For nearly 30 years now, Americans from throughout the nation have been taking part in an event known alternately as the Red Ribbon Campaign or the National Red Ribbon Campaign. Since 1985, the event has commemorated the tragic death of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena, who was brutally tortured and murdered by agents of a drug cartel while he was serving on duty in Mexico. The beginnings of the Red Ribbon Campaign were in a spontaneous movement, in which Americans of all ages and from all walks of life started wearing red ribbons as a way to commemorate Camarena and spread awareness of the violence of the war on drugs and how many lives are being ruined or destroyed by the fight between law enforcement and the drug cartels. Continue reading
Today, somewhere around 23 million Americans need help for drug or alcohol addiction. Only about one in ten people will find the help they need. The other 22 million will continue to struggle and always live with the threat of an overdose or injury while impaired.
America and many other countries have long histories of alcohol consumption – including, of course, abuse, addiction and overdose deaths all along the way. Some countries have long histories as well of drug use, such as Ethiopia’s use of khat and some Native Americans’ use of peyote. Where does sobriety fit into our current culture? Drugs and alcohol have been used for several thousand years. Is there any reason we should try to curb this tendency?
There is every reason. The biggest reason of all is our children. If you stand back and look at our current society, you may see more pro-drug influences than ones endorsing and supporting drug-free living. Every year, there are more movies and television shows featuring drug-using characters, often without emphasizing the spiritual, mental and moral wreckage that accompanies that use. A steady diet of drug advertisements on television reinforces the message that drugs are an easy, instant solution to whatever ails one. Continue reading
Narconon Redwood Cliffs participated at the Monterey County Fair over Labor Day weekend with a drug education and prevention booth. They were among the many organizations and vendors that set up shop on the 22-acre Monterey County Fair & Event Center, a beautiful outdoor setting with the iconic California oak trees situated only a short distance from downtown Monterey and the Pacific ocean. The Monterey County Fair is part of a tradition dating back to 1935, and over the past eight decades the venue has hosted musical acts ranging from Duke Ellington to Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana and more. The fair is a major event on the yearly calendar for the community in Monterey County and the surrounding areas, and people flock from far and wide to spend a fun-filled weekend with friends and family. All told, there are usually around 75,000 people who attend the Monterey County Fair, making it one of the largest public events in the region every year. Continue reading
I’ve been seeing comments on Facebook and Twitter about a National Leadership Conference for Young People in Recovery that’s being held right now in Denver. Young People in Recovery is a national organization that invites people to establish chapters in their town that provide support for teens and young adults in recovery and teaches them how to act as advocates for social change.
As I look through Facebook, I see mentions of young people flying in to Denver from Young People in Recovery Chapters all over the country: New Jersey, Texas, Chicago, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Wisconsin, Maine, and more.
From the pictures of these teams of people arriving in Denver, there’s a lot of scrubbed faces and enthusiastic teens involved in this activity. In their home towns, they put on all kinds of events and races and attend street fairs to distribute drug prevention meetings. They advocate for better care for the addicted, more funding for treatment, and organize support at a grassroots level. Continue reading
Maryland has long struggled with a heroin problem. In fact, the Baltimore inner city has been renowned as a center of heroin abuse and addiction for many years. It’s not uncommon for multiple generations in the same family to seek help for addiction at the same time. But as opiate painkillers introduced a broad spectrum of people to a dependence on this type of drug, heroin abuse has followed and spread across the Maryland landscape. After all, there are drugstores in every town in every state in the US. And far too many states have unscrupulous doctors who are willing to make the money by selling prescriptions for addictive substances. The migration to heroin is seen as necessary when money sources dry up, because heroin is so much cheaper than pills.
Even though Maryland already had a high rate of heroin abuse, recent news reports state that there has been an 88% increase in heroin-related overdoses in a two year period. This increase really takes the problem to a fever pitch in the state. Continue reading
Your kids probably will not come right out and ask you this question. Most kids are going to believe what they hear from other kids and see happening right in front of them: Their friends are smoking pot or drinking and seem to be having fun. Or maybe a friend suggests that they sniff some markers and get goofy or someone has some pills that they say help you “chill out.”
It’s unfortunate that in today’s world, keeping kids safe from drug abuse is very close to the top of the list of a parent’s responsibilities. Many parents may not be well prepared to carry out this education. Or they may count on schools to do the job. Different drug education presentations have different levels of success. Plus a drug education presentation may not fully reflect a parent’s beliefs. So even if a school offers drug education classes, it’s really up to a parent more than anyone else to do this job. Continue reading
Once upon a time, not so long ago, it was inconceivable that the average American would be addicted to heroin. It was only something that maybe people out on the fringes of society would do. Maybe bikers or jazz musicians or people who spent a lot of time in jail.
This never really was the truth, but it was the impression most middle class Americans had. No one THEY knew would ever use heroin, much less be addicted to it.
