Time to Act: Helping parents deal with teens and drugs

Parents are always looking for help on how to parent when it comes to teens and drugs. Well, the new tool from drugfree.org, called Time To Act, may provide just the help parents want.

The tool has separate sections for parents who fear their kids may be trying drugs or for those who know for sure.

Check it out, it’s a great tool that can help a lot in terms of educating, guiding, and informing parents who are having trouble with teens, drugs, and parenting. NIDA also has a new tool called Family Checkup, developed by the Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon, that is aimed at helping parents communicate effectively with their kids when it comes to drugs.

More than anything, research has shown us that communication around the topic of teens and drugs and even more generally communication between parents and their kids about taboo topics, can be effective for reducing problems and for finding help sooner (see here for smoking related research).

About Addiction: Drug Information, alcohol safety, and Addiction recovery resources

You guessed it, another great piece detailing some interesting information about addiction from the corners of the world (wide web?). Enjoy, and remember to let us know if we’re missing some topics you’d like to see here!

Drug Information and alcohol safety

Drug.ie– Educating teens about drugs during the time of adolescence may be too late according to this piece. which claims that parents are very ignorant about the whole drug culture (many do not even know that their teens are using drugs or alcohol). In order to try to combat the drug problem parents should be educated and the whole community should work together to help alleviate the drug problem.   

Irish medical news– A new street drug has emerged in Ireland and is selling for €2 (something like $3). The drug has said to be as dangerous as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). The drug is currently being analyzed for its properties but is thought to be as potent as mephedrone, BZP and MDPV.

Examiner– This article examines the history of Amy Winehouse and how she used to be deeply involved in the world of drugs.  The good thing that emerges from this article is the fact that Amy Winehouse has been sober for over 3 years – If Amy can do it, I’m sure many other addicts can!

Breaking the cycles- This article examines the proper ways to deal with individuals when they are drunk.  Alcohol works by depressing the central nervous system by slowing down the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and slowing a person’s breathing rate. If a friend passes out and they have consumed a lot of alcohol you should turn them on their side in order to prevent them from choking on their vomit. This is important, however it cannot stop the depressant action of alcohol as it keeps working on the central nervous system.

Addiction recovery resources

Bloomsburg Buisnessweek– Mental illness stigma is very difficult to shake when it comes to addiction recovery. In order to compact this issue individuals need to be educated about mental illness. In order to reduce stigma people should be urged to focus on the person rather than the disease.

5min Life Videopedia– This video gives a great perspective on how to help individuals who are recovering from drug addiction and alcohol abuse. It is worth watching, Enjoy!

About Addiction: Kombucha, Alcoholism, Drug Crime, mental health, and the Law

These are the newest links about alcohol, drug crime and mental health. Let us know what you think and leave us your feedback!

Kombucha, Alcohol content, and teens

The New York Times: Some Kombucha drinks may have elevated alcohol content, with specific varieties reaching as high as 3% alcohol by volume, as high as some beers, and much higher than the legal limit on non-alcoholic drinks of 0.5%.

preventionworksct: Hospital emergency room visits linked to underage drinking almost double during the July 4 holiday weekend. Daily underage drinking-related visits are 87 percent higher during the July 4 holiday weekend than on an average day in July.

Caron: Good intentions of parents may unintentionally contribute to teenage alcohol abuse when mixed messages are presented. An expert suggests that substance abuse should be discussed before a kid reaches his or her teens.

Science Daily: Teens tend to increase their alcohol consumption in summer. Experts suggest parents monitor their children.

Drug Crime & Law

UPI: In Mexican drug smuggle, increasingly more teenagers are used to smuggle drugs across the U.S. border into Arizona. In 2009, 130 minors were arrested while allegedly trying to smuggle drugs across the border through entry ports from Sonora, Mexico, into Arizona.

Politica AP: Since the 2006 passage of an anti-methamphetamine law, the number of crystal meth lab cleanups nationwide has decrease. Investigators link the decline to the law that made it harder to buy chemicals used in this drug production.

About addiction and mental health

Reuters: There is an association between marijuana use and increased risks of depression and anxiety disorders. It is though unclear whether marijuana use itself, or some other factor, accounts for this connection.

