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 Drug Use: Warning Signs If Your Teen is Using

TeenDrugUse5This is a difficult question that many parents have to face on a daily basis. Parents who spend a great deal of time with their teenagers are often tuned into what is normal behavior and what is not.

However, even parents who are actively involved in the daily activities of their teenagers may overlook – or subconsciously deny – the earliest signs of a substance abuse problem.

Some of the clues that your teenager may exhibit when using drugs or alcohol are fairly subtle, but others are rather obvious:

• Many hours spent alone, especially in their room; persistent isolation from the rest of the family. This is particular suspicious in a youngster who had not been a loner until now.

• Resistance to taking with or confiding in parents, secretiveness, especially in a teenager who had previously been open. Be sure that your teenager is not being secretive because every time he tries to confide in you, you jump on him or break his confidence.

• There is marked change for the worse in performance and attendance at school and/or job or other responsibilities as well as in dress, hygiene, grooming, frequent memory lapses, lack of concentration, and unusual sleepiness.

• A change of friends; from acceptable to unacceptable.

• Pronounced mood swings with irritability, hostile outbursts, and rebelliousness. Your teenager may seem untrustworthy, insincere or even paranoid.

• Lying , usually in order to cover up drinking or drug using behavior as well as sources of money and possessions; stealing, shoplifting, or encounters with the police.

• Abandonment of wholesome activities such as sports, social service and other groups, religious services, teen programs, hobbies, and even involvement in family life.

• Unusual physical symptoms such as dilated or pinpoint pupils, bloodshot eyes, frequent nosebleeds, changes in appetite, digestive problems, excessive yawning, and the shakes.

These are just a few of the warning signs that can be recognized.

• Be careful not to jump to the conclusion that your teenager may be using when you see such behavior.
• Evaluate the situation.
• Talk to your teenager.
• Try to spend time with her so that she feels that she can trust you.
• By creating a home that is nurturing, she will understand that despite of unhealthy choices that she will always get the love and moral support that she deserves.
• Building a strong relationship with your teenager now will mean that in time of crises your love, support, wisdom, and experience won’t be shut out of your teenager’s decision making.
• If you have a suspicion that your teenager is involved in the use of drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to bring the subject up.

The sooner the problem is identified and treated, the better the chances that your teenager’s future will be safeguarded. Raising the subject will be easier if you already have good communication in the family. Discuss the ways in which you can seek help together. An evaluation by a substance abuse professional may be the key to understanding what is really going on with your teenager.

Contributor: Shawnda Burns, LCSW

Visit http://www.helpyourteens.com if you feel you are at your wit’s end and have exhausted all your local resources.

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 Help Program and School: What to Do?

First semester of school is coming to an end.  You realize that your teen is failing – and may have even discovered they are experimenting with drugs – smoking pot, drinking – and now you are thinking – “is this a phase?”  “is it their friends?” “typical teen?”

Sure – all is possible – but why risk it?  Getting your teen the help they need is a parent’s responsibility.  I am not saying that rushing into a residential treatment center is your first option – on the contrary, it is your last.

You need to exhaust all your local resources first.  Therapy, peer support groups, maybe outpatient, living with a relative, youth counselors…..  If the behavior continues to escalates you can’t be a parent in denial.  Once the therapy isn’t working – your teen is actually holding you hostage in your home – and taking control of your family – you literally feel like you are walking on eggshells – you have to reach out for help.

The Internet, as much as it is an educational tool, can also be a deceptive device.  Parents have to do their due diligence when researching schools and programs.

Many therapists are excellent in working with your families however are not familiar with residential therapy programs aka specialty program or therapeutic boarding schools.  They know of adolescent wards in hospitals but most of the time that is not what these type of teens need. They are in need of emotional growth.

Now the Internet again can be deceiving.  You may see programs that offer these wonderful attributes but do they?

I was scammed and duped over a decade ago – which is why I created Parents’ Universal Resource Experts.  I encourage you to review my site and especially the helpful hints and tips for looking for schools and programs.

There are more good programs than there are not so good programs.  It is just a matter of doing your research.  Don’t allow these toll free marketing arms convince you that you need to make a quick and rash decision.

Call us today – we can help you get educated on this big business of teen help.

Educational Consultants or Parent Consultants

Reaching your wit's end on the Internet

When a parent first hits that brick wall of having a teen that is out-of-control they literally are clueless at who to call or what to look up on the Internet.

Being in the dark can lead to making rash decisions and this is something you don’t want to do when it comes to your child.

Some parents assume that Educational Consultants are the experts to turn to for placement of troubled teens and in some cases, that may be true.  However, like with many other purchases in life, you need to know what you are buying into.

Educational Consultants were originally designed to help parents with their teens to find the right colleges and with the application process. As many know, this has been replaced with CollegeBoard and many other websites online.

As the shift in teen help increased, they seemed to branch out into the residential treatment field.  Most have not experienced what you are going through.  Most do not know what you are dealing with at home.  Only an experienced parent that has been there really knows that feeling of helplessness.  Which is why I created Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc.

We are parents – we have walked your shoes.  After experiencing an extremely difficult time with my own teenager – surfing the Internet – being scammed online – my teen being harmed at a program that misrepresented themselves, I decided to take a closer look at this teen help industry.

After years of visiting schools and programs, collecting years of feedback (from parents, students and employees), background researches, on-site visits, etc… We offer parents advice and educated tips on looking at schools and programs.

