Celebrate National Recovery Month This September

If you or someone close to you is currently recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, this is the perfect time to make your voices heard and make the public aware of the struggles of recovery.

national recovery month september SAMHSASeptember is celebrated all around the U.S. as the National Recovery Month, which provides an opportune time to highlight the importance of early intervention and preventive measures to rescue people from their addictions. This year marks the 25th time that the campaign is being held, with the advocacy stretching to the awareness of mental disorders as well.

The theme for this year is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” which gives recovering addicts the chance to have their voices heard and express their struggles in recovering from drug and alcohol abuse. The campaign hopes to put a positive spin on the issue by emphasizing the significance of a person’s behavior to overall well-being, as well as the benefits of prevention and immediate treatment.

Several organizations are putting their full support on the campaign, including the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

If you want to support the campaign through a monetary donation, you may send them through this page at drugfree.org. You may also find more information about National Recovery Month from the SAMHSA website.

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Students Likely To Drop Out of School Due To Marijuana Use

If you are not yet startled by marijuana abuse by kids, this bit of news might shake your mindset and apathy.

legalize_marijuana_mainJust a few weeks after research by New York University revealed the effect of alcohol and marijuana on high school seniors, a recent study showed that teenagers have a 60 percent likelihood to drop out of school when they use marijuana on a daily basis. According to the University of South Wales National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Australia, the results of their study could be used as a framework to reconsider legalizing marijuana.

The study based its findings on three earlier researches covering about 3,700 individuals, and looked into the behaviors and academic achievements of the respondents in cross reference to their drug use until they reached 30 years of age.

Study lead author Dr. Edmund Silins emphasized the importance of their study to government decisions in marijuana legalization measures. “The findings are timely given movement in some states in the US and Latin America to decriminalise marijuana, and there is also a movement here in Australia to decriminalise and legalise the drug for medicinal use,” said Dr. Silins in a news release. “Because our study has shown the potential harms of adolescent use, particularly heavy use, policy makers must be aware of this and reform efforts should be carefully considered to protect against this.”

Aside from the scholastic effect of marijuana on teens, the illicit drug was also linked to higher tendency to commit suicide and try other illegal substances.

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Virginia School District Wants Teenagers To Sleep More, Proposes Late School Time Start

If your kids are studying in a Fairfax County high school, they’re probably going to love what the superintendent wants to propose.

high school start time alarm clock teenagers more sleepKaren Garza, superintendent of the high schools in Fairfax County, presented a proposal to delay the start of school time so as to give students more time to sleep. The proposed start time is 8:00 in the morning or later. Although this does not sound like a significant amount of time — high school classes usually start at 7:30 A.M. — this gives teenagers enrolled in the Fairfax County schools an extra 30 minutes of sleep.

The proposed change was made in partnership with the Children’s National Medical Center, which hopes that the time change will afford teenagers with more sleep time to improve mental health and academic capacity. Should the proposal be approved, Fairfax County will be one of 73 school districts that start high school classes later than 8:00 A.M., according to a news release.

Cost implications, however, may hinder the proposal. The change in the schools’ start time would require additional school buses, which may amount to $5 million among other miscellaneous expenses. The need for new buses stems from the fact that these transport vehicles serve multiple schools at the same schedule.

The Fairfax County School Board is set to decide on the matter by October, for possible implementation by the next school year.

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Study: Effects of Alcohol and Marijuana on High School Seniors

The ongoing quest to pull away teenagers and students from substance abuse has never waned. This new study emphasizes the ill effects of alcohol and marijuana on high school seniors.

high school kidsAccording to researchers from the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research of New York University, teenagers who are about to graduate from high school were engaged in drunk driving cases due to alcohol abuse. “Compared to non-drinkers, frequent drinkers were over 13 times more likely to report that their alcohol use has led to unsafe driving,” said Dr. Joseph Palamar of NYU Langone Medical Center.

Frequent drinking also led to damaged relationships and feelings of regret and emotional instability especially in women.

Meanwhile, marijuana was reported in previous studies to be a better alternative than taking alcohol, but the study revealed that it was no better. “Marijuana users, compared to non-users, were three times more likely to report unsafe driving as a direct result of use,” Dr. Palamar said in a news release. In addition, seniors who engaged in frequent marijuana use were more than 20 times likely to engage in police-related incidents.

The study involved data from close to 7,500 high school seniors who used alcohol and marijuana from 2007 to 2011.

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Doctors Miss Out On Teen Smoking Intervention

Doctors are supposed to be the vanguards of health, but a recent study reveals that only a few of them intervene when it comes to teen smoking.

teen smokingAccording to study author Gillian L. Schauer in her interview with Reuters Health, only 31 percent of adolescents in high school and middle school were advised by a healthcare professional to stop smoking. “Our results suggest that more than 6.6 million youth and adolescents who currently use tobacco or are at high risk for future smoking did not receive advice from their health care provider to quit or avoid tobacco,” Schauer said.

The study involved a survey of more than 18,000 teenagers all around the U.S. to ask them about tobacco usage and any discussions with health professionals about smoking. The results showed that while more than 70 percent of the kids have not tried smoking, 11 percent admitted to have smoked tobacco. Unfortunately, while majority of them were able to visit the doctor within the year, less than a third were given advice against smoking.

What’s more unfortunate is that only 32 percent of the kids surveyed said that a doctor or nurse asked them about smoking. “Young people often underestimate the addictive potential of nicotine, and 9 out of 10 adults who smoke started before age 18, making anti-smoking and anti-tobacco messages delivered by a health care provider an important intervention for youth,” Schauer stressed. “Given that tobacco is still the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., it is surprising that more clinicians are not intervening with adolescent patients to help them avoid or quit tobacco.”

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Peer Influence Pushes Youth to Prescription Drug Abuse

Preventive measures and intervention programs to combat prescription drug abuse in teens may not be approaching the subject at the right perspective, according to a new study.

peer prescription drug abuseA joint research by proponents from New York’s Hunter College and Indiana’s Purdue University revealed that prescription drug abuse may be caused not by peer pressure but by peer association and influence.

Sociology and anthropology professor Brian Kelly, one of the study authors, said that peer pressure does not seem to be an aggravating factor for drug abuse in teens. “Rather, we found more subtle components of the peer context as influential. These include peer drug associations, peers as points of drug access, and the motivation to misuse prescription drugs to have pleasant times with friends,” Kelly said in a news release.

The study, which was presented at the recent Annual Meeting of the American Sociological, involved interview and survey of more than 600 people within 18 to 29 years of age who engaged in prescription drug misuse for the past 90 days.

Focus was directed towards three possible scenarios of drug abuse: frequency, alternative ways of administering the drug, and dependency symptoms. Kelly shared that peer influence leads people to all three situations. “The motivation to misuse prescription drugs to have a good time with friends is also associated with all three outcomes. The number of sources of drugs in their peer group also matters, which is notable since sharing prescription drugs is common among these young adults,” Kelly added.

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