Teens Struggling with Substance Abuse

With summer about here and teens with more free time, parents need to be aware of what today’s latest statistics are with drug use.

Yes, teen substance abuse, according to the latest study, is up 33%. TeenSubstanceAbuse

What does this say to parents of teenagers?

Are the parents too trusting of the teens or are the teens too smart for the parents?

Are you still digesting that?

Let’s understand this.

One in four teens (24 percent) reports having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime (up from 18 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2012), which translates to about 5 million teens. That is a 33 percent increase over a five-year period.  -According to Drugfree.org

That is a lot teens using illegal prescription drugs to get high or alter their moods.

Where are they getting these drugs from? 

Parents, grandparents, a friend’s home or simply buying them off the street.   This isn’t  blame game it is time to get a grasp on it and communicate to your kids about the risks of prescription medicine when it is not taken for the reasons it is prescribed for by a doctor.  Sometimes it takes a near death of a friend to make your child wake-up, let’s just hope it is not the end of someone’s life.  The attitude that it can’t happen to me is common, and it is followed by a parent’s denial that their child would use drugs.

Communication and education.

This is a nationwide problem.  Go to www.drugfree.org/medicineabuseproject and educate yourself and your family. Take the Pledge with your family to end medicine abuse, before it’s too late.  Then go to www.stopmedicineabuse.org and educate yourself and your kids about the dangers of over-the-counter medicine (OTC) abuse.  OTC are potentially deadly can be extremely harmful to your teens also.

Have a conversation with your teen, don’t wait for a confrontation.  As the report also stated, parents seems to lack concern about prescription drug use in comparison to getting caught or using such drugs as crack or cocaine or other illegal drugs, as follows:

Almost one in four teens (23 percent) say their parents don’t care as much if they are caught using Rx drugs without a doctor’s prescription, compared to getting caught with illegal drugs. – According to Drugfree.org

 

Drug use (substance abuse) is a serious cry for help, and making your teen feel ashamed or embarrassed can make the problem worse. Some common behavior changes you may notice if your teenager is abusing drugs and alcohol are:

  • Violent outbursts, rage, disrespectful behavior
  • Poor or dropping grades
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Skin abrasions, track marks
  • Missing curfew, running away, truancy
  • Bloodshot eyes, distinct “skunky” odor on clothing and skin
  • Missing jewelry, money
  • New friends
  • Depression, apathy, withdrawal, disengaged from the family
  • Reckless behavior

Tips to help prevent substance abuse:

  1. Communication is the key to prevention.  Whenever an opportunity arises about the risks of drinking and driving or the dangers of using drugs,  take it to start a conversation.  Remember parents, it is important to be a parent first – friendship will come in time.
  2. Have a conversation not a confrontation.  If you suspect your teen is using drugs, talk to them.  Don’t judge them, talk to them about the facts of the dangers of substance abuse.  If your teen isn’t opening up to you, be sure you find an adolescent therapist that can help.
  3. Addict in the family?  Do you have an addict in your family?  Sadly many families have been effected by someone that has allowed drugs to take over their lives.  With this, it is a reminder to your teen that you want them to have bright future filled with happiness.  The last thing you want for them is to end up like ____.
  4. Don’t be a parent in denial.  There is no teenager that is immune to drug abuse.  No matter how smart your teen is, or athletic they are, they are at risk if they start using.  I firmly believe that keeping  your teen constructively busy, whether it is with sports, music or other hobbies they have, you will be less at risk for them to want to experiment.  However don’t be in the dark thinking that your teen is pulling a 4.0 GPA and on the varsity football that they couldn’t be dragged down by peer pressure.  Go back to number one – talk, talk, talk – remind your teen how proud you are of them, and let them know that you are always available if they feel they are being pressured to do or try something they don’t want to.
  5. Do you know what your teen is saying?  Listen or watch on texts or emails for code words for certain drug lingo. Skittling, Tussing, Skittles, Robo-tripping, Red Devils, Velvet, Triple C, C-C-C-, Robotard are some of the names kids use for cough and cold medication abuse.  Weed, Pot, Ganja, Mary Jane, Grass, Chronic, Buds, Blunt, Hootch, Jive stick, Ace, Spliff, Skunk, Smoke, Dubie, Flower, Zig Zag are all slang for marijuana.
  6. 6.     Leftovers.  Are there empty medicine wrappers or bottles, burn marks on their clothes or rug, ashes, stench, etc in their room or if they own a car, in their car? Teens (and tweens) either take several pills or smash them so all of it is released at once.  Be sure to check all pockets, garbage cans, cars, closets, under beds, etc. for empty wrappers and other evidence of drug use.  Where are your prescription drugs?  Have you counted them lately?
  7. Body language. Tune into changes in your teen’s behavior. Changing peer groups, altering their physical appearance and/or lack of hygiene, eating or sleeping patterns changing, hostile and uncooperative attitude (defiance), missing money or other valuables from the home, sneaking out of the house, etc.
  8. 8.     Access to alcohol.  Look around your home, is there liquor that is easily accessible?  Teens admit getting alcohol is easy-and the easiest place to get it is in their home.  Know what you have in the house and if you suspect your teen is drinking, lock it up!  Talk to them about the risks of drinking, especially if they are driving. 
  9. Seal the deal.  Have your teen sign a contract to never drink and drive. Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) www.saddonline.com provides a free online contract to download. It may help them pause just the second they need to not get behind that wheel.
  10. Set the example, be the example.  What many parents don’t realize is that you are the leading role model for your teen.  If your teen sees you smoking or drinking frequently, what is the message you are sending?  Many parents will have a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, however the teen needs to understand you are the adult, and there is a reason that the legal drinking age is 21.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Teen Alcoholism: What is the Mentality Behind It?

