Many teens no longer turn to the shady school dealer for their highs these days. In fact, most just reach inside the medicine cabinet. Across the country, kids are taking dangerous handfuls of cold medicines known to them as “triple C.”
Cold, cough and congestion medications that are based on dextromethorphan, such as Coricidin are the new drug of choice for teens. The dangerous part is that they can find them at any grocery store or even in your home medicine cabinet – without parental permission.
Most teens take this triple C drug cocktail because it gives them euphoric effects. When they take these medicines at a dose higher then recommended, they feel very happy and may have hallucinations.
However, the hard truth is that although these over the counter drugs seem harmless to teens, the long term effects of abuse can include: psychosis, coma, movement problems, liver damage, and even heart trouble.
Parents need to be aware that cold medicines are being abused by kids. They should openly discuss the effects and long-term problems associated with taking too many pills or too much syrup devised to treat colds like in the triple C cocktails that are being experimented with.
Anorexia in Men: More Common Than You’d Think
Although most associate anorexia nervosa with women, studies show that many men suffer from the disorder as well. Anorexia is a severe, life-threatening disorder in which the individual refuses to maintain a minimally normal body weight, is intensely afraid of gaining weight, and exhibits a significant distortion in the perception of the shape or size of his body, as well as dissatisfaction with his body shape and size.
In men, behavioral characteristics can include: difficulty eating with others, lying about eating, frequently weighing self, preoccupation with food, focus on certain body parts, and/or disgust with body size or shape. These men may also participate in excessive dieting, fasting, restricted diets and have food rituals. They may have a preoccupation with body-building, weight lifting, or muscle toning and exercise compulsively.
Emotionally and mentally, men with anorexia tend to be depressed, isolate themselves socially, perfectionistic, controlling, and have a low sense of self worth. They often also have an intense fear of becoming fat or gaining weight and may have difficulty expressing their feelings.
Physically, anorexic men often have a low body weight (15% or more below what is expected for age, height, activity level). They have thinning hair or hair loss, low testosterone levels, decreased balance, lack of energy and lower body temperature, pulse rate and blood pressure.
In a recent study conducted by the National Eating Disorders Association, they found that 10 million men in the United States will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. Further, 33 % of adolescent males use unhealthy weight control behaviors, 37% of men who binge eat experience depression, and 43% of American men are dissatisfied with their bodies.
So, with those staggering statistics, eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa, are not specific to women. Men struggle a lot with their eating perceptions and body perceptions as well.
Back to School and Drug Prevention
As kids across the country are getting back into their routines with the start of the new school year, many parents are using the preparation time to have a good preventative talk about drugs and alcohol. Drug use is surging in schools due to the increased availability of prescription drugs (up to 250 million written prescriptions in 2010 compared to up to 90 million prescriptions written in 1990), a rise in stimulant drug use and over-diagnosing for kids with ADHD, and a false idea that prescription medications are somehow safer and less addictive than illegal drugs.
Most understand that the reasons for drug abuse are not usually due to drugs themselves but to underlying issues that drive an individual to self-medicate. Helping kids be happy, fulfilled, balanced, and mentally and socially active and engaged can help them fight off falling into the snare of drug abuse.
Below are five strategies published on foxnews.com to help prevent drug use — usually due to peer pressure– among school-aged kids:
- Have the “drug and alcohol” talk with your child. Equip them with the facts about drug-using consequences, without demonizing recreational drugging or drinking.
- Pay attention to red flags of underlying mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. A very large percentage of young people self-medicate in order to experience relief from untreated psychiatric issues.
- Know who your kids are hanging out with. The one most significant indicator of drug use is peer group; if your child is hanging out with drug users, odds are your child will also use drugs.
- Support their efforts to participate in sports, drama, clubs or other healthy social activities. Kids who are active in these pursuits are less likely to recreationally use drugs.
- Have dinner together with your children at least once a week to maintain a healthy, meaningful dialogue.
Helping kids feel good about themselves will equip them with needed confidence to stay away from drugs. Being involved in your child’s life and aware of their needs will strengthen and empower them. So, as a new school year begins, use these strategies and any other helpful ideas to protect your kids from drug abuse this year.
Hawaii Raises Legal Smoking Age to 21
Becoming the first state to do so, Hawaii will raise its legal smoking age to 21 beginning on the first day of 2016. So, starting next year, Hawaiians will have to be 21 to purchase cigarettes. With vapor and e-cigarette use on the rise among teens, Hawaii lawmakers are hoping they can prevent more adolescents from smoking, buying or possessing both traditional and electronic cigarettes.
According to the state health department, over 5,000 adolescents try smoking in Hawaii each year and 86 percent of Hawaiian adults started smoking before they were 21 years old. Also troubling, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reported that 1,400 people die from tobacco use or exposure in Hawaii every year.
