kids, the report said. Almost half of the teens surveyed -- a nationally representative sample of 1,002 teens and 312 of their parents -- said they leave the house to hang out with friends on school nights. Among those teens, half who come home after 10 p.m. said they had been drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana or doing other drugs. Just under 30% of those who come home between 8 and 10 p.m. said they had been drinking or using drugs. In contrast, only 14% of the parents said their teens leave the house to hang out with friends on school nights.


Who is telling the truth? The report suggests that parents are pretty clueless about their kids' schedules and how they spend their free time.


"Every mother and father should look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are doing the parenting essential to help their child negotiate the difficult teen years free of tobacco, alcohol and drugs," said Elizabeth Planet, CASA's director of special projects.


CASA president and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph A. Califano said this:


"Preventing substance abuse among teens is primarily a mom and pop operation. It is inexcusable that so many parents fail to appropriately monitor their children, fail to keep dangerous prescription drugs out of the reach of their children and tolerate drug infected schools. The parents who smoke marijuana with children should be considered child abusers. By identifying the characteristics of problem parents we seek to identify the actions that parents can take -- and avoid -- in order to become part of the solution and raise healthy, drug-free children."


No one said parenting was easy, and parents in the survey said overwhelmingly that it's harder today to keep kids safe and raise them with good moral character than it was in previous generations. Resources to help and support parents are available, such as those that can be found on the CASA website. Also, try the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Youth Anti-Drug media campaign for more resources.


It would probably be helpful for all of us who are parents to get our heads out of the sand. Times change, and the culture kids are growing up in today is different from back in our day. For example, the survey also found these hair-raising trends:


For the first time in the survey's 13-year history, more teens said prescription drugs were easier to buy than beer.


42% of the teens said they can buy marijuana in a day or less.


One-quarter of teens said they know a parent of a classmate or friend who uses marijuana and 10% of those teens said this parent smokes marijuana with teens.


Half of the teens ages 16 and 17 said that among their age group smoking marijuana is more common than smoking cigarettes.


Of the teens who drink, almost 30% said their drink of choice was hard liquor mixed with soda or something sweet compared with 16% who said they prefer beer.
-- Shari Roan

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cool Parenting Articles and Blogs on Today's Teens


Vanessa is an amazing young adult and author that creates a website of vast information to help parents with today's teens - visit - http://www.onteenstoday.com/ for more!


By Vanessa Van Petten


As some of you know, I have started a private social network for some of my favorite mom and dad bloggers and website owners from around the web called Parents Who Click. This is a truly awesome group of individuals who are working tirelessly to promote positive family values, put out helpful advice and make good connections for families and youth.


Once or twice a month I will be featuring and highlighting some of their websites along with some of their helpful articles for you to see (so you do not have to go RSS to a bajillion different websites). They also are constantly pointing out great sites and tips to me, which I will bring to you.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Teens Say School Pressure Is Main Reason For Drug Use

Source: digtriad.com, Triad, NC


New York — A new study reveals a troubling new insight into the reasons why teens use drugs.The study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-free America shows that of 6,511 teens, 73% report that school stress and pressure is the main reason for drug use.

Ironically, only 7% of parents believe that teens use drugs to cope with stress.


Second on the list was to “feel cool” (73%), which was previously ranked in the first position. Another popular reason teens said they use drugs was to “feel better about themselves”(65%).Over the past decade, studies have indicated a steady changing trend in what teens perceive as the motivations for using drugs. The “to have fun” rationales are declining, while motivations to use drugs to solve problems are increasing.

On the positive side, the study confirms that overall abuse remains in a steady decline among teens. Marijuana, ecstasy, inhalants, methamphetamine alcohol and cigarette usage continue to decrease.

Additional findings show:

- 1 in 5 teens has abused a prescription medication- Nearly 1 in 5 teens has already abused a prescription painkiller- 41% of teens think it’s safer to abuse a precription drug than it is to use illegal drugs.

Teens continue to take their lives into their own hands when they intentionally abuse prescribed medications, said Pasierb. “Whether it’s to get high or deal with stress, or if they mistakenly believe it will help them perform better in school or sports, teens don’t realize that when used without a prescription, these medicines can be every bit as harmful as illegal street drugs.”

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Exercise Reduces Drug Use

By Connect with Kids

Studies show that children that are involved in activities and have less time on their hands tend to stay away from drugs easier than kids than kids that have nothing to do after school.”

– David Karol Gore, Phd., Psychologist

17-year old Mururi began using drugs at an early age.

“I mean it started off only on weekends when I was twelve but by thirteen, I was like, ‘I need to get high man. This is boring.’”

Boredom. Researchers at Davidson College studied the affects of cocaine and exercise on rats. They found that when rats get more exercise, they want less cocaine than those who don’t exercise at all.

