Sunday, July 31, 2011

Are you the next Five Mom? Help Prevent Medicine Abuse

Help Stop Teen Cough Medicine Abuse 
 

Talking to teens about drug abuse is never easy. Did you know teens that learn about the dangers of drugs from their parents are 50 percent less likely to abuse drugs? As parents, we must work together to educate our teens and create awareness about the dangers of substance abuse, including over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse.

In 2007, five moms from around the country were brought together to share information with other parents about the largely unknown trend among teens of abusing OTC cough medicines to get high. Since then, the Five Moms campaign has reached more than 24 million parents to help educate them about preventing teen cough medicine abuse, spreading awareness to parents, schools, and communities. And now they want your help! The campaign recently launched the Are You the Next Five Mom? search to look for a new Mom to join the fight against cough medicine abuse.

Are you a mom who is passionate about working with teens? Do you have experience working with teens and substance abuse? If you are interested in being a part of the Five Moms campaign, they are looking for someone who:
  • Has experience or a passion for working with teens;
  • Has past or previous involvement in teen programming or issues affecting teens;
  • Has experience working with teens and/or substance abuse;
  • Has raised awareness of cough medicine abuse in their community or is a community leader;
  • Works with teens on a daily or weekly basis a coach, teacher, guidance counselor, youth group leader, etc.;
  • Uses social media to reach parents and educate them about teen substance abuse;
  • Is involved with community organizations that center around pre-teens and teens;
  • Developed an original idea or event to educate others about cough medicine abuse; or
  • Has distributed Five Moms and/or cough medicine abuse information to their children, peers, community, etc.
For more information on how to enter the Are You the Next Five Mom? search, and for the official rules and regulations, visit FiveMoms.com. To learn more about over-the-counter medicine abuse, visit StopMedicineAbuse.org.

You can join them in Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Youth Substance Abuse is America's #1 Health Problem

Be an educated parent.
Nine out of 10 Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction¹ started smoking, drinking, or using other drugs before age 18, according to a national study released today by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
 
Adolescent Substance Use: America’s #1 Public Health Problem reveals that adolescence is the critical period for the initiation of substance use and its consequences. The CASA report finds 1 in 4 Americans who began using any addictive substance before age 18 are addicted, compared to 1 in 25 Americans who started using at age 21 or older.
 
The CASA report reveals that:
  • 75 percent (10 million) of all high school students have used addictive substances including tobacco, alcohol, marijuana or cocaine; 1 in 5 of them meets the medical criteria for addiction.
  • 46 percent (6.1 million) of all high school students currently use addictive substances; 1 in 3 of them meets the medical criteria for addiction.
“Teen substance use is our nation's number one public health problem. Smoking, drinking and using other drugs while the brain is still developing dramatically hikes the risk of addiction and other devastating consequences,” said Jim Ramstad, Former Member of Congress (MN-3) and a CASA board member who also chaired the report’s National Advisory Commission.

The CASA report noted that alcohol is the preferred addictive substance among high school students:
  • 72.5 percent have drunk alcohol;
  • 46.3 percent have smoked cigarettes;
  • 36.8 percent have used marijuana;
  • 14.8 percent have misused controlled prescription drugs; and
  • 65.1 percent have used more than one substance.
“Addiction is a disease that in most cases begins in adolescence so preventing or delaying teens from using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs for as long as possible is crucial to their health and safety,” said Susan Foster, CASA’s Vice President and Director of Policy Research and Analysis. “We rightfully worry about other teen health problems like obesity, depression or bullying, but we turn a blind eye to a more common and deadly epidemic that we can in fact prevent.”
Source: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University
 
Do you suspect your teen is using drugs? Get help at www.HelpYourTeens.com.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Death of Amy Winehouse: Teen Drug Abuse can lead to Addiction

Addiction: Dangerous and deadly
The tragic loss of Amy Winehouse has robbed us of a young, if fatally troubled, life cut down in its prime. It has also cheated music of a talent, at 27, whose best years surely still lay ahead.

For the past few years, it often seemed to be a question of when, not if, her drug and alcohol addictions would push her body beyond its limits. Her fans willed her to beat her demons and get well, but in the end, the demons won.

What demons are we speaking about?  No, not Satan, but substance abuse.