Cbsnews.com indicated that Hawaii Govenor David Ige is hopeful the new law will help in a big way to prevent teen smoking. They quote him as saying, “Raising the minimum age as part of our comprehensive tobacco control efforts will help reduce tobacco use among our youth and increase the likelihood that our keiki will grow up tobacco-free,” using the Hawaiian word for children.
Beginning January 1, 2016, if a person is caught attempting to buy cigarettes in Hawaii under the legal age, they will be fined $10 on the first attempt. Later violations are harsher and include fines and mandatory community service.
Also, Governor Ige just signed another anti-smoking measure to make Hawaii’s state parks and beaches smoke-free.
Because research shows that many kids who try smoking are more apt to develop addictions and substance abuse problems later on, measures such as these in Hawaii will hopefully lead to prevention of not just smoking, but other dangerous habits as well.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently published results of a study that examined Utah High School Students and substance abuse. The findings were very positive for the most part. In fact, High School Students indicated much less substance abuse in Utah than in the rest of the U.S. However, when asked about inhalants and prescription drug abuse, Utah High School Students matched the U.S. statistic, indicating that High School Students in Utah are abusing inhalants and prescriptions in the same amount as teens across the U.S.
Taken from hhs.gov, the statistics among high school students (grades 9-12) in Utah and the U.S. were as follows:
|Percent of high school students who never tried cigarette smoking (even one or two puffs)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who smoked cigarettes on at least one day (during the 30 days before the survey)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who tried to quit smoking cigarettes (among students who currently smoked cigarettes, during the 12 months before the survey)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who usually obtained their own cigarettes by buying them in a store or gas station (during the 30 days before the survey)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who used chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip on at least one day (during the 30 days before the survey)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who drank alcohol for the first time before age 13 years (other than a few sips)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who had at least one drink of alcohol on at least one day (during the 30 days before the survey)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who had five or more drinks of alcohol in a row within a couple of hours on at least one day (during the 30 days before the survey)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who usually obtained the alcohol they drank by someone giving it to them (among students who currently drank alcohol, during the 30 days before the survey)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who drove when drinking alcohol one or more times (in a car or other vehicle during the 30 days before the survey)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol one or more times (in a car or other vehicle during the 30 days before the survey)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who ever used marijuana one or more times (during their life)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who ever sniffed glue, breathed the contents of aerosol spray cans, or inhaled any paints or sprays to get high one or more times (during their life)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of high school students who used any form of cocaine one or more times (for example, powder, crack, or freebase, during the 30 days before the survey)||Utah||United States|
|Percent of High School Students ages 12-17 who used pain relievers for nonmedical reasons (during the 12 months before the survey)||Utah||United States|
Study results, charts, data, are from: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Office of Adolescent Health. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/substance-abuse/states/ut.html
High school data are from: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). 1991-2011 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey data. Retrieved October 19, 2012, from http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline
Pain reliever and receipt of treatment data are from: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2012). State Estimates of Substance Use and Mental Disorders from the 2009-2010 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, NSDUH Series H-43, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4703. Table C.8, C.21, C.22. Rockville, MD. Retrieved October 19, 2012, from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k10State/NSDUHsae2010/NSDUHsaeAppC2010.htm
Addicts and Lies
Addiction is such a powerful force that it causes most people to do things they wouldn’t consider “right” or “moral” if they weren’t fighting addiction. Many people will steal, hurt others, skip appointments or important events, as well as exhibiting other behaviors. But, the most common thing addicts do is: they lie.
Common lies addicts express include telling others things like, “I can stop any time” or “I’m only hurting myself –not anyone else – so why do you care?” Many addicts live a double life and keep the lie of their existing addiction a secret from many people in their life. There are many reasons why addicts lie — most are obvious—but, when trying to help an addicted loved one, understanding why they are lying may give you insight into how to better help them.
Addicts lie to avoid facing the reality they live in. The reality of their addiction may be too painful/embarrassing for them to face so they just lie about their behavior or their whereabouts, etc. Addicts will also lie to keep their addiction intact. In order to keep using, addicts will say or do pretty much anything. They lie to preserve themselves in their addiction.
Many addicts lie because they can’t stand who they’ve become and they certainly don’t want their loved ones to know. Addicts will lie to avoid seeing the disappointment in those they love. They will say they are clean when they may have gotten high a few hours ago just to avoid the guilt that comes from upsetting their loved ones. Many addicts are ashamed by their behavior and do and say everything they can to make people believe that their life is great and normal.
When dealing with an addict who often lies, loved ones can take steps to help both themselves and the addict. They can recognize that lies are a part of addiction. The lies that the addict tells are not ok, but they are usually not to be taken personal either. It is also vital that loved ones do not enable or ignore the lies of an addict. Allowing addicts to hit rock bottom, suffer for their actions and choices, and refusing to rescue them can help addicts see the web of lies they live and possibly have started to believe themselves.
