Tag Archive | Substance Abuse

Spring Break: Teen Drinking Facts

TeenDrinking5Spring break is around the corner and unfortunately many teens look forward to getting away and have a few drinks–maybe a few too many!  Not to mention many are underage to be consuming alcohol.

You probably see and hear a lot about alcohol—from TV, movies, music, and your friends. But what are the real facts about underage alcohol use?

Myth Alcohol isn’t as harmful as other drugs.
FACT Alcohol increases your risk for many deadly diseases, such as cancer. Drinking too much alcohol too quickly can lead to alcohol poisoning, which can kill you.

Myth Drinking is a good way to loosen up at parties.
FACT Drinking is a dumb way to loosen up. It can make you act silly, say things you shouldn’t say, and do things you wouldn’t normally do (like get into fights).

Myth Drinking alcohol will make me cool.
FACT There’s nothing cool about stumbling around, passing out, or puking on yourself. Drinking alcohol also can cause bad breath and weight gain.

Myth All of the other kids drink alcohol. I need to drink to fit in.
FACT If you really want to fit in, stay sober. Most young people don’t drink alcohol. Research shows that more than 70 percent of youth age 12 to 20 haven’t had a drink in the past month.1
 
Myth I can sober up quickly by taking a cold shower or drinking coffee.
FACT On average, it takes 2 to 3 hours for a single drink to leave the body. Nothing can speed up the process, not even drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, or “walking it off.”

Myth Adults drink, so kids should be able to drink too.
FACT A young person’s brain and body are still growing. Drinking alcohol can cause learning problems or lead to adult alcoholism. People who begin drinking by age 15 are five times more likely to abuse or become dependent on alcohol than those who begin drinking after age 20.2
 
Myth Beer and wine are safer than liquor.
FACT Alcohol is alcohol. It can cause you problems no matter how you consume it. One 12-ounce bottle of beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine (about a half cup) has as much alcohol as a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor. Alcopops—sweet drinks laced with malt liquor—often contain more alcohol than beer!

Myth I can drink alcohol and not have any problems.
FACT If you’re under 21, drinking alcohol is a big problem: It’s illegal. If caught, you may have to pay a fine, perform community service, or take alcohol awareness classes. Kids who drink also are more likely to get poor grades in school and are at higher risk for being a crime victim.

Sources

Teen Help Programs: The Internet Search

You have finally reached your wit’s end with your teenager.

You have exhausted all your local resources, your nerves are fried, you have removed all their privileges and nothing is making a difference – you are literally a hostage to your own child!

What now?

It is time for outside help… but you get online and realize first the sticker shock…. (price of programs and schools) then you see all these horror stories – EXACTLY WHO SHOULD YOU BELIEVE?

Your gut!

Years ago I was in your exact spot – and I didn’t listen my gut, and the results were not good, however it had a purpose.  The reason was to be a part of helping parents not make the mistakes I did.

When you get online you will see many toll free numbers going to places unknown.  Usually sales reps that will more than happily give you a list of programs that they believe will be perfect for your child – but how do they know?

Point is – you don’t want a sales rep – you don’t want a marketing arm, you want an owner, a director or someone that will be vested in your child’s recovery and healing process.  Someone that will be held accountable – their reputation will be reflected upon your child’s success.

I created an organization that helps educate parents to better understand the big business of residential therapy.  There are questions parents need to ask, that many don’t think about while they are desperate for help such as when will they be able to speak with their child or visit their child.

I encourage you to visit www.helpyourteens.com and find out more about residential therapy – especially if you are considering the next step.  Don’t wait for a crisis to happen.  Be prepared.

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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 http://www.recoverymonth.gov for more information.  Watch video.
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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)

Teen Help: Parent Community Education for Drug Prevention

It’s a new year, a fresh start, a new leaf…..

What can be described in many different ways is how we have just entered 2011 and life goes on same as peer pressure, school, work and other aspects of your everyday world.

With a new year, it is also an opportunity – maybe a second chance for some, but for all parents of youths today, it is a time to promote education on substance abuse prevention.

Youth360 (wreckED) is a community-based program designed to educate youth about substance abuse through an engaging presentation meant to challenge their behavior toward alcohol and other drugs. The program provides the opportunity for teens to fully reflect upon the choices and consequences associated with alcohol and drug abuse and to continually keep themselves and their friends in check.

The Partnership at Drugfree.org has created PACT360 which offers community education for parents, youths and others.

Are you a teen or a youth debating whether to try drugs?  Are you thinking, ‘well, everyone is doing it and they seem okay’ or maybe, ‘it is only once, it is no big deal’.

