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Category Archives: Addiction

Second Annual National Take Back Day

Announcement from the DEA

News Release [print-friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2011
Contact: Public Affairs
Number: (202) 307-7977


Over 5,300 Sites Join DEA Nationwide Effort
to Take-Back Prescription Drugs on April 30th

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s)
second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is this Saturday, April 30th. More than 5,300 sites nationwide have joined the effort that seeks to prevent pill abuse and theft. This is hundreds more sites than were established for the event last fall. The free event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time.

Government, community, public health and law enforcement partners at these sites will be working together to collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs that are potentially dangerous if left in the family’s medicine cabinet.

Last September, Americans turned in over 242,000 pounds—121 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by more than 3,000 of the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners. Also last fall, Congress passed the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow users of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is presently drafting regulations to implement the Act.

Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov and clicking on the “Got Drugs?” banner at the top of the home page, which connects to a database that citizens can search by zip code, city or county. This site is continuously updated with new take-back locations. In addition, interested media can now go to: www.nationaltakebackday.com to download a public service announcement about the initiative.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high—more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that individuals that abuse prescription drugs often obtained them from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

“The overwhelming public response to DEA’s first nationwide Take-Back event last fall not only rid homes of potentially harmful prescription drugs, but was an unprecedented opportunity to educate everyone about the growing prescription drug abuse problem,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart. “Studies have shown that, for many, prescription drugs are the very first drugs they abuse—and all too often they aren’t the last. That is why we are committed to helping Americans keep their homes safe by ridding their medicine cabinets of expired, unused, and unwanted drugs.”

“I encourage every American to take advantage of this valuable opportunity to safely dispose of unused, un-needed, or expired prescription drugs,” said Gil Kerlikowkse, Director of National Drug Control Policy.  “Preventing these readily available and potentially deadly drugs from being diverted and misused is something each and every one of us can do to help reduce the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is harming so many Americans.”    

Other participants in this initiative include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the American Association of Poison Control Centers; the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; D.A.R.E. America; the Federation of State Medical Boards; the U. S. Health Resources and Services Administration; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Family Partnership; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the National District Attorneys Association; the National Sheriffs Association; and The Partnership at Drugfree.org.


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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Addiction, News

 

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Transitions to Adulthood

I would like to remind parents about the risks of transition times. Increasingly, parents are seeing that the transition to young adulthood is not a smooth one. When I speak about transitions with parents I am often referring to transitions between activities such as going from English to Math class, from school to home, or from sports practice to homework times. But there are bigger transitions, life transitions, that demand special attention. I discuss with my clients that the struggle through high risk times such as the transition from middle to high school, having the parents go through a divorce, surviving a death in the family, or moving from the turbulent teen years to young adulthood need to be approached carefully.

The families I am working with are reporting that their children are not prepared to head into adulthood.  This is further supported by The Network on Transitions to Adulthood.  According to their reports, “Significant cultural, economic, and demographic changes have occurred in the span of a few generations, and these changes are challenging youths’ psychological and social development. Some are adapting well, but many others are floundering as they prepare to leave home, finish school, find jobs, and start families.”

As our society is becoming more technologically advanced, our daily living skills seem to be falling behind. There are real challenges that this generation of young adults must deal with. However, the skill set needed to successfully launch is severely lacking in many areas.

Many families struggle with what is the best route for their child. There are a wide range of programs all across the country that are designed just to support these needs.  These programs vary greatly in what they offer; from highly structured programs and curricula to support around building vital independent living skills. If you are looking for programs, therapists, and support for a young adult in your life who is struggling, Prepare To Bloom, LLC may be able to help.  You can learn more by calling us at (650)888-4575 or checking out our website at PrepareToBloom.com.

 

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Teenage Addiction

Josh* was introduced to me by his parents because he was struggling to find time for anything other than online gaming and smoking pot.  Josh’s parents were concerned that he had become addicted to marijuana and online gaming. “Who knows?” they thought “Maybe he’s doing other things as well…” His parents shared that their relationship with Josh was deteriorating as a result of this.  They said that when he did come out of his room, which wasn’t often, he would yell and be disrespectful towards them.

After meeting with Josh and his family it was clear to me that Josh did not know how to say to his parents that he was feeling very depressed.  Rather than dealing with his feelings, he was stuffing them away. Instead of talking through his emotions, he was spending more and more of his time in his alternate online reality.

This scenario is reported frequently by the families we work with. Families we meet with frequently report that their teen is an addict. We believe this to be true in a small number of cases. We tend to see that the majority of the clients we work with are using drugs, alcohol, video games, and other process addictions as a way to bring attention to their struggles. Often, teens and young adults are unable to effectively communicate their pain in another way, so they communicate through their actions.

Regardless of whether they are using drugs, alcohol, sexting, online gaming, gambling, or other process addictions, all of these unhealthy coping mechanisms are effective at relieving stress in the short term. The problem is that they are not effective in treating the underlying issue that is creating the pain. This is why our clients will continue to participate in these risky behaviors.

The solution is to identify and treat the underlying issues. This may happen in individual therapy, group therapy and or family therapy.  Whether you or your family are looking for therapists or treatment programs, Prepare To Bloom, LLC may be able to help you locate appropriate help. Please contact us at (650) 888-4575 or on the web at www.PrepareToBloom.com.