Fast forward to this decade. The growing heroin problem in this country is overwhelming public health departments. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a news article about a state or county that is trying to come to grips with overdose deaths and drug trafficking. Like this article from The Pocono Record: Continue reading
I’m watching the headlines these days and there’s so much about this drug or that – Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death triggered plenty of media coverage on the increase in heroin abuse. Zohydro is in the news as a future opiate painkiller formulation that has the potential to be easily abused by anyone with a taste for opiates. Medical marijuana is approved in state after state and several more states have this initiative on the ballot. One celebrity after another is cited or goes to jail for a DUI until it seems like no one is left sober.
After a while, it gets to be overwhelming.
What if we didn’t focus so narrowly on one drug or another? What if we just focused on one thing: raising a new generation that knows better than to pick up a drug or drink before they are legal age? Continue reading
National Family Partnership (NFP) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 by a small group of concerned parents. They were determined to play a leadership role in drug prevention. Nancy Reagan was an honorary Chair of NFP. Since its founding over thirty years ago, NFP has always been working towards the well-being of today’s youth. The NFP is a national leader in both drug prevention education and advocacy. “Our mission is to lead and support our nation’s families and communities in nurturing the full potential of healthy, drug free youth.” One campaign that the NFP is well known for is the Red Ribbon Campaign. In fact, this year’s Red Ribbon Week is the last full week in October. Continue reading
In reports from multiple sources, the picture is being drawn of increasing teen prescription drug use. One such report comes from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse and Columbia University( CASA). In their annual study published in 2011, CASA findings stated that more than two million student-aged children were abusing prescription drugs.
Is it possible that there are two million households where the parents are unaware of their teen’s prescription drug use? Interviews with those who started abusing prescription drugs as teens show that in many cases, the teen prescription drug use went on for quite some time before the parents were alerted. After all, prescription drug abuse is not as obvious as alcohol abuse. There’s no smell of OxyContin or Xanax on a young person’s breath after use.
Manipulation, deception and drug use seem to go hand in hand. After a person reaches the stage of true addiction to the drugs being abused, this is even more true as that person feels that his ability to cope with life and avoid agonizing withdrawals depends on avoiding detection. Even at a young age, people get very clever at explaining away mistakes, accidents and problems in life that are actually the result of substance abuse.
Like John B. from Boston, for example. He flunked out college due to his drug use but told his parents he was still going to school. He was dropped off in the morning at the community college and then walked home to hide out for the rest of the day. And Ryan T. from Atlanta. His parents didn’t realize that he was using marijuana, alcohol and cocaine in his high school years until his grades finally crashed and he lost a scholarship everyone had been counting on.
What Drugs are Teens Relying on?
The prescription drugs commonly being abused by teens include:
- Opioid pain relieves like OxyContin, Lortab, Vicodin, Opana and others
- Central nervous system depressants like Xanax and Valium
- Stimulants often used to treat people diagnosed with ADHD, such as Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall
- Over-the-counter drugs, including cough medications with dextromethorphan (DXM)
Teens obtain these drugs by stealing them from their own family’s or other people’s medicine chests, trading out their own prescriptions or getting them from the internet. They can also be purchased from drug dealers who traffic in illicit drugs. In the last few years, state governments have been closing one loophole after another to prevent the illicit distribution of prescription drugs but the statistics on teen prescription drug abuse are still rising.
Drug addiction treatment statistics for the US show that more than 150,000 young people find their way to rehab each year to recover from teen prescription drug use that turns into addiction. Nationally, only about one person in ten (of any age) who needs drug rehabilitation finds it. If the same proportion held true for teens, it would indicate that there were more than a million and a half teens who need help in the US alone.
Competition, Particularly in College, Drives Many Young People to Start Abusing Prescription Drugs
The drive to achieve in school is what causes some people to start abusing stimulant type drugs. Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta, prescribed for ADHD, are often abused by students who want to cram for a test or stay up all night to complete an assignment. Or they may want to abuse these drugs so they can stay up and party when they are already tired.
On college campuses, students of all ages traffic these addictive stimulants to each other. Those who have legitimate prescriptions for the drugs are often pressured to provide them to others. Some other students learn how to manipulate the student health services to get their own pills.
What is particularly dangerous is the number of teens in high school who do not feel that it is particularly dangerous to abuse prescription drugs. Out of about 13 million students, more than a million thought that using a prescription drug that was not prescribed for one was either not dangerous at all or was minimally dangerous.
When students hit the more competitive atmosphere of college, the stress can be too much to bear, and prescription drug abuse may become a regular event. When one’s career is at risk in this way, the answer is the Narconon drug rehab program.
The Narconon drug rehab program is long-term, residential and holistic. Holistic means that it addresses the whole person and the problems that may have led him or her to drug use and addiction. Without eliminating the underlying reasons, those same stresses may lead the person back into substance abuse again in the future. At centers like Narconon Vista Bay in Northern California, those who have become addicted can recover in beautiful surroundings, helped by supportive staff who understand both the problem and the solution.
When someone you care about has become trapped in addiction, contact Narconon to get all the details on how this program can bring them back to a sober, healthy life again. Call the international offices of Narconon at 800-775-8750.