Needle Disposal

May/June 2018 Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health

Trend Corner:


Common Hiding Spots for Teenagers to hide Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia.

Allen County Health


Click on the YouTube link below to watch Fort Wayne Police Department’s Cpt. Kevin Hunter with the Vice and Narcotics

Division share tips on common hiding spots for drugs and drug paraphernalia.


Fake weed in Illinois leaves

 2 dead, dozens with

‘severe bleeding’

By Jennifer Earl


This photo provided Friday, Aug. 7, 2015 by New York Police Department shows packets of synthetic marijuana seized after a search warrant was served at a newsstand in Brooklyn, N.Y.  (AP Photo/New York Police Department)


Emergency rooms in Illinois are noticing a spike in synthetic pot users suffering from “severe bleeding,” and state health officials are warning the public to remain vigilant.


The Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) issued a statement on last week announcing that at least six people in northeastern Illinois had been hospitalized after using the man-made substance — also known as “fake weed,” “K2” or “spice.” On Monday, the number of cases climbed to 56, including two deaths, the health department reported.


“All cases have required hospitalization for symptoms such as coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose, and/or bleeding gums,” the IDPH said. “Nine of these cases have tested positive for brodifacoum, a lethal anticoagulant often used as a rodenticide, or rat poison.”


There are now cases in at least nine Chicago-area communities including Cook County, Dupage County, Kane County, Kankakee County, McLean County, Peoria County, Tazewell County and Will County. But officials believe that number will grow, as it’s possible contaminated products have been sold across the state.


“Despite the perception that synthetic cannabinoids are safe and a legal alternative to marijuana, many are illegal and can cause severe illness,” IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah said in a statement last week. “The recent cases of severe bleeding are evidence of the harm synthetic cannabinoids can cause.”


Synthetic pot is made up of hundreds of different chemicals — and their effect on the human body is unpredictable.


Read the full article here


Tap Into Your Emotions:

Why EQ Could Be More Important Than IQ

By Suzanne Lucas


Having a high IQ can be very helpful to a successful career, but it might not be the most helpful thing. A good EQ could be even better.


We all know it’s important to be smart.


But being smart doesn’t have to mean a super high IQ, of course, it can mean being a normal human with a lot of knowledge about your particular area of expertise.


Having a high IQ can be very helpful to a successful career, but it might not be the most helpful thing. Enter: EQ.


A good EQ might actually be even better for your career trajectory. Here’s why.


What is EQ?

Emotional Quotient, or as it’s sometimes referred to, Emotional Intelligence (EI), is the ability to recognize and understand feelings, your own feelings and other people’s feelings.


This is not to say that the most important aspect of business is the ability to give out hugs. (Blech, although admittedly, I may not be the best at the emotional side of things. They don’t call me Evil HR Lady for nothing.)


It’s not about touchy-feely, it’s about understanding. And that? I’m good at. (Also, humble.)


Why Is EQ Important in Your Business?

Well, think of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. He’s super smart, but he has no idea what us normal humans think and feel about things.


Coming up with a product or service that can appeal to the masses is beyond his capability. He doesn’t get what other people see as necessary or even desired.


He can’t switch his behavior to accommodate someone else’s needs. It’s his spot on the couch, the fact that someone is sleeping there is irrelevant. He’s sick, so everyone needs to cater to him. Et cetera. That’s someone with low EQ.


Contrast that with the people at Apple who came up with the iPhone. It was something entirely new, and definitely required a great deal of IQ to create, but it appealed to everyone, from toddlers to teens to grandma.


They got what people wanted, even though people didn’t know why they wanted it until the product was actually available.


That’s EQ. Understanding people and their wants and desires.


If you can come up with the next iPhone, you’re set for life, but EQ can do more than that. It can make the difference between a successful business and a failed one.


Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, explains in the new book, “The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance”, he says, “Too often we tout the intellectual capabilities of leaders by focusing on their IQ, when we should really be valuing their emotional intelligence quotient or EQ score.


Being the smartest person in the room is not enough if you don’t have the capacity to work with the people who are in that room with you.


When you work with and through communities of contributors as Red Hat does, where you can’t order anyone to do anything for you, your ability to listen, process, and not take everything personally becomes incredibly valuable.”


How Can You Look for That Skill When You Hire?

Whitehurst says that you should, “Hire people who show they are listening. Leadership is the art of getting work done with other people.


You should strive to build a balanced team that is equipped to handle any challenge they may face. I strongly believe that diversity of personality, perspective, and background leads to a stronger team.


Those differences may cause a team to disagree from time to time, or even argue, but a well-functioning team knows how to listen to each other, hash out even the most difficult of issues, and ultimately deliver better results.


Choosing intellectually curious people with diverse strengths and perspectives will make a strong team.”


Some people panic at the idea of disagreeing. It’s scary to be in a situation where people say, “No, you’re wrong,” but it’s critical that you have people like that on your team.


You need to have the ability to talk with one another and see things from a different point of view. One of the hallmarks of someone with good EQ is that they can listen and ask questions and consider that they might not always be right.


Sometimes people that have too high of an IQ know that they are right, and as a result, stop listening.


However, sometimes, even smart people can be dumb.


Like IQ, some people are born with high EQ and some are born with low EQ. If yours is low, it doesn’t mean you’re forever stuck as a task only person. You can learn and develop your EQ as well.


Read the full article, plus tips to improve your EQ here


How to Keep Teens Alcohol and Drug Free This Summer

By Suzanne Kane



Summertime is here – and so is the season when many teens with time on their hands turn to experimenting with alcohol and drugs. Rather than throw up your hands and say there’s nothing you can do, take a minute to reflect on just how important and influential parents’ roles are to their children.


In fact, you can make a difference. It all starts with having proactive strategies in place to ensure your teens learn to live by the family’s rules and moral values, to appreciate that there are healthier ways to enjoy their summer months, and that responsibility is something that needs to be practiced.


What can you do? What are some of the most important areas to focus on? Here are some suggestions.


Be Involved


Instead of just going off to work and reminding teens to “be good” or “stick around the house” or warning them not to stay out too late, the best way to be in the know about what your children are doing is to be involved in their daily lives.


This doesn’t mean that you have to take time off from work to watch over them like a hawk, but it does mean that you engage in ongoing conversation about their likes, their friends, new activities and interests, what’s bothering them, any peer pressure, struggles with skills or learning ability, and what they want to get out of summer.


The more you interact with your teens, the more natural and comfortable this way of communicating will feel. The overarching impression is that you care about your kids and want to do all that you can to ensure that their teen years are filled with beneficial opportunities to learn and grow, and to build their core sense of values and increase personal responsibility.


Naturally, this will require more effort on your part than you may have thought, especially if you are only now beginning to realize that you can’t just leave kids to grow up on their own. In a vacuum, there are all sorts of dangers and risks for teens. Without firm and loving guidance and a moral compass, teens will likely find themselves on the wrong side of decision-making at a critical time.


While this may be easy to recommend, how do you implement a strategy to be involved in your teens’ lives? You could try the following:

  • Ask about their plans for the summer.
  • Discuss, as a family, things to do together on the weekend or make plans for a family summer vacation.
  • Learn the names and background of all your teen’s friends.
  • Communicate with the parents of your teen’s friends and make sure they know your wishes about not allowing alcohol and drug use.
  • Set clear rules, including rules about alcohol and drug use. Enforce the rules you set.
  • Know where your children are, what they are doing, whom they are with, and whom they are friends with.
  • Research activities together that your teen can participate in – hopefully, pertaining to his or her interests, but also encouraging them to discover new ones.
  • Have family meals together – no eating on the run or skipping meals. Use this time to discuss what everyone did today and what plans are for tomorrow and later on in the week.
  • Keep a family calendar with important dates and activities clearly listed.
  • Check in during the day with your teen using social media, instant message, texting or a quick phone call. Maybe use this time to let your teen know you’ve found out some information regarding an upcoming trip or event, or saw a great outfit or a guitar on sale or something else that will spark your teen’s interest and excitement.
  • Make time for one-on-one talks with your teen about anything that seems to be bothering him or her – or gently try to determine what may be wrong, if you notice a difference in attitude, dress, manner of speech, appearance or disappearance of certain friends, and so on.
  • Create a pledge between yourself and your children that promises they will not drink alcohol and use drugs.


Be a Good Role Model


It goes without saying – but it needs to be repeated – that parents should show teens good behavior by their own actions. This means that parents have to know that their teenage son and daughter will be watching how they behave when others are around at a party where alcohol is served, at a restaurant when the parents order wine or cocktails and then get in the car and drive, even casual comments made about alcohol or drug use shown in movies and on television.


If you don’t want your teens to believe you have a laissez-faire attitude about drinking and drug use, you need to demonstrate that you have the good sense not to drink to excess, to drink and then drive, to drink regularly, to pop pills for every little reason, to combine pills and alcohol, to relax and unwind with a joint, a beer and a pill of some sort.


Beyond not drinking and using drugs – unless the medication is prescribed for you by a doctor and taken only by you for the purposes prescribed – you also need to convey that drinking and drug use does not solve problems. Instead, it creates and exacerbates problems.


Does this mean a radical change in your lifestyle? Maybe, but wouldn’t that be for the better? If you are a concerned parent, paying attention to rampant drug and alcohol use in society and knowing that teens are naturally curious and want to experiment, maybe this is a small price to pay to ensure that your children have an opportunity to grow up safe, secure and able to make sound decisions.


The old way of thinking was that parents could help ensure their teens learned about responsible drinking by making sure the teens drank at home under parental supervision. Today, however, research has shown that this is a false and dangerous strategy. It only shows teens that drinking and drug use is permissible, not that it is dangerous.


Keep in mind that teens do not have a fully developed brain until they are in their 20s. Their ability to make sound decisions isn’t where it needs to be yet and they can and do engage in crazy and destructive behavior when under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Just because they may be drinking in front of you at home doesn’t make this pattern of behavior any safer or better for them.


If you have any doubt about the validity of the recommendation to not allow teens to drink at home, remember any adult or caregiver in your own life that you saw engage in inappropriate behavior while drinking or using drugs. Maybe it was an uncle that consistently got sloshed and stumbled out the door to drive, often winding up in fender-benders, getting arrested for DUI or got involved in fights, trouble with the law, missed work and so on. Maybe it was a parent or older brother that you saw drive while drunk or high. How much did this behavior influence your own beliefs about alcohol and drugs?


You are the most important influence on your growing teens. Consistent study findings have shown that teens consider their parents to be highly or somewhat influential in their lives. In other words, they do tend to listen to what parents tell them. The more often family rules and values are reiterated and adhered to, the more of an influence they tend to have on teens.


Being a positive role model to teens means that parents:


  • Stay away from alcohol in high-risk situations. For example, do not drive a vehicle after drinking.
  • Get help if you believe you (the parent) have an alcohol-related problem.
  • Do not give alcohol or drugs to your children. Convey in a clear and concise manner that alcohol and drugs in your home are off limits to them and their friends at all times.


Be Aware of Risk Factors


Being a responsible and loving parent also means that you take the time to familiarize yourself with risk factors that may propel your teen toward alcohol and drug use, including:


  • Any significant social transition, such as moving from middle school to high school and getting a driver’s license
  • Any family history of alcoholism or drug use
  • Depression and other serious emotional problems
  • A history of social and emotional difficulties
  • Any contact with peers involved in troubling or suspicious activities


According to the latest Monitoring the Future Study from the University of Michigan, underage drinking continues to be a pervasive problem among American

March/April 2018 Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health
Trend Corner:

Spring 2018
Dan Hatten-Hutchinson Police Chief
Carmen Morrow-District #423 Chemical Health Specialist

Dear Parents:

It seems we are always in the midst of celebrating one thing or another – prom, graduation, end of the school year, summer, and more. This is good, but it can also be worrisome. We want to take this opportunity to remind you that as parents you have a particularly important role in shaping these events.

