Archive for December, 2011

6 Ways to Keep Your Holiday Parties Safe

The holidays usher in a number of celebrations and events to spread the holiday cheer. During parties and gatherings of friends and family, alcohol becomes a big part of the event. If you can’t help having some in your own party, you could at least ensure that your guests are safe and away from the risks of figuring in alcohol-related accidents.

Here are some ways suggested by the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information on how to keep your holiday parties safe for you and your guests:

party drinking1. Once you get the event rolling, have some games and activities that will require the participation of everybody. This will at least keep your guests’ minds off the alcohol.

2. Food should be abundant to avoid having guests drink on empty stomachs. Alcohol’s potency can increase on people who drink without food intake. Avoid salty foods too as this could make them thirsty.

3. Do not let children serve alcoholic drinks nor allow minors to consume alcoholic beverages. Never mix alcohol to any drink that kids might consume. As much as possible, you must keep alcoholic beverages away from carbonated drinks or fruit juices that kids can have.

4. An hour before your party ends, control or minimize the amount of alcohol you serve. It would be better if you absolutely stop giving your guests alcohol at this time.

5. Have a list of cab companies in your area so that guests who are too drunk to drive can take a cab home. You may also offer to drive them home if you are not intoxicated yourself.

6. If there should be anybody in the group who insists on driving despite being obviously too drunk to do so, seek the help of other guests to get some sense into him. If this doesn’t work, you can temporarily disable their car, or you can ask for police intervention.

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Improved Quality of Life as Long-Term Effect of Quitting Smoking

A new study shows that smokers who quit can have an improved quality of life. Researchers have found out that factors affecting the quality of life improve when a smoker decides to quit his nicotine habit.

smokingThe study involved 1,504 smokers who quit. After three years of monitoring, the researchers were able to compare their quality of life to those who did not quit, and it was no surprise finding some significant differences from the two groups.

The most significant result that came out from the study was that people who quit smoking displayed a relatively lower decrease in their quality of life during the first and third years of the duration of the study. Those who kept smoking, on the other hand, had greater drops in their quality of life throughout the given time frame. Non-smokers in the third year of the study complained of less complications and problems brought about by their previous nicotine encounters, while smokers reported more stressful situations.

As to marital support with regards to tobacco issues, both groups got the same amount of support from their spouses on the first year, but support increased for the non-smoking side on the third year.

The results of the study will hopefully shed some light on the belief that smokers who quit still experience deterioration in the quality of life despite quitting. If smokers who quit remain quit for years, they will see improvements in their overall health condition.

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Parent Disagrees to Drug Testing Plans of School District

After reports of alleged drug use at Warrenton High School, the discipline committee of the Warren County R-III School District is still at odds on whether random drug testing should be implemented in the area. But for parent Jill Beedy, drug testing should not be done in schools. It should be something done by the police and not by the school district.

drug free zoneWhile there were some parents who favored the policy during last November’s school community meeting, Breedy is strongly against it. The concerned parent said that what she saw during the presentation was not focused on keeping kids away from drugs, but instead was scaring the students. “We’re talking about striking fear into our students and we shouldn’t be doing that,” she said.

School District Superintendent Dr. Tom Muzzey admits there is still much to be discussed before the board comes out with a decision on drug testing matters. While he acknowledges Breedy’s effort to voice out the concerns of parents on the issue, he has a different perception when it comes to the school district’s role in implementing random drug testing. “I think the district has the responsibility to make sure the practices and policies are reflective of community norms and values,” Muzzey stated.

A question raised by Breezy pertains to how the board can ensure that the testing will be done randomly, if implementation is approved. “How exactly does the school district pick who gets tested? How is the R-III district not held liable for who they choose to test?”

Muzzey answers that the board will be acquiring the services of a private firm to keep the process at random or they could opt to use a software program for the procedure.

The superintendent also assured the community that they are open to the opinions of parents and the community as a whole with regards to the implementation of the random drug testing before everything will be finalized.

