Kids and E-Cigarette Poisonings on the Rise
A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics indicates that the number of kids under age 6 poisoned by nicotine in e-cigarettes rose by nearly 1,500% between 2013 and 2015. Further, more than 90% of the kids swallowed the nicotine-laced liquid, that is smoked inside e-cigarettes. Nearly half of the exposed kids were under the age of 2. CNN.com reports that the number of kids exposed to e-cigarette products each month rose from 14 in January 2012 to 223 in April 2015.
“On average, every three hours, a poison center receives a call about a young child exposed to an e-cigarette or liquid nicotine,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury and Research and Policy at Nationwide Kids’s Hospital in Ohio. That staggering statistic means that more than 7 kids each day are the result of a poison control call due to e-cigarette poisoning.
When researchers and parents and pediatrician wonder why the rise in this problem, the consensus is that the e-cigarette companies are making their products appealing to kids, with rainbow colors and candy like flavors. Further, researchers noted that the liquid in e-cigarettes is far more dangerous than cigarettes. “Liquid nicotine is very concentrated and easily absorbed into the body and can cause serious poisoning and death among young kids after even small doses,” Smith explained.
Further, Dr. Smith emphasizes that this is not a problem of simple neglectful parenting. That, although parents may be irresponsible and leave e-cigarettes lying around where they shouldn’t, the industry needs to make the products less appealing to kids. The bubble gum, gummy candy flavors and colorful labeling entice kids to think that e-cigarettes are a fun product for them to try.
It is unacceptable,” Dr. Smith said, “that kids are being rushed to emergency departments in coma, with seizures or breathing failure, and dying. Child safety should be put first.”
Graduation and Underage Drinking
With prom and graduation season upon us, many law enforcement groups are collaborating to advise teens and their parents on a very simple and straightforward message: “Underage drinking is illegal and it will not be tolerated.”
Many store owners display signs warning teens or their parents of the consequences of getting caught drinking while underage. Law enforcement hopes this deters individuals from doing so. While many think teenagers are solely to blame for underage drinking around graduation time, there is much evidence that indicates that parents are equally to blame in many cases. In fact, many parents see high school graduation as a “rite of passage” where alcohol should be “allowed” to be consumed by underage graduates. Law enforcement wants to emphasize that no occasion is exempt from breaking the laws associated with underage drinking.
If you are concerned that your child may engage in underage drinking around graduation, research shows that involvement is the best way to prevent this. Knowing who your teens are with, where they are, and what they are doing encourages teens to understand that others are aware of their actions – and their underage drinking. Hosting a party at your home can also allow you to keep an eye on things and watch out for underage drinking during graduation.
Alcohol and Prom Night
As prom season begins, many parents start to worry about the safety of their children on this special, coming-of-age evening. Most kids attend the prom but end up leaving the dance at some point to head to another gathering with their date. The prom doesn’t end with the dance at the school, as it did years ago. And many of the after prom parties involve alcohol.
If you ask teens, over 90% of them will tell you that their friends will drink and drive on prom night. Research shows that of this 90%, over 50% of these teens will have had four or more drinks on prom night. In fact, drinking and driving on prom night has been shown to contribute to the over 5,000 teens each year that die from underage drinking.
Alternatively, there are other options besides drinking alcohol on prom night. In fact, there are lots of schools that sponsor their own “after party” – hoping to lure teens away form parties where there is alcohol. Some schools have a booth set up the week of prom where students can pledge to stay sober and stay away from alcohol for the duration of prom week.
Most importantly, parents play a huge role in helping their kids stay away from alcohol on prom night. Knowing where your teen is headed, who they are with, expecting them to check in and be home at certain times, and being involved with the dance in any way can lessen the likelihood of the combination of alcohol and prom night.
The Disappearance of Flakka
The street drug flakka, which is similar to cocaine but cheaper and more potent, exploded on the scene in 2014. In hard hit areas such as South Florida, 3-4 people were being hospitalized for use of flakka each day.