Many parents will overlook their teen only smoking pot, or just drinking alittle, but in reality your denial is only harming your teenager.

Before becoming an addict, it start with just a joint - maybe just a shot of vodka, but where it ends up, no one knows.

Let this tragedy be a time to open the door to communication with your teen.  Talk about the dangers of drug use, drinking and other negative behaviors.

Tips to help prevent teen 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.
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.     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.     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.comprovides 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.

Do you have a teen that you suspect is using drugs?  Have you exhausted all your local resources?

Don't be a parent in denial!


Take the time to learn about residential therapy, visit www.HelpYourTeens.com.  Each teen and family are unique, there are many teen help programs, knowing how to locate the one best for you can be a challenge, however Parents' Universal Resource Experts, can help, starting with a free consultation.

Many prayers and thoughts to the family and friends of Amy Winehouse.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teens Starting College: Transition Blues

Mental illness continues to mystify the mainstream, and students already stressed and anxious about classes, relationships, jobs and activities end up suffering from the stigmas just as much as the conditions themselves. But they don’t have to nurture their pain in quiet. More and more individuals (students or not), their loved ones and organizations are speaking up in favor of psychological help in all its forms.

The following list represents some of the most common conditions occurring on campuses globally, though by no means should it be considered a comprehensive glimpse at an issue far more broad and complex.
  1. Clinical Depression: At least 44% of college students have reported suffering from some degree of clinical depression — and the number only escalates from there as years tick past. Thanks to prevailing social stigmas regarding psychiatric help, only 23% of victims reported that they’d be comfortable discussing their treatment. Considering the amount of stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and inter- and intrapersonal issues characterizing the college experience, it makes sense that an overwhelming number of students succumb to the symptoms. And, unfortunately, many of the common comorbid conditions and illnesses as well.
  2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Statistics from 2000 reveal that roughly 10% of college students received a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, but in all likelihood the numbers have jumped over the past 11 years. Females suffer from such conditions at a rate of five times more than their male peers, though the numbers may be skewed due to unfair social perspectives regarding men and mental illness. Panic attacks inextricably tie into GAD and related disorders, and the afflicted — regardless of whether or not they attend college — can experience them either spontaneously or based on an external or internal cue. Do keep in mind that not all anxiety disorders manifest themselves via panic attacks, nor are all panic attacks inherently indicative of an anxiety disorder.
  3. Anorexia Nervosa: At least 91% of female college students have attempted to control their weight via extreme dieting, though not all of these cases can be considered anorexia, of course. Bulimia is actually more prevalent on campus, although anorexia kills more of its victims. Between 10% and 25% of total individuals with this tragic eating disorder die either from the disease itself or complications stemming directly from it. As with other diagnoses of its type, anorexia rarely ravages alone. Not only can it exist side-by-side with bulimia, EDNOS or binge eating disorder, it oftentimes settles in as a result of depression, compulsions or severe anxiety. Lifetime statistics show that between 0.5% and 3.6% of American women suffer from this condition at some point in their lives. With eating disorders on the whole, one of the major associated tragedies is the recovery rate. Only around 60% of victims make a full recovery, with 20% making some headway and the remaining 20% not really coming around.
  4. Bulimia Nervosa: Bulimia nervosa can either exist as comorbid with anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder or EDNOS or on its own, though almost always stems from a mood, anxiety or compulsive disorder rather than flying entirely solo. Roughly 19% of female college students suffer beneath the destructive diagnosis, although males do suffer from it as well. This compares with the 1.1% to 4.2% of women who struggle with bulimia at any point in their lifetime — not just the college years.
  5. Substance Abuse: College males admit to past-year drug abuse at a rate of 40%, compared to the 43% of their un-enrolled peers. Females represent an inverse, with 35% of students abusing drugs versus 33% for those outside of college. A total of 37.5% of full-time students and 38.5% of part-timers admitted to illicit substance abuse. Roughly half of the college demographic engages in destructive alcohol consumption, with 1,700 dying, 599,000 injured, 696,000 assaulted and 97,000 raped or sexually assaulted yearly as a direct result. The reasons for these behaviors are as many and varied as there are individuals to display them, although a desire to fit in, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are frequently to blame.
  6. Suicidal Thoughts and Actions: 7.5 out of every 100,000 college students commit suicide, with males between the ages of 20 and 24 standing as the most at-risk demographic. Graduate students are also more vulnerable, claiming 32% of these tragedies. At least 10.1% of total college kids admitted to seriously contemplating suicide, and 1.4% said they attempted it within the past year. The myriad emotional, mental and physical challenges of college life leave so many overwhelmed by hopelessness, stress and despair. Suicide often — but, of course, not always — represents the extreme end of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, compulsive disorders and other mental health conditions. And the general stigma surrounding the seeking of professional help, particularly amongst men, certainly doesn’t quell the problem any.
  7. Self-Injury: A 2006 study by Princeton and Cornell researchers revealed that 14% of male and 20% of female students repeatedly engaged in some sort of compulsive self-injury. Cutting, burning, and other dangerous releases provide a similar temporary comfort as drug and alcohol abuse. And, understandably, tend to correlate directly with anxiety, mood disorders, eating disorders, and even suicidal thoughts and behaviors, although single or repeated instances of physical, mental, and emotional abuse as well as lowered self-esteem can factor in at any time as well. 41% of college-aged self-injurers began hurting themselves between the ages of 17 and 22, although the national average is between 14 and 15. Unfortunately, only around 7% of these individuals seek psychological assistance for their torment.
  8. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: OCD afflicts one out of every 40 adults, one out of every 100 children and 250 out of every 10,000 college students. Considering higher education already severely taxes kids without any preexisting mental health conditions, it might prove hellacious to those suffering from the compulsive disorder. If left untreated, sufferers run the risk of succumbing to depression and anxiety (both of which are oftentimes co-morbid with OCD), substance abuse, self-injury or even suicide.
  9. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: It’s difficult to really gauge just how many college students truly suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as its symptoms almost always overlap with depressive and anxiety issues — not to mention the fact that both often grow from it. The condition settles in after any number of triggering incidents, but military service and sexual assault (up to and including rape) tend to garner the most attention. Both also impact college students and college-aged as well. An estimated 11% to 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are expected to return home with PTSD. At least 20% of college females reported being victimized by rape at some point in their life, and on a national level only 18% actually take it to the authorities. Women under the age of 30.8 (specifically, those in the 16 to 19 range) are the most vulnerable demographic to sexual assault and rape, comprising 80% of reported cases.
  10. Phobias: Whether mild and largely harmless or in need of professional intervention, specific phobias are incredibly common both on and off college campuses. Arachnophobia appears to be the most prevalent, afflicting a staggering 34% of the student populace. The only one with any real relevance or influence on college life was public speaking, which terrified 31%. Surprisingly enough, 18% of respondents said they thought they might greatly benefit from pursuing counseling or other form of psychological assistance.
Source:  Accredited Online Colleges