Teendrinking6It the the time of the year when our teens are off to prom and graduation parties.  They may be faced with the decision to have a drink.

The Pre-Game
Teens often indulge in a “pre-game” drinking binge before parties or sports events. Large quantities are consumed quickly in order to sustain a sense of inebriation over many hours. The point of a pre-game binge is to achieve inebriation before an event where access to alcohol and drugs will be restricted.

Pre-gaming is especially dangerous in that it often occurs in a vehicle. Although drinking can occur during the drive to the event, teens may also drink in the parking lot of the event venue. Alcohol can also be smuggled into venues, disguised in water bottles or hidden inside large purses or jackets.

The Parent Game Plan: Before parties and big events, be involved as your teen prepares. When possible, drive your teen and his friends to the venue. As always, be honest with your teen about the dangers of drinking and your stance on the issue.

Working for the Weekend
Some kids work hard all week on academics and sports, but see the weekend as a time to partake in illicit activities and party behavior. This mindset is especially prevalent at competitive high schools. This attitude toward drugs and alcohol equates recreation as something that is rebellious against responsibility and is seen as a reward for good behavior. After working hard, they feel as though they deserve to play hard. This type of attitude can lead to a dependence on drugs or alcohol as a means to relax.

The Parent Game Plan: Explain to your teen that responsible behavior throughout the week does not warrant complete independence. It is also important to teach your teen positive ways to relax. Positive recreational activities and hobbies not only occupy a teen’s time, but they also offer a sense of accomplishment and self-worth that alcohol and drugs can never provide.

Social Lubricant
Let’s face it. Being a teenager is difficult, and social interaction can be awkward. Many teens drink to feel less inhibited and more secure in social settings. Unfortunately, some teens will drink in response to anxiety about a crush, which heightens the risk of poor sexual decisions. Forming these habits during formative years can have a drastic effect on a teen, potentially making it difficult for her to socialize without alcohol or other substances.

The Parent Game Plan: Teens needs to learn how to face the fears and risks of social interaction in a substance-free environment. Host co-ed movie nights or game nights for your teen’s friends and serve as a chaperone. Sometimes teenagers turn to illicit activities because the peer group doesn’t accept wholesome activities as fun. It is your job to provide your teenager with a healthy example of “adult” fun.

Another option is to introduce your teen to an older mentor. Encouraging your teen to spend time with mentors with similar interests can help him adapt to a more mature standard of behavior. This will also give your teen the opportunity to talk about embarrassing or difficult situations he may not be able to come to you about.

For the Win
During unsupervised parties, many kids participate in drinking games popularized by college students. While these games can seem as harmless as table tennis to teenagers, the truth is those who participate in drinking games are at a higher risk for developing alcoholism. Once teens accept the rules of these games, the height of tolerance levels is tantamount to strength. These teens think they are winning at a game, but they are actually exposing their brains to toxic levels of alcohol.
Essentially drinking games are a way for teenagers to bond while participating in binge drinking behavior. Unlike pre-gaming, there is no time limit in drinking games. This means that many teens will drink until their physical limits are reached. Alcohol poisoning and black-outs are two immediate effects of binge drinking.