Flakka is a dangerous drug that comes in white crystals that can be snorted, ingested or injected. Interestingly, just when it multiplied on the scene, flakka seems to have nearly vanished. CNN.com reports, “Sixty-three users died in South Florida between September 2014 and December 2015, but there have been no flakka-related deaths in 2016. Treatment centers in Broward County, Florida, admitted only six flakka users in January, compared with about 50 a month in the fall. Anecdotal reports from both street users and law enforcement officers say that flakka is not even available in the street drug market.”
Police are reported as saying that they’ve never seen a drug epidemic emerge so quickly but then disappear just as fast. Many law enforcement individuals say that they believe the disappearance of flakka has to do with the fact that it had such a bad reputation –indicating that users hated the drug but were addicted and therefore bound to use it anyway. Further, public awareness around flakka has also played a key role in the slowdown. Town hall meetings were held nightly to educate people and direct individuals toward getting help. Public campaigns against street drugs like flakka can be very useful.
April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Turning Point Centers was proud to be a sponsor of the Fearless 5k Run/Walk held at Memorial Grove Park on Saturday, April 30th. The race itself had over 400 participants, included an appearance by Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, and ABC 4’s Kim Fisher shared her powerful story of overcoming her own experiences of sexual violence. Waffle Love was on site to help feed the crowd after the event and there was an awesome live musical performance by School of Rock!
As many of our clients have been the victims of Sexual Assault we felt this was a very worthwhile cause. 100% of the event’s proceeds were donated to the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault to help strengthen the community’s education, prevention, and response to this underserved social issue.
Turning Point Centers would also like to thank Fearless Self-Defense for the opportunity to be a sponsor and we look forward to making this an annual tradition.
Excessive Medications Often Prescribed After Surgeries
A recent study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) indicates that doctors are unnecessarily prescribing high amounts of opioid medications to patients after noninvasive surgeries. The amount and dosage of the opioid prescriptions may be excessive and are leading to dependent, addictive behaviors in some cases.
The data came from 155,297 adults who had undergone 4 common outpatient procedures including: gall bladder removal, knee surgeries, hernia repair and carpal tunnel repair. The researchers involved in the study (from the department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania) analyzed insurance claims from the years 2004 to 2012.
Alarmingly, the researchers found that 4 out of every 5 patients that were written an opioid prescription had the prescription filled within seven days of the surgery. It was also found that throughout the years 2004 and 2012, there was an increase of these prescriptions written in general. For example, there was an 18 percent increase of painkiller prescriptions written to patients who had knee surgeries.
It is recommended that physicians refrain from prescribing unnecessary medications. The obvious risks of a patient becoming addicted to these pills is enough to warn doctors. However, the less obvious risks, including children or other family members taking the extra pills, or individuals selling their pills to others, are certainly high enough to cause concern as well. If an opioid is necessary, the lowest dosage should be prescribed by the doctor and and the patient should be closely monitored.
How outpatient drug rehab is different
Both in-patient and outpatient drug rehab programs are most often beneficial in overcoming addiction. However, many people want to pursue recovery without living in a facility. When comparing outpatient and inpatient drug treatment, it’s pretty easy to discern that the costs of inpatient treatment can be high and the services are more time consuming. However, if inpatient treatment is what is needed then those things shouldn’t deter someone from pursuing the right type of therapy for them.
For these and other reasons, many individuals choose to participate in outpatient therapy. One of the main advantages of outpatient therapy is that clients can apply new knowledge immediately in their home environment. Also, after a program ends, they may have more time to take on additional responsibilities in their lives. Other than that, there is minimal readjustment.
On the other hand, individuals who return home after a residential program have a lot of changes to make quickly in order to maintain their recovery. They will have to reschedule their days to practice healthy habits and avoid previously negative habits. Often, to ease the transition from inpatient rehab back to the home environment, an outpatient treatment can be helpful. It is common for individuals to attend an outpatient program following successful completion of inpatient rehab in order to facilitate an easier transition back to the home setting.