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Top 5 Parenting Experts: P.U.R.E. Founder Included

Join me on Twitter and FB

Do you think there are more parents on Facebook or Twitter?

Now, if I had to guess, I would say that more parents are active on Facebook than Twitter. Just going by the numbers, Facebook has over 750 million subscribers. I know that as a parent, I spend more time on Facebook.

However, I have found that Twitter is a great source for all types of connections and resources.
Just like anything on the internet there is a lot to sort through to get to the good stuff. That is why I wanted to write this post and share with you some of the best parenting experts that I have found on Twitter.
Of course, these folks have websites and Facebook pages too, if you don’t hang out on Twitter. I will post those links as well.

1. Brian R. King, LCSW@brianrking

Brian is a fantastic resource for families and children on the autism spectrum. He is an adult on the autism spectrum and is also the father of three sons on the autism spectrum. He has a unique and powerful perspective in serving this community and parents in general. He also has innovative programs, including webinars and coaching programs.
Website: spectrummentor.com
Facebook: HERE

2. Dr. Michele Borba@micheleborba

Dr. Michele Borba truly is a parenting expert and literally wrote the big book on parenting solutions. She is a Parenting Contributor for several TV shows, including the TODAY Show, Dr. Phil and MSNBC. Michele is a Psychologist, educator and author of 22 books, including “The Big Book of Parenting Solutions.” Oh yeah, most importantly she is also a Mom. She is also very friendly and personable on Twitter.
Website: micheleborba.com
Facebook: HERE

