Narconon - Addiction and Recovery http://www.narconon.org/blog Wed, 20 May 2015 17:21:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10 Tips on How to Become a “Prevention Parent” http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-prevention/10-tips-on-how-to-become-a-prevention-parent/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-prevention/10-tips-on-how-to-become-a-prevention-parent/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 17:21:01 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3638 Continue reading

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10 tips to prevent teen drug abuseThis year, National Prevention Week is being observed between May 17th and May 23rd. This is a time to put the focus on how young people can be steered away from drug use or underage alcohol use.

Most parents truly want their kids to stay sober and drug-free but may not know how to ensure this happens. For this occasion, Narconon would like to offer parents tips on how to be a Prevention Parent.

1. Stay sober yourself. Drink lightly or not at all. Never, ever drink and drive and see that your kids know you will never do this.

2. When the use of opiate painkillers (Vicodin, Lortab, Oxycontin, etc.) is necessary, use as little as possible for the shortest time possible and make this known. When possible, seek other alternatives for pain relief like non-opiate pain relievers or alternative therapies like massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, nutrition.

secure prescription medications3. Ensure all prescription drugs (painkillers, antidepressants, sedatives, muscle relaxants, stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall) are under lock and key when they are not actually being accessed by the person for whom they have been prescribed. It’s not just your kids you are protecting. You’re also protecting their visiting friends and any other workmen or visitors to your home. If a person who’s abusing pills visits your home, they may look in your medicine chest to see if there’s a pill bottle they can lift a few pills from.

Don’t overlook family members who may be ill, injured or approaching death. As inconvenient as it might be, their medications should also be secured. Some young people have found pills at a sick relative’s bedside and taken some for their own use.

4. Make sure that your alcohol is stored where it can’t be accessed by your children or their visitors. Some teens make a practice of sneaking into homes in their neighborhoods to steal alcohol from garages or other storage locations.

5. Know the drug situation in your region and in particular, your town and your child’s school. Police and sheriff’s departments usually have a community relations officer. Ask to be briefed on what they know. This will enable you to boost your children’s education on those threats.

6. Make it very clear that you expect your children to stay drug and alcohol free until they are 21 years old. If they abstain from drug use until this age, research shows that they are practically certain to never have a substance abuse problem. For more information on this point, visit http://casafamilyday.org/familyday/did-you-know/.

7. Carefully monitor parties or other gatherings your child attends. Make it clear that they should walk out of events where underage kids are drinking or where anyone is using illicit drugs or abusing prescription drugs. And then they should call you for a ride home if needed.

8. If your teen-age child or young adult offspring is going to a music festival, make sure they are well-educated on the risks of the kinds of drugs found there – risks that can include death the first time that drug is used. For more information on the types of drugs commonly used at different music festivals, visit this website: http://www.youredm.com/2015/05/06/new-study-finds-most-common-drugs-at-music-festivals/.

9. If your teen is going away to college, make sure they are fully informed on the drug and alcohol-abusing culture they could find there and that they are confident in how to avoid this distraction to their educational plans. Plan on carefully monitoring their first year away. A surprise drop-in visit or even two might make your concern unmistakable. There are further tips for your budding student here: http://www.smartstudent.co.za/2013/11/5-tips-staying-sober-college/.

10. Do your own homework to make sure you know more about the drugs your kids might encounter than they do. This way, you can tell them the truth about the dangers before a drug dealer or drug-using friend lies to them about how “harmless” or “legal” a drug is. And then be sure to tell them and answer all their questions. That way, your kids will KNOW why they must say no.

This step might be easier than it sounds. Narconon has collected various information in an easy-to-use form to help you get started. Visit the Narconon Parent Center at http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/parent-center.html. You’ll find materials filling you in on heroin, cocaine, synthetic drugs, prescription drugs and more. Later in National Prevention Week, we’ll point out more of our materials you can use to keep your kids drug-free and safe into their adulthood.

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Oklahoma Urging Pharmacies to Join Efforts in Curbing Prescription Drug Abuse http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/oklahoma-urging-pharmacies-to-join-efforts-in-curbing-prescription-drug-abuse/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/oklahoma-urging-pharmacies-to-join-efforts-in-curbing-prescription-drug-abuse/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 12:28:03 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3635 Continue reading

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pharmacyOne of the most troubling drug abuse and addiction problems that currently affect our nation is the problem of prescription drug abuse. This includes the misuse of prescription drugs that are given by valid prescription – either by taking more than recommended or by taking them in ways other than recommended – as well as the illegal use of prescription drugs without a valid prescription. Like every other state in the country, the state of Oklahoma suffers their fair share of these problems. In fact, prescription drug overdose deaths in the state of Oklahoma kill more residents each year than automobile accidents. With a series of preventative measures in place, the state is now urging pharmacies to join in the efforts to help prevent prescription drug abuse.

