Category Archives: Drug abuse prevention

An increase in synthetic marijuana use among teens

Synthetic versions of marijuana are sending some teens to the hospital, says a case report to be released in the April issue of Pediatrics.

The drugs, created in uncontrolled settings and sold in gas stations and convenience stores, consist of herbs sprayed with chemicals that mimic the

Courtesy DrugFreeAZ.org

psychoactive properties of THC, Continue reading

New findings on what may lead kids to binge drinking

A recent study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that that the more exposure teens had to alcohol use in movies, the more likely they were to binge drink.

The age, affluence and rebelliousness of the teens did not seem to matter. And this pattern was observed across cultures in countries with different norms regarding teen and adult alcohol use and drinking culture.

What can parents do to make sure kids don’t pick up the cues from the many movies out these days that show alcohol use? And what are some ways that parents can prevent a child from binge drinking?

Dr. Dale Guthrie, a pediatrician in practice at Gilbert Pediatrics, says communication is the key.

Guthrie, who serves as vice president of the Arizona Chapter of the AAP, encourages parents to stay involved — and to make sure to meet and know their children’s friends, from the early days of pre-school right on through high school.

More tips from Dr. Guthrie on how to help prevent your child from using alcohol and other drugs:

  • Know where your teen is at all times.  Teens may act as if they don’t like it but teens are actually more secure knowing their parents care enough to know where they are and what they’re doing.
  • Consciously and genuinely praise your teen for something good he does every day.
  •  Make sure she knows she can talk to you about anything, at any time, if it is important to her and that she won’t be interrupted judgmentally with a lecture.
  •  Remember you are his parent, (not his best friend, afraid to step on his toes) and offer advice when requested and at opportune teaching moments in short phrases, not long lectures which are tuned out anyway.
  •  Better yet, ask inspired questions of your teen—the kind which help her arrive at the correct solution.
  •  Attend movies with your teen and then ask open-ended questions about what he thought about it.
  •  At a nonthreatening time, (not right as your teen is headed out to a movie), sit down as a family and discuss what are your family goals and standards.  As part of that, set family standards for what types of movies you will view and which are beneath your family standards.
  •  When your teen returns from being out with friends, it is helpful to have a “check-in” with parents.  If the tradition has been set that he will give parents a hug (or even a kiss) no matter what time he returns, parents will know more about what he’s been doing  just by being close to him, listening and observation.

Parents of younger children might not be thinking about the teenage years, but is there anything they can do to lower the risk that their child will abuse alcohol down the road?

Will your six-year-old become a teen drinker?

One very simple way is for parents to make sure they truly listen to their child right from the start.

Guthrie says that children need to feel that what they say is of prime importance to their parents. “Then when she has something really serious to discuss, he adds, “she will feel comfortable coming to you.”

Modeling healthy behaviors themselves, and engaging kids in conversation at opportune moments (short snippets in lieu of lengthy lectures) are other ways parents can make a difference, says Guthrie.

RAK Archives: Talking to teens about alcohol poisoning

More on talking to kids about drugs and alcohol, and upcoming Parent Workshops from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Arizona Affiliate

Is your kid drinking Four Loko?

So, I’m riding home in the car Wednesday evening, listening to the radio, thinking I’ve learned all I need to know about Four Loko, the caffeinated alcoholic beverage.

Earlier that day, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had warned the makers of that canned drink and three others that their products contained “unsafe food additives” (see the FDA news release here).

But my ears perked up when NPR reporter Tovia Smith began interviewing students at a college in Boston where MY SON IS A SECOND YEAR!

Smith interviewed a couple of students. (Listen to the story here) One reacted to the news of the demise of Four Loko by saying, “It’s about time.” and the other expressed how annoying this ban was, that just when kids are having a good time, adults step in to spoil the fun. (Thankfully, that student wasn’t my son– hope that kid’s mother was listening, too!)

No parent wants to learn that their son or daughter is drinking or doing drugs- especially broadcast nationwide on NPR.

But if you suspect that your child is going to parties where alcohol or prescription drugs are readily available, and you’re not sure what you can do about it, then a local Parents Connect workshop might be for you.

