Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Seneca Ranch Second Chance Youth Ranch

Be careful where you click into!
I was made aware that the program that used to be Carolina Springs Academy, where my daughter was harmed, was just re-opened as Seneca Ranch in Due West, SC.

As a parent advocate, I encourage parents to do their due diligence when researching programs for their teenager. The Internet is full of wonderful websites and toll-free numbers that will sell you many things.

When it comes to your child, learn to separate the Internet fact from the Internet fiction.  There will always be those forums of slander - former institutionalized kids that believed they were wronged by the system - and many still don't have relationships with their family.

Though I feel for them, I also understand that there are many good programs in our country - as well as a handful of not so good ones.  You will never please everyone, however when you have the same repetitive stories over and over - from different kids at different times from different parts of the country, you seem to start believing something isn't right.  In collaboration with a string of lawsuits filed against them - there is enough smoke that many would thing a fire is about to start.  That is only my opinion.

Learn from my experiences - gain from my knowledge.

Holidays can be a stressful time - don't allow sales people to pressure you into making rash decisions.

It is important to make a decision, but make the best decision for your family.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Teens, Drugs and Online Pharmacies



There was a day you gave birth to a child that you believed was your heart and soul and you would protect that child from all the bad things in this world.  From infancy to toddler to elementary school and hanging that beautiful finger painting artwork up on your refrigerator door, the joy and pride of parenthood kept growing.

Then we start the tweenage era.  That middle-school itch.  The peer pressure, the "where do I belong" and "who will be my friend" in the lunchroom. 

Today life growing up from a child to a tween to a teen is escalated by technology of the digital access that kids have today.  It is like they are growing up in the Jetson generation only hundred times faster.  It is advised that parents should have the "tech talk" with their kids even before the "sex talk."  That is a strong indicator of the importance of how cyber-life has taken over our lives--both young and old.

Drug dealers have figured this out too.  Your teenager can purchase drugs illegally from online pharmacies, unfortunately, rather easily.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people in America die from an overdose of prescription drugs than from heroin and cocaine combined.  This is why organizations like StopMedicineAbuse.org are so important in helping educate parents to the issue of a teen's access to narcotics and other drugs both in your home and online.  

Digital Citizens Alliance released a new study that 31% of students take prescription drugs to get through finals.   That is 1 in 3 students that obtain these drugs without prescription from a doctor.  15% of students have or have a friend that have ordered these drugs online and 71% of these students parents believe it is common for students to share prescription drugs.

Prescription drug use and over the counter medicine use is an issue that we need to take very seriously and it starts from the moment your child is old enough to have their own keypad; whether it comes in the form of a cell phone with a data plan or a computer or tablet.  They are now potentially open targets to online drug dealers in combination with peer pressure.

Most parents know that communication is key to prevention.  Keeping an open dialog with your child is crucial in helping them with peer pressure and making choices that can affect their future.

Let's look at some tips that parents may not be as familiar with:

 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. Go online for the Teen Drug Slang Dictionary.
 Monitor, monitor, monitor.  Especially if you suspect your teen is using substances, it is imperative you closely monitor their digital activities.  Their computer history, cell phone calls and text messages (and remember, you are paying the bills, you can have the phone as well as their passwords), as well as who they are hanging out with both online and off.
 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 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?
Online pharmacies and YouTube. Online pharmacies are a huge concern for parents of teenagers. RYAN's Cause is a tragic example of how easy it is to obtain illegal drugs online and the deadly consequences.  Did you know that Google was under criminal investigation for aiding and abetting the sale of illegal drugs and eventually paid half a billion dollars to settle the case ? 

Now state Attorneys General are looking into Google's role in continuing to make money from this illegal and dangerous online commerce.   Attorney General Hood said that the violators were easy to find, "On every check we have made, Google's search engine gave us easy access to illegal goods, including websites which offer dangerous drugs without a prescription, counterfeit goods of every description," he said.  Teens are savvy, and so are the drug dealers.  Leave a door open, and they will find a way in. 

Although Google claims to have rectified this issue, Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) alleges that Google is still allowing access to the illegal pharmacies that peddle these drugs through YouTube, which is owned by Google. They say that Google continues to make money from this activity by selling ads to legitimate brands that show up on YouTube.  

Though Google may say that its policies prohibit illegal videos that help teens or others gain access to illegal drugs without prescriptions, the truth is that Google has very little incentive to take down this content that drives traffic to YouTube, especially YouTube mobile.  Bloomberg reported that YouTube revenue tripled in the past six months due to increase mobile advertising sales.   We all know how teens love their cell phones and how much time they spend on YouTube.   