The Parent Game Plan: Teenagers who binge drink will be unable to hide the effects from their parents, which means they will most likely “crash” where the party was thrown or they will stay with a friend who has lenient or oblivious parents. Parents can discourage binge drinking by confirming plans with other parents and enforcing curfews. Let your teenager know that you expect him not only to behave responsibly, but to look out for his friends who may be affected by this social behavior.

How to Stop Teen Alcohol Abuse

Be involved.

Parents who are involved in their teenagers lives – offering support, encouraging questions and providing wholesome outlets for socializing – are following the #1 rule to keeping their children safe from alcohol abuse.

Contributor: Lauren Bailey can be reached for comments at Lauren at blauren 99 @gmail.com.

Struggling Teens: Where to Get them Help Over the Summer

TeenHelp5What is your at-risk teen doing this summer?

Summer is almost here and the calls are coming in from parents that are struggling with what to do with their at-risk teens.

Some issues we are hearing:

  • Failing some classes, when they are more than capable of getting passing grades, if not straight A’s.
  • Dropping out of their favorite sport or activity.
  • Smoking pot — occasionally – though parents may blame it on the friends, please keep in mind, it is your child making the decision to inhale that joint or pop that pill.
  • Drinking – again, it may be the friends you want to blame, but are they holding the bottle to your teen’s mouth?
  • Sneaking out of the house.
  • Defiance, lying, stealing……
  • Maybe they have changed their peer group this year?

Let’s face it, with a combination of any of these above, you could be traveling down a negative path.  Chances are very good a short-term summer program will not address a long term solution.

It can irritate me when I see parents get sucked into these very expensive Wilderness programs that give tell you they can turn your child around in 4-9 weeks.  Really?

I think if you interview most of the families that have dug deep  into their wallets and spent that $15K-20K on a Wilderness program (which is likely to have zero academics to get your child caught up), you will find that at about the 4 week point, the program is already prepping the family for the “next step” of a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center (another $50K step).

Or if the family truly cannot afford, which I have spoken to many of them too, since they have spent their  last dime on this summer last ditch hope, they soon find that within 3-6 weeks after Wilderness, their  child is back to their old ways.

What is the answer?  It depends on the child, but in most situations it is finding the right placement the first time around.  Not starting at one place – and “breaking him down” (aren’t they already broken?) and breaking your wallet too, and then going to yet another to break your wallet again.

Most quality and qualified programs are designed to treat teens that come in with the anger and defiance.  There are excellent 6-8-10 month programs that can offer a complete package of academic’s, emotional growth (clinical) and enrichment programs (which are so important to help stimulate your teen in a positive direction).

It is my opinion, and after almost thirteen years of watching parents and families in this big business of “teen help” get screwed (sorry for the slang) but until you walk my shoes and have taken the time to learn about what goes on behind the scenes – the word just about seems appropriate.

I firmly believe in getting our kids help, as a matter of fact, it is our responsibility as a parent to do that.  We also have to do our due diligent.

Google is not God — the Internet has some very disturbing sites – and disgruntled kids, parents, employers. Yes, I was one of them, but I also have a lot of substantial legal facts behind my case.  I don’t sit and rant.  As a matter of fact, I don’t want to discuss it – I want to continue to educate parents about how they can find the best program for their child’s needs.

I offer many great tips, questions to ask schools and programs and resources.  Visit www.helpyourteens.com.

Teen Help: Deciding if Residential Therapy is Right for Your Teenager

Helping your teenager at any age is a priority.

Helping your teenager at any age is a priority.

We are rounding up second semester and looking at spring break.  Parents are worried as their high school student (teenager) is still failing, refusing to complete assignments and still believes that education is a farce.

On the other hand we know our child is more than capable of getting A’s and B’s yet they are barely bringing home D’s.  College?  We are praying they finish high school.

What is wrong with society? Why are kid of the notion that they can just drop out of high school and get a GED?  Years ago GED’s were frowned upon–only for those that were either adjudicated or maybe medically necessary.  Now it is too easy for these kids to just drop out.

