Posts Tagged teen drug abuse
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
The TEDS Report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that more than 33,000 people were treated in 2010 for combined use of benzodiazepine and narcotic pain relievers. The figure is 569.7 percent higher compared with the 5,032 treatment admissions in 2000, which strengthens claims that prescription drugs are one of the fastest growing drug problem facing today’s youth.
Given prescription medications’ popularity these days, it isn’t surprising that many teens are experimenting the drugs with other dangerous substances, such as alcohol. This trend isn’t only resulting to increased emergency room treatment, it could also raise fatal overdose cases.
Here are some of the deadly drug combinations you should know so that you can help your children understand their risks even before they attempt using any of them.
Benzodiazepines and Alcohol
Xanax, Klonipin, Valium, Rohypnol, Halcion, and Ativan are some of the commonly abused drugs under the Benzodiazepines family. These drugs are general sedatives that are prescribed to treat muscle spasms, seizures, insomnia, anxiety, disturbances, and alcohol withdrawal. But when taken in combination with alcohol, the side effects may include dizziness, confusion, impaired memory, increased irritability and aggression, loss of consciousness and coma.
Antidepressants and Alcohol
Many antidepressant drugs cause side effects like drowsiness, impaired motor coordination, dizziness, and clouded cognitive abilities. When drugs like Prozac, Elavil, Wellbutrin or Zoloft (among others) are combined with alcohol, a person may experience heightened depression, increased drowsiness and dizziness, dangerously high blood pressure, and impaired alertness. The person may also be at greater risk of alcohol abuse.
Stimulants and Alcohol
Adderall is an example of stimulants that is gaining a lot of attention lately, particularly after it was reported that some high school students across the U.S. are taking the drug to improve academic performance. Other stimulants that are widely abused include Ritalin, meth, and cocaine. Mixing alcohol and stimulants like Adderall can cause a person to feel as if s/he is not drunk and in complete control of her/his senses. This is because the drug masks the actual effects of alcohol. The person may continue to drink and drink some more without realizing s/he is already binge drinking, and may lead to alcohol poisoning or even death.
Hawaii evokes images of an idyllic paradise where you can go to get away from life’s troubles and clear your mind of negative thoughts while you bask in the sun. (In fact, even writing the previous sentence makes me want to book a flight there now.) But Hawaii isn’t free from troubles. While many of us go there to get away, the state is home to over a million people and they also have the same troubles there that we face here, one of them is drug abuse.
Teenagers are teenagers no matter where they grow up and they will be tempted to experiment with drugs, even if they’re living in what many of us consider to be the epitome of tropical paradise.
I don’t mean to block out the sunshine and spoil the dreamy visions in your head but here are some cold, hard facts. (I’ve rounded percentages to the nearest whole number.)
According to studies done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 13,000 adolescents (just over 13%) in Hawaii use illicit drugs, with 10,000 (about 10%) using marijuana and 6,000 (6%) using some other illicit drug.
About 14% of adolescent males and 19% of adolescent females drink alcohol, with 10% of males and 12% of females engaging in binge drinking.
Surprisingly, many more adolescent females than males are dependent on alcohol (4.6% versus 1.6%) and are also dependent on or abuse illicit drugs (7.7% versus 4.4%).
Like the rest of the U.S., marijuana is the main illicit drug used by Hawaiian adolescents, but prescription pain relievers are also abused there, with 2,000 males and 3,000 females using pain relievers non-medically in the 12 months prior to being interviewed for studies.
Data from the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), an annual 1-day census of clients in treatment, found that adolescent males accounted for 55% (3,673) of the 6,734 adolescent substance abuse admissions in Hawaii on the day the study was performed.
Of the total male admissions, 22% were drugs only, 67% were alcohol and drugs, and 10% were alcohol only.
Of the adolescent female admissions, 17 % were drugs only, 68.9 % were alcohol and drugs, and 12.5 % were alcohol only.
Among adolescent admissions, marijuana and alcohol were the most prevalent substances abused.
Of the total male admissions, 77% (2,827) reported alcohol use and 87% (3,178) reported marijuana use.
Of the total female admissions, 81% (2,493) reported alcohol use and 81% (2,465) reported marijuana use.
Even more alarming, 8% of male admissions (308) and 14% (436) of female admissions reported methamphetamine use. Similarly, 5% of males (168) and 6% (169) of females reported cocaine use.
In addition to the N-SSATS info, data was also derived from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), which provides information on annual treatment admissions.
Okay, those are enough eye-popping numbers to let you know that, paradise or not, Hawaii is also facing a drug abuse epidemic like the rest of the country.