AvoidingHolidayRelapseDrug Rehab During the Holidays? 5 Reasons

There are many reasons why checking a loved one into a drug rehab facility is a good idea. However, research points to 5 reasons why admitting your loved one to a drug rehab facility during the holidays is the perfect time.

  1. Even though families often feel that being around loved ones for the holidays will help individuals struggling with addictions, in fact, the opposite is true. The holidays can be filled with financial and emotional weight, stress, and risks of overdose or even suicide due to hopelessness. This is the number one reason to get help for your loved one and place them in a safe drug rehab facility during the holidays where that stress can be lifted.
  2. Second, oddly enough, the cold weather often turns individuals to their addiction for comfort from the cold and bleak winter days. This can intensify addictions and cravings and make life seem more miserable when the sun isn’t shining!
  3. Third, with breaks from work and school, there is more free time on hand during the holidays. And, as many of us have experienced, too much free time often leads to destructive habits/behaviors. It can also lend time to more dwelling on negative thoughts as well.
  4. Most people are aware that holiday family gatherings can take a toll on individuals with addictions. Memories, stress, expectations, and other events and emotions are bound to arise and can hurt a struggling addict. So fourth, being in a facility where family can visit when the addict is up to a visit is a better solution during the holidays.
  5. Fifth, sometimes knowing that your loved one who is struggling with addiction is in a safe caring environment can give you and others affected by the addiction time to heal and recover yourself. That way, when the addict leaves the drug rehab facility you can be in a healthier place to aid in their recovery. Having time with friends and family during the holidays while your loved one is safe in drug rehab and without the stress of taking care of an addict can be healing for many families and individuals.


familydinnerHaving Family Dinners Can Lessen Drug Abuse in Kids

Everyone’s lives seem more packed; more busy than ever. Especially families. There are so many activities, responsibilities, technological distractions, and household chores, that quality family time often gets pushed aside. People find themselves telling their kids “in a minute” more often than they would like, or saying “we’ll do it tomorrow” and never finding the time. For this and other reasons, researchers decided to study the correlation between drug use in kids and the frequency of their families sitting down to a family dinner together. The results are interesting

Not surprisingly, making family a priority and allowing family to influence each other during key times, such a dinner, greatly lessens a kid’s desire to abuse drugs. Family dinners can be used as times to talk about good things and bad things that happen throughout the day and strengthen the bonds that already exist. Generally, family members value each other’s opinions and consider them thoughtfully. During mealtime, opinions can be voiced and discussed which also strengthens family bonds.

Wise parents can use dinnertime to talk to their kids about their knowledge of drugs and other substances. By doing so, children can be given the opportunity to ask questions they may not have asked otherwise. Further, studies show that having family dinner together positively impacts kids in many ways – not just in regards to drug abuse prevention. At this time of the year, making family dinners a priority as you plan your back to school routine is key. Kids are more likely to excel in academics and have more open relationships with their loved ones, giving them a safe place to share their concerns and thoughts and feelings in relation to drug abuse.

warningSigns02Warning signs

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.





howtotalkaboutdrugs-toddlerTalking 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.


ecstacypillsPrescription Medications and Spring Cleaning

Spring is finally here! Many people take time to clean everything in their homes. They wash walls, wipe out each cupboard and drawers, dust off fans and blinds, wipe down baseboards, go through closets and take items to a good will store, freshen up the yard, etc. During spring cleaning, there is a lot of time spent on getting rid of things that people don’t feel they need. For most people, the warm weather usually comes with the task of springcleaning. One thing that should be a priority on today’s society’s list is getting rid of unused or unwanted prescription medications, and taking care to keep all medications safely away from those not intended to use them.

Most of us have allowed medications to sit unused and unwanted in the medicine cabinet for months. We tend to focus on cleaning other areas of our house for fear of sickly germs infecting us, but we forget to clean prescription medications that could prove addicting or deadly if used inappropriately or by someone other than the intended user. Because of this, young adults who are looking to experiment with drugs, or addicts looking for their next high can easily access those prescription medications lurking in your cabinet. You may have forgotten all about them, but you never know who may go looking for something to experiment with or to feed their addiction with. If you are not using medications that are in your home, don’t let them just sit there, get rid of them during your spring cleaning!

Most hospitals can tell you where to take your unwanted remaining prescription medications to dispose of them properly. By disposing of your unwanted prescription medications during your spring cleaning, you can prevent individuals from getting their hands on dangerous, addictive substances.


medicinal marijuanaTalking to your child about drugs: Part 2 – teens and marijuana

Talking with your teen about drugs, particularly marijuana is important to helping them chart a course away from drug abuse. When we are empowered with knowledge, and know the risks and dangers of something, we are less likely to engage in those behaviors. Drugabuse.gov recently published an article about discussing marijuana with your teen. The information therein will be cited and quoted throughout this post, as it is very informative on the subject.

For some teenagers, drug use begins as a means of coping. Kids use drugs to deal with anxiety, anger, depression, boredom, and other unpleasant feelings. However, sometimes getting high can be a way of simply avoiding the problems and challenges of growing up. Some kids also use drugs because their family members do. Parents, grandparents, and older brothers and sisters are models that younger kids look up to and follow their example.