3. Dr. Laura Markham@drlauramarkham

Dr. Laura Markham is an excellent resource for parents. She has a website that is jam packed with great info that is helpful to parents of kids of all ages. Dr. Laura is definitely “making the world a better place…one family at a time.” She is both a Mom and a clinical psychologist. In all of her work she emphasizes self-care for parents and ways to always maintain a connected relationship with your kids. Really good stuff. You should check her out online.
Website: ahaparenting.com
Facebook: HERE

4. Sue Scheff@suescheff

Sue Scheff seems to be a tireless advocate for kids and teens. She is an author and parent advocate who has been on many TV shows, including 20/20, CNN, Rachael Ray and Dr. Phil. She is very active on Twitter and posts many helpful articles and resources on a daily basis. She is especially connected and fluent in youth culture and trends, which I appreciate with my focus on working with teenagers.
Website: suescheff.com and helpyourteens.com
Facebook: HERE

5. Suzanna Narduci - @suzannanarducci

Suzanna is a Mom of two and co-founder of TweenParent.com, which is a website for parents of preteens, also known as 9-13 year olds. Her website is really fun and easy to navigate. It is chock full of good parenting advice and relevant blog posts. She is fun to connect with on Twitter and always generous in mentioning my Twitter name as someone who cares about kids. Thanks Suzanna!
Website: tweenparent.com
Facebook: HERE

These are just a few of my favorite Parenting Experts to follow on Twitter. There are so many more.

Find more on HelpThisKid - click here.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Parents Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.)

Over a decade of helping families.
It's summer and for parents of teenagers it can be a time of consideration.


What will your teen be doing this summer?  Have you arranged for a summer camps?  Community service hours? Volunteering? Or simply hanging out?

Parenting today's teenagers is a challenge.  Whether it is keeping up with technology or worrying about substance abuse, being a parent today is not an easy job.

If you suspect your teen is using drugs, drinking or engaging in any negative behavior, don't be a parent in denial.  Get the help they may need.  It could be as you need a adolescent therapist or you may need to take the next step of residential therapy.  Either way, you need to be proactive.

Parents' Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.) has over a decade of assisting families with troubled teens, and continues to expand.  Join us on Facebook today.

Teens that are struggling with today's peer pressure, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and simply good kids starting to make bad choices.  P.U.R.E. many very satisfied families that have used their services.  Please take a moment to read some of the testimonials.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Teen Drinking - Underage Drinking

Drinking & Driving, never a good mix.
This time of year often comes with an increase in free time and a decrease in adult supervision.

As your child becomes more and more curious about alcohol, he or she may turn to you for answers and advice. Use this opportunity to start an open, honest conversation about drinking. Since some questions can be difficult to answer, it's important to be prepared.

Q)  I got invited to a party, can I go?
  • A)  Ask your child if an adult will be present at the party, or if he or she thinks children will be drinking. Remind your child that even just being at a party where underage people are drinking can get them in trouble. Use this time to establish or reinforce your rules about alcohol, and what behavior you expect.
Q)  Why do you drink?
  • A)  Explain to your child your reasons for drinking – whether it's to enhance a meal, share good times with friends, or celebrate a special occasion. Point out that if you choose to drink, it's always in moderation. Tell your child that some people shouldn't drink at all, including children who are underage.
Q)  Did you drink when you were a child?
  • A)  If you drank as a teenager, experts recommend that you give an honest answer.1 Explain why you were tempted to try alcohol and why underage drinking is dangerous. You could even give your child an example of an embarrassing or painful moment that occurred because of your drinking.
It is important that parents initiate these conversations as often as possible.  You may believe your child is not listening, however eventually you will realize - they are.

Drinking and driving kills.  Drinking and driving can also result in life changing ways.  As pictured above, Jacqui Saburio was changed forever by a drunk driver.

Jacqui had planned to help her father run his air conditioning factory in Caracas, Venezuela after she finished her industrial engineering studies at the university there. But first she wanted to learn to speak to English. She enrolled in a private language school in Austin, Texas. She had been in the United States for less than a month when her new friends coaxed her into going to a birthday party with them one Saturday night.  Read her full story here.

According to the 2010 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, 50.3% of middle and high school students have not used alcohol in their lifetime, 75.5% have not smoked cigarettes and 74.8% have not used marijuana. Click here for more information.

In Broward County there is a Task Force to Combat Underage Drinking.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens this summer.