Archive for category Drug Abuse Treatment

Juvenile Correctional Facilities Expose Teenage Offenders To High Doses of Psychiatric Drugs

Kids sent to correctional facilities may be at a high risk of excessive use of psychiatric drugs, according to a recent news report.

teen fight juvenile offender psychiatric drugsA 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.”

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Study Investigates Effect of Drugs On A Teenager’s Brain

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.

effect of drugs on teen brainThis 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.

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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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Treatment Center Offers Free Substance Abuse Rehabilitation to Military Veterans

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.

substance abuse among military veteransSuch 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.

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New Mexico Governor Graces the Opening of New Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program for Teens

State Governor Susana Martinez led the ribbon cutting ceremony during the opening of a new treatment program which targets adolescents with drug and alcohol problems.

substance abuse treatmentGov. Martinez was joined by Maggie Hart Stebbins, Department of Health staff and Bernalillo County Commissioner, in unveiling the Adolescent Addiction Treatment Program which will combine drug and alcohol dependency treatment with mental health services.

The 20-bed inpatient unit is housed in Turquoise Lodge Hospital in Albuquerque at the MATS campus and will serve 14 to 18 year olds who have serious substance abuse addictions that has not been successfully treated.

“With this new program, we won’t wait until the severity of the problem progresses to criminal activity, incarceration, or overdose,” Gov. Martinez said in a news release. “We are addressing an immediate need in our state. New Mexico teens will get the help they need now. This program has the potential to be a model for teen drug treatment across the country.”

The $2 million addiction treatment program was funded through the state’s general fund as approved by the New Mexico Legislature and Gov. Martinez. According to Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH, the new unit will give teen patients access to inpatient services that were not previously available to them. Initially, patients will be accepted from referrals by Core Service Agencies located in Bernalillo County and expand to patients around the state throughout the year.

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How to Choose the Right Addiction Treatment

Looking for an effective addiction treatment program is like finding quality education for your kids. You go through a long list of options you can find on the Internet, review recommendations from friends, check whether the system will work for you, assess if the program specifically addresses your problem…the list goes on. To put it more bluntly, it entails a lengthy research unless you just want to waste money paying for a program that wouldn’t keep you sober long enough.

substance abuse treatmentIn the recent years, we have seen a lot of substance abuse treatment centers opening here and there. All of them promise to help addicts get their lives back using this and that programs. The question is: are any of those programs the right one for you?

If you will take an addiction treatment facility’s claim at face value it won’t be any easier for you to pick the right substance abuse treatment program.

A New York Times feature cited a 2012 study conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University which concluded that “the vast majority of people in need of addiction treatment do not receive anything that approximates evidence-based care.”

The CASA Columbia report has exposed the sad truth that most of those providing addiction treatment are not medical professionals and are not equipped with the knowledge, skills or credentials necessary to provide the full range of evidence-based services.

So how do you make sure then that you’re not wasting time and money for an addiction treatment?

Anne M. Fletcher, a science writer and author of “Inside Rehab” and “Sober for Good,” offers the following guidelines:

1. Get an independent assessment of the need for treatment and kind of treatment needed from an expert who is not connected with the rehab center you are considering.

2. Check the credentials of the treatment program’s personnel.

3. Don’t choose a program just because it’s popular.

4. Meet with the therapist who will treat you and ask about your treatment plan.

5. Find out if you will receive therapy for any underlying condition, like depression or a social problem that could get in the way of your recovery.

6. Look for programs that use research-based approaches.

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