Archive for November, 2010

How to Prevent College and Underage Binge Drinking

November 30, 2010

The best way to combat the issue of excessive college drinking is to educate college students more about the issues and consequences of drinking. As stated before, many college students will observe others and attempt to model their drinking habits after what they see their peers doing. If student B sees student A drinking excessively, he will more than likely follow the same actions. Student C will follow student B’s lead, student D will follow student C’s lead, and soon a cycle that is difficult to break out of will form.

College Drinking

In “College Drinking:  reforming a social problem”, Dowdall talks about the image of college drinking. He mentions a legendary picture of John Belushi from the 1978 movie Animal House. In that picture Belushi is wearing a sweatshirt that says “College” and holding an empty bottle of Jack Daniels. The picture, as well as the movie, represents underage college drinking as a game. It was after the release of that movie that activities such as “ pre-gaming” (drinking a lot of alcohol over a short period of time prior to going out) and drinking games became more prevalent.

An article in Alcohol Research and Health pointed to several solutions, including peer refusal and family involvement. The magazine pointed that most pressure for young adults to drink comes from peer and family, so positive reinforcements in both areas will only help the situation.

Other research concurs that parental reinforcement will help with the problem. Buffalo News reported that parents need to start teaching their kids about alcohol misuse and abuse at a young age. Alcohol is a legal psychoactive drug that affects parts of the brain, and drinking while the brain is still developing could lead to physiologic and psychological damage. Parents also need to teach teens about “alcohol over dosage,” which include signs such as vomiting, cold and clammy skin, shallow breathing and unresponsiveness.

College students learn by observing. By instilling good values and morals in a young adult before they leave for college, there is a better chance the student will handle alcohol responsibly. But let’s not be blind or hide our head in the sand.  If you even think that your child might be drinking, start drinking, or could succumb to peer influence to drink, then installation of a Cleared2Drive would certainly be wise.

For college students two of the best ways to help prevent excessive drinking are parental involvement and peer guidance.  For parents, installation of a Cleared2Drive System provides the much appreciated Peace of Mind.

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How to Prevent A Drowsy Driving Accident or Fatality

November 29, 2010

AAA Foundation for Traffic Society findings show that more than 40% of drivers have fallen asleep while on the road.

drowsy driving accident investigation road trip UHP fatality AAA fatigued driving accidents Cleared2Drive Good2GoAlmost half of the traffic fatalities on Utah County highways this year have been the result of drowsy driving.

“We’re mystified and really quite frustrated,” said Lt. Al Christianson with the Utah Highway Patrol, adding that last year, the county had only seven fatalities all year. “This year we’ve already had 23, and the year’s not over yet.”

Three of the six fatigued driving accidents that resulted in fatalities were on Interstate 15, two were on U.S. 6 and one was on U.S. 89. In each case, Christianson said, the drivers didn’t think they were quite as tired as they were. He pointed to a triple fatality in September, when a family’s van rolled on I-15 near Santaquin. They were returning to Provo after a long trip.  “They’re within 20 miles of their destination when their driver falls asleep, and they die,” he said.

What’s even scarier is the number of near-misses. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Society released findings showing that more than 40 percent of drivers have fallen asleep while on the road. That’s two out of every five drivers, or about 164,000 of the approximately 400,000 drivers on I-15 in Utah County on a daily basis.

The frightening aspect of driving while tired is that anyone could fall victim to it and not realize it at the time. While in the past there had been no device or technology to measure exhaustion, there is a new technology now available called the Cleared2Drive System that measures impairment even from fatigue or sleep deprivation.   Many people don’t realize how tired they are when they get into their car, or they overestimate their ability to remain alert but the Cleared2Drive System can and will prevent them from being able to start their vehicle.

