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.

http://kstp.com/news/fentanyl-laced-heroin-percautions-minnesota-bca/4638342/

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
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.

Fentanyl
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.org. 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.

WHY ARE KIDS CREATING FINSTAS?

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.)

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD HAS A FINSTA?

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.

SHOULD PARENTS BE WORRIED ABOUT FINSTAS?

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.

Source: http://thesouthend.wayne.edu/article/2012/07/teen_drug_use_increases_during_summer_season

 

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

Confusion

Lack of motor coordination

Hypothermia

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

Death

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:

Unresponsive

Vomiting

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underage Drinking Consequences

Underage Drinking

Underage Drinking

Think before you Drink: There are consequences for underage drinking!

 

 

Today’s Heroin Epidemic

Today’s Heroin Epidemic

More people at risk, multiple drugs abused

Heroin use has increased across the US among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. Some of the greatest increases occurred in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes. Not only are people using heroin, they are also abusing multiple other substances, especially cocaine and prescription opioid painkillers. As heroin use has increased, so have heroin-related overdose deaths. Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, and more than 8,200 people died in 2013. States play a central role in prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts for this growing epidemic.

States can:

  • Address the strongest risk factor for heroin addiction: addiction to prescription opioid painkillers.
  • Increase access to substance abuse treatment services, including Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), for opioid addiction.
  • Expand access to and training for administering naloxone to reduce opioid overdose deaths.
  • Ensure that people have access to integrated prevention services, including access to sterile injection equipment from a reliable source, as allowed by local policy.
  • Help local jurisdictions to put these effective practices to work in communities where drug addiction is common.

Want to learn more? www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/heroin

 CDC Vitalsigns

 Today’s Heroin Epidemic

Heroin use more than doubled among young adults ages 18–25 in the past decade.

More than 9 in 10 people who used heroin also used at least one other drug.

45% of people who used heroin were also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers.

Problem

Heroin use is increasing, and so are heroin-related overdose deaths.

How is heroin harmful?
  • Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive opioid drug.
  • A heroin overdose can cause slow and shallow breathing, coma, and death.
  • People often use heroin along with other drugs or alcohol. This practice is especially dangerous because it increases the risk of overdose.
  • Heroin is typically injected but is also smoked or snorted. When people inject heroin, they are at risk of serious, long-term viral infections such as HIV, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis B, as well as bacterial infections of the skin, bloodstream, and heart.
Who is most at risk of heroin addiction?
  • People who are addicted to prescription opioid painkillers
  • People who are addicted to cocaine
  • People without insurance or enrolled in Medicaid
  • Non-Hispanic whites
  • Males
  • People who are addicted to marijuana and alcohol
  • People living in a large metropolitan area
  • 18 to 25 year olds

 Graphics: Heroin Use Has INCREASED Among Most Demographic Groups, and Heroin Addiction and Overdose Deaths are Climbing

 Graphics: Heroin Use Has INCREASED Among Most Demographic Groups, and Heroin Addiction and Overdose Deaths are Climbing  

What Can Be Done

The Federal government is

  • Providing educational training and resources to health care providers so they can make informed decisions and ensure the appropriate prescribing of opioid painkillers. This includes:
    • Developing prescribing guidelines for chronic pain.
    • Supporting the use of prescription drug monitoring programs (electronic databases that track the dispensing of certain drugs) as a routine part of clinical practice.
  • Increasing access to substance abuse treatment services through the Affordable Care Act.
  • Expanding use of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
  • Supporting the development and distribution of the life-saving drug naloxone to reduce prescription opioid painkiller and heroin overdose deaths.
  • Supporting the research, development, and approval of pain medications that are less prone to abuse.
  • Improving surveillance to better track trends, identify communities at risk, and target prevention strategies.

States can

  • Address the strongest risk factor for heroin addiction: addiction to prescription opioid painkillers.
    • Make prescription drug monitoring programs timely and easy to use. Providers can analyze patient prescription drug history and make informed decisions before prescribing opioid painkillers.
    • Look at the data and practices of state Medicaid and worker’s compensation programs to identify and reduce inappropriate prescribing.
  • Increase access to substance abuse treatment services, including MAT for opioid addiction.
    • Work with Medicaid and other insurance companies to provide coverage for MAT.
    • Support adoption of MAT in community settings.
  • Expand access to and training for administering naloxone to reduce opioid overdose deaths.
  • Ensure that people have access to integrated prevention services, including access to sterile injection equipment from a reliable source, as allowed by local policy.
  • Help local jurisdictions to put these effective practices to work in communities where drug addiction is common.

Health care providers can

  • Follow best practices for responsible painkiller prescribing to reduce opioid painkiller addiction, the strongest risk factor for heroin addiction:
    • Use prescription drug monitoring programs and ask patients about past or current drug and alcohol use prior to considering opioid treatment.
    • Prescribe the lowest effective dose and only the quantity needed for each patient.
    • Link patients with substance use disorders to effective substance abuse treatment services.
  • Support the use of Food and Drug Administration approved MAT options (methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone) in patients addicted to prescription opioid painkillers or heroin.

Everyone can

Learn more about the risks of using heroin and other drugs.

  • Learn how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose.
  • Get help for substance abuse problems: 1-800-662-HELP.

For more information on MAT and naloxone, visit SAMHSA at: www.samhsa.gov.