Experts say, in humans, exercise has the same effect on the reward systems of the brain as do drugs.

Still, as family psychologist, David Karol Gore explains, the way exercise prevents some kids from using drugs may be as simple as this: “Studies show that children that are involved in activities and have less time on their hands tend to stay away from drugs easier than kids than kids that have nothing to do after school.”

His advice?

“Look real carefully at what their teenagers are doing. They need to see how involved they are in activities and if they are not what are they doing with their time.”

Tips for Parents

A study from Columbia University shows that youth who are bored and who have access to extra cash are more likely to abuse drugs. For their study, researchers with the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse surveyed 1,987 children aged 12 to 17 and 504 parents, 403 of whom were parents of the surveyed children. They found that kids who are frequently bored are 50% more likely to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs. And those who had $25 or more a week in spending money were nearly twice as likely to succumb to substance abuse. Consider these additional statistics about teens and drug abuse cited by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

In 2007, the percentage of 8th graders reporting lifetime use of any illicit drug declined was 19%.

In 2007, 15.4% of 12th graders reported using a prescription drug non-medically within the past year. Vicodin continues to be abused at unacceptably high levels.

Between 2005 and 2007, past year abuse of MDMA (ecstasy) increased among 12th graders from 3.0% to 4.5%; and between 2004 and 2007, past year abuse of MDMA increased among 10th graders from 2.4% to 3.5%.

It is important that family members feel as though they can talk to each other about tough issues, such as drug use. Part of this early, open communication includes being a good listener. As a parent, consider adopting these listening techniques provided by the American Council for Drug Education (ACDE):

Give your child an opportunity to talk. Stop talking and give your child sufficient time to complete his or her thoughts and process what has been said.

Demonstrate interest by asking appropriate questions. Questions can help you clarify your child's thoughts and suggestions. Be sure that you are interpreting what has been said correctly.
Listen to the complete message. Listen to the total message before forming a response.

Encourage your child to talk. Use door-opening statements ("You seem distracted today" or "Tell me what is going on") that invite a response.

Focus on content, not delivery. Avoid being distracted by your child's poor grammar or manners. It is what is being said that is important.

Listen for main ideas. Try to pick out the central theme of the conversation.

Deal effectively with emotionally charged language. Be aware of words or phrases that produce anxiety and trigger emotions.

Identify areas of common experience and agreement. Note similar experiences of your own or offer a shared point of view to communicate acceptance and understanding.

Deal effectively with whatever blocks you from listening. Be aware of personal blocks that may prevent you from hearing what your child is saying.

Substance abuse can be an overwhelming issue with which to deal, but it doesn't have to be. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America offers the following strategies to put into practice so that your child can reap the rewards of a healthy, drug-free life:

Be your child's greatest fan. Compliment him or her on all of his or her efforts, strength of character and individuality.

Involve your child in adult-supervised after-school activities. Ask him or her what types of activities he or she is interested in and contact the school principal or guidance counselor to find out what activities are available. Sometimes it takes a bit of experimenting to find out which activities your child is best suited for, but it's worth the effort - feeling competent makes children much less likely to use drugs.

Help your child develop tools he can use to get out of alcohol- or drug-related situations. Let him or her know he or she can use you as an excuse: "My mom would kill me if I smoked marijuana!"
Get to know your child's friends and their parents. Set appointments for yourself to call them and check-in to make sure they share your views on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Steer your child away from any friends who use drugs.

Call teens' parents if their home is to be used for a party. Make sure that the party will be alcohol-free and supervised by adults.

Set curfews and enforce them. Let your child know the consequences of breaking curfew.
Set a no-use rule for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Sit down for dinner with your child at least once a week. Use the time to talk - don't eat in front of the television.

Get – and stay – involved in your child's life.

References
American Council for Drug Education
Davidson College
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Partnership for a Drug-Free America

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

5 Ways Teen Might Cheat on Drug Tests and How to Catch Them


5 Ways Teens Might Cheat on Drug Tests—and How to Catch Them
These tricks are out there on the Web, so parents need to be informed


By Lindsay Lyon
Posted August 6, 2008

Google "beat drug test," and the search engine spits out page upon page of ploys and products that can make incriminating urine seem drug free. All it takes is a computer-savvy teen to access them. The ease of cheating, in fact, is one of at least seven reasons parents shouldn't try to test their kids for drug use. Instead, experts say, they should seek out a professional assessment.

Related News

7 Reasons Parents Should Not Test Kids for Drug Use
How to Protect Your Kids From Substance Abuse
The Sheff Family Struggles With Addiction
Video: Life After Meth

"Cheating remains the Achilles' heal of drug urine testing in all settings," says Robert DuPont, president of the Institute for Behavior and Health Inc. and former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. With increasing opportunities for testing—by prospective employers, schools, and parents—experts worry that teens may have more impetus than ever to try. Last week, at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., toxicologist Amitava Dasgupta of University of Texas-Houston medical school demonstrated various ways that employees try to beat workplace drug tests—and how experts foil these schemes in the laboratory. There's nothing to stop kids from using the same tricks, and there's no guarantee that parents will be able to catch them at home.