A Dangerous Problem

Reporter Andrew Knittle of The Oklahoman recently reviewed pharmacy records between 2010 and 2014 and discovered that the Oklahoma State Pharmacy Board had levied twenty-one fines totalling more than twenty thousand dollars against various pharmacies that were found to have violated board regulations. It was discovered that pharmacies had allowed thousands of painkillers to go missing – an especially disturbing fact when one considers that prescription painkiller abuse and addiction problems are some of the most widespread problems affecting the state of Oklahoma, and indeed the entire country at large.

Oklahoma State Governor Mary Fallin recently signed a bill that requires state physicians to at least occasionally check the online Prescription Monitoring Program before prescribing certain classes of drugs. This includes opiate painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone, anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and a muscle relaxant known as Soma, all of which are known to be highly potent and highly addictive. This move is an effort to help supervise prescriptions more closely, to ensure that patients are not “doctor-shopping” or doubling up on prescriptions, which is a clear sign of abuse. Currently, pharmacists are required by state law to log every new controlled dangerous substance prescription in the Prescription Monitoring Program within minutes of filling it, which means that doctors need only check the program to determine whether an individual is indeed participating in prescription drug abuse.

Of course, the Prescription Monitoring Program is only useful to doctors if the information stored in it is accurate and up-to-date. One national pharmacy chain was fined three hundred fifty thousand dollars in August 2013 because there were at least five locations in the Oklahoma City metro area that had been using incorrect Drug Enforcement Agency numbers in order to fill prescriptions. Additionally, state pharmacy board executive director John Foust indicated that some pharmacies were using made-up DEA numbers when they couldn’t read the information on the prescription – which creates a major problem when physicians are trying to use the Prescription Monitoring Program in order to accurately monitor patient prescription usage. Incorrect input may mean that their patients’ prescription show up under an incorrect physician’s name, among other things.

Disappearing Prescriptions

The fact is that taking prescription painkillers even with a valid doctor’s prescription and exactly as recommended can sometimes lead to physical, mental and emotional health issues in the patient. It therefore follows that disappearing or unaccounted-for prescriptions increases the danger of prescription drug abuse. Records show that in 2010 five nurses in a nursing home were able to phone in fake prescriptions to a Sulphur pharmacy using the names of facility residents, and make off with more than eighty-four hundred hydrocodone tablets as well as roughly six hundred tablets of a stimulant often used as a diet aid. It was discovered by the Oklahoma State Pharmacy Board that these prescription orders were being taken by a technician, not a pharmacist, further indicating a looseness in the procedure of handling these dangerous narcotic drugs. In Tishomingo, a pharmacy technician stole over two hundred thousand hydrocodone tablets over a few years in order to “help” her daughter, who was being threatened by a drug dealer she was indebted to. The pharmacy was fined forty thousand dollars and placed on a five year probation for failing to report the loss of these narcotics, as well as failing to institute adequate safeguards to prevent against employee theft.

With the threat of prescription drug abuse affecting every community across the state, Oklahoma pharmacies would do well to take action and ensure that they are participating in preventative efforts, as their efforts alone could help immensely.

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Parenting and Drug Use: The Worst Mix in the World http://www.narconon.org/blog/narconon/parenting-and-drug-use/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/narconon/parenting-and-drug-use/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 02:36:25 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3631 Continue reading

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parenting and drug useWith just a quick look around, it would be far too easy to collect a stack of stories that prove that parenting and drug use are not only a terrible idea, it can be deadly.

In the case of marijuana use, it’s common for intoxicated parents to lose track of time. This is a characteristic of this drug’s effects. When children are involved, however, time is very often of the essence and a child’s life can be – and has been – lost when time passes unrecognized.

As reported by Parents Opposed to Pot, a Colorado woman parked her SUV with her two toddlers inside while she crawled into her boyfriend’s truck, smoked marijuana and had sex. She left the engine running and the heater turned up while she was gone so the boys wouldn’t freeze in the late November weather. She was gone for 90 minutes and when she came back, one boy wasn’t breathing and the other died in the hospital a week later.

In Florida, neighbors found a three-year old child locked out of his home after his mother and her boyfriend smoked pot and used whip-its (nitrous oxide inhalants). And in Wichita in July, a ten-month-old girl died after being left in a closed car while her father got high.