Please help keep your teen and his or her peers stay safe and alcohol-free.

Alcohol use is illegal by those in Minnesota who are under the age of 21 years. The only exception is that parents may provide alcohol to their own children in their own homes. Surveys of teens indicate that adults are teens’ primary source of alcohol: at home, in bars and restaurants or on the street. To help reduce underage alcohol use, you can:

· Refuse to supply alcohol to underage young people when you host your own celebration. Do not buy a keg of beer for teens at a high school graduation or other party. This is illegal and it also invites young people to drink illegally. Teen alcohol use is not a rite of passage into adulthood. In fact, alcohol has kept too many teens from becoming adults.

· Make sure that alcohol is not available at events your teen attends. Talk with other parents and party hosts to ensure alcohol-free celebrations. Be proactive. When parents stand together on this issue, they present a united front to teens.

· All law enforcement agencies within McLeod County are participating in the Zero Adult Provider program (ZAP). With this program law enforcement agencies will be actively investigating and prosecuting adults who provide alcohol to underage drinkers. Please take an active role in assisting us in protecting your child.

Remember that as a parent, you play an important role in preventing underage alcohol use. In research studies, teens say that their number one reason for refusing to drink alcohol is centered on worrying about what their parents would think. That is a powerful statement about the importance of your message and role modeling.

Learn What You Can Do

“Nobody smokes marijuana anymore. Everyone’s vaping it. Or eating, drinking, sipping, dabbing, sucking on lozenges, chewing gum, applying unguents or administering a drop or two of a cannabis-infused tincture under one’s tongue, where it is absorbed into the sublingual artery, within minutes producing an invisible, odorless, private high.” “Marijuana start-ups are pushing the industry past smoke to products that make marijuana “convenient and ubiquitous.”

About That Joint: The Newest Marijuana Start-Ups Choices

When Eaze, a marijuana delivery service in the Bay Area and San Diego, started up in 2014, marijuana “flower,” the green plant material that people smoke, made up 85 percent of sales. Today, flower amounts to less that one-third of sales. Last year, it was usurped by vape cartridges which heat marijuana oils that are inhaled. Eaze’s sales grew 300 percent. By the end of the year, it was doing more than 120,000 deliveries a month.

Another start-up in Oregon that makes vape cartridges says its sales grew from $2 million in 2016 to $7 million a month one year later.

An alcohol and marijuana analyst says pot “is gaining acceptance among all ages, ethnicities, and income groups, so much so that marijuana now poses a threat to the alcohol industry. She concludes, “Cannabis could be on the way to becoming the drug of choice for tomorrow’s America – a future in which lots of us get high, but no one smokes.”

Source: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids 2018, New York Times
Read the full New York Times story here.

“Our teens and Smartphones: Watching a trainwreck in motion”
Hutchinson Leader, Feb. 28, 2018 by Rhoda Hubbard-Anderson

Several years ago, the always controversial and now publicly shamed comedian Louis C.K. was speaking to Conan O’Brien on why he wouldn’t let his daughter have a cell phone. Among his reasons was the idea that cell phones are an artificial distraction for not having to experience negative emotion. I encourage my students to reach out when they are feeling sad, angry or lonely. However, I believe the point C.K. was making is that we deny ourselves the full and natural range of human emotion by avoiding feelings that don’t feel good. Studies show experiencing and accepting negative emotions is vital to our mental health. Not only are bad feelings clues there may be something amiss in our life that needs attention, but accepting and working through these feelings can improve our ability to cope with stress and make us stronger and more resilient.

Another compelling study strikes at the heart of what many of us have been seeing for several years: a sharp increase in mental health among our teens. From 2012 to 2015 the number of teens who presented classic signs of depression, feeling useless and joyless, rose 33%. The number of 13-18 year olds who committed suicide rose by 31%. Suicide among teen girls has reached a 40 year high. The corresponding culprit? Screen time. Kids who spent three hours or more a day on smartphones or other electronic devices were 34% more likely to feel hopeless or seriously consider suicide than kids who used devices two hours a day or less.

How much screen time are teens getting? With many schools moving to a BYOD initiative, some students are using their smartphones to conduct research, write papers and watch videos for homework. However, these uses are not factored into the staggering statistic that teens are using social media on average 9 hours a day. For those between the ages of 8 and 12, that average is nearly six hours per day.

Talk to an educator and they will tell you the smartphone struggle is real. And it’s not just about distractions, focus and drama, although these are major concerns. Often in education, showing a cause and effect relationship with test scores is more impactful in affecting policy change. In a sinister experiment, a Cal State researcher took college students’ phones away, under the ruse that the devices were interfering with laboratory measurements of stress, such as heart rate and sweating. The phones were left on, but placed out of reach of the students, who were reading a passage. Then the researchers began texting the students, who were forced to listen to the dings of their phones without being able to see the messages or respond. The result? Measurements of anxiety spiked, and reading comprehension dwindled.

Shortened attention span, inability to focus and lowered comprehension are not the worst of it. The effects of smartphone overuse on the brain is especially disturbing when we consider the rational part of the brain is not fully developed until the mid 20s. Or said this way, we have entrusted a device with the computing power it took to put a man on the moon to a person whose judgement, emotions and impulse control are still in the process of development. A recent study reported that anxiety levels in teens begin to rise after not having access to their phones after just ten minutes. Another finds 1 out of every 2 kids themselves say they are addicted to their cell phone. Perhaps it’s time we look up. Even Apple has announced that it’s working on new ways to protect kids from smartphone addiction. The irony of this is not lost on some.

In a 60 Minutes piece on Silicon Valley, companies were found engineering their apps and social media to make them purposefully addicting. In the interview, an insider reveals how industry leaders are guilty of what is being called ‘brain hacking’. For ease of understanding, brain hacking can be explained by picturing your smartphone as a slot machine. Programmers use algorithms connected to sounds, colors, levels and more, to make our brain feel a reward when we use their technology, thus ‘hijacking’ our brain and creating a need to continuously check our phone. This “programming of people” caused Tristan Harris, a former Google employee who found himself overwhelmed by the bombardment of technology in his own life, to write a 144 page paper that argued the constant distractions of apps and emails are weakening our relationships to each other and destroying our kids ability to focus. It was widely read inside Google, however, it did not lead to any changes and after three years he quit.

Is this alarm sounding different than the cry of my grandparents that watching TV would rot my brain? Researchers say that it is. Why? Mostly due to the way the technology is being relayed and, because of the people who are using it most: our brilliant, emotional, social, insecure, vulnerable, developing kids.

Technology is not inherently good. Yet we enthusiastically embrace each new product that is rolled out and wonder in passive amazement at what miraculous times we live in. And we certainly do. However, the onus of teaching our children, even as we are on this new learning curve with them, is still on us. Boundaries help kids know they are safe. Our job as adults is to establish and enforce these boundaries even, and especially, when kids push back against them.

We are all witness to a world increasingly wired, yet more disconnected than ever. Instead of shaking our heads in stymied disbelief at silent groups hunkered down over their phones, thumbs blurred in frenzied texting, can we instead think about what kind of world we do want and what we can do to get there? We may not be able to change society as a whole, but we can impact our little corner. In light of the growing need for mental health support in our schools, I would like to suggest that rethinking cell phones in schools might be a first step. For truly, the issue at hand is what it has always been about: relationships. Let’s start that conversation.

Teen or Young Adult Drug Use:
Using Positive Reinforcement to Help Change Behavior

Positive reinforcement means providing some kind of reward or benefit to increase the chances that a behavior will be repeated. And it is central to changing the way your son or daughter acts.

Positive Reinforcement: A Powerful Tool to Change Your Child’s Behavior

Positive reinforcement is a motivating factor in all our lives, from a toddler who fffffeels encouraged by her parents’ cheering to take her first steps, to an adult who collects a bonus or a tip for a job well done. We are more likely to repeat a behavior when it makes us feel good.

Substance use can also be reinforcing. For example, drugs or alcohol may help a person feel less anxious, alleviate boredom, encourage social interactions, help with insomnia, provide energy or help with weight management. In other words, because they “solve a problem” – although in an unhealthy way – the person is more likely to repeat the behavior of using drugs and alcohol.

As a parent or caregiver, you can use the same strategy to reinforce healthy, pro-social behaviors you want to see more of in your child. The following are some examples of positive behaviors you can reinforce or praise in your child:

• looking for a job
• being home on time
• helping with household chores
• speaking in a respectful way
• doing homework
• going to therapy appointments
• attending a support group meeting
• assisting another family member or friend with a problem
• returning phone calls/text messages promptly

You may be thinking, “Wait — these are things my child should do anyway, without any kind of reward.” But by rewarding your child’s good behavior, you are helping to link a behavior you want to encourage with a positive outcome. Doing this repeatedly will help your child recognize that there is value in acting this way. Over time, he or she will learn that there are other ways to “feel good” besides using substances, which can lead to less substance use or even abstinence.

Your kindness and compassion will inspire a positive and warm feeling within your child and reinforce their belief that they are capable of feeling good from means other than using substances.

Examples of rewards or reinforcers that are free:

• a hug
• a smile
• a shoulder rub
• a thoughtful text message
• a kind word/compliment or praise.
• time spent together in a favorite activity like watching a movie, going fishing or playing chess.
• assisting with your child’s laundry or another chore
• teaching a skill like how to drive
• making a favorite breakfast, snack, dinner or dessert

Examples of rewards or reinforcers that cost money:

• gift cards for a coffee shop, clothing store or restaurant
• small items like nail polish, makeup, hair product, socks or protein bars
• helping with healthcare costs (like the dentist and vision care/glasses), paying for a college class or
• textbooks or helping with credit standing
• concert or sports tickets

Why Do Teens Drink and Use Drugs?

Today’s teens are growing up in an environment with pressures, stress and priorities vastly different from when we were their age. If you’re concerned that your son or daughter might be using drugs or alcohol — or if you know they are — it’s important that we, as parents, consider why. Some teens turn to drugs and alcohol for a variety of reasons, like fitting in, socializing, experiencing life transitions, or dealing with emotional and psychological pain. Here’s why it’s important for you to recognize why kids might be drawn to substances and what you can do about it.

Keep in mind:

• Young brains are more vulnerable to drugs and alcohol. Research shows that the teen brain doesn’t fully develop until 25. Drugs and alcohol can alter this development, potentially affecting brain structure and function.

• If there is a history of addiction in your family, if your child has mental health or behavioral issues, has suffered trauma or has impulse control problems, then your child has a much greater risk of developing a substance use problem. Be aware of these elevated risks and discuss it with your child regularly, as you would with any disease.

Jan/Feb 2018 Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health
Trend Corner:

Here are Seven Very Simple but Effective ways for Dealing Productively with Disagreement
By Lolly Daskal, President and CEO,
Lead From Within

In every relationship, personal or professional, there will always be some disagreement. You will never find an environment where people always agree and that understand each other. That’s fantasy, not reality.

As a leadership coach I spend a lot of time working with my clients helping them deal with breakdowns in communication–and truly, a lot of disagreements amount to a breakdown in communication.

Here are seven very simple but effective ways I’ve learned over the years for dealing productively with disagreement.

1. Seek to understand….
2. Look beyond your own triggers….
3. Look for similarities, not differences….
4. Be a good listener….
5. Take responsibility for your own feelings….
6. Make a commitment….
7. Use positive language.

