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 www.McLeodMEADA.org

The MEADA Coalition of McLeod County is proud to announce the launch of our NEW website www.McLeodMEADA.org.

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.

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