But if the statistics tell drivers anything, it’s that they need to evaluate before a road trip if they are awake enough to make it and be willing to pull over if they’re not; UHP has even put road signs along I-15 encouraging drowsy drivers to exit.  Springville resident Jack Angus said when he starts running over the rumble strips on the freeway he’s too tired, and he’ll pull off at the next exit and catch a quick nap or switch drivers if someone else is in the car.  “I would never take a chance,” he said. “That’s worse than driving drunk or something.”

It’s at least on equal footing; a person who has been awake for 24 hours has the equivalent mental state and reaction time as a person with a blood alcohol content of .10.  Police officers are trained now to watch for drowsy drivers and are no longer accepting “I’m just tired” as a reason for unsafe driving.

Police officers can cite people for drowsy driving, although it is difficult to prove. They look for poor driving patterns like swerving or not staying in their lanes, but most often they realize a driver is too tired only during an accident investigation. People should avoid traveling too late at night or allowing all the passengers in their car to fall asleep instead of relying on temporary fixes.

15-Year Old Recovering Addict Working Wonders with Other Teens

November 27, 2010


All of us here at Cleared2Drive wants to salute Hallie Odom of Nashville TN.   Read and see why.

They come from the poorest and wealthiest of neighborhoods. They wouldn’t hang out if it weren’t for what they have in common. And none of them can talk about what is said.  All of the 10 teens in the group have parents who battle drug and alcohol addictions. Most of them have at least one parent in prison. And most have developed alcohol or drug addictions themselves.  Their leader is Hallie Odom, the 15-year-old daughter of a psychiatrist mother and a recovering alcoholic physician father.

The group is Alateen. Hallie’s is one of two of its kind in Nashville and one of 2,300 worldwide, according to Alcoholics Anonymous, the group’s umbrella organization. There are an estimated 18 million alcoholics nationwide. These are their children.  “The group offers the kids a place to heal,” said Ann Charvat, interim director of Reconciliation Ministries, where the meetings are held. “Compassion becomes an option to self-loathing.”

For Hallie, a St. Cecilia Academy sophomore, alcoholism wasn’t about beer and wine. Her father had quit drinking before she was born. But he had a short temper. He didn’t know how to deal with not drinking, she said.  Hallie, who was adopted as an infant, isn’t sure why she started drinking, using drugs and partying.  But, at the age of 12, her parents already didn’t know how to handle her, she said.

Sent to treatment

She was first sent to treatment when she was in seventh grade. Everyone thought she was pregnant. She wasn’t. Her parents, who have since divorced, sent her to a 9-month wilderness program in Utah.

She slept outside. Ate with sticks. Went to the bathroom in the woods. She was forced to write her life story. It ended up being 36 pages. “I had to live in my own head for once,” she said. “I was forced to realize all the pain I had caused my parents.”

She was next sent to a horse camp in Northern Utah. She was gone for a total of 15 months. When she came back, she and her family went to hours of therapy each week with two therapists. She’s still learning about herself, her parents and why she does what she does. But she wants to help others.

Over the summer, she started the local Alateen group in West Nashville. She attends the other Nashville group, as well. Alcoholics Anonymous sent her a packet, complete with its famed serenity prayer and 12 steps. Her role is not to counsel these teens, but to share her struggles and, most importantly, to listen.

“Hallie offers a unique perspective because she’s had more training than most adults who lead groups.  She’s been there. She’s experienced the solution. She’s more than competent to share it. She illustrates that these kinds of problems don’t discriminate. They affect all kinds of people,” Charvat said.

The group’s mission is to help teens turn their focus on themselves and away from the people and things in their lives that can’t be controlled.  “It’s more just me pushing them to talk,” Hallie said. “There’s such a strong tendency to hold everything in.”

‘We are not powerless’

Hallie talks like a therapist. She knows exactly how to eloquently express her feelings and is quick to analyze why she feels the way she does. She’s not ashamed of her story, only hopes that others see her as an inspiration.