If an individual is wondering if outpatient drug rehab is a good fit for their needs, they may want to ask themselves a few questions:
- Does daily stress or other influences cause temptations that threaten one’s success in outpatient drug rehab? In other words, does the patient feel they can be successful without constant care?
- Has the patient tried and failed to complete outpatient drug rehab before?
- Is the patient experiencing a physical addiction to drugs and/or alcohol that would require entrance into a detoxification program?
Answering “yes” to any of these questions may indicate that inpatient drug rehab would be more useful. All individuals struggling with addictions who feel that rehab would be helpful for them should consider which type (inpatient or outpatient) of rehab would be most help. It may also be helpful for individuals to consult family members, physicians, or friends in determining if outpatient drug rehab is best for them.
Early childhood years important for drug abuse prevention
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has recently published information about interventions in early childhood that may prevent drug abuse as well as other unhealthy behaviors. The informative guide discusses things that impact children’s self-control and overall mental health, from pregnancy to age 8. The study points out that while drug abuse generally begins during adolescence, recognizing the biological, psychological, social, and environmental origins that can begin even before birth can be very beneficial.
“Thanks to more than three decades of research into what makes a young child able to cope with life’s inevitable stresses, we now have unique opportunities to intervene very early in life to prevent substance use disorders,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “We now know that early intervention can set the stage for more positive self-regulation as children prepare for their school years.” He indicates that the published guide is very important to anyone who has an influence in anyone’s childhood.
The information from the NIDA indicates that special attention needs to be given to the most vulnerable times in children’s lives, such as the first day of school, divorce, moving, etc. Further, the research about the childhood years points to evidence that a stable home environment, proper nutrition, stimulation both cognitively and physically, and supportive parenting can also provide good development outcomes with a lessened likelihood of drug abuse.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month
Beginning in 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has sponsored programs related to alcohol awareness in the month of April. The purpose of the focus in April is to raise awareness about alcoholism and reduce the shame surrounding the disease.
The theme for 2016 is “Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use.” The NCADD emphasizes that having conversations with kids about alcohol use can be complicated, but doing so is always beneficial. Further, statistics show that people between the ages of 12 and 20 drink over ten percent of all the alcohol consumed in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). But, when parents talk to their children about drinking alcohol, kids are more likely to understand the dangers of alcohol experimentation and participate less or not at all in risky drinking behaviors such as binge drinking.
Strengthening your relationships with your kids so that they feel like they can be open and honest about their questions and concerns is key to following through with this year’s theme. Talking to kids while they are young and as often as you feel you can is apt to make a huge difference in teen alcohol use. Setting boundaries and establishing rules early while kids are young can lead to more confidence in resisting risky behaviors relating to alcohol as kids grow up.
New warnings about addictive prescription.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Tuesday new safety labeling changes for immediate-release (IR) opioid pain medications. From here on out, there must be warnings on prescription medications about the risks of addiction, abuse, misuse, overdose and deaths. The FDA hopes that this change will lessen the addiction epidemic while still providing relief to patients with pain.
Immediate-release medications are a type of opioid prescription medication that is taken every 4 to 6 hours for pain. These medications are only prescribed when the pain cannot be treated with other alternatives. Some common types of IR medications are Oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine.
Robert Cardiff, M.D., FDA commissioner indicated at the time of the release, “Opioid addiction and overdose have reached epidemic levels over the past decade, and the FDA remains steadfast in our commitment to do our part to help reverse the devastating impact of the misuse and abuse of prescription opioids. Today’s actions are one of the largest undertakings for informing prescribers of risks across opioid products, and one of many steps the FDA intends to take this year as part of our comprehensive action plan to reverse this epidemic.”
The new labels will also be required to include more precise instructions about monitoring patients and their dosages. It will contain a warning to not suddenly stop treatment in patients who are dependent on addictive prescriptions as well.