Posts Tagged teen drug abuse
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.
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.
According 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.”
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.
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.
Given the increased efforts against prescription drugs, more teens are now turning their attention to over-the-counter medicines. Just because OTC drugs are sold directly to consumers without a doctor’s prescription, many teens think they are safer than narcotic painkillers — but the opposite is actually true.
Some of the symptoms of OTC drug abuse include dizziness, anxiety, confusion, nausea, inability to think clear, poor memory, poor coordination, hallucinations, and sleep disturbances.
But while you can’t police pharmacies who sell OTC medicines, doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to keep your teen/s from abusing these drugs. After all, prescription drug abuse prevention still starts at home. That includes proper storage of prescription pills and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines in your household, and disposing those that are no longer being used or already expired.
Here are 10 OTC drugs that are commonly abused by kids today. The more you know about them, the better you can keep them out of the hands of your children.
- Pain relievers (like acetaminophen and ibuprofen)
- Caffeine medicines and energy drinks (OTC caffeine pills like NoDoz or energy drinks like 5 Hour Energy)
- Diet pills
- Laxatives and herbal diuretics
- Motion sickness pills
- Sexual performance medicines
- Herbal ecstasy
- Other herbals