In fact, a recent study said that 93% of teens check YouTube each week.  With a that high of a percentage of teens on YouTube the risk of your teen stumbling on an online pharmacy ad is probably high.  Learn more about this.  It is worth your time.

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Teen Drug Abuse: Out of Reach, Medicine Abuse Through the Eyes of a Teen

"Out of Reach" is a special documentary created by a teen filmmaker who captures the issue of teen prescription drug abuse as it exists in his world. The issues contained in the film are a reflection of this issue across the country. It was created in collaboration with director Tucker Capps (of A&E's "Intervention") and The Partnership at Drugfree.org's Medicine Abuse Project.

With the holiday's around the corner, it is imperative that parents not only know what is in their medicine cabinets, but also be aware of what their parents (grandparents) have in their homes.  As you visit relatives and friends this holiday season, it can also be an opportunity for your teen/tween to scout out a variety of bathrooms and medicine cabinets.

Be an educated parent - you will have safer and healthier kids.

Learn more from The Medicine Abuse Project.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Teen Help: Age of Consent ~ Can Your Teen Sign Themselves Out of Residential Treatment Programs?

No matter what time of the year it is, dealing with a teenager that is pushing the limits and creating friction in your home can be a stressful time.

Compound that with the holidays approaching and knowing there will be time off from school, can be a bit overwhelming.  Will they get into more trouble or will they be busy with constructive projects?  Maybe get a part-time job?

In most cases, my colleague and I hear from parents that are at their wit's end and realize that if they don't intervene the consequences could be serious.

Holiday time is not always the most opportune time of year, however troubled teenagers don't know when to take vacations.

When parents call us for help in searching for residential therapy, many want to try to keep them as close to home as possible.

There are some concerns we express when we speak with the parent about selecting a program as it pertains to the location:
  • Convenience is nice, however the priority is what is best for your child's needs
  • If cost is a factor, sometimes programs are less expensive in other states
  • Staying in a familiar state can sometimes increase the flight risk of your teenager.  He/she knows the state and they have less of a fear of running away and being able to call on a friend to pick them up.
  • Age of consent:  Knowing if you are in a state that your child can legally sign themselves out of a program.
The last issue is very important.

Many attorney's are not even familiar with this.  Parents and most others "assume" that age of consent and age of majority - means at 18 years old you are considered an adult and can make your own legal choices.  It is a fact, at 18 years old you are considered an adult (although many teens may not be acting like one), however for educational purposes, at younger ages - they can are of age to sign themselves out of schools and programs.

HOWEVER - this is not so when it comes to many states in our country with the exception of a few.

Since I am in the state of Florida, I will speak for Florida.  Our age of consent/age of majority is 16.  Any teen can sign themselves out of a school or program at 16 years-old.  If their parent doesn't agree - they will be held with truancy.

In the Carolina's the age of majority is 17 years-old.  If you place your child in a program in NC, and he/she runs away from it.  If they are picked up by law enforcement, they will ask your child how old they are.  If they are 17 years-old or more, they will be advised that they can either have a bus ticket home or go back to the program.  What would your child choose?

You see many programs in the state of Utah.  Why?  Because they have an age of majority of 18.  There are several others states with the same age of consent.

For more information please call us or visit us at www.helpyourteens.com.  We can help you make an educated decision.  Selecting a program/school for your teen is a major financial and emotional decision --- yet sometimes I see parents that spend more time researching an automobile - than they do these programs.

We can help you help your teenager. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Teen Help During the Holidays: Residential Treatment Centers

Making the right choice is not always easy.
A question my colleague and I are frequently asked during this time of the year is, "The holidays are here, should we send our teen into a residential program now or wait until after the holidays are over?"

Parents' Universal Resources Experts has been helping families for over a decade, actually over 12 years now, and the answer hasn't changed.

If you wait for the holidays to be over, you may be risking your teen getting  into further trouble as well as causing more stress and friction during your family holiday season.

As school is out teenagers, if they don't have constructive plans, will sometimes get involved with hanging out in places they shouldn't be with people they shouldn't be with.  Today we are facing a time when many parents are working full-time and it is difficult to monitor our kids 24/7 and nearly impossible to tell them who to pick as their peer group.

We explain to parents, as difficult as it will be missing your child at the holidays, it will only be one Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah --- compared to the rest of your life you will have with a healthy child.  You need to weigh your options.

Giving your teen the gift of a second opportunity of a bright future is the best holiday gift a parent can give - as well as a responsible parent.  Keeping them home is only prolonging the inevitable - it really isn't for them -- it is for you.  And that isn't helping your child.

Think about what is in the best interest of your teen.  The gift of healing and recovery.