Here are five ways—some of them downright dangerous—that teens may try to cheat drug tests. They're all described elsewhere on the Internet, so parents should be aware of them.

1. Tampering. A sprinkle of salt or a splash of bleach, vinegar, detergent, or drain cleaner is all that's needed to muck up a urine specimen. These and other household substances are all too often smuggled into the bathroom and used to alter the composition of urine, making the presence of some illegal substances undetectable, says Dasgupta. Same goes for chemical concoctions sold all over the Internet. Sometimes these additives or "adulterants" will cloud or discolor urine, easily casting suspicion on the specimen, but others leave the sample looking normal. Laboratory toxicologists employ simple tests to catch these cheats. For example, a few drops of hydrogen peroxide will turn urine brown if it's been mixed with pyridinium chlorochromate, an otherwise-imperceptible chemical designed to foil drug tests.

2. Water-loading. Gulping fluids before providing urine, a long-standing tactic, is still the most common way that teens try to beat tests, says Sharon Levy, a pediatrician and director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Children's Hospital Boston. Whether cheats use salty solutions to induce thirst, flushing agents that increase urine output, or just plain old H20, their aim is to water down drugs so they can't be detected. Some testing facilities may check urine for dilution and deem overly watery samples "unfit for testing." But consuming too much fluid too quickly can occasionally have dire consequences. "Water intoxication" reportedly killed a woman following participation in a radio show's water drinking contest, says Alan Wu, a professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California-San Francisco.

3. Switching drugs. Perhaps most alarming, says Levy, is that teens bent on defeating drug tests will sometimes switch their drug of choice to an undetectable (or harder to detect) substance that's considerably more hazardous. Inhalants, for example, include numerous types of chemical vapors that typically produce brief, intoxicating effects. "You don't excrete [inhalants] in your urine," says Levy, but "inhaling is acutely more dangerous than marijuana." Indeed, inhalants can trigger the lethal heart problem known as "sudden sniffing death" in otherwise healthy adolescents, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The tragic case of young David Manlove is an example.

4. Popping vitamins. Perhaps it's because niacin (aka vitamin B3) is known to aid metabolism, or perhaps it's because Scientologists are said to take it in excess to flush their bodies of toxins. Whatever the reasons, some teens got the idea that extreme doses of this vitamin would erase any trace of their illicit drug use. Instead, it almost cost them their lives. In two separate incidents, emergency physician Manoj Mittal of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has found adolescents who downed at least 150 times the daily recommended dose of niacin (15 mg) to cheat drug tests. (He described the cases last year in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.) Both kids were vomiting, had low blood sugar, and had "significant" liver toxicity when they arrived at the ER. And the niacin didn't even do what they'd intended; both tested positive for illicit drugs. "People might think that since [niacin] is a vitamin it's harmless," says Mittal. "But these cases suggest that our bodies have limits."

5. Swapping urine samples. Whether they use a friend's clean urine, synthetic pee, or even freeze-dried urine purchased online, some teens try to pass off foreign samples as their own, says Levy. The biggest tip-off is temperature. "Anything significantly lower than body temperature is suspicious," says Dasgupta, which is why some have tried to shuttle samples in armpits or taped to thighs to keep them warm. Possibly the oddest trick of all is a device marketed to those trying to beat witnessed drug collections, says Wu: a sort of prosthetic penis called the "Whizzinator" that claims to come equipped with clean urine "guaranteed" to remain at body temperature for hours, with the help of special heat pads. "Believe it or not, [the prosthesis] comes in different colors," says Wu.

Friday, August 8, 2008

11 Strategies: If You Think Your Kid Is Smoking Pot

Source: OnTeensToday.com by Vanessa Van Petten Author of "You're Grounded!"


This is a tricky subject and different for every family, but I truly believe that every kid who wants to get pot, can.

Therefore, I always tell parents, it is extremely difficult to try to shield a kid today from being exposed to pot because it is so prominent. I believe parents, and what I do with many of my clients, need to spend their efforts trying to equip kids to make the right choices, so when they are exposed to it, they will choose not to smoke.

To be very honest, no matter how strict a curfew you have, how often you drug test your kids, or whether they are an athlete, a scholar or a jock (see Teens Dealing Urine Post), your kid will always find a way to smoke marijuana if they want to. They key is making sure they do not want to.

1) Ask Questions
Before you dive into trying to equip them with the power to ‘say no,’ try to gauge their level of involvement. Ask the tough questions. I am not saying to grill them before they go out, but showing them you are paying attention and are very involved is important and you can get an idea of how much or how little you know about their social life.