Most importantly, loved ones can create a loving, supportive environment where lies are not overlooked or tolerated, but where concern and love continues to abide regardless. This will facilitate honesty rather than encouraging threats or power struggles. When addicts feel safe, they will begin to step out into the light of telling the truth and they can heal and recover, relying on the stable love and support of those who care about them. Encouraging addicts to get help will also be more effective when they can trust more and rely upon those in their life to support them in recovery.
Anorexic Teen Hid Weights in Clothes to Appear Heavier
A recent investigation in the United Kingdom, concerning an anorexic teen who tragically died 9 years ago, has found that the teen hid weights in her clothing to fool the school nurse into thinking she was heavier.
Emma Carpenter, just 17 at the time of her death due to anorexia, appears to have lost more than a stone (14 pounds) in the week just before she died. Her organs failed her and she passed away just three days before Christmas in 2006 with a body mass index of only 10.5. Emma had battled anorexia for three years prior and was being monitored by the nurses at her school. The nurses would weigh Emma often, but appear to have been fooled by the weights she hid in her clothing before being weighed.
When questioned, the nurses both expressed that with Emma’s anorexic condition, she should have been hospitalized sooner. Emma was only hospitalized 10 days before her death. Doctors at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham claim that she would not have died if she had been referred to hospital sooner. Dr. Timothy Bowling, a consultant gastroenterologist at Nottingham Universities Hospital Trust, said: “(Anorexic) Patients who come to me with a BMI of between 12 and 13 are normally saveable. When they come to me with BMIs of nines and 10s then I am really breaking sweat. Had I got Emma when she had a BMI of 12 plus, I believe, on the balance of probability, she would have survived.”
Emma’s grandmother was also concerned about her anorexia at the time just before her passing. She decided to “strip” weigh her (making her remove all of her clothing) and found that her weight had dropped 16 pounds since the last time she had weighed her. The hearing at Nottingham Coroner’s Court is still continuing.
Anorexia is a devastating emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat. Many individuals, both girls and boys, and women and men suffer from this debilitating disease. Instilling healthy body image and being aware of those we love can help prevent these damaging thought patterns that drive individuals to starve themselves (many to death) by becoming anorexic.
Anxiety and Drug Abuse
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States. In fact, it has been reported that 18% of adults suffer from anxiety disorders in the U.S. Interestingly, only about a third of that 18% seek and receive treatment for their anxiety. Drug abuse and addiction can be made worse when anxiety disorders are involved.
An important thing to consider when seeking treatment for both anxiety disorders and drug abuse is a facility that focuses on dual-diagnosis cases. In these types of programs, individuals will treat the underlying problem as well as the drug abuse, as they go through detoxification, rehab, and are possibly prescribed medicines to help them.
There are specific anxiety disorders that most often occur with drug abuse. These include: social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), agoraphobia, acute stress disorder, panic disorder, specific phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Each of these anxiety disorders is defined briefly below:
- Social phobia. An anxiety disorder consisting of fear of public embarrassment or humiliation.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder. (PTSD) An anxiety disorder caused by any event that results in psychological trauma. The most common events that lead to PTSD are exposure to death or the threat of injury.
- Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is when someone has anxiety in environments that may be difficult to escape from. Usually, the individual believes getting help or getting out of their difficult situation many be hard or impossible, and this can set off an attack
- Acute stress disorder. When someone is exposed to a traumatic event, acute stress disorder can develop within about a month, causing severe anxiety or stress.
- Panic disorder. When an individual has panic disorder, they may have behavioral changes lasting up to a month and experience severe panic attacks.
- Specific Phobia. This anxiety disorder is characterized by having anxiety about specific objects or situations. When exposed to these things, people with specific phobia experience irrational or unreasonable fears.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Signs of people with OCD may include repetitive behaviors such as: being compulsively clean, checking locked doors again and again, hoarding, or having nervous rituals, like turning a lock back and forth before several times before leaving the room. This anxiety disorder is related to a feeling of uneasiness and nervousness or fear.
- Generalized anxiety disorder. Constant fear, worry and anxiety, is what makes up GAD. Women are more prone to this anxiety disorder and it is the most common of the anxiety
Treatment for anxiety and drug abuse together can be done in an inpatient or and outpatient setting. However, most agree that more progress is made in these cases when individuals use inpatient therapy for recovery. Many facilities utilize anti-anxiety medications and if patients are being monitored and watched in an inpatient facility while adjusting to medications, there is a higher rate of successful recovery in relation to anxiety and drug abuse.