Health Day: What works to treat adult addicts may not work for the younger population. According to experts, illnesses that start earlier in life are harder to treat than illnesses developed during adult life.

They do it in the movies!!! Smoking, teens, and being cool

Contributing co-author: Jamie Felzer

Celebrities get their fair share of flack for inappropriate behavior on screen. Only recently, research regarding the effects of onscreen violence, even in cartoons, making youngsters act more aggressively made some serious noise.

So what about smoking? If kids see their favorite stars smoking cigarettes in films, would they be more inclined to light up as well?

Smoking, movies, and research

A recent study revealed that adolescents in 4th to 9th grade of all backgrounds and ethnicities are in fact more likely to smoke after watching such movies. However, it wasn’t simply watching the movies that increased the likelihood of smoking. The researchers found that if a teen viewed movies where any type of smoking was present their expectancies about smoking became more positive and they were more likely to try it themselves.

teen-smokingTeens see their idolized movie stars looking relaxed and satisfied after smoking so they believe the same effects (physically and emotionally) will happen to them as well. Many movies portray smoking in a social setting, so they assume that with smoking comes the positive social setting. Parents also may not realize that their own smoking effectively promotes the behavior (I’d mentioned this sort of effect with drinking in this post).

Targeting movies for teens

The type of movies that contain many smoking scenes may appeal to youngsters who are already predisposed to smoking; such as those who were older, male, more rebellious, sensation seeking or who had low self-esteem. There were also gender-based differences: females were more likely to begin smoking if their peers did whereas parental smoking status mattered less to females.

The participants were asked to answer the same questions 8 months after the initial interview date. Over time, smoking expectancies became more positive. Whether this had to do with participants aging, peer influence or the viewing of more movies involving smoking scenes is unclear.

One result was cleara higher number of movies with smoking scenes increased the likelihood of teens lighting up because it planted the seed in these young minds that smoking was pleasurable and the it has physical, as well as social benefits. Though the research didn’t look into other behaviors, it wouldn’t surprise me if the same process also affects teens’ likelihood of starting to do other drugs and engage in other negative, and positive, acts.

Maybe it’s time to show the other side of smoking: morning coughing, yellowing teeth, and long, often cold trips to the street.

Citation:

Wills, Sargent, Stoolmiller, Gibbons, and Gerrard (2008). Movie smoking exposure and smoking onset: A longitudinal study of mediation processes in a representative sample of U.S. adolescents. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 22, 269-277.

Maybe its not all about friends: Parents, race, alcohol, and drug abuse

contributing author: Gacia Tachejian

Have you ever asked yourself where it is that kids learn about drug use? Parents have long been known to protect their young ones from “bad” influences from outside, but a recent study at Yale shows that a major source influence still exists within the home.

Interestingly, the researchers, headed by Dr. William R. Corbin, found that family drinking patterns affected kids of different ethnicities differently. The researchers collected web questionnaires from over 2000 young adults to assess the influence of family drinking, social-group drinking, and thoughts about drinking on the actual behavior of entering freshmen.

Friend Vs family – Racial differences

Keg PartyAs usual, peer influence was found to be the strongest predictor of the participants’ actual drinking (in terms of average drinks per day, and frequency of drinking), accounting for almost half of the overall drinking behavior. However, the peer influence was much stronger for White participants than for Latino ones. On the other hand, family drinking habits were twice as important in affecting Latino kids’ drinking as White kids’ behavior.

The difference in the source of the influence helps explain the gender gap in drinking that exists among Latinos. While White men and women seem to drink about equally, among Latinos, drinking is much more common in men than in women. Young Latina women probably learn early on that drinking is much more acceptable among men and that they are expected to drink less. This is not to undermine the importance of social-group drinking among the Latino participants here, which still accounted for the lion’s share of the alcohol consumption, even in this group.

How does this help us?

The important issue here is in determining which interventions might be most effective in reducing drinking. Obviously, family-based interventions would be less likely to help among the White kids in this sample, though they most likely would reduce drinking among Latino kids.

Overall, the results seem to suggest that one of the major sources of influence on drinking behavior, and most likely drug-using behavior, is still found within the home. This is especially true when considering the larger picture, given that even a child’s peers are influenced by their own parents…