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District Employees to Possibly Undergo Drug Testing

Tahlequah Public Schools may soon require district employees to undergo drug testing. The need to drug test will be based on “reasonable suspicion.”

drug testingThe revised policy now includes the clause that a superintendent may ask for a drug test if there is reasonable suspicion that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The analogy given is that of a police officer pulling a driver over with the suspicion of driving under the influence. The police will then conduct a sobriety test to confirm any of their suspicions.

TPS superintendent Shannon Goodsell explained how the policy will be implemented if approved. “[Under the proposal], the school district has the right to suspect that you might have consumed something that you shouldn’t have consumed, and we have the right to ask you to now go and submit to a drug test.”

As expected, the proposal was met with criticisms from different departments.

School board member Luke Foster airs his concern on the possibility of violating employees’ civil rights, and that superintendents could disregard the initial condition that needs to be satisfied before asking an employee to submit to a drug test.

Goodsell suggested that before the go signal is given for policy implementation, proper training and guidelines on identifying candidates for drug testing must be in place.

The revised policy has also included provisions against child abuse and neglect. This will be very useful for abuse and neglect cases to be reported immediately to the proper authorities.

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Program Helps Fight Substance Abuse Among African-American Teens

A new program has shown signs of helping in making a difference on alcohol and drug abuse issues, as well as on behavioral problems, among African-American teens.

drug abuseStudy author Gene Brody said that after two years of offering the program to parents and their kids, a new study conducted on participants showed that there has been a decrease in the number of drugs and alcohol abuse and in behavioral problems in the targeted population.

“During the high school years is when kids often begin to use drugs and escalate their use of drugs, so it’s really an important time to introduce some prevention programs,” Brody said.

The program is specifically designed for African-American families. Parents and kids are given the opportunity to attend sessions on improving academic performance, resisting peer pressure, dealing with discrimination or racism, and effectively implementing household rules.

As African-American kids aged 16 and their parents go through the program, which consists of five two-hour sessions, they are supported and assisted by caregivers who provide them with tips on good parenting practices and setting rules on alcohol and drug abuse. Teens are taught about self-control and are guided to achieve improved academic standings.

The participants came from rural areas. While it may be true that kids in rural areas have lower drug and alcohol abuse cases compared to their urban counterparts, recent studies have shown that risks are increasing.

Brody confirms that their program is warmly received by their target population. “There was great excitement around the program. These parents realize, there’s not a lot of opportunity to help them or to help their youth develop in a way that’s going to put them on a path to success.”

He is hopeful, despite some financial obstacles encountered, that they could share the program to more parents and kids in other key areas.

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RASE Project: Helping Addicts Recover from Substance Abuse

Recovery, Advocacy, Service and Empowerment (RASE) has once again opened its doors to individuals who want to seek help and treatment for substance abuse.

drug abuse recoveryRASE started its operation in May 2001 when a group of treatment professionals as well as those in recovery for substance abuse started it in Pennsylvania for the benefit of those who are in need of the services they provide.

Executive director Denise Holden, who was once herself an addict but successfully overcame her challenges, said that RASE serves as an outlet for people who have the same experience as hers to help out in the community.

“When people get clean they disappear into anonymous recovery communities to protect themselves from the stigma,” she said. Through RASE, fully recovered victims will be given the opportunity to make a difference by volunteering to help others.

At present, RASE has established recovery centers for women in Cumberland and Dauphin counties; addiction treatment care facility for adults in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Perry, and Lebanon counties; and support centers and services at Lancaster and Dauphin counties.

The organization has also provided professional training and information dissemination and educational services throughout the areas they have covered. They also hold events that address the problem of substance abuse with ready resource speakers. Assessment and referrals as well as family interventions are also being done.

Funding is important for any organization, but RASE founders say, their advocacy will continue even if financial support is limited or completely runs out. The fact that they are able to save a lot of lives that might have been otherwise wasted by substance abuse is enough for volunteers and other members to continue each and every day of their operation.

For those interested to help and share, you may contact RASE Project at 717-232-8535 or visit

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