Archive for category Drug Abuse Prevention
Manufacturers of addiction-prone illegal substances keep coming up with ingenious and creative ways to lure teenagers into abuse. In popular media, drugs are also considered “cool” and are effective ways to make a person famous.
This information was shared by Lynn Riemer, who works as president of ACT on Drugs, in front of students of Durango High School. “Things are changing so fast in the illegal drug industry, it’s hard to keep up,” Riemer shared via a news release.
She understands that the old approach of lecturing teenagers to stay away from drugs might not work in the current generation. “I’m not here representing the ‘Just Say No’ program because it doesn’t work… I’m not here to judge you or tell you how to live your life. I’m just going to stand here and give you factual information,” Riemer expressed. Besides, “there’s lots of conflicting information out there, you have to look for reputable scientific studies,” she added.
Previous studies have confirmed the adverse effect of abusing marijuana and illicit substances on teenage brains, and Riemer shared this information with the students. “Teen brains are more likely to become addicted, and because drugs make you feel good, unbelievably good, better than anything natural, they make it so your brain can’t uptake serotonin and dopamine and can’t naturally feel happiness any more.”
In a separate discussion with parents and members of the community, Riemer emphasized the importance of being aware and alert in terms of drug abuse by their kids. “Pay attention to what you see, pay attention to what you smell, pay attention to what you hear… And please don’t think drug dealers still look like a homeless guy under a bridge. They look like everyone in this room.”
Having a tan may not be as harmful as it sounds, but a new study discovered a potential link between indoor tanning and substance abuse.
The study, the findings of which were recently published in the JAMA Dermatology, based its findings on a survey of more than 12,000 high school students in the state of Colorado. The survey questionnaire asked the students if they underwent an indoor tan at least once last year and if they used drugs and alcohol over the same period.
According to a news report, results showed that about 7 percent had indoor tanning during the past year, with female teens using tanning salons roughly twice more than males. Out of the group who underwent indoor tanning, roughly two-thirds admitted to have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime. In comparison, only 35 percent of students who never had a tan within the past year used marijuana.
In other substances, steroid use in students was pegged at 21 percent of indoor tanners compared to only 2 percent in the other students. Daily cigarette use was admitted by 10 percent of the indoor tanning group, which is significantly higher than the 2 percent of the non-tanning group. In terms of gender, female students were drawn more to ecstasy and prescription drugs, while the men prefer heroin and steroids.
Drug abuse has always been a lingering issue in the global scene, and especially in children and teenagers. It’s important for parents and guardians to always be on the lookout for the potential of their kids to engage in drug use.
If you suspect your teen children to be using (or abusing) drugs, here are five steps to help you address the issue:
1. Check signs of drug use
You may not be a licensed psychologist or drug abuse expert, but you may have observed some tell-tale signs that your child may be using drugs. Some of these include missing prescription drugs in the home cabinet, frequent and excessive use of perfume (to remove smoke odor), decline in academic standing, or less frequent socialization.
2. Search their things
Although it may appear as an invasion of privacy, searching your child’s things could give you hints on their potential drug abuse. Try to do a search discretely over your kids’ room, particularly in desks and drawers, under the bed, behind the closet, or any possible space that’s good for hiding stuff.
3. Intervene immediately
A prompt intervention is a good way to start handling a drug problem, but try to make it less painful and direct. Create an atmosphere of a welcoming discussion for your children. If you feel like your emotions will get the best of you, postpone the discussion to another time. Eventually, if you feel like your child is using illegal drugs, consult a professional who can handle the situation better.
4. Implement preventive actions proactively
Restrict access to things that can potentially induce substance abuse at home. Examples include locking the liquor cabinet, making a regular inventory of the medicine cabinet contents, or verifying his performance in school.
5. Be understanding
Drug abuse may be a sensitive and alarming problem, but don’t let your child think that you’re going to police and punish them for what they did. Instead, be a parent by caring for your kid’s welfare and eventual healing. Be as understanding as possible while being firm on saying no to illegal drug use.