AZ Parents Connect is a research-based community education program developed by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America to raise awareness of teen alcohol, marijuana and prescription drug abuse. They’re offering free workshops to connect parents to resources and practical information on Saturday mornings in Central Phoenix.

If you have a nagging feeling that your child might be trying alcohol or drugs, AZ Parents Connect is a place to ask questions and find out more about how to find out for sure, and what to do next.

There’s still time to sign up.

 


Free workshops on preventing teen drug use

The Arizona Affiliate of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America has announced the launch of AZ Parents Connect, a research-based community education program developed by the Partnership to raise awareness of teen alcohol, marijuana and prescription drug abuse in Arizona by targeting parents, health care professionals and military families.

AZ Parents Connect will focus on prevention, intervention and treatment through parent workshops and in-person and online community trainings. The project is supported by a grant from the Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families.

Beginning this weekend, free workshops will be presented in 12 sessions that will take place from noon to 1pm on Saturdays in central Phoenix. The sessions will be led by Partnership staff and Chris Wilkins, a master level professional counselor, and will focus on topics such as substance abuse risk factors, the stages of addiction and relapse prevention.

“These workshops are a way to connect parents to resources and practical information that will help them guide their children to live healthy, drug-free lives,” says workshop coordinator Kim Obert.

For a full list of session topics and dates, visit azparentsconnect.org. You can attend one or all of the sessions. To register, call 602-264-5700.

AZ Parents Connect also offers a multimedia presentation by healthcare and prevention professionals to parents and interested community groups. Community and faith-based organizations interested in scheduling a free presentation on the consequences of drug use, the teen brain and how to spot drug use should contact the Partnership at 602-264-5700 or partnerup@partnerupaz.org.

“Prescription drug abuse has become our biggest problem among teens here in Arizona,” says Shelly Mowrey, director of programs and communications for the Arizona Affiliate. “Arizona teens are also using marijuana and alcohol at high rates. We will address these alarming trends by providing parents and caregivers with the tools they need to talk to their kids about substance abuse — and giving families the tools they need for intervention and treatment, if necessary.”

10 tools to fight prescription drug abuse

Intentional misuse of prescription medications is the biggest teen substance abuse challenge today. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Arizona Affiliate, one out of four 12th graders has used a prescription painkiller without a doctor’s prescription.

Even if your kids aren’t yet using, the chances are great they will be offered these and other substances.

How you can fight back:

Use your cell phone to stay in touch with your teens. Learn to communicate as they do, through texting. Create a secret phrase or code your teen can use if they need to call you for help to get out of a situation, but don’t want to say anything in the presence of friends.

Make a list of important phone numbers — your teen’s friends and their parents, coaches, school nurses, mentors, etc.

Create a network of responsible adults who know you, know your child and have the courage to speak up if they are concerned about your child’s safety.

Spend at least 15 minutes a day talking or playing with your teen.

Establish curfews.

Get rid of medications in your home that you no longer need. To correctly dispose of prescription drugs, the pills must be smashed and mixed in with some undesirable trash like coffee grinds or kitty litter. Do not flush the drugs down the toilet – it contaminates the water source.

Eat meals together. It provides an opportunity to stay connected and talk with your teens about important topics, or just about the day’s events.

Say “no” to large-scale sleepovers. Once kids become teenagers, this is no longer appropriate. A group will get into trouble much easier than one or two teens together.

Remember that spending time with your children and teens should be fun. Go to a movie, play a board game, go for a walk. Spending time with your teens will help strengthen your bond. Your children will respect you as a parent and role model, but they will appreciate and cherish your friendship as well.

Be patient. Teens may look grown up and act grown up, but their brains haven’t yet caught up. Brains aren’t fully mature until about age 24. There is some fascinating science on teen brain and substance abuse that can help you understand this time in a teen’s life.

Do you have questions about what certain drugs look like? Do you need help getting a conversation started with your teen? Visit PartnerUpAz.org for information and resources.

Source: Partner Up, Arizona newsletter.