2) Listen to the Answers
Most times, when I hear parents talk to their kids, parents do ask questions, but then answer the questions themselves. A question, and then silence will get you a long way. For some reason, even after we have already given a one-word answer, if we feel you are still waiting for more, we either get nervous (a sign we are hiding something) or splurge and let our mouths go. Also look at your kid’s immediate facial response as soon as you ask a question. We are not as good at hiding our emotions and you might be able to gauge a lot by watching our reaction.

3) Look at Their Friends
I constantly hear the “well, it’s not my kid because…” response when I do speaking engagements on this topic. If you feel your child is either an angel or unreadable, look at their friends behavior. Have they gotten in trouble? Are they the ones who make the decisions where to go on the weekends? Friend’s behavior means everything in the world of pot.

4) Talk to Your Friends and Other Parents
Get informed about the pot culture in general and in your specific community. I post frequently on this topic and what kids are doing right now, so you can stay a step ahead. I highly recommend getting together with parent friends and talking about what your kids are doing and sharing notes about what they think is going on.

5) Don’t Lecture!
If you think we are doing pot, dabbling in pot, seeing it at parties or just want to talk to us about it, please talk, don’t lecture. I promise, we have heard all of the negative sides to smoking weed in health class. As soon as you start lecturing us, we stop listening. So, instead of approaching it like a health teacher, ask questions and let us come to our own conclusion, usually we know what is right or wrong, and if we feel like you are talking to us about it, not at us, at least we will come to you if we have questions or problems down the road.

6) Find Out Why:
This is tricky, it is important to understand that, today, pot is not only for ‘the stoner’ kids. All different kinds of kids are doing it and it has become a sort of social unifier. A drama kid and a jock might not hang out at a party, but if they get to the party and share a joint, they are friends. It is really important to understand this new social aspect and that it permeates all kinds of peer groups.

7) Build their Esteem:
If you cannot prevent them from encountering pot, you can empower them to make the right choices. I do believe there is peer pressure to smoke (see video). It is hard to say no when it feels like everyone is doing it and you know that if you smoke, you have the chance to be friends with that jock, who would never talk to you other wise. So encourage them to do esteem building activities, like running for student council, working out, or doing a hobby and help them be proud of who they are by engaging in their unique qualities.

8) Offer Other Activities:
When you talk to your parent friends, make sure everyone is on the same page with curfews and activities. If there is a semi-formal or prom coming up, offer to host a substance-free after party, host bbqs and movie nights. I think many kids smoke simply because there is nothing better to do.

9) Offer Other Options:
As horrible as it sounds, if your kid wants to smoke, they will find a way. Make sure that they know never to drive high. If you think they are smoking and you cannot do anything about it (sometimes it happens), then at least tell them to call you if they are ever in a situation and they will not get in trouble. Many, many, kids drive high or drunk and this worries me more than anything. If you do not think they would call you, then encourage an aunt, uncle, priest, rabbi, teacher, friend to be their secondary support system if they ever need to be bailed out or get a ride home.

10) Give Other Reasons Not to Smoke:
I constantly talk to teens about smoking and always give them non-health class reasons not to smoke which, I believe, appeal more to their interests. I always stress to girls the aging effects of smoking. I spoke to a group of 16 year-olds about ‘anti-partying’ and gave them my reasons not to smoke (they were shocked, because they were so a-typical)

-At a prestigious internship interview, a friend got offered the job and when they asked for a drug test, he knew couldn’t pass it and they took back the offer.
-Gives you lip wrinkles.
-The smoke makes your teeth yellow
-Lowers your sperm count
-Makes you taste bad when you kiss
-(I know a little crude) makes oral sex for your partner taste bad.
-Make allergies worse
-You never know who is going to take an incriminating picture and post it somewhere, or use it against you later.

11) Give Them Excuses
Ok, so maybe they have the self-esteem to say no, and maybe they agree with the reasons above to say no, but sometimes people will not let up with the “just take one hit!, Just try it!” So, think of excuses for them to use. Here are some that I have given and tell teens to use:

-It makes me really sleepy, and I am no fun when all I want to do is sleep.
-I am on a diet, it gives me uncontrollable munchies and I am not giving up my summer goal for one hit.
-It makes me sneeze.
-My parents/job/school/coach drug test me.
-My parents are waiting for me when I get home, and they will smell it/notice it.
-I have dance class/practice/a run tomorrow and I can never perform as well.
-I hate the taste.

**Offer to be the reason! My parents told me to clearly tell people that they were watching me like hawks and that I would get in big trouble if I smoked. This almost always works, because everyone understands strict parents. So tell them to use you as the reason…after all there is some truth to it!

