Archive for category Drug Abuse Treatment
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.
Kids sent to correctional facilities may be at a high risk of excessive use of psychiatric drugs, according to a recent news report.
A review by investigative news organization PublicSource revealed that juvenile offenders are given psychiatric medication — antipsychotic drugs, to be more specific — at alarmingly high doses. The review said that the amount of antipsychotic drugs ordered by youth correctional facilities was enough to treat about a third of the kids confined in their respective centers over a span of seven years. In contrast, antipsychotic prescription in kids across the U.S. only amount to 1-2 percent of the child population.
The most probable reason behind this high psychiatric drug use in correctional institutions is the instant calming effect of the drugs on potentially troublesome kids. “Most of antipsychotic use is likely for sedation and behavioral control,” according to Dr. Mark Olfson, who led the PublicSource review. Olfson works at the Columbia University Medical Center.
Some juvenile law experts believe that this highlights the need for a radical change in the way correctional institutions think about treating kids. “The great concern among children’s advocates is that … too often the medications are used to the benefit of the institution to control behavior in ways that are not appropriate,” said Juvenile Law Center co-founder Robert Schwartz. Olfson agrees, saying that “the new findings will hopefully spur much-needed institutional reforms.”
During adolescence, the brain is actively undergoing development, with much of the formative brain functioning and cognitive skills being established. Unfortunately, the teenage brain is also susceptible to wrong choices, and this includes drug use that may inhibit or impair proper brain development.
This is the reason behind the recent initiative of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to spearhead a comprehensive study on the effect of certain substances on the adolescent brain. Some of the substances identified to be part of the study include marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco.
In this light, NIH has handpicked researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder to join the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. This series of studies aims to look into how drugs can affect the development of teenage brains. The university plans to do this by using the resources of the Intermountain Neuroimaging Consortium, in collaboration with the Institute for Behavioral Genetics and the Institute of Cognitive Science.
CU-Boulder professor and Institute of Cognitive Science director Marie Banich said that the breakthrough study could provide answers to some of the most essential questions surrounding teen health and drug use. “Adolescence is a time when the brain is quite sensitive to environmental influences, and the way the brain gets wired during this developmental period has lifelong implications,” Banich said via a news item.
The study will be financially supported by the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), and its results may change future policies on health and education.
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.
The 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.
Substance abuse can drain a family’s financial resources. Hence, some drug addicts are unable to seek extensive addiction treatment or complete a rehabilitation program. Military veterans with drug and alcohol problems are particularly at odds of getting their lives back on track because many of them do not have the means to fund appropriate treatment.
Such dilemma prompted the Online Substance Abuse Treatment to offer free self-directed treatment program and affordable online counseling program to former service members who are dependent on illicit substances. OSAT believes that military vets have given so much for the country, and helping them with their addiction struggles will mean so much to them as well as to their families.
According to a press release, military war veterans will be given access to a 30-session self-directed treatment program without paying a single dollar. The program involves interactive therapeutic processes and exercises that would engage participants and spark their personal insights. It will also provide step-by-step guidance to help a veteran free himself from the cycle of addictive behaviors.
OSAT is also offering substantially discounted 10-week online counseling program. Thirty 1-hour group sessions cost $400 while thirty 3-hour sessions would cost $600. The live online counseling program will be conducted under the guidance of an experienced counselor to help a veteran overcome his dependencies on drugs and alcohol.
Participants who complete the online treatment programs are issued completion certificates. Judges and employers often look upon such documentation as demonstration of the individual’s efforts and self-initiative to actively work toward addiction treatment.