Heroin, Painkillers and Methamphetamine Also Create Extensive Harm

According to the University of Michigan, about one baby an hour is born addicted to opiate drugs in the U.S. That’s more than 8,000 babies a year. Each of these babies will go through withdrawal after birth, meaning they will be vomiting, have diarrhea, suffer muscle cramps and pain and cry inconsolably. The only treatment for the sickness is tiny doses of methadone or morphine, graduating to smaller and smaller doses to wean them off the drugs until they are finally through withdrawal.

When children live in homes where methamphetamine is used, there are many ways they can suffer. It is very common for parents to neglect the care their children need. Social workers or law enforcement personnel who find children in the homes of meth users often find no food, feces throughout the home along with used needles, pests and piles of garbage. When homes are used to manufacture methamphetamine, children will often test positive for meth or the toxic chemicals used to manufacture this drug. And meth-home children are too often sexually abused or beaten by delusional parents.

What Can Be Done About it?

There is no simple solution to this problem. But still, there are some things that can be done to make it better.

1. Some families must make the decision to intervene on behalf of children in homes where drugs are being used heavily. It may require going through the courts or working with social workers. Perhaps a trusted minister could work with the parents to help them see that their children need a better environment and encourage them to rely on family to care for the children until their lives are better.

2. It is critically important that any woman who is or could become pregnant who is using drugs be helped to get sober. This is important not only for her but for the next generation. (Of course, rehab is vital for both sexes but if a woman becomes pregnant while she’s using, then there are two people who are using those drugs.)

3. Don’t overlook a thorough education for teens who are very likely to see drugs used and alcohol overused all around them, even if they have not tried them. When a parent takes a strong, immovable stand on the issue of drug abuse. young people are more likely to stay sober. The more that young people stay out of this trap, the better the chance they will avoid any problems with addiction in the future.

Narconon has many resources for parents facing any of these problems. By understanding what illicit drugs are on the market and which prescription drugs might be abused, a parent can better prepare his (or her) children for what they might see happening in their communities. By visiting the Narconon website’s Parent Center, a parent can find resources like these:

The Addiction Help Guide: This booklet helps a family identify what drugs are being used and whether or not the problem is addiction, how to choose a rehab and how to get a loved one into rehab.

10 Things Parents May Not Know about Marijuana and 10 Things Parents May Not Know about the Abuse of Prescription Drugs: The ten most vital facts a parent should know about pot and pills.

Guide to Polydrug Abuse: In most communities, those dying of drug overdoses have multiple drugs in their systems. Using more than one drug at a time increases the chance of overdose, but most people using drugs do it.

What you can do about synthetic drug abuse bookletWhat You Can Do about Synthetic Drug Abuse: Most parents know little about this new category of drug but teens and young adults are seeing more of it every year – often sold as a “legal” high. The only safety is in understanding these drugs and the devastation they can cause.

Talking to Kids About Drugs: Simple and to the point, this is a fast guide to understanding how to open the conversation and educate your kids for their own protection.

Knowing the enemy is half the battle and in this case, the enemies are the drugs and addiction. When a family has a thorough understanding of drug use and addiction, they are much better armed to take action and resolve the situation for good.

http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/babies-born-addicted-to-drugs
http://www.poppot.org/2014/09/16/parents-neglect-three-children-die/
http://ojp.gov/ovc/publications/bulletins/children/pg5.html
http://www.casacolumbia.org/addiction-research/reports/importance-of-family-dinners-2012

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Risks of Marijuana Use During Pregnancy http://www.narconon.org/blog/marijuana-use/risks-of-use-during-pregnancy/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/marijuana-use/risks-of-use-during-pregnancy/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 02:37:09 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3625 Continue reading

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woman smoking marijuanaTen years ago, it would have been unthinkable: Pregnant women advising each other to smoke marijuana. But now, take a look at just about any pregnancy forum and you’ll find posts on this topic with strong opinions on each side.

For some women, early pregnancy is a grueling time. They go through severe nausea and vomiting for several weeks. The world learned more about this problem as, in the UK, Princess Kate would disappear from view for days at a time during her early pregnancies. She was hospitalized multiple times to prevent damage to her baby due to her inability to hold down food and fluids.

Some women are strong advocates for the use of marijuana during early pregnancy to alleviate nausea and vomiting. But at this most delicate of times, as a baby grows rapidly and develops nerve and brain tissue, it’s vital to know the possible effects of marijuana use before choosing this alternative. Fortunately, we have data on these possible effects available in scientific studies and research.

The THC in Marijuana is Attracted to Fatty Tissues

The primary intoxicating ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This drug is lipophilic which means it is attracted to and tends to be stored in fatty tissue. Brain tissue is highly fatty and can act as a “depot” for THC.

