November/December 2016 Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health Trend Corner:

Drug Trend Corner: Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use

By, Narconon, Drug Abuse Info.

There are many signs, both physical and behavioral, that indicate drug use. Each drug has its own unique manifestations, but there are some general indications that a person is using drugs:

  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Mood swings; irritable and grumpy and then suddenly happy and bright
  • Withdrawal from family members
  • Careless about personal grooming
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, sports and other favorite activities
  • Changed sleeping pattern; up at night and sleeping during the day
  • Red or glassy eyes
  • Sniffy or runny nose

Read More about the effects related to frequently using drugs and signs and symptoms of specific drug use.

What your Kids need to know about Marijuana, Legalized or not

By Elizabeth J.Damico

“Parents need to emphasize a key reason why using marijuana (or alcohol for that matter) can be harmful to kids — their brains are still developing.”

Family members and friends constantly ask me for advice about what they should be saying to their kids about marijuana. Parents should talk to their kids about it in the same way they do about that other common, socially acceptable drug — alcohol.

If they don’t know, parents need to find out what marijuana does to the body. For example, it can change users’ moods and how they perceive what’s happening around them. It impairs motor functions. At the same time, parents should explain that marijuana can help cancer patients by relieving nausea and pain.

Discussing why people want to use marijuana recreationally, and why they want it legalized, is trickier because many parents don’t want to portray its use as socially acceptable for teens. But in fact children and teens are already bombarded with “try it, legalize it” advertising and discussions.

It’s not a good idea for kids to use marijuana. Parents should tell their children that just because something feels good and is legal for adults doesn’t mean it’s safe or that it doesn’t cause problems. Alcohol, again, is the prime example — it’s legal and safely enjoyed by many adults, but it can lead to car accidents, health problems and dependency. Cigarettes are legal too, but they cause cancer.

Read More

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders

Authors: Joanna Saisan, M.S.W., Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: October 2016.

When you have both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, it is called a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. Dealing with substance abuse, alcoholism, or drug addiction 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.

Understanding the link between substance abuse and mental health

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 affect each other and interact. When a mental health problem goes untreated, the substance abuse problem usually gets worse as well. And when alcohol or drug abuse increases, mental health problems usually increase too.

What comes first: Substance abuse or the mental health problem?

Addiction is common in people with mental health problems. But although substance abuse and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety are closely linked, one does not directly cause the other.

Alcohol or drugs are often used 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.

Alcohol and drug abuse can increase underlying risk for mental disorders. Mental disorders are caused by a complex interplay of genetics, the environment, and other outside factors. If you are at risk for a mental disorder, drug or alcohol abuse may push you over the edge.
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.
Click Here for Signs and Symptoms

Marijuana Talk Kit: Now Available in Spanish

Between marijuana legalization, the normalization in pop culture and new ways of using (edibles, vaporizers, concentrates), it’s becoming more complicated for parents to talk to their teens. So, where do you start? And what should you say?

We’re here to help. Download our free Marijuana Talk Kit, available in English and Spanish, to get tips on how to have meaningful, productive conversations with your teen about marijuana. Download the Kit in Spanish »

A majority of teens report healthier behaviors and thriving at school. Trouble spots include e-cigarettes and mental health.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – A majority of Minnesota students feel highly engaged in school, believe their school provides a supportive place for learning, report good health, and feel safe in their homes, neighborhoods and schools according to a new report on results

of the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey (MSS).

The survey results continue a trend ongoing since the 1990s of teens making healthier choices related to drinking, smoking and sexual activity. However, the survey also provides important evidence that Minnesota’s generally positive results hide health gaps suffered by economically disadvantaged teens and teens of color.

Chemical Health Corner: Today’s Heroin Epidemic

Author: CDC 24/7 Control for Disease Control and Prevention


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.

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.




The prefrontal cortex of my teenage son’s brain isn’t fully developed.

It’s a fact I have been forced to remind myself of several times a day, sometimes several times an hour,

since that fateful call a few weeks back.

“Don’t freak out,” my ex-husband had warned when I picked up the phone, his voice grave and a bit shaky. After pausing for what felt like an eternity, he informed me that our 17-year-old son had ingested some type of drug and was being transported by ambulance to the emergency room.
Some type of … drug? I freaked out.

Racing to the hospital, I struggled to wrap my head around what I’d just been told. My son was a straight-A student, a member of the National Honor Society, a varsity athlete. He was in the throes of submitting applications to highly ranked universities and striving to establish

his individuality in cleverly constructed college essays. Over the years, we’d had countless talks about drug and alcohol use, the risks of addiction, the potentially life-changing (or even life-ending) consequences. There was just no way he was using drugs!

But to my shock, he turned out to be among a growing number of teenagers across the U.S. experimenting with marijuana edibles. Call me naïve, but I had never before even heard the term “edibles,” widely used to describe a new generation of pot-laced baked goods, candies and beverages that are both made at home and sold by dispensaries in colorful packages and flavors that appeal to kids. I suppose I never had any reason to.

But now, my identity as a mother feels permanently scarred by an irrevocable chasm; the parent I was before receiving that harrowing call, and the one I became from that moment forward. The mom I had been when I recognized the word “edible” as simply an adjective, and the one I was forced to become the instant it took shape as a vile noun.



January 2014 newsletter is posted.

Check out our newsletter section for the latest MEADA newsletter or to see old issues.


December 2013 News letter is posted.

November 2013 newsletter posted.

Nov 2013 Newsletter

MEADA Newsletter – April, 2013

Battle of the Bands / Softball Pictures Posted

We have posted photos of this Summer’s 2012 MEADA YFC Softball teams! We would like to thank all of the teams, players and coaches as well as all of our organizers and sponsors that made this year such a success. – Click here to view the gallery.

We have also posted photos from the 2012 Battle of the Bands held at the McLeod County Fair! This year’s bands were great. We would like to thank all of the bands and performers as well as the organizers and sponsors for putting on a great show.  – Click here to view the gallery.

We look forward to putting on more events like this in 2013! Check back here for more details.




What’s new with MEADA?

What’s new with MEADA?  We had a very successful Battle of the Bands at the McLeod County Fair in August.  Pictures are soon to be uploaded.  The BOB was taped and airs on Hutch Cable TV.  Check your local listings for more specific times and dates.  How great to see all the area youth competing in a healthy environment, with their musical talents!

Needle Disposal Day will be hosted at Glencoe Regional Health Services North parking lot on May 2nd from 12:30-5:30 pm. All SHARPS must be in a hard plastic container, such as a laundry detergent container or a peanut butter jar. This event is free and open to the public.

Our Take It To The Box program is still running strong with three drop off locations located in McLeod County: Glencoe, Hutchinson and Winsted.  Check out the TITTB tab on this website for more detailed information.

MEADA is currently also working on securing a powerful speaker to be presented to ALL youth in McLeod County, grades 9-12.  A possible evening presentation for the community and parents is also being considered.

Zero Adult Provider is still working hard at eliminating those adult providing alcohol to minors in our county.  To read more on that, please go to the ZAP tab for further information.

An anti-bullying campaign is underway and two schools in the county are looking at being trained so we can move forward to a more positive McLeod County and end bullying.

Check out our monthly newsletters.  Lots of GREAT information in one document for professionals, teachers, parents and community members!  Feel free to download and share with others.

Let us know if there is any other information you would like to see on this website, presentations in the community or other focuses we can pursue!

MEADA Coalition of McLeod County Launches NEW Website at

For Immediate Release:

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.