Stay Informed and don’t give up!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Inhalant Abuse




Inhalant abuse refers to the deliberate inhalation or sniffing of common products found in homes and communities with the purpose of "getting high." Inhalants are easily accessible, legal, everyday products. When used as intended, these products have a useful purpose in our lives and enhance the quality of life, but when intentionally misused, they can be deadly. Inhalant Abuse is a lesser recognized form of substance abuse, but it is no less dangerous. Inhalants are addictive and are considered to be "gateway" drugs because children often progress from inhalants to illegal drug and alcohol abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that one in five American teens have used Inhalants to get high.

Inhalation is referred to as huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging and generally occurs through the nose or mouth. Huffing is when a chemically soaked rag is held to the face or stuffed in the mouth and the substance is inhaled. Sniffing can be done directly from containers, plastic bags, clothing or rags saturated with a substance or from the product directly. With Bagging, substances are sprayed or deposited into a plastic or paper bag and the vapors are inhaled. This method can result in suffocation because a bag is placed over the individual's head, cutting off the supply of oxygen.

Other methods used include placing inhalants on sleeves, collars, or other items of clothing that are sniffed over a period of time. Fumes are discharged into soda cans and inhaled from the can or balloons are filled with nitrous oxide and the vapors are inhaled. Heating volatile substances and inhaling the vapors emitted is another form of inhalation. All of these methods are potentially harmful or deadly. Experts estimate that there are several hundred deaths each year from Inhalant Abuse, although under-reporting is still a problem.

What Products Can be Abused?

There are more than a 1,400 products which are potentially dangerous when inhaled, such as typewriter correction fluid, air conditioning coolant, gasoline, propane, felt tip markers, spray paint, air freshener, butane, cooking spray, paint, and glue. Most are common products that can be found in the home, garage, office, school or as close as the local convenience store. The best advice for consumers is to read the labels before using a product to ensure the proper method is observed. It is also recommended that parents discuss the product labels with their children at age-appropriate times. The following list represents categories of products that are commonly abused.

Click here for a list of abusable products.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Teen Substance Abuse - Learn More


Drugs: What You Should Know

These days, drugs can be found everywhere, and it may seem like everyone's doing them. Many teens are tempted by the excitement or escape that drugs seem to offer.

But learning the facts about drugs can help you see the risks of chasing this excitement or escape. Here's what you need to know.

The Deal on Substances

Thanks to medical and drug research, there are thousands of drugs that help people. Antibiotics and vaccines have revolutionized the treatment of infections. Medicines can lower blood pressure, treat diabetes, and reduce the body's rejection of new organs. Medicines can cure, slow, or prevent disease, helping us to lead healthier and happier lives. But there are also lots of illegal, harmful drugs that people take to help them feel good or have a good time.


How do drugs work? Drugs are chemicals or substances that change the way our bodies work. When you put them into your body (often by swallowing, inhaling, or injecting them), drugs find their way into your bloodstream and are transported to parts of your body, such as your brain. In the brain, drugs may either intensify or dull your senses, alter your sense of alertness, and sometimes decrease physical pain.

A drug may be helpful or harmful. The effects of drugs can vary depending upon the kind of drug taken, how much is taken, how often it is used, how quickly it gets to the brain, and what other drugs, food, or substances are taken at the same time. Effects can also vary based on the differences in body size, shape, and chemistry.

Although substances can feel good at first, they can ultimately do a lot of harm to the body and brain. Drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, taking illegal drugs, and sniffing glue can all cause serious damage to the human body. Some drugs severely impair a person's ability to make healthy choices and decisions. Teens who drink, for example, are more likely to get involved in dangerous situations, such as driving under the influence or having unprotected sex.

And just as there are many kinds of drugs available, there are as many reasons for trying them or starting to use them regularly. People take drugs just for the pleasure they believe they can bring. Often it's because someone tried to convince them that drugs would make them feel good or that they'd have a better time if they took them.

Some teens believe drugs will help them think better, be more popular, stay more active, or become better athletes. Others are simply curious and figure one try won't hurt. Others want to fit in. A few use drugs to gain attention from their parents.

Many teens use drugs because they're depressed or think drugs will help them escape their problems. The truth is, drugs don't solve problems — they simply hide feelings and problems. When a drug wears off, the feelings and problems remain, or become worse. Drugs can ruin every aspect of a person's life.

Here are the facts on some of the more common drugs:

Alcohol
Amphetamines
Cocaine and Crack
Cough and Cold Medicines (DXM)
Depressants
Ecstasy
GHB
Heroin
Inhalants
Ketamine
LSD
Marijuana
Methamphetamine
Nicotine
Rohypnol
Alcohol
The oldest and most widely used drug in the world, alcohol is a depressant that alters perceptions, emotions, and senses.

How It's Used: Alcohol is a liquid that is drunk.