The last thing parents need to get involved in, in our opinion, is an EC (Educational Consultant) Shuffle. What is the EC Shuffle? Find out more and try not to get into the mix.  We do not employ this type of assistance for your needs.  “The EC I spoke with only wants $500.00, that seems fair.”   Remember the cliché you get what you pay for, yes, you will find some Educational Consultants that will only charge $500.00 but you also get limited services usually including the EC Shuffle with a list of programs.  Nothing more than you could have found on your own in a few Internet searches.

Some Educational Consultants are fair and don’t employ this type of method.   Please remember this is your child and no one knows him better than you.  Do you really need a middle person for your child?  Shouldn’t the program speak directly to you?  Save yourself $5000.00 and find the right for your child.  It may take you a day or two longer, but you can do it.  Sometimes it doesn’t take that long – it is all about knowing the right questions – and at www.helpyourteens.com (Parent Consultants)- we have helpful tips and hints to guide you.

As a Parent Consultant, we have walked in your shoes.  We have have had the troubled teen, done the reach, taken the time to know the background of the daunting big business of the teen help industry.  Take your time – do your homework.  This is a major financial and emotional decision for you and your teen.

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Teen Help for your Struggling Teen: When Parents Reach their Wit’s End

What happened to that bouncing happy toddler that you once would bring to the park and play in the sand with?  What happened to that elementary child that would bring home that artwork that would hang on your refrigerator door for weeks and I bet is still packed in boxes somewhere?  It is called adolescent with a splash of peer pressure and today’s dose of entitlement issues!  In my opinion of course.  We are dealing with teens that are good kids making bad choices.  We live in a society where our teens seem to rule our homes, and parents have limited rights to control them.  How many times have your teen threatened to call the authorities on YOU?  Yes, I have heard this before.  There are parents that literally live in fear of their own teen.

Should you have to live like a hostage in your own home?  Of course not.  Does this mean your teen needs a boot camp?  Absolutely not – not in my opinion.  Military Schools are rarely the answer either – unless you can afford to lose $25K-30K when they get expelled.  It is time for you to do some research and that is what I have done over the past decade after I was once that parent with a troubled teen.

Do you really need to pay someone up to $5000.00 to tell you that you need to send your child to the woods for a glorified camping trip aka Wilderness program then to a residential program or are you capable of doing this yourself?  Let’s look at this….. Maybe you can save yourself some money……

  • Educational Consultants were originally designed to help parents with their teens to find the right colleges and with the application process.
  • As the shift in teen help increased, they seemed to branch out into the residential treatment field.
  • Most have not experienced what you are going through.  Most do not know what you are dealing with at home.  Only an experienced parent that has been there really knows that feeling of helplessness.
  • What is the EC Shuffle? Find out more and try not to get into the mix.  Parent Consultants do not employ this type of assistance for your needs.  “The EC I spoke with only wants $500.00, that seems fair.”   Remember the cliché you get what you pay for, yes, you will find some Educational Consultants that will only charge $500.00 but you also get limited services usually including the EC Shuffle with a list of programs.  Nothing more than you could have found on your own in a few Internet searches.

Parent power – believe it or not – you can do it!

You have the ability and the power to find the right program that is best for your individual teen’s needs.  Parent Consultants are not only parents that have been there, they are parents that have personally visited many schools and programs.  They have obtained even more information and feedback from other parents and students of a large variety of programs in the United States.

  • The big business or industry of teen help programs and schools is not about your educational background, such as being a PhD or an LCSW, it is about being in it and part of it – which goes back to first hand experiences.
  • Take advantage of our free consultation to determine if we will be able to assist you and your family.

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Teen Drug Use Up According to New Survey

It’s not my kid!‘ is a common phrase parents will say.

It’s always the kid down the street, or the one at school, or even another family member.  Parents that stay in the world of denial about their teen using drugs, are actually only harming their teenager.  The more you make excuses, the longer you are allowing this dangerous behavior.

This is National Recovery Month, why not take a moment to seriously consider your teen’s behavior.  You could save their life.

Did you know more teens smoke marijuana than cigarettes?

The use of illicit drugs among Americans increased between 2008 and 2010, according to a national survey conducted by SAMHSA. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that 22.6 million Americans age 12 or older (8.9 percent of the population) were current illicit drug users. The rate of use in 2010 was similar to the rate in 2009 (8.7 percent), but remained above the 2008 rate (8.0 percent).

Another disturbing trend is the continuing rise in the rate of current illicit drug use among young adults age 18 to 25—from 19.6 percent in 2008 to 21.2 percent in 2009 and 21.5 percent in 2010. This increase was also driven in large part by a rise in the rate of current marijuana use among this population.

We stand at a crossroads in our Nation’s efforts to prevent substance abuse and addiction,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “These statistics represent real lives that are at risk from the harmful and sometimes devastating effects of illicit drug use. This Nation cannot afford to risk losing more individuals, families, and communities to illicit drugs or from other types of substance abuse—instead, we must do everything we can to effectively promote prevention, treatment, and recovery programs across our country.”

The annual NSDUH survey, released by SAMHSA at the kickoff of the 22nd annual National Recovery Month observance, is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 67,500 people throughout the country, age 12 and older. Because of its statistical power, NSDUH is the Nation’s premier source of statistical information on the scope and nature of many behavioral health issues.

Source: SAMHSA

View the complete survey here.

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