She whispers, though, when she is asked about the teens in her group. “I don’t think they have any idea how much I really get out of talking and listening to them,” she said. Because all the expensive far-away camps and the clinical jargon of the hours upon hours of therapy can’t compare with the simple lesson that she learns in Alateen:  She is not alone. “We are not powerless over our lives,” she said. “We are not powerless.”

No,  she definitely is not.  Kudos to Hallie!

Survey Again Raises Alarm About Teen Drug Use

November 26, 2010

Cleared2Drive 2009 PRIDE Survey Monitoring the Future survey 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), released March 2 by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) and MetLife Foundation teenagers substance abuse illicit drugs parents teenage drivers illegal drugs underage drivers drunk driving impaired driving teen drug use

 

Cleared2Drive wants once again to report the findings of another new report this one showing that more kids say they are using alcohol and other drugs, but many parents are unable or unwilling to deal with the issue — a bad combination when declining support for prevention and cultural apathy about the issue leave parents as the last and sometimes only line of defense against adolescent drug use.

The 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), released March 2 by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) and MetLife Foundation, reported rather dramatic year-over-year spikes in past-month alcohol use (up 11 percent) and past-year use of marijuana (up 19 percent) and ecstasy (up 67 percent) among U.S. students in grades 9-12.

PDFA chairman and CEO Steve Pasierb noted that all three are “social drugs,” and the survey of more than 3,200 students, conducted by Roper Public Affairs, found “a growing belief in the benefits and acceptability of drug use and drinking.” For example, the percentage of teens agreeing that “being high feels good” increased from 45 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2009, and those who said “friends usually get high at parties” increased from 69 percent to 75 percent. Thirty percent of students surveyed strongly agreed that they “don’t want to hang around drug users,” down from 35 percent in 2008.

“The resurgence in teen drug and alcohol use comes at a time when pro-drug cues in popular culture – in film, television and online – abound, and when funding for federal prevention programs has been declining for several years,” according to a PDFA press release on the survey.

The reported spike in alcohol and other drug use and attitudinal shifts are startling enough to warrant skepticism about the validity of the findings. However, Pasierb notes that the PATS survey has been conducted using the same methodology for the past 21 years. The most recent Monitoring the Future survey, released in December, also found that use of illicit drugs has leveled off or increased after years of steady declines, and that youth attitudes about drug use appear to be softening. The 2009 PRIDE Survey of 6th- to 9th-graders reported small increases in current drug use, as well.

The PATS survey found that kids are almost as likely to get information on drugs from the Internet and websites like Youtube as from their parents, school, or media ads. “The preponderance of information that kids get online about drugs is pro-use, and to teens it’s more credible,” Pasierb told Join Together.

Perhaps the most surprising survey result is the reported increase in use of ecstasy — a drug that, unlike alcohol and marijuana, has seemed to largely disappear from public consciousness since the mid-2000s. If the survey results are to be believed, more teens are now using ecstasy on a monthly (6 percent) or annual (10 percent) basis than at any point since 2004, and reported lifetime use is higher than ever reported since 1998.

Pasierb said that federal data shows that availability of ecstasy has not declined since 2001-02, and that prices for the drug have fallen. “There was just more news coverage then,” he said.

“I don’t buy the argument that drug use is cyclical,” said Pasierb. “I think it’s generational, and based on what we talk to our kids about.” Drug-use trends among youth are “very malleable,” he added, and what is considered cool or popular can change rapidly from the time a kid enters high school to when they graduate.

Parents Waging a Lonely Battle — Or Not

About 20 percent of the parents surveyed by PATS believed that their children had gone beyond the experimental phase in use of alcohol or other drugs. However, almost half of these parents either did not take any action (25 percent) or waited for between a month and a year to address the perceived problem (22 percent).

Parents of children engaging in non-experimental drug use were less confident in their ability to influence their kids’ drug-use decisions, according to the survey, and were more likely to believe that all teens will experiment with drugs and that occasional use of alcohol or marijuana is tolerable.