Read more here

The JUUL the new, e-cig is becoming a big hit with teenagers. It is easy to hide and doesn’t look anything like the e-cig juicers.

This is an extremely attractive and compact little device that packs the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes into a tiny liquid-nicotine cartridge.

The JUUL is up two times the nicotine strength and three times the vapor quality of competing products.

The device is a small, square e-cig that has a battery that handles about 200 puffs a day — or about the same number that a cigarette smoker would get out of a full pack of cigarettes. The system is also designed with its own internal temperature regulation to ensure its liquid doesn’t overheat.

It’s usage — you simply plug a cartridge in and puff away to make it work — as well as the way users check the battery level. You do that simply tapping on the device, and the Juul comes with a magnetized USB charger that allows users to re-charge the Juul with little hassle.

The Juul e-cigarette came available for sale in June with four different flavors of cartridges available: tobacco, mint, fruit, and bruulé. The device will be sold as a starter pack with four cartridges and a USB charger for $49.99. Packs of four cartridges will be available for sale at $15.99 each.

Local chemical health expert shares the new reality of McLeod drugs

Drugs found in McLeod County and How our Children Navigate Detection
Carmen Morrow
District #423 Chemical Health Intervention Specialist

The most frequent question that I get asked is, “Are there drugs in our town and if so, what kind?” Unfortunately, we have many different types of drugs in McLeod County. These drugs are more than the usual experimental types and are very different from years past.

Every day I hear and see the damage that illegal drugs are causing our local community as well as the effects they have on our children. I have had in-depth conversations with students who are currently struggling with life as a drug user.

It is my conversations with these students that help me find insight into the drug culture in our community. It is that insight, directly from users, that I am sharing with you here.

In a few cases, they have become addicted and are known as an addict. These addicts come from a variety of homes, social classes, ages and sex. Addiction does not discriminate. Kids from “good homes” are not exempt. These students don’t appear to be concerned about the social, emotional and legal consequences of their use any more than addicts from any other social class.

According to many of the users, their parents have not taught them the consequences of illicit or experimental drug use. They also agree that parents often ignore the signs that their child and/or their friends are using. The users agree that the worst thing parents can do is ignore the signs or even downplay the evidence of use.

There are real emotional health issues that our children are using drugs to medicate. Drug use is often a cry for help in managing/coping with life’s pressures. Pretending there isn’t an issue allows it to become more serious. Some local parents feel it’s fine to provide a place for underage parties. They have even been reported to hang out with the teens as they use, which gives children an enormous mixed message.

You may be wondering why students might start using. Boredom, curiosity, and escape from mental health issues like anxiety, depression and stress are the main reasons for starting drug use. This drug use becomes a way of life to medicate their feelings, to relax or “feel good,” to “get high.” Sadly, these users strongly believe that in today’s society they are no longer being taught proper coping skills. There’s little face-to-face communication, instead technology has become the focus of their interactions. They feel there’s no time to slow down and relax, so drugs are being taken in order to “keep going.” Rather than being taught coping skills, children are learning how to suppress their feelings. Fatigue, stress, depression, and every other “bad” emotion is being suppressed with drugs because society has decided that those emotions are not for public viewing.

An important factor to note is that over the years, especially over the last 15 years, the progression of drugs has become extremely alarming due to the increase in the potency, types, and availability. These are not the drugs that we as parents and grandparents grew up with. They are extremely dangerous and addictive. There is a consensus that feel drugs are very accessible if you want them. Popular drugs for our children like alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, are not too surprising. However, hearing that cocaine, prescriptions, marijuana candies, synthetic marijuana K-2/Spice, Dabs (high potency marijuana wax), meth, E-cigarettes with candy flavored nicotine e-juice (Vaping), shrooms (psychedelic mushrooms) synthetics (man-made recipes to mimic drugs), and Acid/LSD, are popular might be a surprise to you. Unfortunately, to everyday service men/women (police officer, EMTs, etc.), as well as chemical dependency counselors, and many other professionals that work closely with drug users, this is NOT a surprise.

According to our heavy users, a lot of times these harder drugs are easier to get than marijuana. Drug dealers and users are well hidden, as they are not someone the average person would stereotype as such. Occasionally, they are the students with the labels of athlete, “popular,” “most likely to succeed,” and/or even the honor students.

Abuse of prescription opiate drugs is now considered a nationwide epidemic due to users being addicted to the “pain killing” drug. Our children have the access to these too, and many times they are taken out of medicine cabinets. However, prescription meds are harder to find than heroin, which is cheaper. Heroin has progressed to a stronger and deadlier synthetic versions called Carfentanil and Fentanyl (Carfentanil is an analog synthetic version of Fentanyl, created to be more potent, and cheaper. It is believed to be 10,000 times more potent than morphine, 4,000 times more potent than heroin, and 1,000 times more potent than Fentanyl). The users have good news; these extremely potent drugs are not popular or easily found in McLeod.

There are several cases of synthetic drug use among our children that have resulted in trips to the emergency room, as well as serious, long-term health issues. These results happen when our children unknowingly or knowingly take a synthetic drug. Locally, we are primarily seeing synthetic LSD, marijuana (K2/ Spice), and meth. A variety of synthetic drug recipes can be found on the internet and can be easily made. What you may not know is that dealers will use/sell synthetic drugs instead of the original drug, as they are usually cheaper, easier to get, and can be man made locally. Unfortunately, you never know the dosage.

Worse yet, the ease of getting these drugs in your hands has changed over the years. We still have our drug dealers, but they’re no longer walking among our community. The dark web is a direct line that they use to get drugs. Forget about making your own Dabs or taking the pills from a family member’s medicine bottle, it can be easier and cheaper to order the drugs. The odds that you get caught are a lot less too. Even the technology to make drug connections has changed. Today, the seller and buyer make a connection by using several of the functions on their cell phone. Snapchat, which cannot be traced as easily as text messages or emails, can send pictures and/or texts that disappear in a selected amount of time. Snapchat location will show where the dealer is and even what roads are being taken to meet up. Facebook messenger is also used to go incognito in order to hide contacts and messages. No need to send a traceable message that can be used to incriminate them.

So with the growing amount of drugs to choose from, the ease of availability, and the ability to hide conversations, what can parents do to protect their children?

1. Be proactive and talk often to your children throughout their childhood years about drug use. Helping them develop respect and a healthy fear for the illegal, emotional, social, and physical consequences that drug use brings.

2. Be a role model: Identify and expressing feelings appropriately. Regulating stress by role modeling healthy coping skills. Children learn how to regulate their emotions which in turns develops healthy children.

3. Keep them involved and fill their time with positive activities.

4. Know their friends.

5. Be an active citizen of McLeod County and report suspicious drug activity/concerns to the child’s parent and/or law enforcement.

6. Don’t ignore the problem. Address it with the appropriate support level needed to help your child stay chemically free and develop health coping skills for life’s success.

As parents and citizens of McLeod county, we can assist in getting these drugs out of our community. By becoming emotionally healthy ourselves and raising healthy children, their will less of a demand for drugs in our community.

BCA: Fentanyl Laced Heroin Most Dangerous Drug Epidemic in Minnesota
KSTP, ABC, by Drew Evans, Saint Paul.

Drew Evans, Superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, says Minnesota is facing the most dangerous drug epidemic ever.

Evans said heroin laced with fentanyl, or the even more dangerous carfentanil, is a danger to Minnesotans and BCA crime scene investigators and scientists.

“I think what the public needs to know is fentanyl is extremely dangerous,” he said.

Evans showed KSTP what the BCA is doing to make sure nobody is killed investigating an opioid overdose.

“This drug epidemic, including our opioids and opioid analogs, has really created a new landscape for our employees,” he said. “In particular with the dangers that they face handling this particular drug.”

Lab scientist have to test for fentanyl in the special cases room, which includes special ventilation to protect them. Scientists are also required to wear single use lab coats, double gloves, a mask and goggles.

BCA Assistant Laboratory Director Allison Hursh said the opioid antidote Narcan is close by in case of an accident.

“We have the Narcan throughout the laboratory, and especially when we have investigative knowledge there could be fentanyl in the item of evidence,” she said. “We make sure there is a buddy system (and) that we have another scientist or agent on site when they are analyzing.”

Hursh says fentanyl was first discovered in Minnesota in 2013. She says the numbers of fentanyl use has skyrocketed since.

“In 2013, in the drug chemistry section, we identified 11 items containing fentanyl,” she said. “And now just half way through 2017 our numbers are at 85.”

The BCA also takes precautions when fentanyl is suspected at crime scenes or when agents are serving search warrants.

“It’s extremely dangerous” BCA Deputy Superintendent of Investigations Jeff Hansen said. “And you can be exposed to it by breathing it in or by touching it. Or a liquid can be splashed in the eyes.”

When scientists go into the field to test for fentanyl, the have to be covered from head to toe because the risk is so great.

“What’s different about this is, if they inhale the right amounts of this drug it can kill them,” Evans said. “And so we’re very concerned about their safety in terms of processing the evidence related to these drugs.”

So far, no BCA agents or scientists have had to use Narcan in the lab or in the field.

MEADA Coalition of McLeod County Launches NEW Website at

The MEADA Coalition of McLeod County is proud to announce the launch of our NEW website

This website was put together in an effort to provide easy to find and up to date news and information about our programs, to educate parents teachers and students about drug and alcohol abuse and to provide resources and educational information to the citizens of the communities of McLeod County and surrounding areas.

Along with this new website, we will also continue to connect with the community through our Facebook Page.

ZAP Zero Adult Provider- A Judicial response to adults who provide alcohol or a place for underage drinking.

April 1, 2010, the McLeod Zero Adult Provider (ZAP) Initiative was started to focus on finding the illegal providers of alcohol at underage drinking parties, or anytime a young person is found to have consumed alcohol illegally. ZAP source investigations reduce access to alcohol by identifying and charging the illegal providers of alcohol. If someone is charged with underage possession or consumption, the priority for law enforcement is to find out how the alcohol got there. To stop underage drinking, McLeod County law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders and judges are working together more effectively to stop the flow of alcohol to youth.

“When McLeod County makes it difficult for kids to get alcohol, we provide a safer and healthier environment for our youth.” – Scott Rehmann, McLeod County Sheriff.

November/December Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health
Trend Corner:

Medical Marijuana Won’t Help Most Kids

When people like the headline writer of this HealthDay news article talk about “medical marijuana,” they usually mean everything. The plant’s dried flowers which people smoke. Concentrates that can contain up to 90 percent THC, whose extraordinarily high levels are almost certainly what is sending toddlers and children who accidentally consume them and adults who consume them on purpose to emergency rooms with many needing to be hospitalized. “Edibles” – cookies, candies, and soft drinks infused with marijuana that are now in the food chain. And hundreds more, all sold as “medicines.”

The HealthDay author does a good job of covering a new study in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Association of Pediatrics. But notice the study’s title: “Medical Cannabinoids – not Medical Marijuana – in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review.”

What’s the difference?

The marijuana plant contains about 500 different chemicals. Most have not been studied. Some 100 of those are called cannabinoids, so-called because they are unique to the cannabis plant. Most of these have not been studied either, but that is changing. Some cannabinoids show scientific promise and may become medicines. Two already are.

By medicines, we mean they have gone through rigorous preclinical (test tubes and animals) and clinical (humans) research. They have proven to FDA that they are both safe and effective, can be manufactured with a consistent dose, and most importantly are pure. They contain no contaminants unlike most of the products in legal states. A further FDA safeguard is that sometimes approved medicines cause dangerous side effects in the larger population after approval. FDA has a notification system that requires doctors to report any that occur so the medicine can be pulled from the market, if necessary.

