Archive for January, 2014

Effective Alcohol Intervention For Teens Should Involve Personalized Touch

A team of researchers focused on helping college students stop unhealthy alcohol consumption has just discovered one of the best ways to intervene: a personal touch.

alcohol abuseResearchers led by Lori Scott-Sheldon of The Miriam’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine reveal the importance of early intervention by screening freshmen on the first weeks of school. With a wide spectrum of teenagers entering college, many different patterns and motivations for drinking came up. This became the basis of the group’s recommendation to use a tailor-fit approach to each and every case of alcoholism.

Published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, the study reviewed the effectiveness of several programs of alcohol intervention for teens spread across the U.S. for the past decade. While the intervention techniques were unique to each other, most of the more effective ones tend to share a commonality, and that is a “personalized feedback report” as reported in UPI. The college freshman identified with a drinking problem must realize the repercussions of continuing the habit: financial drain, health risks, or flying past legal blood alcohol limits.

Scott-Sheldon also observed that combining two or more techniques to intervene any case of teenage alcohol abuse is the best method.

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NIDA Releases Teen Substance Abuse Treatment Guide

In relation to the National Drug Facts Week from January 27 to February 2, 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has just released a 13-step guide on treating teenagers engaging in substance abuse.

teen drug abuseThe online resource, entitled “Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide”, is currently posted on the NIDA website to make it available for people dealing with teenage substance use — parents, experts in the field of substance abuse, and health care providers.

Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the institute, said through a NIDA press release that adolescents are susceptible to the temptation of using drugs because their brain functions are still developing into a more adult mindset. “These new resources are based on recent research that has greatly advanced our understanding of the unique treatment needs of the adolescent,” Volkow said.

Among the provisions of the drug abuse treatment guide include the following:

  • Teen substance abuse treatment cases should be considered urgent.
  • Drug prevention campaigns can help not only recovering teen drug users, but also those who haven’t used any drugs in their young life.
  • Each teenager should be presented with a unique treatment scheme.
  • Treatment should involve the family and the community.

This update from NIDA is a welcome news, after a 2012 survey on drug use revealed that of all the teenagers with drug abuse issues, only 10 percent of them receive treatment.

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Study: Alcohol Intake Leads To Significant Vision Impairment

They say too much alcohol in the body leads to an impaired vision and sense of direction. It wasn’t until a recent study that the degree of impairment was measured.

visual impairmentA team of researchers from the Western University and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in Canada revealed that their study confirmed up to 30% impairment in vision as a result of drinking alcohol beyond the legal limit. In Canada and majority of states in the U.S., the limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%.

Results of the study were significant: participants who had BAC levels near the limit observed a 30% reduction in contrast between the squares and the dark circles. In other words, people who engage in drunk driving might have difficulty telling the difference between light and darkness. “This is obviously important when you are driving at twilight, when objects are more difficult to see and more difficult to discriminate, even without alcohol,” study co-author Brian Timney said in a news release.

Timney and Kevin Johnston, proponents of the study, used a rather simple and safe approach to determine the visual malfunction: the Hermann Grid. The illusion, as described by Johnston, is “a grid of black squares on a white background. You see ghost-like dark spots at the intersections of the grid, but they are not actually there. It’s the way our visual system processes contrast or brightness differences that creates the illusion.” Here is how the Hermann Grid looks like:

grid

Respondents were asked to drink alcoholic beverages until just below the legal BAC limit, then look at the grid for observations on the invisible dark circles between the black squares.

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Alaska Teen Dies From Synthetic Drug Spice, Family Claims

If you are still skeptical about the risks of synthetic drug abuse, then this bit of news might make you think twice.

synthetic marijuanaIn November of last year, the family of Kurtis Hildreth found the 18-year-old dead inside his bedroom with a partially lit pipe containing the illicit drug Spice and a lighter nearby. According the Alaska Dispatch, the medical examiner’s office declared the cause of death as “undetermined”, much to the frustration and anger of Hildreth’s family.

Hildreth lived with his aunt, Kerri Stevens, when the incident happened. “The pipe was right there by his feet. He was a healthy kid. The lighter was right there. The pipe was right there. He never had any kind of heart problems or seizures,” said Stevens. The teenager was supposed to tour around Alaska and be presented a job offer in a commercial glass company run by his aunt’s family. With the teen’s death, the plans were all for naught.

Alaska plays host to a number of designer drugs readily available in smoke shops. These synthetic marijuana versions are packed in attractive packets, such as the brand “Mr. Nice Guy” with a dead smiley face at the front of the packaging. This particular brand was the one found in Hildreth’s bedroom where he was found lifeless.

Brandon Jenkins, the victim’s best friend, was able to talk with Hildreth moments before the teenager sniffed the controversial drug. “Life will lead you in better directions than this stuff will. Life has many opportunities, and death only has one,” Jenkins added.

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