If you’ve noticed any of the signals related to drug abuse listed below, you may want to press your teen further and ask some important questions like: “Have you been offered drugs?” If yes, “What did you do?” or “Have you been drinking or using drugs?” Even though no parent wants to hear a “yes” response to any of these questions, be ready for it. Don’t be afraid to err on the side of caution. Ask the difficult questions and decide, in advance, how you’ll respond to a “yes” answer. Not all teens are going to fess up to drug or alcohol use, and sometimes the signals are masked as other behaviors. The following list can help to identify signs and symptoms to watch out for. If you find yourself responding “yes” to many of these signs and symptoms, teaming up with a professional can help to stop and redirect the course of your teen’s life.
- Missing money from your purse or wallet
- The use of incense, fragrance sprays, or excessive perfumes/cologne to mask the smell of smoke
- Frequently breaking curfew
- Reckless driving, car accidents, or unexplained dents in the car
- Avoiding eye contact
- Excessive mints, mouthwash to cover the smell of alcohol
- Eye drops to make eyes that are bloodshot or dilated appear unimpaired
- Nosebleeds or runny nose, not caused by allergies or a cold
- Frequently sick: queasy, nauseous, vomiting
- Wetting lips or excessive thirst (known as “cotton mouth”)
- Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain
- Missing medications (over the counter and prescription)
- Over the counter materials that can be used for getting high such as computer cleanser, nail polish/nail polish remover, white out, hairsprays or other inhalants are found in personal belongings
- Increased sleeping due to depressants or decreased sleep due to stimulants
- Drug paraphernalia such as pipes, bags of seeds, rolling papers, empty bottles, baggies of pills etc.
- Secrecy regarding activities, interactions, phone calls and/or conversations that have coded language
- Bedroom is always locked and/or strictly off limits
- Messy, shows lack of caring for appearance, poor hygiene
- Red, flushed cheeks or face
- Clenching teeth
- Track marks on arms or legs (or long sleeves in warm weather to hide marks)
- Burns or soot on fingers or lips (from “joints” or “roaches” burning down)
- Loud, obnoxious behavior or laughing at nothing
- Personality changes due to mood altering drugs
- Unusually clumsy, stumbling, lack of coordination, poor balance
- Withdrawal and decreased interactions with proper friends
- New friends/people that are not allowed to meet you or be brought home
- Truancy or loss of interest in schoolwork, sudden bad grades
- Loss of interest in extracurricular activities, hobbies, or sports
There’s no easy way to figure out if your teen is using drugs or alcohol. As you’ll see, many of the warning signs and symptoms of teen substance abuse listed below are also, at times, typical adolescent behavior. Many are also symptoms of mental health issues, including depression or anxiety disorders. But if your teen exhibits more than 6-9 of the behaviors listed above, it’s probably time to start asking the “hard” questions and getting some solid answers.
Talking to your preschooler about drugs and alcohol
Beginning the discussion about drugs with your preschooler may seem premature, but research shows that discussion between parents and their children about drugs and alcohol is one of the main ways to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. Different topics should be discussed at different ages and teaching kids about these things will open the doors for healthy discussions as your children grow and mature.
When talking to your preschool aged child:
- Discuss with your child why we need to put healthy things into our bodies. Talk about how good they feel when they eat a nutritious meal, get enough sleep, and take care of their body. Talk about how a healthy child can run, jump, and play for hours on end. Have your child name several favorite good foods and explain how these foods contribute to health and strength.
- Set aside regular times when you can give your child your full attention. Turn off the phones and other devices that distract you. Get on the floor and play; get to know them; let them know that you love them. Doing this will build strong bonds of trust and affection that will make turning away from drugs easier in future years.
- Provide guidelines and rules. For instance, teach about playing fair, sharing toys, and telling the truth, so they know what kind of behavior you expect from them. Encourage your child to follow instructions and to ask questions if they do not understand the instructions. Help your child understand the importance of following and understanding rules.
- Help them make their own choices. Whenever possible, let your child choose what to wear. Even if the clothes don’t quite match, you are reinforcing your child’s ability to make decisions.
- Explain that medicine can help people but can be harmful if taken incorrectly. Teach them that they should only allow adults in charge of them (mom, dad, grandparents, doctors, and babysitters for example) to give them medicine. Teach your child about dangerous substances in the environment. Point out poisonous substances in your home, such as bleach or kitchen cleansers, and read the product warning labels out loud to your child. Explain that harmful substances don’t always come with such “warnings,” and that your child should only ingest a food or prescribed medication that you, a relative, or other known caregiver has given them.
During the preschool ages of 3-5, children have strong ties to their family and seek their parents’ approval. This is a great time to teach kids about good nutrition, proper hygiene, and developing a healthy lifestyle. It’s also a good time to help children develop the decision-making and problem-solving skills they’ll need later in life. Although they are old enough to understand that smoking is bad for them, they’re not ready for complicated facts about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. However, they can practice the decision-making and problem-solving skills that they will need to say “no” later on. These skills will help them to stop and think before engaging in risky or dangerous behaviors related to drugs and alcohol as they grow.