Archive for May, 2012

Loud Music Linked to Drug Abuse on Teens

Parents whose kids are fond of listening to loud music will have another reason to worry. In a new study conducted by Dutch researchers, kids who listen to very loud music on their MP3 players are more likely to get into drug abuse while those who do the same in clubs and concerts tend to drink heavily and engage in unprotected sex.

loud musicYet proponents of the study quickly clarified that they have not proven the direct relationship between loud music and substance abuse among teens, but there is a definite association between the two subjects.

A survey was made with 944 participants aged 15 to 25, with 18 as the average, and almost two-thirds of the sample population as females. The results of the survey were used to determine the link between adolescent risky behaviors and the patterns of listening to music.

Data gathered showed that 30% of the participants admit to listening to music on their MP3s at very high decibels. The same 30% were also identified as more likely to smoke marijuana. Researchers explained this outcome by relating it to an adolescent’s progress to adulthood.

“The combination of cannabis use and risky MP3-player listening could be related to the existential period in life that constitutes adolescence and emerging adulthood, not only because of the positive feeling to be alive and the experience of existential meaning, but also as something that can fill existential emptiness,” according to study authors.

Alex Burdorf, professor from the Erasmus MC University in Rotterdam and co-author of the study, said that the results they have gathered only proves an adolescent’s actions are somehow interconnected and that people should focus on measures that will control these interconnected behaviors to avoid unwanted complications.

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Fontana Officials Strengthen Initiatives Against Underage Drinking

Fontana authorities are making it their mission to strongly implement laws governing underage drinking. Last week, a forum was held at the Fontana City Hall attended by law enforcement groups and parents.

party drinkingAccording to Police Chief Rod Jones, alcohol is the leading drug of choice among kids in the United States and it has been the leading cause of death for teen drivers. Fontana has had its share of problems pertaining to drunk driving which has claimed the lives of 10 community members in the past year.

San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops said that teen drinking leads to the path of violence, sexual assault, and other crimes. Hoops continued by reminding parents of their responsibility especially now that graduation and prom season is about to arrive.

To address the anticipated problem of underage drinking during the “party season,” Fontana has recently adopted an ordinance that will hold events hosts responsible for any alcohol served to minors during their hosted gatherings. It has been noted that house parties are the main sources of alcohol for kids, thus with the social host ordinance, adults can be implicated should they allow kids to drink in their events.

In San Bernardino County alone, the average age for children having their first encounters with alcohol is at 12 years old and that 48% of minors arrested for DUI admit to drinking at parties and gatherings held at home.

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Pediatricians Can Help Prevent Teen Substance Abuse

A new study suggests that teens that undergo a five-minute computer screening program pertaining to their alcohol and drug use may reduce their risks for drinking for up to a year.

It was found out by a group of researchers from the Boston Children’s Hospital that kids who talk to their pediatricians after the computer screening tool decreased their risks for drinking by almost 50% for the first three months after their doctor’s visit.

drinkingDr. John Knight from the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at the Boston Children’s Hospital confirmed that previous studies have proven that screening and immediate intervention create a big positive impact among college students on alcohol and drug issues, but this is the first time they are able to have the computer screening and intervention program on the adolescent population.

“It’s important to get pediatricians involved, because we know 70 percent of high school seniors have started to drink, and almost 60 percent have started to use drugs, but there are few specialists available to deal with early intervention with teens,” he said.

It has been noted that most teens are able to visit their pediatricians every year for their physical examination requirements. This gives them the opportunity to talk about their substance abuse problems knowing their secrets are safe with their doctors, thereby making them listen more to their doctors than to their parents. “Since substance abuse kills more teenagers than infectious disease, parents should view this screening as another important vaccination,” Dr. Knight added.

Yet there are also obstacles that pediatricians face when talking to teenagers and their issues. For one, they don’t have the luxury of time due to the fact that there are a lot of patients with numerous factors to screen for. Another one is that once they screen teens for substance abuse, some doctors don’t know how to deal with patients who test positive and admit to the dangerous habits.

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High School Implements Random Drug Testing for Athletes

Students of the Washington Community High School will be subjected to random drug testing starting next school year.

