Archive for category Drug Abuse Prevention

Teenage Drug Use and Violence Linked To Gun Possession

Mass shootings in schools may continue to pose a threat on teenagers, but some other deep-seated dangers have been linked to carrying a gun.

gun possessionAccording to a joint study by researchers of the New York University Langone Medical Center and Columbia University, teenagers who carry a firearm are more likely to engage in drug abuse and violence. The study looked into historical data from a national survey on teen behavior from 2001 to 2011, and analyzed any trend linkages between gun possession and personal behavior.

Results of the study showed that teenagers who carried a weapon were more likely to use heroin, cocaine, marijuana and other illicit drugs. The percentage of the respondents who said “yes” to carrying a gun in school in the past month also have a higher tendency to engage in a fight at school or drank alcohol inside the school premises.

Study co-author Dr. Sonali Rajan of Columbia University shared the importance of their study on teen intervention. “Our work takes [the recommendations] one step further and says we need to place an emphasis on the school environment, it’s not just about addressing mental health — but from a public health and prevention standpoint… cultivating from a young age school environments where students feel respected by their peers and teachers and vice versa,” Rajan said in a news release.

Meanwhile, co-author Dr. Kelly Ruggles of the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center added that “the point really is that we need to look at the comprehensive whole child, all the different things making up how kids are feeling in their environment.”

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Teenage Moms Less Depressed and Drug-Dependent Through In-Home Sessions

Teenage pregnancy is a very difficult issue for the young moms, and it’s easy for them to succumb to depression and drug use. The good news is that with early and persistent intervention, the pregnant teen’s likelihood to be depressed and drug-dependent becomes lower.

pregnant teens interventionA study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed that pregnant teenagers who are exposed to in-home educational sessions are less likely to fall into behavioral issues, use illegal drugs, or become depressed. According to a news release, the study involved more than 300 American Indian pregnant teenagers who were assigned to either of two treatments: the standard care that includes medical checkups and childcare, or the same care but with an additional program of in-house sessions under the Family Spirit intervention. The study ran until the children reached age 3.

The teenage moms who underwent the Family Spirit program were found to have better dispositions than those who received standard care. In addition, their children were also observed to have better future behavioral patterns.

Dr. Allison Barlow, who is the lead author of the study and works at the school’s Center for American Indian Health, shared that the default mode of treatment for teenage pregnancy cases is inclined towards medical techniques, but the study proved that proper intervention works just as well, if not better. “Now the burden is in multi-generational behavioral health problems, the substance abuse, depression and domestic violence that are transferred from parents to children. This intervention can help us break that cycle of despair,” Barlow said.

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Excessive Social Media Use Linked To Higher Risk for Substance Abuse

Spending too much time in front of the computer or TV screen may lead to a greater chance for kids to become dependent on drugs and other illicit substances.

teens using social mediaPartnership for a Drug Free Iowa, a group of experts who devise strategies to combat drug use in teens, said that youngsters are susceptible to substance abuse if they spend much of their time playing video games, logging in social media sites, or other non-social activities. The Partnership’s president Peter Komendowski said that “social media can be a very antisocial experience when it reduces actual time spent in activities with friends and family members.”

As a result of spending much time on antisocial activities, teenagers may be tempted to go down the spiral of depression and insecurity. “Excess social media and ‘screen time’ can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression, setting the stage for substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors,” Komendowski said in a news release.

Furthermore, the Partnership revealed that an average teenager spends about 55 hours on social media and video games on a weekly basis, with the figure increasing during summer vacation. The group is advocating more parental intervention for teens engaged in excessive antisocial behavior.

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Prescription Drug Drop-Off Station Now Permanent in Marion County

The National Drug Take Back Day has been very successful in collecting tons of unused and expired medicines all around the U.S. The annual event has been conduced by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) since 2010.

prescription drug drop off boxWith the success of take-back initiatives such as the DEA-administered events, a number of counties in Indiana are now installing permanent drop-off boxes for prescription drugs that are either expired or unused. Marion County is the latest in a strong of Indiana localities that have supported the drive against prescription drug abuse.

The drop-off box in Marion County is jointly handled by Drug Free Indiana and the county’s Sheriff’s Department. “Drugs that are leftover… in medicine cabinets… our youngsters can get a hold of. When I’m talking youngsters, I mean toddlers and on up,” said Sheriff John Layton in a news release.

The move came after Indiana figured in the top five states with the highest deaths due to drug overdose.

The Marion County Jail serves as the location of the drop-off box in the said Indiana county. Other central counties in the state have already installed their own boxes.

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Prescription Drug Abuse Causes More Addiction To Heroin In Teens

The rising statistics of drug addiction in the country especially in Bay area heightened the attention of public health officials, law enforcers, and substance abuse specialists during their recent summit in San Francisco, California.

prescription drug abuseThey blamed prescription drugs abuse as the forefront of the problems, which can lead to more heroin addiction on teens if they cannot regulate the issuance of drug prescription to teenagers and young adults.

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the deaths of accidental overdose from prescribed medicine have bloated to more than quadruple since 1999. Meanwhile, Drugfree.org’s The Partnership CEO Steve Pasierb said that misuse of prescription drugs is the primary cause of overdose deaths and heroin addictions, as revealed in a news item.

More problems on young adults and teens are prevalent because they often believe that taking these pills are safe as they are legally advised by doctors. However, when they cannot find the medicine, they switch to illegal substances and get hooked to heroin instead.

The group is now in the first stage of tracking down doctors who are making profits from issuing prescriptions drugs to anyone. They are also coordinating with pharmacies to report any unusual prescription that they find suspicious and fraudulent.

District attorneys are calling all doctors to religiously use the statewide database to check the prescription history of the patient and participate closely in the drive to prevent the proliferation of abuse of prescription medication.

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National Take Back Initiative Promotes Proper Disposal of Unused Prescription Drugs

prescription medsThe Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been running an uniquely effective campaign to provide U.S. citizens with a proper venue to dispose of unused pharmaceutical products.

Since 2010, the National Take Back Initiative has educated Americans about the dangers of leaving excess prescribed drugs inside their homes, and how a correct disposal method can become the first step to preventing prescription drug abuse. The most recent campaign was conducted last October 26, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Several counties and states have put their full support to this government activity:

  • In Baltimore, the entire police force has coordinated with the DEA to push the event to the limelight, by offering their stations as drop off locations for those who want to throw away their unused medication. Lt. Michael Brothers of the Anne Arundel County Police shared in a news release that they will not interrogate locals who are planning to dispose of their medicine at the police stations. “We will not ask any questions. You can place them in the box and you can leave. No questions asked,” said Lt. Brothers.
  • Government personnel and sheriff’s deputies at Harford County were assisted by DEA in transforming the county office parking lot into a drop off site. Doug Ellington of the DEA expressed his sentiments about the issue. “Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in this county… Non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as a drug of abuse,” Ellington said in a news item.
  • The city of Huntington in West Virginia was able to amass about 30 pounds of prescription drugs across three Take Back stations. Cpl. Steve Vincent of the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department was surprised with the turnout. “We’ve been going for about an hour-and-a-half and we’ve already got two boxes filled up,” Vincent said.

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