Medicine Cabinets: Your Teens Drug Dealer – Be AWARE

It isn’t street drugs you have to worry about – your kids, teens and tweens can find drugs in your home or a friends home – even more prevalent if a grandparents home.

You know how easy it is to forget about a prescription that you never finished and stored in your medicine cabinet. Proper drug disposal protects your loved ones from misuse. Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among 12-13 year olds. Many of these pills can be found in your medicine cabinet and around your house. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Foundation and their AWARxEConsumer Protection Program are helping to stop this growing!

 April 28 is theDEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  If you have any unused prescription drugs in your home, you can drop them off at the designated collection site in your community on April 28. The DEA coordinates with the local law enforcement and community partners to provide thousands of sites across the country, many of them at police departments, so that the unwanted drugs are disposed of safely and legally. Sites will accept pills, both prescription and nonprescription, for disposal.

I had the opportunity to interview the Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, Dr. Catizone on the dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse.  Dr. Catizone is the Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and a licensed pharmacist. He currently serves as a Governor of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) Board of Directors and Chair of the PTCB Certification Council. Dr. Catizone is regularly called to serve as an expert witness for the US Government in the areas of pharmacy practice and regulation on both the state and national level issues.

Check out my interview with Dr. Catizone below and visit www.AWARERX.ORG for more information on prevention and the April 28 DEA Take-Back Day. Also, don’t forget to like AWARxE on Facebook!

A)      What are the dangers associated with taking prescription drugs that are not prescribed to you.

Dr. Catizone:   Taking a medication not prescribed for you can lead to serious health consequences, permanent injuries, or death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2009, 1.2 million emergency department visits were related to the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs. Controlled substance medications have the potential for abuse, and taking these medications if they are not prescribed to you could lead to addiction. Every year, 15,000 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers, according to the CDC.

B)       What is the best way to prevent teenagers from abusing prescription drugs?

Dr. Catizone:   An important step is to talk with teens about the serious dangers of prescription drug abuse. A video recommended by AWARxE, called The Road to Nowhere, tells the story of a teen who experimented with prescription drugs at a party and became addicted to the drugs. A link to the video is available on the AWARxE Get Local Oklahoma page. Teens can visit for many other resources.

C)      Are there any other ways to dispose of unused prescription drugs besides DEA prescription drug take-back days?

Dr. Catizone:  Many cities and counties across the country provide permanent medication disposal programs. Many programs provide a drop-box at a police department—these programs can take controlled substance medications for disposal. Other programs are run by hazardous waste disposal agencies or other entities that cannot accept controlled substance medications, but can take all other unused drugs for safe disposal.

Many of the AWARxE Get Local pages have links to local disposal programs, and we are actively expanding these resources. We are happy to take information about local programs and post it on our Web site. Anyone who has information on a disposal program can e-mail the information they have to – we will review for inclusion on the respective state’s Get Local page.

If there are no drug disposal sites near you, there are options for disposing of drugs at home. The information that comes with your prescription may provide instructions on home disposal. Only some medications should be flushed down the toilet and the US Food and Drug Administration has a list of these drugs on its Web site. If there are no instructions for disposal you can throw the drugs in your home garbage. But first, take them out of the container and mix them with an undesirable substance like coffee grounds or cat litter.

More details about drug disposal programs are available on the AWARxE Medication Disposal page.

D)      How can you tell if someone is abusing prescription drugs and how can you help them stop?

Dr. Catizone: Side effects associated with prescription drug abuse include dizziness, loss of appetite, unconsciousness, impaired memory, mood swings, loss of motor coordination, trouble breathing and rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Seeking advice and assistance from your family health care provider, such as your doctor is recommended. Your doctor can provide information and/or referrals to local programs that help identify abuse and treat addiction.

If teens are in need of help, a school’s guidance counselor can also be an excellent resource for local information.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides an online substance abuse treatment locator and links to resources about addiction and treatment on its Web site.

E )      What can parents do to make sure the prescription drugs they do have in their homes will not be abused by their teenagers?

Dr. Catizone:  Parents should securely store all medications in the household. For example, you may want to lock your medications in a secure cabinet or a medicine safe. In particular, you should securely store controlled substance prescription drugs, such as certain pain medications and ADHD medications.

You may also wish to keep track of the number of pills left in the bottle.

Remember that sometimes prescription drugs are taken out of medicine cabinets by visitors to the home, such as a teen’s guests.

If you have pills or medication that is no longer needed or has expired, dispose of it at an authorized DEA Take-Back location, or a local medication disposal program. The next DEA Take-Back Day is April 28, 2012 and collection sites will be located across the country.