Effects & Dangers:

Alcohol first acts as a stimulant, and then it makes people feel relaxed and a bit sleepy.
High doses of alcohol seriously affect judgment and coordination. Drinkers may have slurred speech, confusion, depression, short-term memory loss, and slow reaction times.
Large volumes of alcohol drunk in a short period of time may cause alcohol poisoning.
Addictiveness: Teens who use alcohol can become psychologically dependent upon it to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress. In addition, their bodies may demand more and more to achieve the same kind of high experienced in the beginning. Some teens are also at risk of becoming physically addicted to alcohol. Withdrawal from alcohol can be painful and even life threatening. Symptoms range from shaking, sweating, nausea, anxiety, and depression to hallucinations, fever, and convulsions.
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Amphetamines
Amphetamines are stimulants that accelerate functions in the brain and body. They come in pills or tablets. Prescription diet pills also fall into this category of drugs.

Street Names: speed, uppers, dexies, bennies

How They're Used: Amphetamines are swallowed, inhaled, or injected.

Effects & Dangers:

Swallowed or snorted, these drugs hit users with a fast high, making them feel powerful, alert, and energized.
Uppers pump up heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, and they can also cause sweating, shaking, headaches, sleeplessness, and blurred vision.
Prolonged use may cause hallucinations and intense paranoia.

Addictiveness: Amphetamines are psychologically addictive. Users who stop report that they experience various mood problems such as aggression, anxiety, and intense cravings for the drugs.
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Cocaine and Crack
Cocaine is a white crystalline powder made from the dried leaves of the coca plant. Crack, named for its crackle when heated, is made from cocaine. It looks like white or tan pellets.

Street Names for Cocaine: coke, snow, blow, nose candy, white, big C

Street Names for Crack: freebase, rock

How They're Used: Cocaine is inhaled through the nose or injected. Crack is smoked.

Effects & Dangers:

Cocaine is a stimulant that rocks the central nervous system, giving users a quick, intense feeling of power and energy. Snorting highs last between 15 and 30 minutes; smoking highs last between 5 and 10 minutes.
Cocaine also elevates heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
Injecting cocaine can give you hepatitis or AIDS if you share needles with other users. Snorting can also put a hole inside the lining of your nose.
First-time users — even teens — of both cocaine and crack can stop breathing or have fatal heart attacks. Using either of these drugs even one time can kill you.
Addictiveness: These drugs are highly addictive, and as a result, the drug, not the user, calls the shots. Even after one use, cocaine and crack can create both physical and psychological cravings that make it very, very difficult for users to stop.
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Cough and Cold Medicines (DXM)
Several over-the-counter cough and cold medicines contain the ingredient dextromethorphan (also called DXM). If taken in large quantities, these over-the-counter medicines can cause hallucinations, loss of motor control, and "out-of-body" (or disassociative) sensations.

Street Names: triple C, candy, C-C-C, dex, DM, drex, red devils, robo, rojo, skittles, tussin, velvet, vitamin D

How They're Used: Cough and cold medicines, which come in tablets, capsules, gel caps, and lozenges as well as syrups, are swallowed. DXM is often extracted from cough and cold medicines, put into powder form, and snorted.

Effects & Dangers:

Small doses help suppress coughing, but larger doses can cause fever, confusion, impaired judgment, blurred vision, dizziness, paranoia, excessive sweating, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, headache, lethargy, numbness of fingers and toes, redness of face, dry and itchy skin, loss of consciousness, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
Sometimes users mistakenly take cough syrups that contain other medications in addition to dextromethorphan. High doses of these other medications can cause serious injury or death.
Addictiveness: People who use cough and cold medicines and DXM regularly to get high can become psychologically dependent upon them (meaning they like the feeling so much they can't stop, even though they aren't physically addicted).
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Depressants
Depressants, such as tranquilizers and barbiturates, calm nerves and relax muscles. Many are legally available by prescription (such as Valium and Xanax) and are bright-colored capsules or tablets.

Street Names: downers, goof balls, barbs, ludes

How They're Used: Depressants are swallowed.

Effects & Dangers:

When used as prescribed by a doctor and taken at the correct dosage, depressants can help people feel calm and reduce angry feelings.
Larger doses can cause confusion, slurred speech, lack of coordination, and tremors.
Very large doses can cause a person to stop breathing and result in death.
Depressants and alcohol should never be mixed — this combination greatly increases the risk of overdose and death.
Addictiveness: Depressants can cause both psychological and physical dependence.
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Ecstasy (MDMA)
This is a designer drug created by underground chemists. It comes in powder, tablet, or capsule form. Ecstasy is a popular club drug among teens because it is widely available at raves, dance clubs, and concerts.

Street Names: XTC, X, Adam, E, Roll

How It's Used: Ecstasy is swallowed or sometimes snorted.