Not only is this a big deal, it needs to be dealt with before it gets to this point.  It is important for parents to talk to their kid often about the dangers of drug use as well as how to handle peer pressure.

Ask your kids:  How do you think drugs and alcohol affect a person’s behavior? What would you do if you were with someone who was drunk or high and they asked you to join in? Learn about different scenarios here.

Be the one to take the first step this year and get your community involved in Youth360, Parents360 through PACT360 today!  Make this your New Year’s Resolution – you never know how many lives you could be saving.

Don’t be a parent in denial – be a parent with power! Visit www.helpyourteens.com.

Visit http://pact360.org/ for valuable information on starting your Community Education Program.

Read more.

Sue Scheff: Don’t be a parent in denial – Learn about drug treatment

After speaking with Dr. Drew last week in an insightful call on teens and cough syrup abuse, the conversation turned to the many parents that are in denial or constantly looking to blame others for their child’s behavior.

How many times have you blamed your child’s friend or a neighbor for negative behavior of your child?  It is not your child, it is the friends he/she is hanging with.  Your child would never do drugs, they are too smart for that.  Are they?  Yes, many are highly intelligent but that doesn’t mean they are immune to drug use.

The faster you remove yourself from the “it’s not my child” excuse, the sooner you can work on getting your child the help he/she may need.

According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five teens reports having abused a prescription drug to get high. 

Teens who learn a lot about the dangers of drugs from their parents are half as likely to abuse drugs. – StopMedicineAbuse


Some red flags parents should be aware of, and not ignore are:

  • Change in friends/peer group
  • Withdrawn, secretive
  • Change in appearance, grooming
  • Decline in grades, skipping school
  • Dazed eyes, glassy eyes, bloodshot
  • Odor or smell to their hair or clothes of alcohol, pot, or nicotine (using body sprays and perfumes more frequently)
  • Lying about their whereabouts, defiance
  • Loss of interest in their usual interests such as sports, dance etc.

Parents need to understand that ignoring these signs or blaming it on others is not going to help your child.  You need to seek treatment so it doesn’t escalate to much worse.  A parent in denial is not helping the child, it is actually harming them.  There isn’t any shame in having a child that is struggling, there is only shame if you don’t reach out and get help.

Resources:

Time to Talk, Five Moms, Stop Medicine Abuse, Inhalant Abuse, Drug Free America, The Anti-Drug

Read more on Examiner and watch video.

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Drugs, Alcohol and Kids

Although the latest government study finds drug use unchanged, kids are still at risk and experimenting at younger ages

Risk factors

Some youngsters are clearly more likely than others to be attracted to and hooked on drugs, nicotine and alcohol. The risk increases with any of these factors and a cluster of these factors can tip the scales:

1. A family history of drug use or alcoholism

2. A family in turmoil

3. Learning difficulties

4. Behavioral problems before adolescence

5. Early school failure

6. Hyperactivity

7. Poor impulse control

8. Rebelliousness

9. Low self-esteem

10. The belief that “it can’t happen to me”

11. Thinking marijuana (or cocaine, or heroin if it is not injected) is not addictive 

Warning signs

There are also warning signs that can help parents decide if a problem is brewing or a child is already involved in substance use. Adolescence is a bumpy ride, and some of these warning signs may only be the normal symptoms of growing up, but parents have to be alert to the possibility that, with their particular child, they may indicate trouble. In general, you should suspect some drug use if you observe one or more of these indicators:

  1. A change of friends from those you know and new friends who seem to avoid you. But don’t pin all your youngster’s troubles on “bad friends.” Often the child who is already troubled is the one who is drawn to a group that is taking dangerous risks and is heavily committed to using alcohol and drugs.
  2. Friendship with older teenagers and young adults. Older users need the attention and admiration they get from younger kids and often entice them to be followers and dealers.
  3. A best friend who uses drugs. This is the single best indicator of use.
  4. Daily cigarette smoking. This is an early warning that other substance use may be in the picture.
  5. A deterioration in appearance. The reverse is not necessarily a safety signal. Many drug users look like clean-cut all-American kids instead of stereotypical drug users.
  6. A decline in performance at home. Chores may be neglected or done sloppily; curfew may be ignored.
  7. A change in school performance. The drop in grades may or may not be a dramatic sign by itself, but watch for tardiness, truancy, and disciplinary problems.
  8. Use of street or drug language.
  9. Hypersensitivity, irritability. The teenage user is often hostile, avoids family contact, overreacts to mild criticism, and deflects the topic when pressed for accountability.
  10. Lack of concern about people, ideas, and values that used to be very important.
  11. Wide mood swings. Although mood changes are a normal part of adolescence, extreme emotional swings indicate a problem and be the result of drug or alcohol use.
  12. Secretive phone calls. Callers who hang up when you answer may be your child’s new friends or acquaintances involved in substance use.
  13. The disappearance of money, personal belongings, pills or alcohol.
  14. The sudden appearance of expensive merchandise. Electronic equipment, clothes, or jewelry your child can’t possibly afford may indicate drug dealing. Be mindful that a teenager will often deny any illegal or inappropriate activity with explanations such as, “I borrowed it from a friend.”
  15. Lying.
  16. Trouble with the law. Kids may be picked up for shoplifting, driving while intoxicated, disorderly conduct. 