“Parents with drug-using kids have never been served by our field,” said Pasierb. “They’re the outliers, and they should be the focus.” PDFA has developed a program called Time to Act that is designed to improve parental knowledge about teen alcohol and other drug use, set rules and boundaries, intervene when necessary, and seek outside help when needed.

“Government prevention programs have all been defunded, and society is not on our side. It’s all on the parents now,” said Pasierb. “Parents are convinced that their kids are getting all this (drug prevention) in school, and it’s just not true. The doctor, school, or football coach is not going to step in.”

One of the things we at Cleared2Drive typically hear the parents that call us say, “We can’t be with them all the time.  I think they are using something but really don’t know.  I just don’t want my kid hurt.”  Which is exactly why we created the Cleared2Drive System.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

November 25, 2010

From all of us here at Cleared2Drive, we hope you have wonderful Thanksgiving!

Cleared2Drive how to stop impaired driving how to stop drunk driving how to stop drowsy driving

Given that this is the most traveled weekend in the entire year, please be extra careful not to drive while tired or after you have celebrated with family and friends.

Rural vs. Urban Teen Drug Use

November 24, 2010

Cleared2Drive National Survey on Drug Use and Health University of Kentucky College of Medicine JAMA Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine teen substance abuse illicit drug use impaired drivingWe at Cleared2Drive recently came across some slightly surprising new data suggests that where a teen lives may influence whether or not they abuse prescription drugs. The 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health that was just released November 1, 2010 showed that teens living in rural areas are 26% more likely to use prescription drugs for non-medical uses than are urban teens. This report was summarized by the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in the JAMA Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

All of us at Cleared2Drive know that prescription drug abuse has skyrocketed in our country in the last 15 years, increasing 212% among teens from 1992 to 2003 as we hear it everyday from our customers. With prescription drugs being prescribed more and more by doctors, teens find it easy to gain access to their choice of drugs in family members’ medicine cabinets, or buying them from friends which is why families are turning to Cleared2Drive as a solution to keeping their kids from driving under the influence of anything – not just alcohol.

The interesting finding in the study is that teens in rural areas are significantly more likely to abuse prescription drugs than urban teens, while illicit drug abuse rates are the same for both urban and rural youth. There will need to be more research on the habits of rural youth to determine why the prescription abuse is more prevalent among them. Maybe these teens have more time on their hands, or are less educated on the risks of prescription drug abuse, or feel they are less likely to get caught by law enforcement.

Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drugs that are used non-medically are often considered gateway drugs. Teens that experiment with prescription drugs, even occasionally, are statistically more likely to use illicit drugs as they get older. They are also more likely to smoke, drink, and get caught up with gambling and other impulsive activities.

Just because a teen lives in a rural area, however, doesn’t mean that they are necessarily going to use prescription drugs. There are some factors that the study found that greatly decrease even rural teens’ likelihood of using drugs. First of all, living in a two parent household reduces the risk by 32%. Attending school, effectively treating health and mental health problems, and having parental involvement also decreases the risk of substance abuse among these teens. In fact, all teens and pre-teens benefit greatly from positive parental interactions. Parents don’t often take their role seriously enough, but parents still hold a lot of power in their teens’ lives, attitudes, and behaviors. Families that spend quality time together, wherever they live, have teens that are less likely to do drugs, smoke, or drink. That’s why things like eating dinner together at least a few nights a week makes a world of difference for teens, but unfortunately to have true Peace of Mind, the only way for parents to be confidential that their child is ALWAYS driving sober, is to a Cleared2Drive System installed.

Australia must have oodles and oodles of money!

November 23, 2010

Cleared2Drive Australia impact consequences of dangerous driving impaired driving drunk driving doctor emergency hospital tragedy police ambulance

All of us here at Cleared2Drive have been wondering since we read about the new $50 million center Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is planning to establish to teach teenagers about the  impact and consequences of dangerous driving,  “Do you really need to spend $50 million on a building to accomplish that?”