Effects & Dangers:

This drug combines a hallucinogenic with a stimulant effect, making all emotions, both negative and positive, much more intense.
Users feel a tingly skin sensation and an increased heart rate.
Ecstasy can also cause dry mouth, cramps, blurred vision, chills, sweating, and nausea.
Sometimes users clench their jaws while using. They may chew on something (like a pacifier) to relieve this symptom.
Many users also experience depression, paranoia, anxiety, and confusion. There is some concern that these effects on the brain and emotion can become permanent with chronic use of ecstasy.
Ecstasy also raises the temperature of the body. This increase can sometimes cause organ damage or even death.
Addictiveness: Although the physical addictiveness of Ecstasy is unknown, teens who use it can become psychologically dependent upon it to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress.
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GHB
GHB, which stands for gamma hydroxybutyrate, is often made in home basement labs, usually in the form of a liquid with no odor or color. It has gained popularity at dance clubs and raves and is a popular alternative to Ecstasy for some teens and young adults. The number of people brought to emergency departments because of GHB side effects is quickly rising in the United States. And according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), since 1995 GHB has killed more users than Ecstasy.

Street Names: Liquid Ecstasy, G, Georgia Home Boy

How It's Used: When in liquid or powder form (mixed in water), GHB is drunk; in tablet form it is swallowed.

Effects & Dangers:

GHB is a depressant drug that can cause both euphoric (high) and hallucinogenic effects.
The drug has several dangerous side effects, including severe nausea, breathing problems, decreased heart rate, and seizures.
GHB has been used for date rape because it is colorless and odorless and easy to slip into drinks.
At high doses, users can lose consciousness within minutes. It's also easy to overdose: There is only a small difference between the dose used to get high and the amount that can cause an overdose.
Overdosing GHB requires emergency care in a hospital right away. Within an hour GHB overdose can cause coma and stop someone's breathing, resulting in death.
GHB (even at lower doses) mixed with alcohol is very dangerous — using it even once can kill you.
Addictiveness: When users come off GHB they may have withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety. Teens may also become dependent upon it to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress.
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Heroin
Heroin comes from the dried milk of the opium poppy, which is also used to create the class of painkillers called narcotics — medicines like codeine and morphine. Heroin can range from a white to dark brown powder to a sticky, tar-like substance.

Street Names: horse, smack, Big H, junk

How It's Used: Heroin is injected, smoked, or inhaled (if it is pure).

Effects & Dangers:

Heroin gives you a burst of euphoric (high) feelings, especially if it's injected. This high is often followed by drowsiness, nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.
Users feel the need to take more heroin as soon as possible just to feel good again.
With long-term use, heroin ravages the body. It is associated with chronic constipation, dry skin, scarred veins, and breathing problems.
Users who inject heroin often have collapsed veins and put themselves at risk of getting deadly infections such as HIV, hepatitis B or C, and bacterial endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart) if they share needles with other users.
Addictiveness: Heroin is extremely addictive and easy to overdose on (which can cause death). Withdrawal is intense and symptoms include insomnia, vomiting, and muscle pain.
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Inhalants
Inhalants are substances that are sniffed or "huffed" to give the user an immediate rush or high. They include household products like glues, paint thinners, dry cleaning fluids, gasoline, felt-tip marker fluid, correction fluid, hair spray, aerosol deodorants, and spray paint.

How It's Used: Inhalants are breathed in directly from the original container (sniffing or snorting), from a plastic bag (bagging), or by holding an inhalant-soaked rag in the mouth (huffing).

Effects & Dangers:

Inhalants make you feel giddy and confused, as if you were drunk. Long-time users get headaches, nosebleeds, and may suffer loss of hearing and sense of smell.
Inhalants are the most likely of abused substances to cause severe toxic reaction and death. Using inhalants, even one time, can kill you.
Addictiveness: Inhalants can be very addictive. Teens who use inhalants can become psychologically dependent upon them to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress.
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Ketamine
Ketamine hydrochloride is a quick-acting anesthetic that is legally used in both humans (as a sedative for minor surgery) and animals (as a tranquilizer). At high doses, it causes intoxication and hallucinations similar to LSD.

Street Names: K, Special K, vitamin K, bump, cat Valium

How It's Used: Ketamine usually comes in powder that users snort. Users often do it along with other drugs such as Ecstasy (called kitty flipping) or cocaine or sprinkle it on marijuana blunts.

Effects & Dangers:

Users may become delirious, hallucinate, and lose their sense of time and reality. The trip — also called K-hole — that results from ketamine use lasts up to 2 hours.
Users may become nauseated or vomit, become delirious, and have problems with thinking or memory.
At higher doses, ketamine causes movement problems, body numbness, and slowed breathing.
Overdosing on ketamine can stop you from breathing — and kill you.
Addictiveness: Teens who use it can become psychologically dependent upon it to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress.
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LSD
LSD (which stands for lysergic acid diethylamide) is a lab-brewed hallucinogen and mood-changing chemical. LSD is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.