The most studied cannabinoids are delta-9 THC and cannabidiol (CBD). The former makes people high. The latter doesn’t. The two medicines that FDA has approved are nabilone (trade name Cesamet®) and dronabinol (trade names Marinol® and Syndros®). Cesamet® and Marinol® are pills. Syndros® is an oral liquid. They are used to reduce chemotherapy-related nausea and AIDS wasting in patients who do not respond to standard medications.

Two more cannabinoids, nabiximols (trade name Sativex®, approved in other countries but not yet in the US yet) and CBD (trade name Epidiolex® which has completed clinical trials and is applying for FDA approval) are in the pipeline.

About half our medicines originated in plants. But when drug makers create a new medicine from them, they use pure chemicals to make a molecule-for-molecule carbon copy of the plant’s component. Nabilone and dronabinol are made that way. Patients know when they take these medicines that they will not contain any contaminants and FDA has approved them.

Not so the “medical” marijuana products being produced and sold in states that have legalized the drug for medical use. In fact, the American Epilepsy Society calls such CBD products “artisanal CBD” to differentiate them all from Epidiolex®, which may be available as early as next year to treat children and adolescents suffering intractable seizures.

Not one of the marijuana products states allow to be sold as medicines has been approved by FDA.

This new study searched several databases for scientific articles about pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids that are being studied to treat a variety of illnesses in children and adolescents. The medicines used in these studies were nabilone, dronabinol, Epidiolex®, a formulation of delta-8 THC, and other pharmaceutical-grade preparations, not Charlotte’s Web, Haleigh’s Hope, Cannatol, or any of the hundreds of other artisanal CBD products states allow to be shipped – and Amazon sells – to all 50 states in violation of federal law.

The researchers found that in children and adolescents: “Evidence for benefit was strongest for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (four RCTs), with increasing evidence of benefit for epilepsy [1 RTC using Epidiolex® rather than artisanal products]. At this time, there is insufficient evidence to support use for spasticity, neuropathic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, and Tourette syndrome.

Fentanyl Laced Heroin
Most Dangerous Drug Epidemic in Minnesota
October 18, 2017 03:49 PM

Drew Evans, Superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, says Minnesota is facing the most dangerous drug epidemic ever.

Evans said heroin laced with fentanyl, or the even more dangerous carfentanil, is a danger to Minnesotans and BCA crime scene investigators and scientists.
“I think what the public needs to know is fentanyl is extremely dangerous,” he said.
KSTP/Kevin Doran

Evans showed KSTP what the BCA is doing to make sure nobody is killed investigating an opioid overdose.

Read more about it here

Ex-DEA agent:
Opioid Crisis Fueled by Drug Industry and Congress

Whistleblower Joe Rannazzisi says drug distributors pumped opioids into U.S. communities — knowing that people were dying — and says industry lobbyists and Congress derailed the DEA’s efforts to stop it

In the midst of the worst drug epidemic in American history, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to keep addictive opioids off U.S. streets was derailed — that according to Joe Rannazzisi, one of the most important whistleblowers ever interviewed by 60 Minutes. Rannazzisi ran the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, the division that regulates and investigates the pharmaceutical industry. Now in a joint investigation by 60 Minutes and The Washington Post, Rannazzisi tells the inside story of how, he says, the opioid crisis was allowed to spread — aided by Congress, lobbyists, and a drug distribution industry that shipped, almost unchecked, hundreds of millions of pills to rogue pharmacies and pain clinics providing the rocket fuel for a crisis that, over the last two decades, has claimed 200,000 lives.

Synthetic Drug K2 Overdoses Spike to 90 in Twin Cities
Tim Nelson, St. Paul ·Oct 10, 2017

Minneapolis authorities say a surge in people being treated for suspected overdoses of the synthetic marijuana drug K2 has spilled into the new week.
“Approximately 90 patients have been made ill by a drug that they were attempting to use for recreational purposes that they believe to be K2,” said Dr. Jon Cole, medical director of the Minnesota Poison Control System, based at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Cole said some people are brought into the hospital highly agitated, even violent in some cases, but others are almost comatose. They can have low or high blood pressure or low or high heart rates. He said they may be showing signs of kidney or heart failure, as well.

Cole said a new formulation of the drug may have caught users by surprise. that sellers have “concentrated the drug too much and people are taking what they think is their normal dose, when in fact it’s an overdose,”

The history of K2 is that K2 was initially created in research labs to mimic the active ingredients in marijuana with the hope of treating nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. But the compounds became a favorite of drug dealers. K2, also known as “Spice,” started showing up in head shops in the late 2000s where it was sold as an “herbal incense blend.”

Authorities say some people buy it because they think it’s stronger and cheaper than regular marijuana; others think it will allow them to pass a drug test while using. Minnesota outlawed synthetic drugs in 2011, but they can still be found in some head shops and on the street.

Emerging Drug
Trends in 2017
News on January 5, 2017 by The River Source.

“Pink” (U-47700)
Pink, a synthetic opioid that is eight times stronger than heroin. It’s a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has a high potential for addiction and no known medical use. Over the past year, Pink has been linked with 46 confirmed deaths in New York and North Carolina. Pink is made synthetically in Chinese labs and imported to the U.S. The drug is extremely potent, even in small doses.

Carfentanil is used as a sedative for large animals such as elephants. The drug is one of the strongest opioids available – approximately 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It’s also been linked to a high number of overdose deaths.

The synthetic opioid is extremely powerful – 50 times stronger than heroin. Fentanyl-laced heroin was linked to an increase in overdose deaths. Counterfeit pills mixed with the drug gained attention from the DEA as well.

Synthetic Cannabinoids
Synthetic marijuana like K2 and Spice continue to be on the radar for law enforcement. These synthetic drugs can cause adverse health effects and land users in the emergency room due to extreme lethargy, suppressed breathing or agitated behavior. Though synthetic cannabinoids are sold under a number of names and made to look like “fake weed,” they are much more powerful and can lead to death in some cases.

We expect to see more of synthetic and designer drugs because of their accessibility, availability and attractive price points. However, these drugs are highly dangerous and extremely addictive. A small amount can be fatal.

America’s Teen Anxiety Epidemic is Heartbreaking. Parents, Here’s the Incredible Thing You
Must Do Now
Jeannie Cunnion, Fox News

I sat on a parenting panel last month with a well-known and widely respected counselor by the name of Sissy Goff, M.Ed, LPC-MHSP. She is the Director of Child & Adolescent Counseling at Daystar in Nashville and when asked about the biggest issue facing kids today, she confirmed what you’ve probably read about recently on your news feed or even your Facebook feed – the increasing anxiety epidemic in our country.
But it’s not just an epidemic among our kids. It’s an epidemic among us — their parents.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is the most common mental-health disorder in the United States, affecting nearly one-third of both adolescents and adults.

In a recent article entitled “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering from Severe Anxiety” we glean significant insight into the anxiety epidemic:

I’ll just share just two key points from the article:
* Privileged youths are among the most emotionally distressed young people in America. These kids are incredibly anxious and perfectionistic.

* For many of these young people, the biggest single stressor is that they never get to the point where they can say, ‘I’ve done enough, and now I can stop.’ Kids have a sense that they’re not measuring up. The pressure is relentless and getting worse.

If you’re reading this article as a mom, I imagine it breaks your heart like it breaks mine (as the mother of four boys who range in age from toddler to teenager) to learn that the pressure our kids are under “is relentless and getting worse.” Of course, I think we already assumed this to be true. But knowing it to be true leaves us responsible to do something to fight against it.
We have to be willing to take an honest (maybe painfully honest) look at how we may have contributed to the anxiety our kids feel with the pressure we just might be passing down with our unrealistic expectations and impossible standards of ourselves, and of them.

See, we parents aren’t the only ones linking accomplishment to acceptance and success to significance. Our kids are attempting to answer the question, “Is who I am enough?” by how well they perform on the field, how much they excel in school, and how many likes they get on their Instagram feed.

They are attempting to answer that question, “Is who I am enough?” by proving they can do enough and be enough. Whatever “enough” is. Because you and I both know enough is never enough when the goal is perpetual perfection.

The primary message our kids receive is that they’d better be the best at everything, and this leaves them afraid to reveal their inadequacies and insecurities—and hiding behind the best version of themselves.

In turn, parents of anxious teens feel helpless and hopeless, questioning all of the steps we are — or aren’t — taking. Our confidence as moms crumbles as we try to help our kids navigate the battles they have to fight and the mountains they have to climb.
Read the full article here

Drugmakers and Distributors Face Barrage of Lawsuits Over Opioid Epidemic
By Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein July, 2017

The companies that manufacture and distribute highly addictive painkillers are facing a barrage of lawsuits for the toll their product has taken on communities across the country as the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history continues to escalate.

After years of government and pharmaceutical firms failing to control the problem, some lawyers say the suits have the potential to force the industry to curb practices that contribute to it.

In addition, more than half the country’s state attorneys general — Republicans and Democrats — have banded together to investigate the industry.

Two congressional panels also are examining the industry — the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating why the Drug Enforcement Administration slowed enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies.

Stemming the epidemic, will take a coordinated effort by doctors, the industry, and federal and local government agencies.

“As we look to prevent abuse and misuse in the future, it will require a forward-looking, systemic approach that calls on greater coordination and collaboration between health-care, law enforcement, and state and federal regulatory authorities,” said the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, which represents companies that distribute drugs.

The lawsuits come as states and communities grapple with the economic impact of a prescription drug epidemic that has resulted in nearly 180,000 overdose deaths between 2000 and 2015 — more than three times the number of Americans who died during the Vietnam War. The epidemic has led to thousands more deaths from overdoses of heroin and fentanyl, which are becoming easier and cheaper to obtain than prescription drugs.

Manufacturers, distributors and pharmacy chains are expected to argue that they cannot be held responsible for what happens to pain pills once they travel down the supply chain.

“They ship a drug that’s approved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], and then a bunch of bad actors intervene — pill mills, doctors who overprescribe and the addicts themselves,” Ausness said. “It’s a pretty strong argument.”

The suits are reminiscent of the tobacco cases filed two decades ago. In the 1990s, 46 attorneys general eventually combined their resources to sue the tobacco companies. In 1998, the industry settled those suits, agreeing to pay more than $200 billion.

Woods said the similarities between the opioid and tobacco suits are striking.“They are big companies that knew their product was doing harm,” he said. “Instead of helping to solve the problem, they promoted the irresponsible use of their product to improve their bottom line.”

At the same time, prescription narcotics, when used appropriately, can eliminate pain without deadly health consequences — a claim cigarette manufacturers could not make.

The suits target some of the biggest names in the business, including McKesson, Johnson & Johnson and CVS.

Some of the suits allege that the companies fraudulently marketed opioids to the public. Others claim that the companies failed to report suspiciously large orders of prescription pain pills placed by distributors and pharmacies.

As the epidemic spreads, more states are declaring states of emergency and filing lawsuits.

In 2015, 500 people died from opioid-related overdoses, not counting heroin, and there were 30,000 opioid-related emergency room visits that same year, a 200 percent increase over the previous decade.

September/October Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health
Trend Corner:

E-Cig marketed to be used for inhaling “Vaping “vitamins.

