Drug Abuse Prevention
Parents, Schools Giving Away Expensive Prizes to Prevent Teens from Attending Wild After-Prom Parties
We all know that reward system is often used in motivating a child or an employee to behave well. But will this same approach work for teenagers if it means skipping unsupervised after-prom parties?
Various schools around the U.S. have lined up extravagant goodies, such as brand new cars, iPads, and college scholarships, in the hope of attracting teens to attend supervised, alcohol-free events after their annual high school proms.
According to Reuters, the prizes are sometimes provided by local businesses while others are purchased through parent-led fundraising.
In Roanoke, Virginia, one student will be given a new 2013 Nissan Juke and two others will get iPads.
“Research shows that if they stay to the end of the after-prom party, they are more likely to be alcohol- and drug-free,” said Kathy Sullivan, the director of the Roanoke group.
In Pennsylvania, one high school student will drive away a black Honda Civic just for going to a supervised after-prom party. In Derby, Kansas, a high school booked an entire amusement park for its after-prom party.
Meanwhile, Allen High School in Allen, Texas gave away eight $250-worth of scholarships, several computers, a party for 20 at a local barbecue restaurant and tickets to a Texas Rangers baseball game.
At the Johnson City, New York, students have a chance to get microwaves, laptops and television sets. On top of that, attending students will be given a suitcase with $100 worth of merchandise.
Binge drinking is considered the most common form of excessive alcohol use in the United States. Not only is the habit unhealthy, it’s also blamed for thousands of highway accidents that have happened over the years. So to address the problem, 32 higher education institutions across the country forged a partnership through the National College Health Improvement Project (NCHIP) created by Dartmouth College two years ago.
NCHIP’s initiative Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking is geared at address the problem of high-risk drinking on college campuses with the use of comprehensive evaluation and measurement techniques. Participating colleges and universities are encouraged to come up with alcohol prevention program, see how it works, improve as needed, and then scale up the program.
“It’s been a really great source of collaborative learning and resources,” Annie Stevens, associate vice president for student and campus life at the University of Vermont, told The Associated Press. “It really does give you a chance to get out of your own bubble and look around and rely on your colleagues. We’re all struggling with the same thing and saying, ‘Hey, have you found anything you’re doing that seems to work?’”
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism revealed that four out of ten college students in the U.S. engage in high risk drinking; approximately 1,800 college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries. Binge drinkers, in particular, are found to be at higher risk of unintended pregnancy, alcohol poisoning, unintentional and intentional injuries, neurological damage, high blood pressure, and liver disease.
At the University of Vermont, several programs have been utilized to combat high-risk drinking, among them include sending emails to parents before big party weekends and coordinating with police to pinpoint troublesome properties off-campus. Stevens said students are also asked about alcohol use any time they go to the campus health clinic for any reason, and if a students’ answers raise red flags a physician steps in. Such alcohol screening method is also in place at Dartmouth, along with another program developed at the University of Washington called BASICS — Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students.
The largest city in Yolo County, California, is doing everything it can to combat prescription drug abuse among its residents.
On April 27, residents of Davis were encouraged to participate in a Take Back Initiative organized by the Davis Police Department (DPD) in collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). For six consecutive years, DPD has been running the collection event to make sure unused, unwanted and expired prescription medication are not landing on the wrong hands.
“During the span of those four hours that we did the event, we collected 315 pounds of unused, unwanted or expired medication,” Lt. Glenn Glasgow told The California Aggie.
The DPD holds the collection event twice a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. All collected prescription medicines are dispose through incineration, in accordance with federal and state environmental guidelines.
Glasgow said the event is their way to prevent potential abuse and addiction by children, teens, as well as adults. “We view it not only as a community service to assist people in discarding their unused, unwanted and expired medication properly because it could pose a threat to the environment if they are discarded improperly. We also view it as a way of hoping to avoid people being able to access prescription medication that was not prescribed to them,” he added.
Previous research showed that individuals who abuse prescription medicines usually get the drugs from people they know, such as friends and relatives. Thus, public health officials have been steadfastly reminding those with Rx medicines at home to store and dispose their pills properly to keep them away especially from kids.
A coalition in Clatsop County, Oregon is crossing their fingers as they wait for August to know whether they will be granted a federal fund that would help them continue their campaign against substance abuse.
The North Coast Prevention Works Coalition has been created to bring together issues facing teenagers, such as underage drinking, tobacco use, drug abuse, and suicide. In August, the group will find out if the Drug Free Communities Program would award them a $125,000 federal grant they can use to continue their efforts in fighting substance abuse in their community.
In the meantime, though, the coalition has to show first the history of their strategies and initiatives aimed at reducing alcohol and drugs among youths.
Coalition and county officials told The Daily Astorian some of the programs they implemented, such as public service announcements on radio, bottle tagging to prevent underage drinking, school visits to discuss the effects of underage drinking and drug abuse, and prescription drug take-backs, to name a few.
To qualify for the grant, a long-term plan is developed, representation from 12 sectors of the community is achieved and participation in the National Evaluation of the DFC program is required.
Jill Quackenbush, prevention supervisor with the Clatsop County Juvenile Department, said the DFC program’s main focus is on preventing youth substance abuse, but it is also comprehensive and you can’t focus on just one drug of choice.