The facility is designed to have learner drivers speak with victims of road trauma and emergency workers and use simulators which replicate drunk driving.  Premier John Brumby says young drivers will be offered incentives to attend the center, such as free driving lessons. “It will confront young people with the experience of the police, of the ambulance, of the emergency services worker who deal every day with the aftermath of road accidents and road tragedy,” he said.

I just can’t believe that they think an incentive of “free driving lessons ” is an enticement to any teenager anywhere in the world.”  Come on, lets be honest here . . . Teenagers don’t want more driving lessons!  We adults should know that most teenagers  believe they already know it all!

Maybe they would be better off to spend the $50millon on alerting parents of know it all teenagers as to what can really be done to prevent impaired driving, like having a Cleared2Drive unit installed on the family vehicle.

How to Keep Your Teen From Abusing Prescription Drugs

November 22, 2010

drugs opioid opium pain-killers Oxycontin Vicodin muscle relaxants anti-anxiety drugs Valium Xanax stimulants Ritalin abuse Cleared2Drive Good2GoThere is a new drug pusher in town. He does not hang out down the alley or on the street corner and he resides in your very own home! He is not pushing heroin or crack. The drugs are what most people would call medicines and more teens abuse them than all other types of illicit drugs combined, excepting only marijuana.

Online drug stores are offering all the prescription drugs that are available in your local pharmacy. They are happy to dispense any controlled drug at a price much higher than one would pay at a regular drug store-often more than double that price- and an estimated 85% of these sites require no prescriptions or positive identification.

Drugs such as opioid (opium-like) pain-killers, (Oxycontin, Vicodin) muscle relaxants and anti-anxiety drugs, (Valium, Xanax) and stimulants such as Ritalin are the most often abused.

Often it is not even necessary to order them online. Left-over pills in the medicine cabinet can become a windfall for a young person looking to make a little extra cash at school.

According to national surveys, more teens abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana. The usual attitude is one of, “If it is made by drug companies and prescribed to people everyday, it has to be safe.” Many teens who would not otherwise touch illicit drugs might abuse prescription drugs because they seem to be a safe way to get high and they are so readily available.

But this is only the perception. The truth is that while these medications might be taken as prescribed and for short periods when needed with relative safety, the amounts being taken to “cop a buzz” are way beyond the approved dosages.

Everyday in the United States more than 50 people die from unintentional drug overdoses. Most of these are the result of prescription drugs such as those named above.

Teens are also abusing some over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, primarily cough and cold remedies that contain dextromethorphan (DXM), a cough suppressant, to get high. Products with DXM are NyQuil, Coricidin, and Robitussin, among others. This is of particular concern as there are other drugs in these OTC medicines. DXM, which acts as a dissociative-anesthetic has particularly dangerous side-effects. In 2006, according to a 2007 SAMHSA survey (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Association) about 3.1 million people aged 12 to 25 had ever used an OTC cough and cold medication to get high, and nearly one million had done so in the past year.

In the end, the user will either stop abusing the drug on his or her own or will require treatment to overcome dependence or addiction to whatever medication they are using.

Parents can make a difference by

  1. Talking with youngsters about the dangers of these medications
  2. Keeping all medications out of plain sight and keeping those most likely to be abused out of reach and discard unused medicines properly and immediately.
  3. Keep an accurate account of drugs to make sure they do not “disappear”.
  4. Most importantly, Be Engaged. Absentee parents are the most likely to discover their teen has a prescription or any other drug problem.

In school, it is vital that we educate our students as to the very real dangers of prescription drug abuse.

We CAN make this better. It is possible to make a difference in a person’s life by helping them understand the truth about prescription drugs and the dangers of overdose, accidents and addiction.  If you are concerned that your child is abusing prescription drugs, occasionally or on a regular basis, and is driving, you need to seriously consider installing a Cleared2Drive System on their vehicle.  As we know it only takes once to forever change the direction of our, and their, lives.