Don’t Listen to E-Cig Companies that Claim you can Vape Vitamins by Adrianne Jeffries Aug 28, 2014
“Vitamin-enhanced vapor is all the rage in the loosely regulated e-cig industry.
Too bad it doesn’t work”
Inhalation is also an inefficient way to ingest vitamins, says John Newsam, a chemist with Tioga Research and a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), because the particles must be very small in order to travel deep into the lungs where there is close contact with blood vessels.

That means even less than the measly 1 IU of Vitamin A in a VitaCig will actually make it into your body. The little bit that does is more likely to enter through the mucous membranes in your mouth rather than through the lungs, contrary to claims on VitaCig’s website.Furthermore, vitamins can change their chemical composition when heated, which could cause them to lose their potency or degrade into something harmful, says Portland State University professor and ACS member James Pankow.
Although the company’s website is splashed with a giant banner that says “Vitamin Electronic Cigarette” and much of the marketing materials discuss vitamins, CEO Mark Linkhorst says the “vita” does not stand for “vitamin.” “Vita is ‘life’ in Latin,” he tells The Verge.
VitaCig never says explicitly that vaping vitamins will make you healthy. Everything is implied. The company also lumps aroma additives into the same “supplemental facts” list as vitamins, implying they have health benefits.”We’re not claiming that this is in any way a way to consume vitamins and to be healthier,” he says. “It’s just an ingredient added to an e-liquid, of which there’s thousands out there.”

8 Pieces of Parenting Advice from a Teenager to all Parents
AUGUST 13, 2017 BY Kali Venable

1. Remember who you once were.
I imagine it is hard to remember what it was like to be a teenager, especially when that day and age has long since passed. Remember what kinds of things you struggled with, how you handled them and what you would do differently. Share your teenage experience with your son or daughter so he or she can learn from your triumphs and failures.

Remember who you once were…mistakes and all Source: ThinkStock

2. Don’t make your child earn your trust.
There is nothing more frustrating than having to update your mum or dad every two minutes on your location and status. If you make an effort to show your child trust from the start, he or she won’t lie about whereabouts, friends, grades, etc. and in turn, you will have nothing to worry about. It will actually be a win-win situation for both of you because your child won’t have to make up lies and you won’t have to waste time investigating for the truth.
Needless to say, some kids will end up losing parents’ trust by taking advantage of it. If that turns out to be the case with your child, make him or her earn it back.

3. Overreacting.
There is nothing worse than telling your parents something and having them freak out and jump to unnecessary conclusions before you even get a chance to explain yourself. If your daughter tells you she failed her pre-calc quiz, don’t immediately start yelling. Let her tell you what happened: why she did so poorly, how she can improve it or what percentage of her overall grade it will count for. If you start yelling, your child will start to keep things from you, which is the last thing you want.

Accept experimentation. Source: News Limited

4. Experimentation; it’s inevitable.
The amount of firsts enclosed between the ages of 13 and 18 is what makes being a teenager so special. Let your child have firsts and make mistakes, and only make a fuss if he or she is in danger or endangering others. Remember there is a huge difference between experimenting and making habits out of something unhealthy — teach your child that.

5. Challenge your child daily with household responsibilities.
Weirdly enough, one of the few critiques I have for my own parents’ parenting during my teenage years revolves around the lack of responsibilities that were given to me in our household. I didn’t necessarily want to do laundry, load and unload the dishwasher, or cook dinner in high school — no one does. But now that I am about to leave for college, I wish I had gotten used to cleaning up after myself more. Force your kids to get off the couch and help you; they may hate you for it in the moment, but it will establish long-term independence that they’ll look back and thank you for.

Make them do housework Source: Supplied

6. Don’t be a dream-killer.
Let your child dream; encourage him or her to actually pursue dreams.
If your kid shows up with a really crazy opportunity, a leap of faith in a direction you’ve never explored, don’t place your own comfort-zone limitations on him or her. Instead, be happy to see him or her try something you personally wouldn’t. After all, it’s not your life to live.

7. You’re the parent, not the best friend.
You are not 16, so by no means should you be playing a role of one of your child’s friends from school. A lot of my friends in high school had parents who played the friend card. I knew a girl who shared alcohol with her parents. As you can imagine, their relationship was dysfunctional, and her mum was so used to being a friend that she couldn’t create consequences when her daughter made really poor decisions.

Being more of a friend to your kid than a parent takes away all of your authority and creates an unhealthy ideal of nurturing for your child.

Be a parent, not a BFF Source: Supplied

8. Accept and love your child.
I’ve been told that having a kid is the only time in your life that you’ll find yourself loving something or someone, unconditionally. That being said, let your child know every day how much you love him or her.

For me, my parents’ acceptance of who I am has the most profound effect out of all the ways that they choose to show their love. Such absolute acceptance allowed me to develop into a person I find to be genuine, original and happy.

Stress & “Study Drugs”
Partnership for Drug Free Youth Sept., 2017

One of the reasons that teens turn to drugs is to cope with the stress in their lives. We talked to parents, educators, experts and students and asked them questions about the effects that stress has on teens’ risk-taking ability, schoolwork and their family life. Take a look at what they had to say:

Can Stress Influence Your Child’s Risk-Taking Ability?
What are the effects of stress on the brain, and why do students try riskier coping mechanisms like abusing prescription stimulants to alleviate it?

Read more & watch video

Is it Cheating to Use a “Study Drug” to Focus on Schoolwork?
In reality, abusing prescription stimulants, or “study drugs,” actually does not improve teens’ GPA, can be very harmful to their health, and doesn’t teach grit or resilience.

Read more & watch video

Can “Overparenting” Lead Kids to Abuse “Study Drugs”?

Parents want what’s best for their kids. But sometimes getting too involved may start out as a good intention, leading to kids not being able to learn how to problem solve and manage their own time — skills necessary for success in school and life.

Read more & watch video

Tobacco & E-cigarettes

The teen years are a critical window for brain growth and development. As a result,
adolescents are especially at risk from the harms caused by nicotine exposure.
Ongoing use of nicotine can harm brain development during adolescence, a critical time when the brain is still “under construction.” Animal research has found that even in small doses, nicotine exposure in adolescence causes long-lasting changes in brain development. This could have negative implications in young people for learning, memory, attention. Nicotine in e-cigarettes and other tobacco products can also prime the adolescent brain for addiction to not only tobacco, but also substances like illicit drugs.

Read full article here

What You Should Know About Marijuana Concentrates/ Honey Butane Oil
Last Updated: Monday, April 3, 2017

E-cig used for much stronger drugs such as “Dabs”:

The “wax” is used with vaporizers or e-cigarettes or heated in a glass bong. Users prefer using e-cigarettes or vaporizers because it is smokeless, odorless, and easy to hide.

What are Marijuana Concentrates or THC Concentrates?
A marijuana concentrate is a powerful substance that may look like honey or butter. It is made by extracting THC from marijuana. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that produces the “high” feeling users seek. Some marijuana concentrates contain 40 to 80 percent THC. Regular marijuana contains THC levels of 15 to 20%.

What are the street names?
Butane Hash Oil (BHO), Honey Oil, Wax, 710, THC Extractions, Budder, Dabs.

How is it made?
One popular extraction method uses butane, a highly flammable solvent, which is put through an extraction tube filed with finely ground marijuana. The residue is a mixture of very concentrated THC and butane. The butane evaporates leaving a sticky liquid known as “wax” or “dab.” This extraction method is dangerous because butane is a very explosive substance. Law enforcement personnel report explosions in houses, apartment buildings and other locations where persons attempted the extraction. Persons with serious burns have gone to hospitals.

How is it used?
The “wax” is used with vaporizers or e-cigarettes or heated in a glass bong. Users prefer using e-cigarettes or vaporizers because it is smokeless, odorless, and easy to hide.
What are the Effects of Using Marijuana Concentrates?
Marijuana concentrates have a much higher level of THC. The effects of using may be more severe, both psychologically and physically.

July/August Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health
Trend Corner:

6 Psychedelic Trips From Legal Drugs You Probably
Didn’t Know About

By Rula Al-Nasrawi / AlterNet
June 27, 2014

Where there’s a law, there’s always someone finding a way around it. For people who like to experiment with drugs, that law is probably the Controlled Substance Act, which keeps most drugs that can get you high strictly illegal, black-market items. Because of the U.S. war on drugs, getting caught with a prohibited substance like weed, LSD or magic mushrooms can lead to more than a minute in jail. But people who like to experiment with drugs—whether to expand their minds or just escape—know they don’t always have to go to a disheveled pot dealer on a skateboard or a 45-year-old coke dealer in a tinted-window vehicle for a recreational drug experience. Some of these drug explorers have sifted through various items that are legally available in drug stores, your kitchen or your own backyard, played with the dosages and combinations, and written down their experiences for the Internet to see.

For those who don’t spend time Googling drug stories, they almost always appear on Erowid is an online resource dedicated to drugs, both legal and illegal. It is self-described as “an online library containing tens of thousands of pages of information about psychoactive drugs, plants, and chemicals.” In addition to clinical information about every drug you can (and can’t) imagine, the site’s “Experience Vaults” contain stories from drug explorers, ranging from a first-time shroom voyage to a horrendous meth comedown.

Here are 6 mind-altering funky legal drugs
[Editor’s Note: Please note that some or all of the substances listed below can be dangerous or toxic. AlterNet does not endorse their use.]

1. Nutmeg Euphoria
When it comes to surprising legal highs, nutmeg definitely threw me in for a loop. Turns out it’s proven that around 4 to 8 tablespoons of the household spice will give you mild hallucinations.

2. Cough Syrup
Whether you’re sick or just trying to get messed up, cough syrup is another way to use legal meds to alter your mind. While ‘misuse or abuse’ is still technically against the law, it’s pretty unlikely this popular over-the-counter item will land you in jail. Dextromethorphan or DXM, is one of many active ingredients in some cough syrups, acting as a dissociative hallucinogen.

3. Kava and Damiana
If cannabis and psilocybin have taught us anything, it’s that plants can produce some serious feelings of euphoria—and then some. This security guard Erowid user took a combination of Kava root and the shrub Damiana (a plant only prohibited in Louisiana because of increased synthetic cannabis overdoses that sometimes contained Damiana).

4. The Fly Algaric Mushroom
When it comes to mushrooms, most seasoned drug users would immediately think of Psylocibin mushrooms. However, Amanita Muscaria also known as the fly algaric, is another legal alternative for some. The mushroom itself resembles a typical cartoon toadstool, red with white spots, but the high that comes with ingesting it is what makes it the most interesting. This Erowid user consumed a few caps and found themselves high but nauseous throughout their trip.

5. Morning Glory
While this substance is not completely legal in the U.S. it does have its loopholes. Morning Glory itself is a legal, popular flower in the United States, but it’s active ingredient, LSA, is illegal in some areas. Morning Glory seeds have been used as a hallucinogen for centuries.

6. Salvia
While its legality in the United States is questionable at this time, Salvia divinorum is one of the most mind-altering drugs out there. Even a tiny hit of the psychoactive plant from the mint family can send a seasoned tripper to another dimension or time period. This particular tripper took a couple of hits of 35x extract Salvia divornum in the woods only to be transported to a reality where the end of the universe was now.

Chemical Health Trend: Smokeless Tobacco

There are two forms of smokeless tobacco: chewing tobacco and snuff.

Chewing tobacco is usually sold as leaf tobacco (packaged in a pouch) or plug tobacco (in brick form) that is put between the cheek and gum. Users keep chewing tobacco in their mouths for several hours to get a continuous buzz from the nicotine in the tobacco. Snuff is a powdered tobacco (usually sold in cans) that is put between the lower lip and gum. Just a pinch is all that is needed to release the nicotine, which is then swiftly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a quick high.
Sounds harmless, right? Keep reading . . .

