Archive for April, 2013

Latest Statistics on Commonly Abused Drugs

Ever wonder how many Americans are using marijuana, heroin, and prescription drugs?

teen substance abuseThe drug prohibition policies in the United States traces its roots back in 1914, but the term “war on drugs” was popularized in 1971 upon the declaration of then-president Richard Nixon. The goal of Nixon’s anti-drug campaign was to increase the size and presence of federal drug control agencies.

More than 40 years later, however, it appears that the number of people using and misusing banned substances are increasing, not to mention the emergence of newer substances that are getting kids “high” and sending some of them to emergency rooms for treatment.

Marijuana is still considered the most commonly abuse drugs in the U.S. with roughly 100 million Americans admitting to trying the drug at least once, according to the Students for a Sensible Drug Policy.

Last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a report suggesting that one marijuana arrest happens every 42 seconds.

After marijuana there’s prescription drug abuse which is getting a lot of attention lately because of the increasing number of teens experimenting on them. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), prescription drug misuse remains a top public health concern in the United States, with approximately 22 million people initiating nonmedical use of pain relievers since 2002. The figure was based from the combined 2010 and 2011 data indicating that rates of past year misuse among those aged 12 or older.

Among the states with the highest rates of nonmedical use of prescription drugs were Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.

Ritalin and Adderall, drugs commonly prescribed in people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), were noted as among the top drivers in the increase of teen medicine abuse.

Given the growing rates of prescription drug abuse, drug manufacturers altered the formulation of OxyContin, another commonly abused Rx medicine, to prevent drug addicts from crushing and abusing it. However, this led to addicts turning to other prescription meds, as well as heroin.

In 2008, it is estimated that there were more than 200,000 current heroin users in the United States. Between 2008 and 2009, there had been an obvious increase in lifetime heroin injection use among 10th graders.

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Friends’ Influence to Smoke Stronger in Middle School Than in High School

We know peer pressure to drink, smoke, and try drugs is very much felt once an individual reaches his/her adolescent period. But a new study found that when it comes to smoking, friends’ influence is greater in middle school than in high school.

smoking in middle schoolResearchers from the University of Southern California looked into the data of more than 1,000 adolescents who took part in the Midwestern Prevention Project (MPP), a community-based substance abuse prevention program. They were surprised to find that friends’ influence to smoke has more effect in junior high than in high school.

“Based on social developmental model research, we thought friends would have more influence on cigarette use during high school than junior high school,” lead author Yue Liao, M.P.H., a doctoral student in the department of preventive medicine’s Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said in a news release. “But what we found was friends have greater influence during junior high school than high school. We think the reason may be that friends’ cigarette use behavior may have a stronger influence on youth who start smoking at a younger age. During high school, cigarette use might represent the maintenance of behavior rather than a result of peer influence.”

The researchers has also observed gender difference in friends’ and parental influence. Friends’ influence on cigarette smoking was higher for girls than boys during 9th and 10th grade. However, there was an increasing trend in friends’ influence from 9th to 11th among boys, whereas friends and parents had less influence on girls from 10th to 12th grade.

Liao said this could be explained by the fact that boys tend to foster friendship by engaging in shared behavior, while girls are more focused on emotional sharing.

The researchers hope their findings would pave the way for an improved intervention program in cigarette smoking primarily geared towards middle school students. Liao also recommends future study on sibling effects for a more complete picture of familial influence.

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5 Interactive Blogs and Websites for Recovering Addicts

Addiction is a treatable disease. However, the road to recovery is not always an easy path to tread, especially if without the support of family and people who can understand what you’re going through. But thanks to the influence of new media, recovering addicts can turn to the Internet to connect with and learn from other people going through similar situation.

Below are some blogs and websites where you can leave comments and share ideas  on the different aspects of addiction recovery.

substance abuse12 Steps Ahead – a user-friendly blog for recovering individuals who want to share their experience, strength and hope with others. It features recovery-based news, events, and videos. It provides access to real stories, daily reflections, and topics about sobriety, addiction treatment, substance abuse, and more. It also encourages you to submit recovery experience and thoughts.

The 12-Step Buddhist – this website is run by Darren Littlejohn, a recovering addict and practitioner of Zen and Tibetan Buddhism. It features how-to articles, podcast, discussion and commentary pages, videoblog, photoblog, book reviews, and retreat programs.

My Route to Help – a website that offers information on addiction, encouragement to people who want to get sober, advice on harm reduction, and other self-help services. You can read stories of people who have once been overpowered by substance abuse and eventually able to overcome their addiction. It also gives you an opportunity to share your own experience, as well as learn from other people’s struggles.

Pressing The Issue – this blog is created to help people dealing with substance abuse. It tackles different addiction treatments and gives information on various drugs and their effects. Aside from addiction and recovery articles, you can also check recommended books that can help you further understand the nature of substance abuse.