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report shows that the number of sleepy drivers is higher than thought.ay

November 19, 2010

Cleared2Drive impaired driving technology sleepy driver impaired driver drowsy driving study report AAA vehicle crash leading cause of death asleep at the wheel National Highway Traffic Safety Administration alcohol drugs slow reaction timeCleared2Drive notes the importance of the following study and hopes that the public will see the importance of educating people as to the dangers of Drowsy Driving.

According to the study, “Asleep at the Wheel: The Prevalence and Impact of Drowsy Driving,” 41 percent of respondents say they have fallen asleep at the wheel, with one in 10 admitting to it in the past year. The figures combined with a new analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash data estimates that 16.5 percent of fatal crashes involve a driver who is drowsy. The numbers are higher than previously estimated, which suggests that instances driver fatigue may be rising.

“When you are behind the wheel of a car, being sleepy is very dangerous. Sleepiness decreases awareness, slows reaction time, and impairs judgment, just like drugs or alcohol, contributing to the possibility of a crash,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger in a recent statement. “We need to change the culture so that not only will drivers recognize the dangers of driving while drowsy but will stop doing it.”

The data was derived from a telephone survey of 2,000 respondents that were 16 year old and older between May and June of 2010.

Cleared2Drive’s technology is just as effective against drowsy driving as it is against impaired driving.  Anything that would cause a person’s reaction time to be altered, will be recognized by the system and prevent that individual from being able to start their vehicle.

More Iraqi Security Personnel Using Drugs, Alcohol on Duty

November 18, 2010

Cleared2Drive New York Times American Troops leave Iraq economic hardship heroin hash marijuana stolen prescription medications commanders use of drugs and alcohol public officials politicians pharmacists drug dealers security personnel soldiers military humveeCleared2Drive has discovered that an increasing numbers of Iraqi military and police personnel are using drugs and alcohol while on duty, raising questions about their ability to maintain order once American troops leave in 2011.

The New York Times report a  story on based on interviews with “dozens” of security personnel, public officials, politicians, pharmacists, and drug dealers, and said the trend had grown worse over the past year. The Iraqi police refused to comment, and the military said that the problem was uncommon.

According to the Times’ sources, in high-risk areas of the country, as many as 50 percent of soldiers and police, including their commanders, use drugs and alcohol to cope with fear, stress, and boredom.

“Pills are cheaper than cigarettes and they make you more comfortable and relaxed,” said Nazhan al-Jibouri, a police officer. “They help us forget that we are hungry, and they make it easier to deal with people. They encourage us during moments when we are facing death.”

Iraqi health officials pointed out that 30 years of war and economic hardship had fed abuse of drugs and alcohol, and not just in the security forces. Illegal drugs — from heroin, hash, and marijuana to stolen prescription medications — are now easy to obtain on the street. Security officials working on the Iranian border believe that drug smuggling funds the insurgents they are fighting.

A soldier in southern Iraq said that lack of treatment contributed to the problem. “The percentage of the addicted among the police and army has increased because there’s no medical staff to help and there are no drug tests,” said Col. Muthana Mohammed.

Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari, a spokesman for the Iraqi Defense Ministry, said that drug use was unusual in the army. “We have great intelligence systems in which one of our main duties is to follow the military’s rule breakers,” he said. “We have medical staff concerned with the matter of drug users, and if medical tests prove drug use, we will take the harshest punishment against them.”

Other security personnel said that the police and the military were reluctant to discipline drug users because, according to the Times, they were “among their most fearless fighters.”  Cleared2Drive was not just created for parents of teens but for anyone that loves someone with a substance abuse problem.  What we all should  learn from the story about Col. Denn being relieved from his command post at Cherry Hill after being charged with DUI, is that substance abuse hits people from all walks of life in all phases of life.  We know that the abuser is not going to voluntarily purchase a Cleared2Drive unit and have it installed on their vehicle, but the loved ones of these individuals are going to need to step up to the plate and demand that a Cleared2Drive unit be installed.