*All identifying information has been changed to protect the individual’s privacy.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Addiction, Families, Self Harm

 

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Tips for Parents about Drugs and Alcohol

Prepare To Bloom Therapeutic ConsultantsParents often ask about what they should look for to know if their teen, tween, or young adult is using drugs or alcohol. Sometimes a child may tell you, in their own way, they are using but more often than not they will try and hide it. There are many subtle clues that parents can watch out for including changes in behavior, who the child associates with, and changes in their performance and interests. I have heard many stories over the years and have compiled in this blog a short list of factors parents should look out for:

  • Unpredictable behaviors- Most teens have mood swings and unpredictable behaviors. Sometimes parents notice increased lying. Parents often minimize these changes, but they should trust their gut when it happens more frequently or more drastically than previously.
  • Change in peer group- Peer groups change for various reasons, but if you are noticing that your child’s peer group has changed drastically and quickly there may be reason for concern. There is reason to be concerned when your child becomes secretive about who their friends are, where they are going, and who they are hanging out with.  Also find out if their friends are using drugs.  More often than not, if they are hanging out with other kids who are using, they are as well.
  • Lacking interest in sports and other activities- While drugs and alcohol are not the only reason that teens and young adults lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed, it should not be ruled out.
  • Changes in academic performance- The first thing parents frequently notice is a slip in grades. This often happens as other pieces of their child’s life are slipping as well. Some of the time there are increased truancy, suspensions, or other disciplinary problems.
  • Being secretive- Parents report that their child becomes increasingly secretive about phone calls, texts and online communications.
  • Missing money – If your child does not have access to money they will not be able to fund their use of drugs or alcohol.  They will turn to finding other sources of money, this may mean stealing money and possibly other valuables.
  • Paraphernalia- Parents may find cigarettes, bongs, pipes, and empty bottles or cans.  Often kids will claim they are holding onto something for a friend.
If you are concerned about your child, young adult, or someone in your life, Prepare To Bloom, LLC  may be able to help.  If you are interested in information about therapeutic and educational consulting, therapists, or treatment programs, please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.
 
 

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Prescription Drug Abuse Facts

What is prescription drug abuse? Prescription drug abuse is when someone uses another person’s prescription, or uses their own prescription in a manner not as prescribed.

What are the most commonly abused prescriptions?  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Opiods (such as the pain relievers OxyContin and Vicodin), central nervous system depressants, and stimulants are the most commonly abused prescription drugs.  Some drugs that are available without a prescription – also known as over-the-counter drugs can also be dangerous if they aren’t taken according to the directions on the packaging.  For example, DXM (dextromethorphan), the active cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medications, sometimes is abused, particularly by youth.”

Where do teens get prescription drugs? Teens, tweens, and young adults frequently obtain prescriptions from friends and family members. Often the individual does not know that their prescription is being abused by someone else.

Why do teens abuse prescription drugs? As with all other drugs, teens use them for a variety of reasons including getting high, avoiding feelings, avoiding physical pain, and assisting with concentration.

Are prescription drugs safer than illegal drugs? No. While doctors prescribe medications to help their patients, when they are misused the prescriptions become unsafe. Prescription drugs can be lethal if used in a manner that is not in accordance with doctors’ orders.

Is there help for prescription drug abuse? Yes.  There are both out-patient and residential programs that work with teens who are abusing prescription drugs. Whether you’re looking for a therapist or a treatment program or would like more information about therapeutic and educational consulting, Prepare To Bloom, LLC can help. Please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.

 

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A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Cutting

Cutting is a form of self injury where small cuts are made typically on the body arms and/or legs.  Cutting is a way for teens to release emotional pain.  The practice of cutting has been happening in secret for ages, but more recently has come to light as it has been shown in movies, TV shows and online.  Teens and tweens, who are often unaware of other ways to release intense emotions, turn to the internet for answers and come across information on cutting.  They are also learning from peers.  The majority of my clients report knowing someone who cuts.

The topic of cutting was recently discussed on the Today Show and it was highlighted that teens who are feeling immense “pressure to be perfect” are turning to cutting as an answer.  The segment reported that “a Seventeen magazine poll shows that 15% of teens physically hurt themselves on purpose.”  They are highlighting that this is a common problem and parents need to understand the signs and symptoms of these self destructive behaviors.

What to look for:

  • Changes in attitude, friends, interest in activities and day to day behaviors.  Teens who are not handling the day to day stress of their lives are vulnerable to releasing their emotions through cutting.
  • Need to always be covered up.  If you see that your child is wearing long sleeves, long pants and this does not match with the season, this may be reason to be concerned.
  • Unexplainable cuts or scratches.  Often teens will use whatever they can get their hands on to cut so cuts may be superficial.  Question your child on how they got the scratches or cuts and trust your intuition.
  • Negative self talk.  If your teen is constantly talking about themselves in a negative way with you or others.
There are treatment options for self harming ,and parents need to address self injury head on in a compassionate manner.  Parents need to try and calm their fears, and listen to what your teen is telling you.  Remember that teens can’t always express their feelings and their actions often need to be looked at as communication that things are not going well.  Whether you’re looking for a therapist or a treatment program or would like more information about therapeutic and educational consulting, Prepare To Bloom, LLC can help. Please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.
 

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Addiction in the Tech Age

In a time where we are constantly connected and online all the time how do parents know how to set limits around their child’s use of technology?  Dr. Brent Conrad, a psychologist specializing in technology addiction in children adolescents and adults recommends setting time limits around technology use.  It is important to identify high risk times of the day for uncontrolled use.  For some that may be right after coming home from school or work, others it may be late at night, others it may be based upon avoiding family times.  Once you have identified those high risk times try answering the following three questions.

1) Is the goal moderation or abstinence? Abstinence is generally recommend for WoW (World of Warcraft) addiction, pornography addiction, and for most games classified as MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.)
2) If the goal is moderation, how many hours per day / per week are reasonable?
3) What times of day are the “safest” and most responsible periods for use?

Implementing a new time table for safe use will mean adding additional structure into your home.  Be aware that change is difficult for everyone and that there is often push back at first, but stick with it and stay consistent.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Addiction, Mental Health

 

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