In the first few months of pregnancy, a baby’s brain develops rapidly. If a pregnant woman uses marijuana, she is bathing her baby’s new brain tissue with THC, as this drug easily passes through the placenta and into the fetus. Could this exposure cause any problems to the brain or other parts of the growing baby’s body?

In Colorado, the Department of Public Health & Environment was charged with the responsibility to study the public effects of marijuana use. In 2014, they published their comprehensive report.

potential effects of THC on unborn childThis report notes that THC has the potential to create harm to the developing fetus. There is a risk for birth defects, abnormal growth and most critically, sub-normal brain development.

Many women who use marijuana during pregnancy claim that they babies have turned out fine. This report from Colorado notes, however, that the damage associated with marijuana use may not show up until adolescence. That damage can include decreased academic ability and decreased cognitive function and attention. There’s also evidence that exposure to the chemicals in marijuana may also result in decreased overall growth and lower IQ scores in young children.

This report also noted many other problems that could turn out to be associated with marijuana use, especially when it’s used during early pregnancy, such as low birth weight, preterm delivery and defects of the brain, spine or spinal cord, but the evidence of these problems is currently incomplete. One of the defects thought to be associated with THC is anencephaly, a severe and usually fatal condition where a baby is born with only part of a brain or none at all.

The Official Conclusion of this Report

In summary, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment issued this official statement (in part):

1. Maternal use of marijuana during pregnancy is associated: with negative effects on exposed offspring, including decreased academic ability, cognitive function and attention. These effects may not appear until adolescence.

2. Marijuana use during pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of heart defects in exposed offspring.

3. Marijuana use during pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of stillbirth.

4. There is conflicting research for whether or not marijuana used during pregnancy is associated with increased marijuana use in exposed offspring.

5. Marijuana use during pregnancy may be associated with increased depression symptoms and delinquent behaviors in exposed offspring.

6. There are negative effects of marijuana use during pregnancy regardless of when it is used during pregnancy.

What Conclusion Should One Come to?

Certainly there is more research needed to zero in on the exact effects of THC exposure during pregnancy. Nearly all pregnant women are acutely conscious of the need to protect the health of their growing babies. These effects need to be clarified beyond any reasonable doubt and the information distributed broadly where pregnant women can access it.

In the meantime, as this report concludes, “there are negative effects of marijuana use during pregnancy regardless of when it is used during pregnancy.” Therefore this information should be known to every potential mother and father.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/104/4/982.full
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/monitoring-marijuana-related-health-effects

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Go-Kart Challenge Utilized Impaired Vision Goggles to Show Dangers of Alcohol Abuse http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/go-kart-challenge-utilized-impaired-vision-goggles-to-show-dangers-of-alcohol-abuse/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/go-kart-challenge-utilized-impaired-vision-goggles-to-show-dangers-of-alcohol-abuse/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 04:07:47 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3621 Continue reading

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go cartFew individuals truly understand the full and damaging effects of alcohol abuse, and many may believe that it is honestly quite safe to consume moderate amounts of alcohol and then proceed to do things they’d normally do. Many individuals even believe that it is perfectly safe to drive a motor vehicle after consuming some alcohol. However, the truth is that the sedative effects of alcohol consumption can come on gradually and subtly, which is one of the primary reasons for why it is so dangerous – the individual himself is somewhat oblivious to its true nature. However, as much as an individual may believe that they are able to operate normally after alcohol consumption, getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol can prove to be far more challenging than the individual recognizes. Airmen from the Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma recently discovered this for themselves.

Go-Kart Challenge

In the state of Oklahoma, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will cost a first-time offender between ten and fourteen thousand dollars. This includes roughly four hundred dollars to have one’s car towed and impounded, roughly three thousand dollars for incarceration and bond charges with a medical screening, and up to one thousand one hundred dollars for attorney fees, a hearing, driver’s license reinstatement fees and more. However, this estimate does not take into account the average fee for an attorney’s services to aid this whole process – which could be anywhere from five hundred to eight thousand five hundred dollars – and it does not include an ignition interlock device, which is essentially a breathalyzer test installed in the vehicle with the intention of preventing an individual from drinking and driving. In a recent presentation, Airmen from the 34th Combat Communications Squadron of the Tinker Air Force Base were presented with a single question: could they afford this high expense of drinking and driving?

Sergeant Jason Yingling from the Oklahoma County Highway Safety Office spoke with around seventy-five Airmen about the dangers of alcohol-impaired driving before allowing several of them to experience it first-hand through the use of impaired vision goggles while operating a remote-controlled go-kart on a small course. Yingling told Airmen that Oklahoma is one of the few states in the country where it is actually less expensive to murder another individual in cold blood than it is to get a DUI. He pointed out to the Airmen that a single DUI could ruin their life by destroying their career and creating a financial problem so huge that they’d be dealing with it long into the future.