The drug testing program was approved by the District 308 School Board after a short forum held last Monday. Students who participate in extracurricular activities and those with parking slots will be randomly tested for drug use.

drug testing in schoolThe program took a year to process as Washington athletics director Herb Knoblauch painstakingly consulted school officials and other high schools in the area before finalizing the program.

Following the recommendations of the drug testing process, 10 to 12 students will be randomly tested by a third-party service company. The procedure will be done 15 times in a school year.

The cost of each test will range from $50 to $75. School principal and superintendent Jim Dunnan says the amounts are well within their set budget of $10,000 to $15000 annually for the drug testing program.

Both Dunnan and Knoblauch claimed that the program was supported by students, parents, and guardians as they have yet to receive any negative feedback about the process. The School Board also showed their support for the proposal even before voting began.

“Students now have a reason to say ‘no’ with teeth behind it,” said Jim Gerkin, school board member.

“I’m glad we’re being proactive. It’s painful when we (board members) have to clean up the tail end of a problem (with an expulsion),” added another official.

The test will require students to submit urine samples. A positive result will be immediately made known to the student, to his parents or guardians, and as well as to his coaches or activity sponsors but not to law enforcement authorities.

The student will be suspended from his activities until he tests negative. Succeeding costs for re-tests will be shouldered by the parents. The school will provide the assistance of a social worker for the family and will give a list of counseling centers where families can get help.

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Survey Reveals Extent of Teen Substance Abuse

A recent survey made at Wood County is showing the extent of substance abuse among kids, specifically from the fifth to the twelfth grades. Back in February, students from the Wood County public schools district participated in the study and what they revealed should be a wake-up call for all concerned authorities.

Results of the survey confirmed that there are about 15.2% of twelfth graders who smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days prior to the survey. What was surprising and alarming was the fact that more kids are smoking pot than cigarettes, with 19.9% of the participants admitting to marijuana use. Just last year, 15.6% of seniors from schools in the district said they had used weed more than ten times.

Project director for the Safe Schools Healthy Student Initiative and the Wood County Educational Service Center, Kyle Clark, said that marijuana use among teens is increasing in other parts of the country as well. Clark added that the legalization of marijuana has sent confusing messages to kids which might have triggered for statistics to rise.

As the debate on medical marijuana continues, students could get the wrong idea that the substance is safe. Clark calls for school authorities and anti-substance abuse groups to focus on the prevention methods to discourage kids from using marijuana.

Results also revealed that there is a continuing drop on the use of cigarettes among 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students. Even alcohol use dropped, giving Wood County its lowest rate ever since the annual survey started in 2004.

“Well over 60 percent of our kids have not taken a drink; have not smoked a cigarette ever. And those are good statistics to have.”

Also included in the report was the issue of bullying with almost 33% of Wood County students falling victims to these kinds of situations, which could increase their risks for substance abuse.

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Responsible Parenting Key to Kids’ Safety During Graduation Season

Graduation is a time for celebration, but this does not necessarily give kids the license to party and drink all they can.

party binge drinkingAccording to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA, kids often get the opportunity to engage in alcohol in their own homes, with alcohol obtained from other family members or from other adults or kids. The number of kids that purchase alcohol from bars or stores is only 6.6%.

The reason why most kids have the guts to indulge in alcohol is that they are not aware of the dangers of underage drinking. This is why parents who serve alcohol to their kids are putting their children’s lives at risk, even more by keeping them uninformed about the dangers of alcohol.

It has been proven that alcohol can easily damage a teen’s brain. The substance may well condition a child’s mind too for addiction later on in life. To prevent all these possible scenarios, parents should make a firm stand against adolescent drinking by:

a. Making things clear to kids by having specific house and family rules with regards to alcohol and drug use.

b. Keep track of all alcoholic beverages and medications that are in your own households.
c. Suggest to party hosts to keep parties alcohol-free. You can also help by monitoring activities of kids during the event.

d. Communicate with your child’s friend’s parents about adolescent drinking to know if they have the same ideas as yours. If not, you can share information to help them realize the dangers of underage drinking.

e. Assure your children that in times of stressful and difficult situations, they can always count on you. In situations wherein they can’t find anybody who’s sober, teach them to call you without any hesitation.

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