As the world becomes increasingly aware of the hazards of electronic cigarettes, more studies and investigations are continuing to deal with this worsening issue. This recent statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seems to support the campaign against e-cigarettes.
The agency recently released survey results saying that children in the U.S. are exposed to e-cigarette advertisements on TV. Results revealed that roughly 70 percent of kids admitted to have seen an e-cigarette ad on television. The survey was conducted with about 22,000 students in high school and middle school, who were asked if they saw an ad on e-cigarettes in TV, movies, magazines, retail stores, or online.
The agency fears that this trend may lead more teenagers to engage in e-cigarette smoking, which may also translate to tobacco use. “Unfettered marketing of e-cigarettes has the potential to compromise decades of progress,” said CDC representative Brian King in a news item.
CDC’s statement, however, wasn’t met with unanimous acceptance. For instance, the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association said that the agency’s statement shouldn’t be taken as it is. “The CDC continues to mislead the public about the benefits of vapor products as far less harmful alternatives to smoking… The CDC also fails to mention that teens are exposed to many other adult issues on the Internet, TV and movies, such as violence, sex, and alcohol,” said group executive director Cynthia Cabrera.
Drug abuse remains one of the country’s worst social and health issues, and this new report from a non-profit health organization confirms the already worsening scenario.
According to Trust for America’s Health, deaths linked to drug overdose rose to more than twice in young Americans over more than a decade. From 3.1 deaths per 100,000 individuals aged 12 to 25 in 1999-2001, the figure has since ballooned to 7.3 in 2011-2013. More than half of the reason was due to prescription drug abuse, while a portion was due to the use of heroin.
Trust for America’s Health executive director Jeffrey Levi shared in a news report more about the increase in the number of drug overdose deaths. “These twin epidemics have contributed to the recent tragic rise in overdose deaths,” he said.
Overdose rates vary by state, based on the report’s findings. For instance, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kansas, Montana, and Wyoming registered more than fourfold increase in drug overdose rates. Meanwhile, 12 states have more than tripled their original numbers, and 18 states registered more than twice the previous death toll.
In a more startling discovery, people aged 19 to 25 have the highest risk of fatality due to drug overdose, at 12.7 deaths per 100,000. In contrast, teenagers between 12 to 18 years old registered only 1.6 fatalities per 100,000. “We have a huge opportunity in kids when they are in school, in their early teen years, so that when they reach this older age they will be less likely to be using,” Levi added.
Despite the efforts of the U.S. government to address one of the worst issues to face the world, the latest report from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) paints a bad picture.
According to a team of researchers at the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Rockville, MD, 3.9 percent of U.S. residents were diagnosed with a drug use disorder (DUD) within a 12-month span. This translates to roughly 9.1 million Americans who are engaged in drug abuse. On top of this disturbing statistic, 9.1 percent of Americans were diagnosed with a lifetime DUD.
The figures were based on the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III (NESARC-III) in 2012-2013, which contained drug use data on more than 36,000 U.S. adults. This particular study fixed its focus on a handful of illicit and often-abused drugs, as reported in a news item: “amphetamine, cannabis, club drug, cocaine, hallucinogen, heroin, nonheroin opioid, sedative/tranquilizer or solvent/inhalant use disorders.” The DUDs identified in the study by Dr. Bridget F. Grant and her team of researchers were based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5).
Sectors of society most affected by DUDs include the following: male, white or native American, young adults, those with low income and education, and living in the western part of the U.S. What’s worse is that only 13.5 percent of the 12-month DUD-diagnosed patients are able to receive treatment.
The study authors noted that part of the reason behind this lingering issue on drug abuse is the growing public acceptance of drugs. “DSM-5 DUD is prevalent among US adults. The public is increasingly less likely to disapprove of specific types of drug use (e.g., marijuana) or to see it as risky, and consistent with these attitudes, laws governing drug use are becoming more permissive,” the authors said. “Findings also indicate an urgent need to destigmatize DUD and educate the public, clinicians, and policymakers about its treatment to encourage affected individuals to obtain help.”