Yingling pointed out that due to his training in the telltale signs of intoxication, he has a one hundred percent conviction rate, which is not something anyone should want to try and mess with. Some of the telltale signs a police officer will look for include the smell of alcohol on the individual’s breath and clothes and the individual’s inability to pass the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, a test that has the individual follow the line of a pen or flashlight in order to determine if they have the involuntary eye muscle movement (bouncing) that occurs when someone is intoxicated. Police officers may also speak at length with the individual in order to detect other signs of intoxication, signs that the individual may believe they are hiding quite well but that are actually quite clear to a sober police officer.

The Other Costs of Alcohol-Impaired Driving

In 2011, Oklahoma initiated the Erin Swezey Act after Oklahoma State University sophomore Erin Swezey was killed in a head-on collision with a vehicle operated by a drunken driver. At the time of the crash, the drunken driver had a blood alcohol content of .29, more than three times the legal limit, and was traveling in the wrong direction on the road. His driver’s license had been revoked six times over the course of eight years, and yet he still managed to get behind the wheel of his vehicle once again, costing a young woman her life. In an effort to prevent similar tragedies from occurring again in the future, the Erin Swezey Act mandates that at the time when a driver has his license reinstated following a DUI conviction, he must have an ignition interlock device installed in his vehicle. Driver’s must purchase this device, which costs roughly two thousand five hundred dollars, and keep it in their vehicle for at least eighteen months. The device is calibrated to suit a specific driver, and requires that the driver blow into the apparatus to determine whether they are safe to drive.

One individual who participated in the go-kart challenge indicated that the impaired vision goggles made it quite difficult to operate the vehicle – even in a controlled environment – and he cannot see how anyone who is driving under the influence can do so without killing others. Another individual agreed, stating that the go-kart challenge is a valuable teaching tool simply because it confirms how very little an individual would have to drink in order to be impaired – and that the biggest dangers aren’t for the individual himself, but for others around him.

Sergeant Yingling closed the challenge by reiterating that it was important to decide if driving under the influence was truly worth it, especially when calling a taxi service or a friend could reduce the costs dramatically – both to one’s wallet and society.

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Teens Should be Warned about Deadly New Drug MXE http://www.narconon.org/blog/synthetic-drug-abuse/warning-about-new-drug-mxe/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/synthetic-drug-abuse/warning-about-new-drug-mxe/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 15:43:09 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3616 Continue reading

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methoxetamine synthetic drugZachary Grazier was an attractive, dark-haired young man living in a classic American town on the Pamlico River in North Carolina. When he was 20 years old, he died as a result of his use of a new drug on the market, MXE or methoxetamine. A contributing factor in his death was the fact that his friends convinced him that this drug was harmless because it was legal to sell North Carolina.

To find justice for her son, Zachary’s mother launched a website called Justice for Zach to help promote the danger of MXE, noting that emergency medical technicians don’t even have a drug test to screen for MXE because it is too newly arrived on the market. She seeks to increase awareness of the drug that killed her son.

Methoxetamine is a stimulant somewhat similar to the 60’s drug PCP or the vet anesthetic ketamine. Ketamine is well known for creating dissociation in the person who uses it – a loss of one’s identity, a disconnection from one’s own body, thoughts or perceptions. At high doses, a person gets lost in some other universe detached from this one. That experience is called the “k-hole.” The effect of methoxetamine is similar in some respects. Users of this drug describe the experience as including an inability to walk, make sentences or remember anything longer than a few seconds, plus panic, anxiety, vomiting and long recovery time – in one case, weeks of anxiety and stress.

MXE was Legal in the State

The problem with these new formulas of synthetic drug is that they can sometimes be sold legally because legislation has not caught up with it yet. It takes time for a new synthetic formula to be seized and tested by law enforcement, enough information on its dangers to be compiled, the information to be forwarded to legislators and then for new laws to be passed. Synthetic drug manufacturers know about this delay and take advantage of it, changing formulas as often as needed to evade the laws, without any regard for effects on the user.

The drug showed up in the US in 2013. In Europe in 2014, the European Commission recommended that it be banned in the member countries. In the US, it is only illegal in eight states.