Then we have teens that want to smoke pot on a daily basis.  You know it is legal in some states. You know their parents do it.  Really, is it that bad?  Well, as a matter of fact – it is.

Marijuana, especially when sold on the streets to our kids, is more likely to be laces with other ingredients – possibly even  heroin.   What happens then?  Do you have an addict on your hands now?  Anyway you cut this – teens shouldn’t be smoking pot.  Cigarettes?  Let’s face it – it is bad for your health, but it doesn’t alter your personalty – and there are times when a parent has to pick and choose issues.

I don’t condone cigarettes – I don’t smoke them, but I wouldn’t look for residential therapy for them either.

Back to drug use and failing academics.  If your teen is nearing 17 years old and you are watching them throw their life away, it may be time to consider residential therapy – an emotional growth program.  Once that offers academics, therapy and enrichment programs.

I don’t believe in anything punitive, primitive or harsh – this is about building a child back up again to make better choices.  Giving them that inspiration to reach into adulthood with a  passion.  Yes, there are great programs that can instill this into teens.

For more information contact www.helpyourteens.com.

Teen Depression and What Parents Need to Know

Feeling good has a lot to do with the choices your teen makes regarding their health.

The life of a teen is filled with choices, and most teens do not base decisions on their health, future, or long-term risks. Keeping up teens’ health ultimately falls on the parents’ shoulders, even though most teens are already making many of their own choices.

If you struggle finding a balance when it comes to your teen’s health or want to be sure that you’re doing as much as you can with the time you do have, here are a few simple ways to make a big impact on the health of your teen:

1. Require consistent exercise. There is no need to be a drill sergeant or make exercise feel like a chore, but there is something to be said for requiring exercise from your children. Whether they take up a sport, enroll in a dance program, or just join the gym with you, teens need to start now with a consistent exercise program for optimum health in the future.
2. Buy daily vitamins in gummy form. Daily vitamins are no fun. And, it’s difficult as a parent to, a) remember to dole them out, and, b) make sure your kids actually take them. But, vitamins should no longer be a dreaded routine. The vitamin gummies offered today are delicious and taste like candy. Teens will want to take more than their daily share.
3. Fill plates with more greens and fruits and less grains and protein. The FDA has recently re-vamped the old standard of food charts and opted for something simpler: a plate divided into four sections. Half the plate is filled with vegetables and fruits. The remainder contains a fourth grains and a fourth protein. This is a simple and easy way to see that your teens are getting the proper servings of the food they need.
4. Restrict TV to certain hours. Monitoring TV hours is a challenge, especially when teens have become accustomed to turning them on whenever they want. But, in order to maintain optimum health, the TV has to go once in a while. Teens need time and space to go outside, call friends, read, create, and do other things that help maintain a balanced life. This can be as simple as turning them off during regular chunks of time when you know you’ll be around.
5. Make doctors’ appointments a part of the norm. Many of us restrict doctor’s appointments to emergency visits when we come down with the flu and need a quick prescription. But, it’s very important to get your teen started with regular physicals and preventative doctor’s visits. This will get them in the habit of seeking out the advice of a physician and setting dates for those much-needed physicals.
6. Talk about sensitive health topics early-on. Instead of waiting until the last minute, it’s important to discuss any health topics that your teen needs to know as early as possible. This applies to the menstrual cycle, the birds and the bees, and your preference on the best forms of contraceptives or abstinence. Waiting until your teen finds out about these hugely important issues from friends, television shows, or the school counselor means that you have missed the chance to help form extremely important choices your teens will make and prepare them for life events that will come up soon.
7. Drink more water, and get rid of soda. This is simple, but definitely worth it. The health benefits of drinking enough water cannot be overstated, and the harmful effects of soda have been well-documented. Most soda contains such a huge amount of sugar that the body has difficulty digesting it properly. Once and a while, it’s fine, but make sure your teens are reaching for something else on a daily basis.

Contributor: Leslie Johnson is a freelance writer for www.mastersinhealthcare.com.

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Risky Behaviors Teens Do and Parents Need To Know About

Many teenagers think they are invincible, and are always looking for the next thrill. While the stunts that were tried 10 to 20 years ago may have seemed daring and dangerous at the time, teens today are pushing the envelope in even more dangerous new ways. Parents truly need to be aware of the risky things that some teens are doing.