More information about these events, as well as an alternate method for safely disposing of unneeded drugs in the home garbage, is available on the AWARxE Medication Disposal page.

Links for cited Web pages:

·         The Road to Nowhere video:

·         Medication Disposal:

·         Get Local:

·         FDA Drug Disposal Information:

·         SAMHSA online substance abuse treatment locator:

·         SAMHSA links to resources about addiction and treatment:


Recovery Month March 2012: Join the Voices

Road to Recovery March 2012 is here!

We know that almost 1 in 10 Americans struggle with a substance abuse disorder and 1 in 5 Americans have a mental illness.  Treatment and recovery are a pathway forward.

The National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) campaign offers help and hope not only for individuals receiving recovery services and in recovery but also for families, loved ones, and friends. The benefits of treatment and recovery-oriented services and supports in behavioral health ripple out across entire communities throughout our Nation, proving there are effective treatments and that people do recover.

As the Road to Recovery series kicks off its 12th season, this episode will highlight the many accomplishments of the 2011 Recovery Month campaign and look forward to a successful September 2012 Recovery Month.


Please visit for more information.  Watch video.
Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Specialty Boarding Schools – Horizon Academy, Red River Academy – What are they?

Hold on, you will find the RIGHT help, just don't panic....

HELP – Who do I trust!!! What website is really telling me the truth?  Where are these toll free numbers really going to?  How do I know these people really care about my teenager?

Scary huh?  Yes, I was there over a decade ago – and unfortunately – today the same organization that harmed my daughter has moved on (though re-named themselves) are still practicing from what I have heard.  This is, of course, my experiences.

Troubled teens, teen help, struggling teens, at-risk teens, problem teens, difficult teens, boot camps, military schools, behavior modification, specialty schools, specialty programs, teen help programs, boarding schools, residential treatment centers, residential therapy, emotional growth programs, therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness programs, defiant teens, manipulative teens, disengaged from the family, family conflict, hopelessness, WIT’S END….

You have about reached your wit’s end when you are searching the web and typing in about every keyword you believe describes what you think you are looking for.  Glorified websites appear – maybe some not so beautiful, maybe you want a Christian setting, maybe you think a good boot camp or have that traditional thinking of an old fashioned military school…. however you will soon realize this isn’t 50 years ago.  There are legitimate residential therapeutic schools today and it is a parent job to do their research to be sure they find a safe and quality program that fits their individual needs.

After hours – days – even weeks (I have actually spoken to parents that have spent months) on the Internet, sometimes the confusion can deepen, which is why I did create Parents’ Universal Resource Experts.

With this – I am only sharing my own experiences…. and it has to do with the affiliated programs with the title of this Blog….

Are you confused yet? Looking for teen help and realizing this is a BIG BUSINESS?

So, your teen is driving your crazy.  You are at your wit’s end. You have finally decided you need outside help. You have exhausted all your local resources.  Local therapy doesn’t help, heck, you can’t even get your teen to attend.  Your teen is failing in school, he/she is very smart yet doesn’t want to attend school and believe they know it all.  Many say, “typical teen“, but as a parent, we know it is more than that.

Where did our good kid go?  Good kids making bad choices – and they don’t need to be placed in an environment that will make them worse in my opinion – learn from what happened to me!

As a victim of the WWASPS organization – I am often called or receive many emails about our (my daughter and I) experiences with them.  Obviously not pleasant.  Though I am happy to say the program she was at, Carolina Springs Academy, which attempted to go through a name change to Magnolia Christian Academy (or School) depending on the day you Googled it, is finally closed – it has been rumored some of the staff is now at their affiliate program – Red River Academy.

Let me be clear for legal purposes – these are rumors – but if I were placing my child in program, I personally wouldn’t take any chances – and furthermore, Red River Academy is clearly named in the current lawsuit which is extremely disturbing with allegations of fraud, abuse, neglect and much more – (click here) that is current.

Then we come to Horizon Academy.  Another alleged WWASPS facility.  Why say alleged?  Maybe they will deny they are affiliated – yet look at their staff, again, you will see they were once employed at other WWASPS programs.  Jade Robinson was at the program in Mexico (named in that lawsuit with alleged abuse and neglect) Casa By the Sea, then went on to Bell Academy, which didn’t last long, and I assume is trying to continue at Horizon Academy.

So when the “sales rep” tells you that “Sue Scheff” is a disgruntled parent – I say – YES, I was – you put my daughter in a box for 17 hours, she was mentally and emotionally abused – food and sleep deprived – I was complete defrauded – and she also missed out on 6 months of education.  None of which I had signed up for.  Grant it, this was 10 years ago – a lot has changed – but those original owners haven’t – so in my humble opinion – I wouldn’t trust any of their programs with my pets….. BTW: I am the only parent to have defeated WWASPS in a jury trial.  