Methoxetamine is sold as a “research chemical.” It will be a white or off-white powder, sometimes in packaging that identifies it as a chemical that is “not intended for human consumption.” The World Health Organization (WHO) note these problems arising after use of this drug:

• Confusion
• Agitation
• Amnesia
• Disoriention
• Hallucinations
• High blood pressure
• Euphoria
• Violence

Thirteen deaths involving MXE were reported by the WHO, with a few of these resulting from drowning while intoxicated on the drug. The youngest victim was 17 years old.

The Only Safety is Staying Drug-free

Synthetics coverParents and educators may find it challenging to educate children on drugs when the list of drugs those children could be offered constantly changes. For that reason, Narconon has also prepared materials to help adults discuss the danger of synthetic drug use. That information is available here: http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/synthetics/.

The safest line to take is to motivate children to set goals that are important to them and help them achieve them, step by step. Make it very clear that many thousands of young people never had a chance to achieve their goals as their lives were taken by drugs.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-For-Zach/767559126659418?sk=info&tab=page_info
http://www.dea.gov/pr/microgram-journals/2012/mj9-1_3-17.pdf
http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/mtgs/pharm_awareness/conf_2013/july_2013/asantos2.pdf

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Should the Legal Drinking Age be Raised to 25? http://www.narconon.org/blog/alcoholawareness/should-the-legal-drinking-age-be-raised-to-25/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/alcoholawareness/should-the-legal-drinking-age-be-raised-to-25/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 15:39:13 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3612 Continue reading

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legal drinking ageIn the last few years, new studies have shed light on the age that young people reach physical maturity and it’s not 18. It’s also not 21. It’s 25. Numerous scientists studying the effects of alcohol or drugs on teens and young adults have made the statement that physical maturity, especially of the brain and nervous system, does not occur until a person reaches 25.

While a person is still growing and developing physically, it’s understandable that drugs or alcohol could have a more profound effect on the body than when they are older. After all, when alcohol or drugs are used during pregnancy, the effects on a rapidly growing baby can be severe. Effects such as the following are possible:

Marijuana: Higher risk of asthma and breathing problems, lower verbal, memory and reasoning ability, lower birth weight, poorer eyesight, greater risk of a heart defect.

Cocaine: Miscarriage due to shutoff of oxygen to the baby, greater risk of premature birth, smaller heads and brains, defects to hearts, kidneys, brains, arms or legs.

Alcohol: Babies born to mom who drank may suffer from FASD – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder – a combination of symptoms that include physical changes, smaller brains, learning and behavior problems, heart defects and problems with muscle tone and coordination.

Young Adults Still Developing, Too

drugs effect on the brainIf it’s true that young adults through the age of 25 are still developing, then it could certainly be possible for alcohol and drugs to have a more profound effect on them than it does on older adults. This theory seems to be supported by recent studies involving teens and young adults.

A recent Wall Street Journal article about the effects of alcohol on young brains noted that “from a neuroscientist’s perspective, the brain isn’t fully developed until age 25 and can exhibit these negative effects of alcohol consumption until then.” Similar damage to the brain was found in young people between 18 and 25 who participated in a 2014 study. These young adults used varying amounts of marijuana and the changes in their brains were tracked by performing scans. Even the light and occasional smokers developed abnormalities in their brains. This study came from Harvard and Northwestern Universities.

Another study of marijuana use from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee revealed this result: “A close look at the under-25 age group shows cognitive decline, poor attention and memory and decreased IQ among those who regularly smoke pot, defined as at least once a week.”

So What About that Legal Age to Drink?

So this raises the question – should the legal drinking age be raised to 25? Given the science on physical development that has been published in the last few years, perhaps there should be a more informed conversation on this subject to determine if legislation changes should follow.

No matter what the legal drinking as is, young people should be informed what the risks are. Anyone drinking alcohol, using medication they get from a doctor or illicit drugs they got off the street deserves to know what they are getting into. If there is a strong risk of causing significant physical damage from alcohol or drug use during the time that our young people should be getting their education and making plans for the future, they should know about it.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/adolescents-drinking-takes-lasting-toll-on-memory-1430173521
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/02/education/edlife/this-is-your-brain-on-drugs-marijuana-adults-teens.html?_r=0
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/09/marijuana-teens-brains/13802545/

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Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Vows to Tackle Substance Abuse Epidemic in the U.S. http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/presidential-candidate-hillary-clinton-vows-to-tackle-substance-abuse-epidemic-in-the-u-s/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/presidential-candidate-hillary-clinton-vows-to-tackle-substance-abuse-epidemic-in-the-u-s/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 13:02:44 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3608 Continue reading

