Needle Disposal

May/June 2018 Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health

Trend Corner:


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

Allen County Health


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

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


Fake weed in Illinois leaves

 2 dead, dozens with

‘severe bleeding’

By Jennifer Earl


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Read the full article here


Tap Into Your Emotions:

Why EQ Could Be More Important Than IQ

By Suzanne Lucas


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


We all know it’s important to be smart.


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


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


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


What is EQ?

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


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


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


Why Is EQ Important in Your Business?

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


How Can You Look for That Skill When You Hire?

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


However, sometimes, even smart people can be dumb.


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


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


How to Keep Teens Alcohol and Drug Free This Summer

By Suzanne Kane



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


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


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


Be Involved


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


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


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


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


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

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


Be a Good Role Model


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Being a positive role model to teens means that parents:


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


Be Aware of Risk Factors


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


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


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

March/April 2018 Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health
Trend Corner:

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

Dear Parents:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn What You Can Do

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

About That Joint: The Newest Marijuana Start-Ups Choices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Examples of rewards or reinforcers that are free:

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

Examples of rewards or reinforcers that cost money:

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

Why Do Teens Drink and Use Drugs?

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

Keep in mind:

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

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

Jan/Feb 2018 Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health
Trend Corner:

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local chemical health expert shares the new reality of McLeod drugs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Know their friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEADA Coalition of McLeod County Launches NEW Website at

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

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

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

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

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

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

November/December Parenting & Prevention Newsletter

Chemical Health
Trend Corner:

Medical Marijuana Won’t Help Most Kids

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

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

What’s the difference?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about it here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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