“Their focus is preventing youth substance abuse – that has to be part of your mission,” Quackenbush explained. “We need to make sure we’re addressing that, but that can’t be the only thing we’re addressing.”
Five mothers have taken it into their own hands to spread the word about a lesser known kind of drug abuse among teens; over-the-counter medicine abuse.
Tammy Walsh, who has a son in recovery from OTC medicine abuse, has come forward to use her experiences to help others. Welsh hopes to be an inspiration so people stand up and speak out about OTC abuse. A group called, The Five Moms, is the group that Welsh advocates for. They travel the country making people and parents aware of the risks and dangers of OTC drug abuse. They teach entire communities about abusing cough medicine, how parents should approach their teens, how to monitor medications, and the true scope of the problem.
Welsh says the most important things for parents to remember is never to lecture teens as they will tune you out. Rather help them make healthy decisions. Start talking to kids early on and don’t be afraid to bring the subject up. Teach your kids how to say no and give them every tool needed to do so. Be clear about the health risks associated with drug abuse.
Welsh says that parents must know how to spot the signs of abuse. They need to know what to look for, some of the slang, and a change in habits or patterns.
Teens call the act of abusing over the counter drugs “robotripping” or “skittling” and some teens actively look for substances they can use to get high in the medicine cabinets of their homes where adults just see medicine that is virtually harmless. Many teens today are abusing these very drugs. They can be addictive and dangerous if abused.
A study from 2012, out of the University of Cincinnati indicated that ten percent of middle and high school students had said that they have abused over-the-counter drugs. The most commonly abused OTC drugs included Dextromethorphan, which is found in cough syrups and decongestants.
When children are taught about substance abuse dangers the conversation must include a lot more than just discussing illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and alcohol. Children really need to know that a plethora of trouble lurks right in their medicine cabinet at home. In fact, while parents are putting a lock on the liquor cabinet they should also be putting one on the medicine cabinet too.
Drugfree.org says that when parents teach their children about the risks of OTC drugs they are half as likely to use them.
This article was contributed by Klean Treatment Center.
Being physically attractive can win someone a lot of favors. Whether you just want to be popular at school, land a prestigious job or get promoted at work, how you look in the outside carries some weight as to whether or not you will achieve your heart’s desires. This is precisely one of the major reasons why many teenagers resort into crash diets, take weight loss supplements or use steroids — all for the call of physical beauty.
An October 2012 campus survey conducted by the University of Michigan revealed that 27.8 percent of female undergraduates, 11.8 percent of male undergraduates, 21.5 percent of female graduate students, and 10.3 percent of male graduate students on campus were found to have eating disorders. But what is even more alarming is that 82 percent of women and 96 percent of men who are struggling with an eating disorder have not received treatment in the past year.
The researchers found that students who diet regularly dislike their bodies, fear gaining weight and seldom seek help for eating disorders.
But if you think the problem stops there, think again, because eating disorders can be a culprit in a person’s substance abuse problems.
The 2003 study, titled Food for Thought: Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders, conducted by The National Center on Addictions and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that people with eating disorders are up to five times more likely to abuse alcohol or illicit drugs and those who abuse alcohol or illicit drugs are up to 11 times more likely to have eating disorders.
High school girls with eating disorders are at greater risk to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or use drugs than those without eating disorders. Similarly, girls who smoke, drink or use drugs are at higher risk to report past month eating disorder symptoms than those who do not have substance abuse issues.
The study concluded that individuals with eating disorders abuse caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin and over-the-counter medications such as diuretics, emetics or laxatives to suppress appetite, increase metabolism and purge themselves.
Marci Warhaft, the woman behind Fit vs. Fiction, knows exactly what makes kids today so obssessed with their appearance and the need to look good.
“It seems like you can’t flip open a magazine or turn on the TV without being inundated with images of impossibly beautiful, seemingly flawless women,” Warhaft explained. “As a result, so many young girls feel like they just don’t measure up and become desperate to change the way they look, even at the risk of damaging their health through risky weight loss behaviours. The same goes for the boys. I hear from boys as young as nine years old who are completely ashamed of their bodies because they don’t have the chiselled abs or bulging bicep muscles they see on actors on tv or at the movies.”
It’s common knowledge that many boys who want to beef up their bodies would rather take the easy route, that is, using anabolic steroids. But while steroids really help in improving strength and muscles, they are also associated with negative side effects, such as baldness, increased risk of prostate cancer, infertility, acne, bloated appearance, swelling of feet and ankles, and penile enlarged, to name a few. That’s not all; steroids users may eventually experience depression, irritability, anxiety, delusions, and other psychological problems.
Warhaft emphasized the importance of fostering a healthy environment at home. She said parents and children should be able to discuss weight issues at home as openly and honestly as possible. Encouraging the kids to become physically active is also a good way to help kids maintain a HEALTHY look as opposed to the kind of appearance they see among movie stars.
“Our fitness goals shouldn’t be about fitting into skinny jeans or a string bikini, but should be about FEELING strong and healthy,” Warhaft added. “We need to get our kids involved in activities that help them appreciate the amazing things their bodies can DO, so they won’t become preoccupied with how they look.”