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hillary clintonThe problems of drug abuse and addiction are on the rise in the United States, with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimating that over twenty-three million Americans suffer from drug abuse and addiction problems and need professional treatment. Unfortunately, many of the individuals who need help addressing and overcoming these problems don’t receive the help they need, for any number of reasons. It may be that they don’t understand what drug abuse and addiction actually are, and therefore don’t believe they are suffering from it. It may be that they are embarrassed of or ashamed about their drug abuse and addiction problems, and feel that society generally looks down with scorn on those who suffer from them. It may even be that they don’t know where to look or go to get the help they need for their drug abuse and addiction problems. Whatever the reason, many individuals are suffering from these problems and despite what some may believe, these complex and destructive problems are not limited to impoverished, uneducated individuals living in the seedy parts of town. Drug abuse and addiction problems are also affecting hard-working individuals whose journey down the path of drug abuse and addiction may have been largely aided by the proliferation of prescription drugs.

Prescription drugs may be FDA approved, medical doctor recommended and even helpful in limited medical situations, but the fact remains that they are still drug substances. Drugs are chemicals designed to interfere with the normal functions of the human body, thereby suppressing undesirable sensations and stimulating desirable sensations. This means that even prescription drugs cannot solve the root problems for which they are taken, but can only suppress the symptoms of these problems while also creating new problems. These dangerous drug substances are widely believed to be safe, helpful medications, leading many individuals to step onto the dangerous path of drug abuse and addiction when these medications no longer produce the same desired effects they once did and are then taken in greater quantities and with greater frequency. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and Addiction has reported that prescription drug overdose-related deaths now outnumber the deaths related to heroin and cocaine use – combined. That statistic doesn’t even begin to broach the issue created when some individuals switch to more potent and dangerous drug substances in an effort to re-create the desired effects they once experienced through prescription drug use. The fact is that substance abuse problems are epidemic in nature in our country, and something aggressive needs to be done about it.

How Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Hopes to Tackle the Epidemic

Recently, Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton sat down with employees of the Whitney Brothers manufacturing company in Keene, New Hampshire and discussed the “quiet epidemic” of substance abuse that is plaguing our nation. The issue of substance abuse began when one Whitney Brothers employee mentioned her concerns regarding the growing drug problem in their community. Clinton admitted that prior to her visit to Iowa and New Hampshire, she had been unaware of just how concerned individuals are about the substance abuse issues that affect every community in every state in the nation.

Clinton admits that the issue of substance abuse is not something that can simply be “brushed under the rug”, but must be aggressively addressed. To further illustrate the importance of this issue, Clinton spoke on the recent HIV epidemic that broke out in Austin, Indiana. This epidemic was brought on by extensive drug abuse issues as well as the sharing of dirty needles and it is further evidence of how entire communities can be crippled by the unresolved problems of drug abuse and addiction. Clinton feels strongly that more resources must be dedicated to the prevention and treatment of these problems, and has promised to make the issue of resolving the substance abuse epidemic a big part of her presidential campaign, seeking out solutions to effectively tackle this issue and reverse the trends of substance abuse and addiction that are currently destroying health and lives across the nation.

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18 Signs You May Be Addicted to Opiates http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/18-signs-you-are-addicted-to-opiates/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/18-signs-you-are-addicted-to-opiates/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 17:57:16 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3593 Continue reading

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are you addictedAlthough it might seem strange to a person who doesn’t use drugs, some people using heroin or other opiates may feel they are not addicted. Denial can be a problem as a person wants to believe they can quit using the drug any time they want. But if they try to quit, they discover a different truth. They suffer from withdrawal pain and sickness and also suffer such strong cravings that they may abandon the attempt to get sober and go back to the drug they were using.

To help the person who wants to know if they are addicted to opiates (and to help those around him find out the same thing) here are 18 signs that you may now be addicted.

Note: The drugs in this class include opiates and opioids. Opiates refer to those drugs that are derived from the opium poppy, such as opium, morphine and codeine. Opioids are those drugs that are chemically similar but are partly or wholly synthetic, such as heroin, oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl and hydrocodone. Recently, the word opioids has begun to be used to refer to any of these drugs.