What is in smokeless tobacco? Chemicals. Keep in mind that the smokeless tobacco you or your friends are using contains many chemicals that can be harmful to your health.

Here are a few of the ingredients found in smokeless tobacco:
• Nicotine (addictive drug) • Polonium 210 (nuclear waste) • Cadmium (used in car batteries) • N-Nitrosamines (cancer-causing) • Lead (poison) • Formaldehyde (embalming fluid) The nicotine contained in smokeless tobacco is what gives the user a buzz. It also makes it very hard to quit. Why? Because every time you use smokeless tobacco your body gets used to the nicotine; it actually starts to crave it. Craving is one of the signs of addiction, or dependence. Your body also adjusts to the amount of tobacco you need to chew to get a buzz. Pretty soon you will need a little more tobacco to get the same feeling. This process is called tolerance, which is another sign of addiction.

Some people say smokeless tobacco is okay because there is no smoke like a cigarette has. Do not believe them. It is not a safe alternative to smoking. You just move health problems from your lungs to your mouth. Physical and mental effects of smokeless tobacco If you use smokeless tobacco, here is what you might have to look forward to:

• Cancer. Cancer of the mouth (including the lip, tongue, and cheek) and throat. Cancers usually occur at the spot in the mouth where the tobacco is held. The surgery for cancer of the mouth could lead to removal of parts of your face, tongue, cheek, or lip.

• Leukoplakia. When you hold tobacco in one place in your mouth, your mouth becomes irritated by the tobacco juice. This causes a white, leathery-like patch to form, and this is called leukoplakia. These patches can be different in size, shape, and appearance. They are also considered precancerous: If you find one in your mouth, see your doctor immediately.

• Heart Disease. The constant flow of nicotine into your body causes many side effects including increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and sometimes irregular heartbeats. Nicotine in the body also causes constricted blood vessels that can slow down reaction time and cause dizziness—not a good move if you play sports.

• Gum and Tooth Disease. Smokeless tobacco permanently discolors teeth. Chewing tobacco causes halitosis (BAD BREATH). Its direct and repeated contact with the gums cause them to recede, which can cause your teeth to become loose. Smokeless tobacco contains a lot of sugar which, when mixed with the plaque on your teeth, forms acid that eats away at tooth enamel and causes cavities and chronic painful sores.

• Social Effects. Having really bad breath, discolored teeth, and gunk stuck in your teeth and constant spitting can have a very negative effect on your social life

Check for early warning signs of oral cancer Check your mouth often, looking closely at the places where you hold the tobacco. See your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

• a sore that bleeds easily and does not heal
• a lump or thickening anywhere in your mouth or neck
• soreness or swelling that does not go away
• a red or white patch that does not go away
• trouble chewing, swallowing, or moving your tongue or jaw.

Even if you do not find a problem today, if you are still using smokeless tobacco be sure to have your mouth checked at every routine doctor or dentist visit

How Teenagers use ‘Finstal’ Accounts to Hide on Social Media. What’s a Finsta? And does your teen have one?

You may be wondering, what the heck is a “finsta”? No, it’s not the latest new app. Finsta refers to a fake Instagram account. Just add “F” to “Instagram” for “Finstagram” and shorten that to “Finsta”.

A finsta is a second Instagram account used for sharing with a smaller circle of followers. A finsta is usually a private Instagram account. While a teen’s primary account might also be private, a finsta is for close friends only.


Instagram is likely a teen’s primary social media account and it is not uncommon to have over 100 followers, sometimes many, many more. The longer you’ve been using Instagram, the more followers you have. Teens – particularly girls – are feeling the pressure to create a beautifully curated Instagram account. They don’t just snap a photo and upload (that’s for Snapchat); on Instagram they will edit the photo within another app (perhaps VSCO), create and refine the perfect caption, then publish and hope for the likes to roll in.

Having a second Instagram account or finsta gives them a place to share their silly pictures, inside jokes and rants, or anything not meant for public consumption. It’s a place to share with their closest friends, not every single person they’ve met since middle school. It’s a place where they can put their guard down and not worry about how many “likes” they will receive.

(Another reason for creating a finsta might be to hide social media activity from parents – sorry kids, I just outed you.)


There are a few ways you can determine if your child has a second Instagram account:

1. Ask them.

2. Instagram recently introduced the ability to switch back and forth between accounts without logging out of one and logging into another. Take a look at the app on their phone. Click on their profile (icon in the lower right) and then look next to their username at the top. If you see an arrow next to it, click the arrow. If there are any other accounts in use, they will show up here. And, this is where someone can add a new account (which will require a different e-mail address than used on the primary account).

3. Take a look at their list of followers and who they are following. Your teen may be following his or her own finsta and then you’d see it here, although likely using a fake name. Oftentimes kids will collaborate on a finsta; it could be a joint venture, and they may have more than one finsta.


In one sense, parents could look at fake Instagram accounts as a good thing. It means your child has given some thought to what they want to share with a wider audience vs. smaller group of friends.
An area of concern in general, as noted in the NY Times article “On Fake Instagram, a Chance to Be Real”, is the very notion of a finsta account in the first place. If a teen’s Instagram profile and photos were a true reflection of their lives, a fake account may not even be necessary. As a commenter on that article put it “So, the real Instagram accounts are their fake selves, and the fake accounts are their real selves”.

And there might actually be some pressure to have a Finsta (as noted in this article about Finstagram from a teen’s perspective). So not only are teens feeling like they’re left out if they’re not on social media, they may feel it is not enough to even have just one account.

Lastly, just as with anything posted online, any photo or video posted to a finsta account is out of your control the moment you post it. While the finsta account is shared only with those you trust, that could be a fluid group especially in adolescence. A so called friend could always take a screenshot and share outside your inside circle. Always a good reminder when discussing with your kids.
So talk to your teen – they may be impressed that you’ve heard of Finstas! Find out if and how they’re using a fake Instagram account.
Read full article here

The Teenage Years and the Warning Signs Parents
Need to Respond to.

Teenage years of growth can be thought of as; a potent mix of hormonal changes, growing independence, and still-developing brain structures. All of these are difficult enough but know add our fast paced world of technology make the teenage years particularly difficult.

Many adults look back on their teen years as a particularly challenging rite of passage, and today’s teens face even more pressures than their parents’ generation. With the advent of social media and cyberbullying, teens are exposed to more negative influences and peer pressure than ever. Adding experimentation with drugs and alcohol can have a strong impact on mood that sometimes results in suicide.

According to the article; Teen Alcohol & Drug Use- How it Impacts Suicide Rates. Author: Destination-Premier Teen Treatment Program Sustainable Wellbeing

The Link between Substance
Use and Suicide

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among American teenagers, causing widespread pain throughout families and communities. Alcohol or drug abuse is one of the key risk factors for suicide in adolescents. These substances enter the brain and affect its reward pathway, leading to the “high” feeling that teenagers often seek. Over time, however, use of drugs and alcohol can dramatically change the chemistry of the brain. These brain changes place a person at greater risk of feeling intense sadness or depression.

Another link between substance abuse and suicide is physical dependency. Chronic drug or alcohol use — even with marijuana, which teenagers often believe is lower risk — can cause the body to physically crave the drug. This dependency frequently leads to feelings of helplessness or hopelessness. As the body comes down from a high, individuals often report feeling intense depression, irritability, or anxiety. All of these effects increase risk of suicide.

Additionally, access to drugs may provide a means for teenagers to commit suicide. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 10% of drug-related trips to the emergency room made by adolescents involved attempted suicide. In many of these cases, ready access to prescription drugs was a contributing factor.

Recognizing the Warning
Signs for Teen Suicide

Although many parents worry about their teens, few have been educated about the warning sides for drug use and suicide. For obvious reasons, adolescents are often secretive about drug and alcohol use, and many parents remain oblivious. Other parents assume that “it’s just a phase” or that experimentation with substances is a normal part of adolescence. Unfortunately, this sometimes causes teenagers at greatest risk of substance abuse and suicide to slip through the cracks.

Not all teenagers exhibit the same warning signs when struggling with drug abuse, but many show:

• A sudden increase in secretiveness, particularly if the person was previously very forthcoming about details of her life

• Pulling away from friends and family

• Joining a new crowd of friends, particularly if these friends are known to engage in risky behaviors

• Declining grades in school

• Changes in attention to hygiene and physical appearance

• Dropping out of or losing interest in previously enjoyed extracurricular activities

Of course, some of these warning signs are also exhibited by teenagers who are being bullied at school, have changing interests, or simply are figuring out what they want out of their lives. A more serious cause for concern is co-occurring symptoms of depression, including:

• Persistent feelings of sadness or anxiety

• Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

• Dropping grades in school

• Feeling hopeless or desperate

• Feelings of guilt or shame

• Changes in sleep patterns

• Changes in appetite

• Difficulty making decisions

• Irritability or persistent anger

• Engaging in self-harm (e.g., cutting, burning the skin)

• Thoughts of suicide

Because teenagers’ brains are still developing, they often do not have the coping resources to deal effectively with pain and depression. Suicide may seem like an attractive option, and drug use may exacerbate the problem.

It’s essential for adolescents in this situation to receive prompt, compassionate care in a professional treatment setting.

May/June 2017 Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health

Trend Corner:


5 Minnesota Deaths Linked To Drug 10K Times Stronger Than Morphine

By Jeff Wagner


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —Authorities are warning the public after five fatal overdoses in Minnesota were traced to a drug used to tranquilize large animals. Hennepin County Medical Examiner Andrew Baker and his office has linked deaths to the synthetic opioid Carfentanil.

The drug is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that killed Prince.

Baker says the drug, which is often disguised as heroin on the streets, is typically used to tranquilize large animals. It is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in humans, and an amount as small as a couple grains of salt can kill a person.

The presence of Carfentanil was found in those five cases, and Baker says four to five more deaths may also be connected to the drug.

Of the five confirmed carfentanil-related deaths, all were adults between the ages of 23 and 43.

Investigators are working to find the source of this drug locally, but they believe it was purchased by drug dealer on the internet and possibly from China.

In light of the increase in opioid overdoses in Minnesota and throughout the county, authorities are urging people to purchase the opioid antidote Naloxone.


“Dripping” is the Latest E-Cig Craze Popular with Teens

Issue of 3rd Millennium Classrooms

Teenagers are always first in line when it comes to finding new fads, so it’s no

Surprise they’ve discovered a new way to smoke electronic cigarettes. “Dripping” is a way of creating dense clouds of vapor. Teens like it for the fun visual effect it produces and many said it also provides a more flavorful experience.

When you inhale a regular electronic cigarette, vapor is created as the e-cigarette liquid is pulled through a heated coil for you to then “smoke.” Dripping, on the other hand, entails dropping the e-liquid onto the hot coil directly. This creates a thicker cloud of vapor for the user to then inhale.

Studies done by Pediatrics has recently revealed that at least a quarter of teens who use e-cigarettes have tried this new technique, but the potential health risks of dripping are still unknown. Given that 1 in 4 high school e-cigarette users in the Pediatrics study report dripping, future safety studies should focus on the toxicities of hot vapors produced by exposure of e-liquids to high temperatures, as with dripping. There is also a critical need for regulatory efforts that consider restrictions on the e-cigarette device so it cannot be easily manipulated for behaviors such as dripping.

What a Parent Needs to Know About Teenage Drug Use During Summer Months

Listen up parents! Ready for some shocking truth to come your way? I’m sure it’s no real surprise that teenage use of drugs during the summer months increases.  After all, its summer break and you probably recall your own teenage parties and memories of crazy youth.