Most of the other (many) lawsuits have settled out of court with silence agreements.  I don’t have one, which is why I can still share my story – which is why I get slimed online – which is why their sales reps have all sorts of stories about me – including “the jury made a mistake” – neglecting to tell you I won the appellate court too.  No one condones child abuse – period.

I have been called a crusader (and not in a flattering way) though I take it that way.  I have made it my mission to find the better programs and schools, since I do know what it is like to be at your wit’s end.  I know what parents need help. I am not against residential therapy, which brings us to many  of my stalkers that were formally abused in programs that believe all programs should be closed down.  That is being extreme – they are not a parent trying to save their child’s life and future.

I will share with you that there are more safe and quality programs than there are bad ones – it is just about doing your homework and research.  Today you are more fortunate than I was – you have more access to information and you can learn from my mistakes and  my knowledge.

Please – take 10 minutes to read my story and see the list of programs that are and were once affiliated with Carolina Springs Academy – and from there, you make your own choices for your child.

I had one parent that almost went to Red River Academy that actually said the sales rep said they could have their teen “extracted” within a few hours?  Extracted?  Really – is your child a tooth?  Please don’t get rushed into a quick decision – this is a major emotional and financial decision.

WWASPS can try to discredit me to parents, but I have been vindicated by many included legally and the media.

My organization is Parents’ Universal Resource Experts – and no matter what those “sales reps” or the Internet fiction – I don’t own, operate or manage any schools or programs!  We are about educating parents when they are looking for help for their at risk teen…. Don’t get scammed when you are at your wit’s end.

Oh – and when these “sales reps” send out these defamatory links about me – another FACT they neglect to tell you is I won the landmark case for Internet Defamation that awarded me $11.3M in damages for what was said about me online!  Lies and twisted facts!  Here is my recent appearance on Anderson Cooper.

This is strictly my opinion on my own experiences – you are free to make your choices…

Teen Drinking: Alcohol Screening and Intervention for Youth

If you manage the health and well-being of 9- to 18-year-olds, this Guide is for you.

“Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide” is designed to help health care professionals quickly identify youth at risk for alcohol-related problems. NIAAA developed the Guide and Pocket Guide in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, a team of underage drinking researchers and clinical specialists, and practicing health care professionals.

Why use this tool?

  • It can detect risk early: In contrast to other screens that focus on established alcohol problems, this early detection tool aims to help you prevent alcohol-related problems in your patients before they start or address them at an early stage.
  • It’s empirically based: The screening questions and risk scale, developed through primary survey research, are powerful predictors of current and future negative consequences of alcohol use.
  • It’s fast and versatile: The screen consists of just two questions, which can be incorporated easily into patient interviews or pre-visit screening tools across the care spectrum, from annual exams to urgent care.
  • It’s the first tool to include friends’ drinking: The “friends” question will help you identify patients at earlier stages of alcohol involvement and target advice to include the important risk of friends’ drinking.

Download or order the Guide and pocket guide.

You may also be interested in related resources to support you, your patients, and their families

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Teen Drinking Games: A Dangerous and Deadly Activity

Talk to your teen about the dangers of alcohol.

A modest meeting amongst friends on campus can be enhanced immeasurably with the introduction of a fun, buzz-inducing drinking game. Of course, drinking in general is associated with the college experience, in which young adults assert their independence by going buck wild. Such behavior usually comes with the lack of a true understanding of the consequences of alcohol, and thus reckless behavior — albeit fun behavior — ensues. Consequently, some drinking games can turn a lively shindig into a deadly or at least vomit-inducing debacle. Here are a few to avoid if you value the function of your liver (or eyeball).