Answer these questions:

1. Do you automatically start to use heroin or other opioid as soon as it becomes available?
2. Do you often use more, or more often than you originally intended?
3. Have you started using higher doses of opioids to get the same effect that a lower dose used to bring?
4. If you do stop for a day, do you find yourself getting sweaty, anxious, achy or agitated within several hours of your last dose?
5. Have you ever experienced vomiting, diarrhea, nausea after quitting for a while?
6. Do the symptoms that show up when you quit make you change your mind and decide instead to “stop later” instead of now?
7. Have you decided to quit a few times but never quite managed to make it happen?
8. Have you ever gotten in trouble at work or in relationships because of your opioid use?
9. Has anyone told you that you were neglecting your responsibilities because of your opioid use?
10. Do you have less or no interest in activities that you used to think of as fun?
11. Have you suffered any problems with your heart or lungs such as infections or pneumonia?
mom using heroin12. Has much of your money been redirected to obtaining heroin or pills?
13. Are you committing illegal acts to make sure you have opioids on hand when you want them?
14. Have you been arrested or fired due to drug use but still returned to it as soon as you could?
15. Is opiate use the first thing you think of each morning?
16. Have you used these drugs when it could create danger for yourself or someone else, such as when you are driving or caring for children?
19. Do you find yourself rearranging your responsibilities so you can be sure to have heroin or pills on hand?

If you’ve answered “Yes” to more than a few, then it is very likely that you are addicted to whatever opiate or opioid you are using.

Getting Help for Opioid or Opiate Addiction

Any use of heroin or misuse of painkillers is harming your body and your mind right now. You need to realize what you might be doing to yourself with each dose. Narconon created a report on the health risks of using heroin to help someone in your situation. Since painkillers are chemically similar to heroin, the risks are much the same. You can find this report here: http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/heroin/health-risk.html.

Above all, you should find the support you need to quit. If you are only occasionally using, talk to your loved ones to get support for quitting. If you are addicted, call Narconon to learn about this long-term rehabilitation that can bring you to a bright, new sober life. Call 1-800-775-8750.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64247/

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New Smartphone App Will Allow Doctors and Pharmacists To Track Prescription Drug Abuse http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/new-smartphone-app-will-allow-doctors-and-pharmacists-to-track-prescription-drug-abuse/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/new-smartphone-app-will-allow-doctors-and-pharmacists-to-track-prescription-drug-abuse/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 22:47:39 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3589 Continue reading

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prescriptionPrescription drugs can be wonderfully helpful in limited medical situations, but their help comes at a steep price. Despite the fact that they are FDA approved and doctor recommended, these medications are not entirely safe for regular use, and they have the same risks of abuse and addiction as many other dangerous drug substances.

In an effort to prevent these problems, doctors will often strive to recommend the lowest possible dose, and will usually caution their patients against abusing their medications in any way. However, the simple fact is that an individual who truly desires to abuse their prescription drugs can always find a way – either through crushing and snorting tablets that are meant to be swallowed, taking more than the recommended dose, or even doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions for the same medical problem. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much that doctors or pharmacists could do to stop this abuse from occurring. That is, until now.

A Smartphone App to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

A new smartphone app, currently available to iPhone and Apple handheld device users, allows doctors and pharmacists to track patients’ prescription drug use. In New Jersey, registered users of the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program will have access to the state’s prescription database, allowing them to track what controlled substances – including highly dangerous opiate painkillers – specific individuals have received. This invaluable program was first launched in 2011, and acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman admits that the more user-friendly the program becomes, the more likely doctors and pharmacists are to use it.

Doctors and pharmacists are not required to register with the Prescription Monitoring Program, but lawmakers have been pressured to find more solutions to the problems of prescription drug abuse and addiction. Providing a complete and easily-accessible record of prescription drugs can allow users to look up a patient’s prescription history to determine whether there may be a potential problem with medication abuse or addiction. Users can also look up their own records, allowing them to verify the prescriptions they have written or filled and determine whether someone may have fraudulently used their professional license in order to illegally obtain prescription drugs.

The purpose of this program is to help doctors and pharmacists join in the battle against prescription drug abuse by working to identify the signs that an individual is doctor shopping or even attempting to illegally fill one prescription at multiple different pharmacies. This is an area over which doctors and pharmacists previously had no control, and therefore the issues of prescription drug safety rested on the shoulders of the individuals who are taking these drug substances. Obviously, this has proven insufficient to protect individuals against the threat of prescription drug abuse. Prescription drug records can go a long way in detecting whether an individual may have a problem that needs addressing, prior to them sinking fully into the trap of prescription drug abuse and addiction.

Making a Change

While there are continued efforts in the areas of prescription drug abuse prevention through effective education, the fact is that prescription drug abuse is on the rise. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse confirms that prescription drug overdose deaths now outnumber the overdose deaths caused by heroin and cocaine combined. There needs to be a change made, and the Prescription Monitoring Program is a strong step in the right direction. Both New Jersey addiction experts and law enforcement officials are strongly supporting the effort to make participation in the Prescription Monitoring Program mandatory for doctors and pharmacists, and while some may disagree with such a law the fact remains that these are dangerous drug substances, and doctors and pharmacists have a duty to ensure they are doing everything possible to prevent their abuse.

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