To a greater or lesser extent, you most likely have some sort of plan or strategy to keep your kids active in positive activities and supervised. Perhaps camps, lessons, ensuring another parent is supervising during any sleepovers, curfews, etc. But once those things are in place, is that where your plans end and you get back to your job, errands and the rest of the “To Do List”? If so, it may be wise to take a closer look at the actual statistics during summer months and once armed with the information, you may want to add a couple of additional steps to the drug prevention list in your household.

The Hard Facts

According the U.S. Health Officials, first-time smoking of cigarettes and marijuana and drinking of alcohol among young adults are highest during the summer. Yes, we have covered that. However, let’s take a look at actual numbers, shall we? The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration interviewed more than 230,000 young adults from 2002 to 2012. The findings? On an average June or July day, more than 5,000 teenager smoke cigarettes for the first time, compared to about 3,000- 4,000 in the other months. In addition to this, more than 11,000 teens try alcohol for the first time during the summer, while first-time alcohol use during the rest of the year is about 5,000-8,000. In addition to first-time use of alcohol and cigarettes, other drugs like marijuana, hallucinogens and inhalants increase during the summer months as well.

What Can a Parent Do?

It’s a tough reality that once a teenager has tried smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and trying other forms of drugs, their chances of repeated use increase. And let’s not forget that some of these are gate-way drugs, opening the door to trying and using harder street drugs.

Experts recommend taking the following steps with your teenagers:

  1. Keep them busy with productive activities to cut down on boredom and give them something to do. Also, it can be additionally helpful to set a goal within the activities that has worth in the eyes of your teenager. If they are taking a class, involved in a sport, or in any way active in something that interests them and contains a goal they wish to reach, they are less likely to risk throwing it away by taking part in drugs.
  2. Ensure adequate supervision as much as possible. Perhaps your teenager is at an age where they no longer require a 24 hour babysitter, but they can be made to check in regularly and to not be left somewhere for hours at a time. The longer a teenager is left alone, the longer they have to try a drug without worrying about being caught. It’s also important to take note of who is doing the supervision. For example, if they are being watched over by the parent of one of their friends, have you met the parent(s)? Not all adults are equal in their level of responsibility and care for their children. Ensure you take the additional step of meeting the parents that may be watching your teen, not just in the summer, but all year round.
  3. Educate your child. You may very well be told by your teenage daughter or son that they know drugs are bad and they don’t need to talk about it. Yet, sitting them down and looking at statistics and articles on drugs and asking questions to ensure their understanding on how drugs can negatively affect a person’s life is well worth the time invested. Often enough, a reminder can go a long way and if your teen has the idea that they may drink alcohol or try drugs for the first time in the near future, it may just steer them back onto the right path.
  4. Come up with a rewards and penalties system. Inform them of what the consequences will be, possibly in terms of loss of privileges, if they do try drugs and alcohol. However, set up a system where the penalties will be less if they ever come clean on any alcohol or drug use. This ensures that you keep it safe enough for your teenager to trust that they can always talk to you about the subject and get help and guidance when needed. Establish a rewards system where they will earn something of value to them if they say no to drugs and continue to do so despite any possible peer pressure.

Additional Help

Additional help is provided by clicking here

We offer free drug education and prevention services as well as effective rehabilitation for all types of drug or alcohol addiction problems.



Teens Summer Drug use Statistics:

According to data from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse:

  • Summer is the Riskiest Time of the Year for Teens.
  • Many parents don’t know that new teen marijuana use spikes in the summer months. Marijuana is riskier than many parents think – in fact, more teens are in treatment for marijuana than for all other illicit drugs combined.
  • More teens smoked marijuana for the first time in June and July than any other months of the year, and nearly 40% of teens who first tried marijuana did so during May through August. Each day in June and July, approximately 5,800 teens try marijuana for the first time.
  • The number of new underage drinkers and cigarette smokers also jumps during the summer months.

So why the increase of drug use during the summer? The increase in new drug use is likely due to teens having more unsupervised time in the summer. Research shows that kids with unsupervised time are more likely to engage in risky behaviors.

March/April 2017 Newsletter

Chemical Health Trend Corner:
Local Experts Share Reminders around Parent’s Responsibilities when Hosting Parties with Alcohol

Dan Hatten-Hutchinson Police Chief

Carmen Morrow-District #423 Chemical Health Specialist

Dear Parents:
It seems we are always in the midst of celebrating one thing or another – prom, graduation, end of the school year, summer, and more.  This is good, but it can also be worrisome. We want to take this opportunity to remind you that as parents you have a particularly important role in shaping these events.

Please help keep your teen and his or her peers stay safe and alcohol-free.

Alcohol use is illegal by those in Minnesota who are under the age of 21 years.  The only exception is that parents may provide alcohol to their own children in their own homes.  Surveys of teens indicate that adults are teens’ primary source of alcohol: at home, in bars and restaurants or on the street.  To help reduce underage alcohol use, you can:

  • Refuse to supply alcohol to underage young people when you host your own celebration.  Do not buy a keg of beer for teens at a high school graduation or other party.  This is illegal and it also invites young people to drink illegally.  Teen alcohol use is nota rite of passage into adulthood.  In fact, alcohol has kept too many teens from becoming adults.
  • Make sure that alcohol is not available at events your teen attends.  Talk with other parents and party hosts to ensure alcohol-free celebrations.  Be proactive.  When parents stand together on this issue, they present a united front to teens.
  • All law enforcement agencies within McLeod County are participating in the Zero Adult Provider program (ZAP).  With this program law enforcement agencies will be actively investigating and prosecuting adults who provide alcohol to underage drinkers.  Please take an active role in assisting us in protecting your child.

Remember that as a parent, you play an important role in preventing underage alcohol use.  In research studies, teens say that their number one reason for refusing to drink alcohol is centered on worrying about what their parents would think.  That is a powerful statement about the importance of your message and role modeling.

Drug Trend: Cocaine 

 McLeod teens are reporting:

 “Cocaine is showing up more” and becoming more popular than in the past few years. Teen users are reporting “It is easy to find than weed and a local dealer is lacing it with meth.” 

Mrs. Morrow-chemical Health Interventions Specialist HHS 

Recent study by: O’Malley PMJohnston LDBachman JG.

Recent trends in cocaine use among America’s adolescents and young adults have shown some interesting correlations. The authors have examined cross-time patterns of use, certain predictors of use, and some of the conditions of the social and physical environments which are associated with use.
Overall, we have found levels of use to be relatively stable for the past several years after a period of rapid increase between 1976 and 1979. We also found a strong age effect, with cocaine use increasing in the first few years after high school. The levels of use, though stable recently, are disturbingly high, particularly among young adults in their early to mid-twenties.
Perceived availability also has moved in tandem with these other measures. The great majority of today’s seniors believe regular use to be dangerous, and 77% disapprove of even experimenting with cocaine. Use is found most frequently in the western and northeastern regions of the country, in more urban areas, among males, and among those who are not college-bound. Neither socioeconomic status nor personal income are very strongly associated with use; but a history of truancy, going out frequently in the evenings, and having relatively low religious involvement are.

Cocaine users tend to use other illicit drugs (particularly marijuana) and to be cigarette smokers and heavy drinkers much more frequently than nonusers. Thus, there is little evidence that cocaine involves a separate drug-using syndrome. In fact, it is not uncommon for cocaine users to use marijuana or alcohol concurrently.

When taking cocaine, high school students most often snort it, though some (24% of recent users) smoke it while only 4% of the users inject it. It is almost always used with other people present, often at a party but more often with just one or two people present. Most use occurs in the evening, with very few young people using at school and a minority ever using at home or in a car. Among the reasons most often cited for using cocaine use are: “to see what it’s like,” “to get high,” and “to have a good time with my friends.

Empowering parents and friends to keep our youth and community safe.

Report illegal activities

Underage drinking parties, adults hosting underage drinking gatherings, adult purchasing liquor for minors may be reported anonymously to the police or sheriff department where they will disperse assistance.  By reporting the date, time, and location of an underage drinking party or illegal activity it empowers parents and classmates in keeping McLeod County youth and community safe.

You Caught Your Teenager Drinking, Now What?

Mark Merrill “Helping Families Love Well Dec.30th, 2016

You talked to your teen many times about drinking. Then you find out they’ve been drinking. What do you do

 Here are 5 steps to take in response to underage drinking.

  1. Don’t react in anger. With as few words as possible, let them know that you know about it. Then be silent.  Give it a day for you to calm down and for your teen to think about it.
  2. When you’re calm, sit down with your teen and ask open-ended questions to determine why they were drinking.  This is a heart issue and you need to understand what’s going on inside. Maybe it was curiosity, peer pressure, a means of escape, anidentity or imageissue, or flat out rebellion.  If your child doesn’t want to talk, let them know that you’ll just sit there with them until they discuss it with you.
  3. Help your teenager develop right thinking about alcohol.  Communicate to your teen that:
  • Alcohol is a depressant and, if they are down or depressed about something, it will only make matters worse.
  • It is illegal for anyone to buy or possess alcohol until 21 years of age. People who have been drinking while driving can have their driver’s license suspended, be subjected to heavy fines, or have their car permanently taken away. If they hurt or kill someone else while being under the influence, they will live with it for the rest of their lives and may even be sent to prison.
  • Alcohol use by teenagers is a strong predictor of pre-marital sexual activity which can lead to pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and emotional baggage. Teens that use alcohol have higher rates of both academic problems and poor performance than non-drinkers.  Also, more than 67% of young people who start drinking before the age of 15 will try an illicit drug.  Children who drink are more than 22 times more likely to use marijuana and 50 times more likely to use cocaine than children who never drink.
  1. Talk about consequences and your future expectations.  Now is the time to circle the wagons and bring your teen closer to you and closer to home.  Start by letting them know the consequences of their actions. Those consequences might include things like losing the privilege of their phone or computer for anything other than school. Going out on weekends or revoking driving privileges may also be appropriate.   And when they are at home, do your best to be there with them to just hang out together.   Also, share with your child that just as bad company corrupts good character, good company builds good character. Help your child understand that who they associate with is very, very important and that you expect them to start making wiser choices in that area.
  2. Stay on top of it.  This is not a one-time discussion; it’s an ongoing dialogue. It’s not simply handing out some consequences and then forgetting about it. When your child does leave the house, always make sure that you know who your child is with, where they are going, and what they are doing.  You need toknow their G.P.S.Have them check in with you on a regular basis. Your teen ultimately needs to understand that they have breached your trust and this is part of the process for them to earn your trust once again.

Parenting Guide in providing the best protective parenting style so your child won’t turn to drug abuse.


Research shows that the risk for substance abuse and other adverse behaviors increases as the number of risk factors increases, and that protective factors may reduce the risk of youth engaging in substance use that can lead to substance abuse.

Risk and Protective Factors

Early aggressive behavior, lack of parental supervision, academic problems, undiagnosed mental health problems, peer substance use, drug availability, poverty, peer rejection, and child abuse or neglect are risk factors associated with increased likelihood of youth substance use and abuse. Risk factors that occur during early childhood further increase the risk of youth substance abuse. Risk factors of prolonged duration, for example, those that continue on from childhood through adolescence, are also associated with increased likelihood of youth substance abuse.  Risk factors frequently associated with substance abuse are common across multiple disorders.


Not all youth will develop substance abuse problems, even if they have experienced these risk factors. Some individuals are exposed to protective factors that may keep them from using substances. The presence of multiple protective factors can lessen the impact of a few risk factors. For example, strong protection, such as parental support and involvement, could diminish the influence of strong risks, such as having peers who abuse substances.