  1. Vodka Eyeballing: Originating in the UK, the Vodka Eyeballing craze has spread across the Atlantic Ocean thanks to YouTube, and now it’s catching on with numbskull American teens and college students. Unlike other drinking games, the feared repercussion isn’t alcohol poisoning; it’s the potential of losing eyesight. Vodka eyeballers test their eyeball’s strength by pouring vodka directly onto it with the purpose of achieving a quicker buzz. The results can be less than pleasant, however, as the potent liquor causes the removal of eye’s protective membrane covering, burning and scarring the cornea.
  2. Power Hour: Partaking in Power Hour is a great way to end the night drowning in a pool of your own vomit. Traditionally, participants in the game take a shot of beer each minute for 60 minutes, ending the hour completely sloshed — if they’re not sloshed much earlier. The rate of consumption at which participants are required to drink can be very unhealthy, especially if they’re small in size. The rapid increase in blood alcohol content ensures a quicker buzz, thus making the game an extremely difficult one to conquer.
  3. 21 for 21: Power Hour has inspired a couple of offshoot games — 21 for 21 and 60 Seconds, neither of which are any less dangerous. In the case of 21 for 21, it exclusively occurs on a participant’s 21st birthday, a night of heavy drinking regardless of whether or not drinking games are involved. At the behest of one of their friends, the birthday boy or girl downs 21 shots of liquor or mixed drinks. It’s a way to celebrate a rite of passage, making the most of their first night of legal drinking. But overdoing it can trigger tragic results; there are numerous documented cases of people dying of alcohol poisoning on their 21st birthdays, including one who apparently played 21 for 21.
  4. 60 Seconds: Sixty Seconds is the game of choice for wannabe speed drinkers looking to prove their mettle while in the presence of their drinking buddies. Each player selects a number between one and 60, chugging a pint continuously for a minute when the second hand on the clock passes their number. The game proceeds until there’s one person left standing, which usually is the problem. Just like its forerunner Power Hour, 60 Seconds causes each player’s blood alcohol content to rise quickly, and as you probably know, rapid consumption can produce dire results.
  5. Edward Fortyhands: When Edward Fortyhands was “in” on college campuses a few years ago, it was met with resistance by opponents of youth alcohol abuse. Notably, the chairman of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Joseph Califano, made it explicitly clear that participants could be rewarded with a trip to the morgue. The game — if you’re not already familiar with it — is a race in which each participant strives to finish two forty-ounce bottles of malt liquor that are duct-taped to their hands. The inability of participants to use their hands, particularly when they need to use the bathroom, motivates them to finish fast. In some circles, upon finishing, participants must break the bottles to free themselves. So not only do they face the danger of quickly chugging a beverage with high alcohol content, but, while in their drunken stupors, their hands become recklessly operated weapons equipped with shards of glass.
  6. Beat the Barman: You may notice that most games on this list are simple and to the point. None of them require a lot of thinking — just a lot of booze. Set in your favorite not-so-crowded bar, Beat the Barman involves cash, a cool bartender, quick drinking and that’s it. Each participant separately orders a shot from the bartender, pays in more cash than its worth, and finishes it off before the bartender returns with change. The process repeats until a drinker falls over or the bar closes. In other words, there really are no winners; alcohol poisoning is a distinct possibility. Beat the Barman is also dangerous because the participants, in most cases, partake in the game at a bar that?s beyond walking distance from home.
  7. Beer Race: A singe match of Beer Race won’t cause major harm to a participant, but nobody plays just one match — and therein lies the problem. Each participant chugs a full pint of beer hoping to finish first, proving their superior manhood or womanhood — usually manhood. The first finisher indicates they’re the winner by putting their empty glass on their head, and everyone else must follow by doing the same with their unfinished glasses. In most cases, the competitive spirits of the participants override reason, and they play until they’re lying unconscious in a pool of their own vomit — pools of vomit are common parts of these games — ironically stripping them of their manly or womanly pride.
  8. Kill the Keg: Once “Kill the Keg!” is screamed by a fellow partygoer, participation is immediate and mandatory. A few lucky guys and gals line up at the keg and down the remaining beer goodness. Of course, the actual luckiness of the guys and gals is highly dependent on when “Kill the Keg!” is yelled and how many thirsty people are attending the party. If partygoers are called to action at 9 p.m., for example, when just a handful of people are hanging around and the keg is full, then the game is much, much less enjoyable.
  9. Dead Man Walk: If your primary goal is to get messed up as quick as possible, ignoring the process by which you reach that end, then Dead Man Walk is the game for you. The title is self-explanatory: participants take a drink for each step they make, seeing who can walk the farthest without face-planting. Because someone inevitably does faceplant, the game yields painful results. The authors of the game — drinking game authors are always looking out for the greater good — urge participants not to drink spirits, as the use of them “will probably result in a premature death.” Sound advice.
  10. Death Ring: Death Ring is a fittingly ominous title. The rules of the game are slightly complicated, so we’ll refrain from detailing them here, but they are included in the link. Hopefully, the people dumb enough to partake in it are also too dumb to consistently follow the rules. The game requires a deck of cards and a few cases of beer, which tend to disappear quickly as each player takes about umpteen drinks during each of their turns. If participants escape death, they’ll undoubtedly wake up the next day feeling like death.

Special Contributor: Florine Church

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD, formerly Students Against Drunk Driving) has a mission to provide students with the best prevention tools possible to deal with the issues of underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving and other destructive decisions. (See video on sidebar)