Street Names: acid, blotter, doses, microdots

How It's Used: LSD is licked or sucked off small squares of blotting paper. Capsules and liquid forms are swallowed. Paper squares containing acid may be decorated with cute cartoon characters or colorful designs.

Effects & Dangers:

Hallucinations occur within 30 to 90 minutes of dropping acid. People say their senses are intensified and distorted — they see colors or hear sounds with other delusions such as melting walls and a loss of any sense of time. But effects are unpredictable, depending on how much LSD is taken and the user.
Once you go on an acid trip, you can't get off until the drug is finished with you — at times up to about 12 hours or even longer!
Bad trips may cause panic attacks, confusion, depression, and frightening delusions.
Physical risks include sleeplessness, mangled speech, convulsions, increased heart rate, and coma.
Users often have flashbacks in which they feel some of the effects of LSD at a later time without having used the drug again.
Addictiveness: Teens who use it can become psychologically dependent upon it to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress.
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Marijuana
The most widely used illegal drug in the United States, marijuana resembles green, brown, or gray dried parsley with stems or seeds. A stronger form of marijuana called hashish (hash) looks like brown or black cakes or balls. Marijuana is often called a gateway drug because frequent use can lead to the use of stronger drugs.

Street Names: pot, weed, blunts, chronic, grass, reefer, herb, ganja

How It's Used: Marijuana is usually smoked — rolled in papers like a cigarette (joints), or in hollowed-out cigars (blunts), pipes (bowls), or water pipes (bongs). Some people mix it into foods or brew it as a tea.

Effects & Dangers:

Marijuana can affect mood and coordination. Users may experience mood swings that range from stimulated or happy to drowsy or depressed.
Marijuana also elevates heart rate and blood pressure. Some people get red eyes and feel very sleepy or hungry. The drug can also make some people paranoid or cause them to hallucinate.
Marijuana is as tough on the lungs as cigarettes — steady smokers suffer coughs, wheezing, and frequent colds.
Addictiveness: Teens who use marijuana can become psychologically dependent upon it to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress. In addition, their bodies may demand more and more marijuana to achieve the same kind of high experienced in the beginning.
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Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant.

Street Names: crank, meth, speed, crystal, chalk, fire, glass, crypto, ice

How It's Used: It can be swallowed, snorted, injected, or smoked.

Effects & Dangers:

Users feel a euphoric rush from methamphetamine, particularly if it is smoked or shot up. But they can develop tolerance quickly — and will use more meth for longer periods of time, resulting in sleeplessness, paranoia, and hallucinations.
Users sometimes have intense delusions such as believing that there are insects crawling under their skin.
Prolonged use may result in violent, aggressive behavior, psychosis, and brain damage.
The chemicals used to make methamphetamine can also be dangerous to both people and the environment.
Addictiveness: Methamphetamine is highly addictive.
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Nicotine
Nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant found in tobacco. This drug is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream when smoked.

How It's Used: Nicotine is typically smoked in cigarettes or cigars. Some people put a pinch of tobacco (called chewing or smokeless tobacco) into their mouths and absorb nicotine through the lining of their mouths.

Effects & Dangers:

Physical effects include rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, shortness of breath, and a greater likelihood of colds and flu.
Nicotine users have an increased risk for lung and heart disease and stroke. Smokers also have bad breath and yellowed teeth. Chewing tobacco users may suffer from cancers of the mouth and neck.
Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, anger, restlessness, and insomnia.
Addictiveness: Nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine, which makes it extremely difficult to quit. Those who start smoking before the age of 21 have the hardest time breaking the habit.
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Rohypnol
Rohypnol (pronounced: ro-hip-nol) is a low-cost, increasingly popular drug. Because it often comes in presealed bubble packs, many teens think that the drug is safe.

Street Names: roofies, roach, forget-me pill, date rape drug

How It's Used: This drug is swallowed, sometimes with alcohol or other drugs.

Effects & Dangers:

Rohypnol is a prescription antianxiety medication that is 10 times more powerful than Valium.
It can cause the blood pressure to drop, as well as cause memory loss, drowsiness, dizziness, and an upset stomach.
Though it's part of the depressant family of drugs, it causes some people to be overly excited or aggressive.
Rohypnol has received a lot of attention because of its association with date rape. Many teen girls and women report having been raped after having rohypnol slipped into their drinks. The drug also causes "anterograde amnesia." This means it's hard to remember what happened while on the drug, like a blackout. Because of this it can be hard to give important details if a young woman wants to report the rape.
Addictiveness: Users can become physically addicted to rohypnol, so it can cause extreme withdrawal symptoms when users stop.
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Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: July 2008
Originally reviewed by: Michele Van Vranken, MD