Awakened Recoveries – a website founded by Gregg D. — a recovered alcoholic, writer, poet, gifted speaker, and university instructor. It provides comprehensive details on the 12-step recovery program, as well as video posts on practicing the principles of 12 steps and the phases of addiction recovery.

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Ohio State University to Offer Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Program

The Ohio State University has expanded its commitment to help addiction recovering students through its newly established program, the Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC).

Drug Addiction RecoveryOSU CRC is made possible in collaboration with Counseling and Consultation Services (CCS) and University Residences and Dining Services. Its goal is to provide encouragement and engagement to students who are in the addiction recovery process.

“We want this to be, as much as possible, a very healthy community of mutual support,” Curtis Haywood, a licensed professional clinical counselor for CCS, told The Lantern. “We don’t want to exclude any student that’s serious about recovery. If they’re serious about recovery, we want to be there with open arms welcoming them into this program.”

Although the program is still in its early stages, OSU plans to launch CRC at the start of the Fall 2013 semester and the recovery house in the Fall 2014 semester.

The program is modeled after a Texas Tech University recovery program. In addition to a recovery house, OSU’s recovery program components include academic advising, individual counseling, life skills workshops, community service opportunities, and family weekend — among others.

While OSU had offered services for those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, the CRC is its first comprehensive recovery program to date.

Other universities that have adopted a program like CRC include the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Michigan.

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Report Sheds Light on the Dangers of ‘Cinnamon Challenge’

The so-called Cinnamon Challenge became a big hit among U.S. teens last year. So big that it resulted to more than 50,000 Youtube videos of people attempting to join the bandwagon. Common responses to the challenge include coughing and burning of the mouth, nose, and throat. But although these responses are temporary, doctors warn that attempts to swallow large quantity of the dry spice could lead to lesions and scarring of the airway.

cinnamon challenge dangersAccording to doctors at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the aspirated cinnamon “entering the upper airways can cause inflammation and, in more severe cases, aspiration pneumonia.”

“… the fibers and other components of cinnamon can also cause allergic and irritant reactions, including acute symptoms and temporary, if not permanent, lung function changes,” the doctors wrote in their report Ingesting and Aspirating Dry Cinnamon by Children and Adolescents: The ”Cinnamon Challenge” which was published on the journal Pediatrics.

In 2011, the U.S. American Association of Poison Control Centers received more than 50 calls related to the Cinnamon Challenge. In the first half of 2012, there were 178 such calls and 122 of which were classified as intentional misuse or abuse, and at least 30 teens required medical evaluation.

The large Internet presence and peer pressure are what have increased the popularity of Cinnamon Challenge. In the first six months of 2012, Google hits on the topic reached 2.4 million and then there’s also the frequent mentions of the challenge in social networking sites, such as Twitter, the report explained.

To address the problem, the doctors recommend schools and health care professionals to be more proactive in discussing to children the possible harmful effects of Cinnamon Challenge.

“… pediatricians and parents have a ‘challenge’ of their own in counseling tweens and teens regarding the sensibilities of the choices they make and the potential health risks of this dare,” the doctors suggested. “Counseling can modify risk behaviors related to peer pressure, such as preventing tobacco and alcohol use, pregnancy, and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases.”

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Is Justin Bieber Abusing Steroids?

Justin Bieber first caught media attention back in 2008 as this cute, very talented singing sensation that could easily sweep many girls off their feet. His voice and smooth moves earned him fame and fortune any teenager could only envy. But attached to such popularity is the need to maintain the adorable looks that many fans have come to love him.

is justin beiber using steroidsBarely 20, Bieber now sports wider chest, remarkable shoulders, toned biceps, and great abs. Somehow, observers can’t help but wonder if he’s into steroids use, especially considering the erratic and more aggressive behaviors he has been displaying lately.

According to Celebrity Health & Fitness, Bieber has been inspired by the gains Taylor Lautner made to bulk up for his role as werewolf Jacob Black in the “Twilight” movie saga. In fact, so inspired that he sought Lautner’s trainer to help him achieve similar gains.

Even though Beiber maintained religiously “working out in the gym” and despite the lack of admission that he was into steroids, his Instagram photos and recent display of aggressions have become media fancy.

It can be remembered that Beiber was kicked out of a nightclub on his 19th birthday; kept his fans in London waiting for nearly two hours before he appeared on stage; collapsed on stage at another London show; fought with photographers and cancelled a show in Portugal. Most recently, he allegedly screamed at and spit on his neighbor when he was confronted for reckless driving, the article notes.

Steroids use is nothing new in the entertainment industry, as much as it is widely used in professional sports. After all, music and movie celebrities are always expected to look good for their fans.

In addition to enhancing muscles, steroids are known to cause aggressive acts, mood disturbances, and poor decision-making. Other symptoms of steroid abuse include depression, muscle cramps, aching joints, and insomnia. It could also increase one’s risk to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and certain cancer.

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