  1. Planking- Kids have taken what started out being a move done for strengthening the core to a trend that was kind of cute to something downright dangerous. Planking is where you lay face down on any surface and have your picture taken. The picture is then uploaded to Facebook or some other social media site. Teens turned this fun trend into a dangerous stunt when they started planking on things like escalators, moving cars, trains and rooftops.
  2. Car surfing- Instead of surfing in the water standing on a surfboard, teens are standing on moving cars. Some start by standing on the trunk with the car moving very slowly, and in an effort to continually raise the stakes they have moved to more even more dangerous locations on the car, and now teens have been killed doing this.
  3. Smoking Smarties- According to tutorials online, the candy is crushed to a fine powder and the end of the tube is opened and the powder is puffed and inhaled like smoke. On the surface the activity is not illegal or all that harmful, but it could lead to infections and chronic coughing. The bigger concern is that this behavior could lead to more dangerous experimentation with drugs in the future.
  4. Vodka eyeballing- To avoid getting caught with alcohol on their breath, teens have started pouring vodka directly in their eyes. The alcohol is absorbed through the mucus membrane and goes directly into the blood stream. This trend has been shown to cause blindness in a worst case scenario, but at a minimum it can burn the cornea and cause scarring.
  5. Chatroulette- Chatroulette.com is a site that connects users through their web cams with people from all over the world for live chat sessions. They do have filters which allow the user to speak to only English speakers or only females. While the policy on chatroulette is against nudity and other inappropriate activities, risky behavior still happens. Sexual predators could use this medium as a way to interact and ultimately harm kids.
  6. Purple drank- Drinking this mix of jolly ranchers, cough syrup with codeine and Sprite can lead to hallucinations and is extremely toxic. Kids love to copy the next celebrity trend, and for some celebrities, this purple drink it is.
  7. Rainbow parties- A group of girls at a party will wear various shades of lipstick and perform oral sex on the same guys. At the end of the evening the genitals of the guys have many colors of lipstick, thus mimicking a rainbow.
  8. Choking game- The choking game is where kids choke each other or themselves with various things like belts or scarves, to cut off the flow of blood to their brain in order to get a high. When the choking stops the blood goes back to the brain quickly and they get a natural high. Many teens who have tried this have passed out doing it and could, and have, died of asphyxiation.
  9. Distilling hand sanitizer- By combining salt with liquid hand sanitizer the alcohol can be distilled out of it. The alcohol is very strong and some teens who have drank it have ended up in the ER with alcohol poisoning.
  10. Rummy bears- Kids and adults alike are soaking gummy bears in various alcohols, like rum or vodka. The gummy soaks up the alcohol and kids are said to be eating them at school and getting buzzed.

Knowledge is power. If adults are aware that these trends are going on in other areas of the country they will be better able to spot them in their own kids or their friends.

Source: Babysitters.net

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Parenting At Risk Teens: From Home to Homeroom

Parenting teens is a challenge today.

Schools and parents today need to work together to help prevent teen drug use.

Fast Facts: Preventing Teen OTC Cough Medicine Abuse – From Home to Homeroom

A Wake Up Call for Parents

  • Thirty-three percent of American high school teens know someone who has abused cough medicine, a wake up call for those parents who think that their teen is not affected or being exposed to the issue.
  • Six percent of high school teens admit to abusing cough medicine containing dextromethorphan, or DXM, to get high in the past year.

Cough Medicine Abuse Does Not Happen By Accident

  • While safe and effective when taken as directed, teens looking to get high from cough medicine take excessive amounts, sometimes 25 to 50 times the recommended dosage. This translates to multiple bottles or packages of medicine at one time.
  • Teens often abuse cough medicines with other prescription drugs, illicit drugs, or alcohol.
  • Even the best kid in the world doesn’t have the same ability as adults to assess risk because the part of their brain that processes risk, the frontal cortex, doesn’t finish developing until their mid 20s.

Parents Have the Power to Keep Teens Drug-free

  • Research shows that kids who learn a lot from their parents about the risk of drug abuse are up to half as likely to use.
  • Parents are not alone in their fight to prevent medicine abuse; reaching out to the school nurse can help parents learn more about the issue and access local resources.
  • Parents can learn more about the Home to Homeroom campaign by logging onto www.StopMedicineAbuse.org

Parents can interact and help raise awareness by joining online communities including:

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