Research shows that talking with kids about the key issues and getting information “out in the open” can help kids know what they are up against and understand long term consequences of their behavior. Drugabuse.gov answered the most frequently asked recent questions by teens through their website. The questions asked and the answers given are summarized below. Talking to your teen about these questions and answers can help to open the door to a great conversation between your teen and you regarding marijuana.

Can marijuana be addictive? Yes, marijuana can be addictive. In fact, “about 1 in 6 people who start smoking in their teens, and 25–50 percent of people who use it every day, become addicted to marijuana.” (drugabuse.gov)

Is it safe to drive while using marijuana? No, marijuana is unsafe behind the wheel. “Marijuana is the most commonly identified illegal drug in fatal accidents (showing up in the bloodstream of about 14 percent of drivers), sometimes in combination with alcohol or other drugs.” (drugabuse.gov)

How does marijuana affect school grades? “Marijuana is associated with school failure. Compared with their nonsmoking peers, students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school.” (drugabuse.gov)

How can marijuana affect me mentally? “High doses of marijuana can cause psychosis or panic during intoxication. Although scientists do not yet know whether the use of marijuana causes mental illness, high doses can induce an acute psychosis (disturbed perceptions and thoughts, including paranoia) or panic attacks.” (drugabuse.gov)

What is marijuana? “Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa).” All marijuana is made of the same mind altering chemical. (drugabuse.gov)

How is marijuana used? “Most users roll loose marijuana into a cigarette (called a joint) or smoke it in a pipe or a water pipe, sometimes referred to as a bong. Some users mix marijuana into foods, or use it to brew a tea.” (drugabuse.gov)

How many people use marijuana? Today, marijuana “is the most often used illegal drug in the United States. According to a 2012 national survey, more than 111 million Americans over the age of 12 had tried marijuana at least once, and nearly 19 million had used the drug in the month before the survey.” (drugabuse.gov)

What are the quick effects of marijuana? These short term effects include: euphoria (high), memory impairment, adverse mental reactions (in some), and physical changes. Other effects include: “depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and personality disturbances. One of the effects most frequently reported is an “amotivational syndrome” characterized by a diminished or lost drive to engage in formerly rewarding activities.” (drugabuse.gov)

Can smoking marijuana cause lung cancer? There is no proven research on this, but “marijuana users can have many of the same respiratory problems tobacco smokers have, such as chronic cough and more frequent chest colds.” (drugabuse.gov)

Is Spice or synthetic marijuana as bad for you? Spice, synthetic marijuana, or K2 is just as harmful if not more harmful than regular marijuana.

Starting an open conversation with your teen and talking to your teen about marijuana is a positive start to steering them away from marijuana abuse. The above questions and answers can be useful in beginning this discussion. When teens are made aware of facts and have discussed dangers with their parents, they are more equipped to deal with the pressures and temptations that their teen years bring.

TeenagersPreventing teen drinking

There are many factors involved in preventing teen drinking.  Much research has shown that parental involvement is key in preventing teen drinking.  Although many parents do not feel like their teen is listening or responding to their advice when it comes to drinking and smoking, research shows that teens actually do listen to their parents when parents use authority and are consistent in their discussions.  A study conducted by Jackson (2002) indicates that, “only 19 percent of teens feel that parents should have a say in the music they listen to, and 26 percent believe their parents should influence what clothing they wear. However, the majority—around 80 percent—feel that parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol. Those who do not think that parents have authority over these issues are four times more likely than other teens to drink alcohol and three times more likely to have plans to drink if they have not already started.”

Also, it has been shown that teens who believe that their parent would be upset with them or disappointed with them for drinking are less likely to do so.  This important fact highlights the importance of communication between teens and parents in discussing expectations and preventing teen drinking.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates some key elements to preventing teen drinking.  These include:

“Talk early and often, in developmentally appropriate ways, with children and teens about your concerns—and theirs—regarding alcohol. Adolescents who know their parents’ opinions about youth drinking are more likely to fall in line with their expectations.

Establish policies early on, and be consistent in setting expectations and enforcing rules. Adolescents do feel that parents should have a say in decisions about drinking, and they maintain this deference to parental authority as long as they perceive the message to be legitimate; consistency is central to legitimacy.

Work with other parents to monitor where kids are gathering and what they are doing. Being involved in the lives of adolescents is key to keeping them safe.

Work in and with the community to promote dialogue about underage drinking and the creation and implementation of action steps to address it.

Be aware of your State’s laws about providing alcohol to your own children.

Never provide alcohol to someone else’s child.”

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007)

Further, recent studies have highlighted the importance of community support in preventing teen drinking.  Interventionservicesinc.com reports that, “teenagers who are engaged in their community may be less likely to drink.” Recent research conducted at Pennsylvania State University indicates that teens that are part of a loving, supportive, and protective community are much less likely to start abusing alcohol.  This research emphasizes the need for positive community involvement and experiences.

With open, respectful communication and explanations of boundaries and expectations, parents, teachers, and community members can influence teen’s decisions well into adolescence and beyond. In regards to preventing teen drinking, this is especially important due to the lifelong consequences.

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