What if?

What if your suspicion about your child’s drug use is accurate? How can you tell use from abuse? One counselor has a simple rule of thumb: three tries is experimentation; more than that is use. Abuse is characterized by the need to have the drug (whether it is marijuana, cocaine, alcohol or tobacco) and preoccupation with getting it.

Once you’ve faced reality and know that your child needs help, the most crucial step is getting the right help. You must determine what kind of intervention is best for your particular child and what is available close to home. The right help at the right time can get your child back on track. You may not know where to turn first. You can begin by using your local phone book. Start with a call to one or more of these:

  • Your family doctor
  • Hotline: usually listed under Alcoholism Treatment or Drug Abuse Information and Treatment in the yellow pages
  • Community Services: often in the white pages
  • An agency specializing in treating drug/alcohol abuse and related problems: often listed in the yellow pages under Drug Abuse
  • A local counseling or mental health center: often under the yellow pages
  • A community-based storefront counseling center
  • A social worker, psychologist, or drug counselor
  • The school guidance department or student assistance service
  • A police youth officer
  • A clergyman
  • A relative, particularly one in a helping profession 

Children who don’t use drugs

Despite the fact that drugs, alcohol and tobacco are available everywhere, some kids don’t get involved. More than half of all high school seniors have not tried marijuana, and alcohol, our social drug, has not been tried by about twenty percent of twelfth graders. Unfortunately, for those who do drink, binge drinking (5 or more drinks in a row) is a pervasive problem. What helps some youngsters avoid the pitfall of today’s world? Some children just seem to have an inner compass. They say very early, “That’s not me.” In addition, a national study (The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, 1997) found that teenagers who feel “connected”-who feel loved, understood and feel their parents pay attention to them-were less likely to use drugs. Parents can help protect their children by providing:

  • Trust and support. A study of seven thousand youngsters showed that those who didn’t have the trust and support of their parents were more likely to cave in to peer pressure.
  • Realistically hight academic standards.
  • The chance to succeed.
  • The chance to fail and still be accepted.
  • Praise, love and physical touching. The “Did you hug your kid today?” bumper stickers apply to kids of all ages – teens as well as toddlers. Adolescents sometimes cringe, but don’t let that inhibit you or make you think they need it any less than a younger child.

Whatever the reasons, and they are many-parental concern and involvement, a changing social climate that makes drug use, drunk driving, and smoking in public less “cool” than it once was-the rise in substance use seen in the early nineties seems to have been stemmed and may even be reversing. But this is no reason for complacency. It means only that the fever that had been 104 is now 102, and needs continuing attention.

About the Authors

Judith S. Seixas, a credentialed alcoholism counselor, who has written many books for young readers, including Alcohol: What It Is, What It Does; Drugs: What They Are, What They Do; and Living with a Parent Who Drinks Too Much.

Geraldine Youcha, author of Minding the Children: Child Care in American from Colonial Times to the Present and Alcohol: A Dangerous Pleasure. She has also written frequently about drug use and its side effects on the family for major magazines.

Judith S. Seixas and Geraldine Youcha are the co-authors of Children of Alcoholism: A Survivor’s Manual.

References and Related Books

Drugs, Alcohol and Your Children: What Every Parent Needs to Know
J.S. Seixas & G. Youcha
Penguin Books 1999

Tips for Teens
http://ncadi.samhsa.gov/features/youth/

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About the NYU Child Study Center

The New York University Child Study Center is dedicated to increasing the awareness of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders and improving the research necessary to advance the prevention, identification, and treatment of these disorders on a national scale. The Center offers expert psychiatric services for children, adolescents, young adults, and families with emphasis on early diagnosis and intervention. The Center’s mission is to bridge the gap between science and practice, integrating the finest research with patient care and state-of-the-art training utilizing the resources of the New York University School of Medicine. The Child Study Center was founded in 1997 and established as the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry within the NYU School of Medicine in 2006. For more information, please call us at (212) 263-6622 or visit us at www.AboutOurKids.org.