While risk and protective factors have been presented in different ways, the table below provides examples of risk and protective factors adapted from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine.

View Risk and Protective Factors by developmental period here


January/February Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health

Trend Corner:


Mental health and substance abuse issues are linked

Carmen M Morrow

Chemical Health Prevention Specialist & REACH Counselor


Often, students and adults talk about using drugs to self-medicate their feelings and/or mental illness. Alcohol, marijuana or other drugs can be abused to self-medicate the symptoms of depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, substance abuse causes side effects and in the long run worsens the very symptoms they initially numbed or relieved.

When you have both a mental health issue and a substance abuse problem such as bipolar disorder, anxiety or depression, it is called a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. Dealing with drug addiction, alcoholism or substance abuse is never easy, and it’s even more difficult when you’re also struggling with mental health problems, but there are treatments that can help. With proper treatment, support, and self-help strategies, you can overcome a dual diagnosis and reclaim your life.

It is important to understanding the link between mental health and substance abuse. In the article “We’re Related: Substance Abuse and Mental Health,” the authors go into further detail about the link. In a dual diagnosis, both the mental health issue and the drug or alcohol addiction have their own unique symptoms that may get in the way of your ability to function, handle life’s difficulties, and relate to others. To make the situation more complicated, the co-occurring disorders also interact and affect each other. When a mental health problem goes untreated, the substance abuse problem usually gets worse as well. When the alcohol or drug abuse increases, mental health problems usually increase, too.

A question that often is asked is: What comes first? The substance abuse or mental health problem? Addiction is common in people with mental health problems. Although substance abuse and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety are closely linked, one does not directly cause the other.

Some interesting facts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness state that; alcohol and drug abuse can make symptoms of a mental health problem worse. Substance abuse may sharply increase symptoms of mental illness or trigger new symptoms. Alcohol and drug abuse also interact with medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, and mood stabilizers, making them less effective.

According to reports published in the Journal of the American Medical Association:

Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse.

Thirty-seven percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug users also have at least one serious mental health illness.

It can be difficult to diagnose a substance abuse problem and a co-occurring mental health disorder. It takes time to tease out what might be a mental health disorder and what might be an alcohol or drug problem.

Denial complicates the issue and is common in substance abuse. It’s hard to admit how dependent you are on alcohol or drugs or how much they negatively affect your life. Denial frequently occurs in mental disorders as well. The symptoms of depression or anxiety can be frightening, so you may ignore them and hope they go away. Or you may be ashamed or afraid of being viewed as weak if you admit the problem.

The best treatment for co-occurring disorders is an integrated approach, where both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Recovering from co-occurring disorders takes time, commitment, and courage. It may take months or even years but people with substance abuse and mental health problems can and do get better.

Carmen Morrow is School District 423’s chemical health intervention specialist. Sources for this column include “National Alliance on Mental Illness”, “Journal of the American Medical Association”, “We’re Related: Substance Abuse and Mental Health” Authors: Joanna Saisan, MSW., Melinda Smith, MA., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D, October, 2016. You, Your Kids & School is a twice-month-column from School District 423.


Top 5 Reasons Teens Use Drugs

Written by Casa Palmera Staff


There are many reasons why teens abuse illegal or prescription drugs. Past studies used to point to “having fun” as the number-one reason teens used drugs, but more recent studies show that teens are using drugs to solve problems.

This is important for parents to understand because most parents severely underestimate the impact of stress on their teens. By understanding what motivates your teen to use drugs, you can hopefully step in help them find better ways to cope with their problems.

Top Reasons Why Teens Abuse Substances

1) Stress: A recent study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America showed that 73 percent of teens report the number-one reason for using drugs is to deal with the pressures and stress of school. Surprisingly, only 7 percent of parents believe that teens might use drugs to cope with stress, showing parents severely underestimate the impact of stress on their teens’ decision to use drugs.

2) Social Acceptance and/or Low Self-Esteem:  The study indicated that 65 percent of teens say they use drugs to “feel cool.” Teens’ self-worth depends on the approval of others, and their desire for social acceptance can drive them to engage in destructive behaviors, even if they know it could harm them. The same study found that 65 percent of teens use drugs to “feel better about themselves.” Teens who have low self-esteem are more likely to seek acceptance from the wrong crowd by using drugs.

3) Self-Medication: The teen years are rough, and many teens who are unhappy don’t know how to find a healthy outlet for their frustration. These pent up emotions can take an emotional toll and can even lead to depression or anxiety. A 2009 study reported an estimated 70 percent of teens suffer from undiagnosed clinical depression at some point in their life. Many teens are unaware that they have an underlying mental or mood disorder that is causing them to use illegal or prescription drugs to self-medicate and cope with their symptoms.

4) Misinformation: Studies show that teens are widely misinformed about the dangers of drugs. Did you know that 40 percent of teens don’t perceive any major risk with trying heroin once or twice? While abuse of serious drugs is steadily declining among teens, their intentional abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications remains a serious concern.

Many teens, 41 percent to be exact, mistakenly believe that it’s safer to abuse a prescription drug than it is to use illegal drugs. Nearly 1 in 5 teens have already abused a prescription medication or prescription painkiller in order to get high or deal with stress.

5) Easy Access: One reason teens use drugs is simply because they’re easy to get. Nearly 50 percent of teens report that it’s easy for them to get marijuana; 17 percent say it’s easy to get meth; 14.4 percent say it’s easy to get heroin; and more than half of teens say that prescription drugs are easier to get than illegal drugs.

Teen Drug Abuse: Prevention and Help

Research consistently shows that kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents are 50 percent less likely to use drugs than kids who do not learn about the dangers of drugs at home. Unfortunately, only 32 percent of teens report that they are getting this vital message from their parents.

If you know a teen who is abusing drugs, don’t wait to intervene. The sooner your teen gets help for drug abuse, the more likely they’ll be able to avoid the long-lasting consequences. Fortunately, there are many different teen drug rehabs to choose from. The most effective teen drug rehab, however, may be a residential treatment program. Here your teen will have access to 24/7 supervision and care, detoxification, dual diagnosis treatment and a variety of holistic treatments based on their individual needs. Talk to a medical doctor or a Chemical Heath Counselor about your teen’s symptoms and determine which type of drug abuse treatment is best for your teen.

Chemical Health Trend Corner: Robo Tripping/Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse

By American society of Anesthesiologists 2016

What is Robo tripping?

Robo tripping is the act of abusing over-the-counter cough and cold medicines that contain dextromethorphan (DXM). It has become a growing and potentially life-threatening trend among America’s youth in recent years.

What is DXM?

DXM is a synthetic drug that produces a hallucinogenic high when consumed in large amounts. It is present in more than 125 medications, including well-known brands.

Does DXM have any slang terms?

Yes. Slang terms for the drug include Robo, Skittles, Dex and Tussin.

How many teens Robo trip?

According to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, nearly 10 percent of American teens have admitted to Robo tripping.

Do teens Robo trip?

Yes. In fact, children as young as age nine have admitted to Robo tripping.

Why do so many teens and teens Robo trip?

Teens and teens Robo trip often because medications containing DXM are legal, readily available (without a prescription) and inexpensive.

Why are medications containing DXM available without a prescription?

These medications are available without a prescription because DXM is a safe and effective cough suppressant when used properly.

Does Robo tripping have any side effects?

Yes. Consuming large amounts of drugs containing DXM can have a variety of serious and very dangerous side effects on a child’s short- and long-term health including:

Impaired vision, speech and judgment


Lack of motor coordination


Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

Abdominal pain

Increased heart rate and blood pressure

Disorientation and/or loss of consciousness

Cerebral hemorrhages

Seizures and/or permanent brain damage


Can parents monitor for signs that their children are Robo tripping?

Yes. You should actively monitor for signs that your child is Robo tripping, which include:

An unusual medicinal smell on your child

Empty or missing cough and cold medicine bottles

An unexplainable disappearance of money from the house

A sudden change in your child’s physical appearance, attitude, sleeping and/or eating habits

Questionable or unexpected packages arriving in the mail addressed to your child

Visits by your child to pro-drug websites

What should parents do if their children become high on DXM?

Seek emergency medical care if your child is:



Sweating excessively

Pale or blue in the face

Experiencing an unusually fast or slow pulse

How can parents help protect their children from DXM abuse?

You can help protect your child from DXM abuse by:

Educating your child about the dangers of drug abuse

Controlling access to cough and cold medicines (which may include locking your medicine cabinet)

Keeping your own medications out of reach of your child

Familiarizing yourself with – and not stockpiling – medicines that contain DXM

Actively checking your credit card statements

Monitoring your child’s Internet use

Prescription Painkillers: Should Your Teenager Ever Take Them?

By Diana Simeon

Let’s be clear. The majority of people who take a prescription painkiller do not end up addicted to either heroin or the painkiller. But a perplexing part of the problem is there is no real way to predict who will become addicted and who will not.

“We know that some people who take it are going to get addicted,” says Dr. Stephen Sroka, an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine. “They didn’t choose to mess up their life with this drug. It just grabs their brain.”

And the current heroin crisis in the United States has been fueled by over-prescribing of opioid painkillers over the past decade or so.

Click here for a very timely article as the opiate overdose epidemic rages across our nation.


Take It To The Box


What is Take It To The Box? The Take It To The Box program promotes the safe use, safe storage; in particular the safe disposal of unneeded medication.

The McLeod County community and MEADA are serious about preventing medication misuse, abuse and environmentally safe disposal of unneeded medication. Safe medication disposal helps reduce such risks.


How should I get my medicine ready to drop off in The Box? Medicine should be left in their original container with the label. If the medicine is a prescription, use a marker to cross off your name. Leave all other information on the container.


What kinds of medicine can go into The Box? Any prescription and over-the-counter medicine can be placed in The Box.


What about syringes, needles or “sharps”? NO! These items can NOT go in The Box. Talk to your pharmacist about syringe disposal options and products that are available.

For further suggestions for syringe disposal contact: McLeod County Solid Waste At 320-484-4300


Household chemicals like glues, paints and other inhalants can be used to get high. Can these chemicals go in The Box? No, You are encouraged to store these kinds of chemicals in a safe, out-of-reach location.

Can “inhalers” be put in The Box? Yes. Inhalers used with various medicines can be dropped in The Box for disposal.


What do I do with medicine that has expired? Expired medicines are accepted in The Box.


I know someone who has a large amount of unneeded medication but is unable to bring it in for disposal. Can I drop off someone else’s medication? Yes. If needed, friends or family members may bring medication to The Box for someone else. Please call if you have a question about this.


What happens to the medicine dropped into The Box? The Box will be emptied as needed. Contents are stored in a secured locations. Periodically, law enforcement and a chemist from a qualified disposal company will sort the medication. Medicines will then be taken to a licensed site to be incinerated.


Who pays for the medication disposal? Take It To The Box is a very cost effective program. Funding has come from: local law enforcement agencies, McLeod County Solid Waste, a Drug Free Communities grant and a grant from the United Way. There is NO charge to individuals when medications are dropped off at Take It To The Box locations.


Drop-Off Locations:

McLeod County Sheriff’s Office 801 East 10th St. Glencoe

Hutchinson Police Dept. 10 Franklin St. South Hutchinson


Winsted Police Dept. 201 1st St. North Winsted

Take It To The Box (TITTB) Committee Members have received a lot of questions regarding sharps and needle disposal.  These items are NOT allowed in the drop boxes.  The link below has a variety of suggested ways to dispose of needles and sharps.


Sharps fact sheet