Archive for the ‘marijuana’ Category

Drug Prescriptions Double for Teens and Young Adults Compared to 15 Years Ago

December 13, 2010

Cleared2Drive Good2Go drunk driving impaired driving  Breathalyzers Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) ignition interlock device Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Drunk DrivingTwice as many teens and young adults are getting prescriptions for controlled substances than had been 15 years ago, Reuters reported Nov. 29.

Investigators led by Robert J. Fortuna, MD, of the University of Rochester’s Strong Children’s Research Center in New York, assessed U.S. prescription trends for 15- to 29-year-olds based on 2007 survey data from more than 8,000 physicians, clinics, and emergency departments. They then compared results with similar data from 1994. Analysis revealed that more than 11 percent of teenagers received prescriptions for controlled medications (including Oxycontin, Vicodin, Ritalin, and sedatives) in 2007, up from 6 percent in 1994. A similar trend was seen for young adults, where the prescription rate for such drugs rose from 8 to 16 percent over the same time period.

As noted by Fortuna, the rise does not necessarily mean the drugs are being diverted or abused. However, teenagers and college students are much more likely than adults to use prescription drugs recreationally and to pass them on to others. “Physicians need to have open discussions with patients about the risks and benefits of using controlled medications, including the potential for misuse and diversion,” he said. “The nonmedical use of prescription drugs by adolescents and young adults has surpassed all illicit drugs except marijuana,” concluded the authors. “This trend and its relationship to misuse of medications warrants further study.” The article was published online Nov. 29 in the journal Pediatrics.

Studies like this reinforces what we at Cleared2Drive have been saying, we need to stop focusing on ways to eradicate “drunk driving” and focus on what is truly happening in our society which means we need to focus our efforts on eradicating “impaired driving.”  Breathalyzers and all the effort that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety(IIHS) is putting into developing their Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) technology will do nothing to stop someone under the influence of illicit drugs or prescription drugs (better known as  drugged driving) from operating a vehicle but Cleared2Drive’s ignition interlock device (IID) that is based upon their internationally patented Impairment Detection Technology will. Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) now admits that we need to stop focusing solely on “Drunk Driving” and put our efforts behind stopping “Impaired Driving”.

How Family Dinners Can Curb Teen Substance Abuse

December 11, 2010

How Family Dinners Can Curb Teen Substance Abuse Cleared2DriveIf you want to keep your children away from alcohol, drugs and tobacco as long as possible, you might want to consider having frequent family dinners together. The more often you sit down together for a meal each week the less likely your children will become involved in substance abuse at a critical early age.

Research shows that teens who have infrequent family dinners are more than twice as likely to say they will do drugs in the future.

The latest edition of the study, “The Importance of Family Dinners VI,” from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, has once again shown that frequent – five to seven per week – family dinners can make a big difference in kids’ attitude about alcohol and other drugs.

This goes along with other research that shows that the better the relationship between parents and their children, the less likely the children will begin drinking and drugging early in life.

Talk to Your Children

In the latest CASA study, the researchers found that compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent – less than three a week – family dinners are:

  • Twice as likely to have used tobacco
  • Almost twice as likely to have used alcohol
  • One and half times likelier to have used marijuana

The key for parents is not just eating together, but talking with their children about what is going on in their lives. The study found that teens who do not talk with their parents are twice as likely to have used tobacco and one and a half times likelier to have used marijuana.

Friends Who Use Drugs

The study also found that teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week are:

  • More than one and a half times likelier to have friends who drink regularly and use marijuana
  • One and half times likelier to have friends who abuse prescription drugs (to get high)
  • One and a quarter times more likely to have friends who use illegal drugs like acid, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

On the other hand, teens who have frequent family dinners are less likely to report having friends who use substances.

Ask About Their Lives and Listen

“The message for parents couldn’t be any clearer … it is more important than ever to sit down to dinner and engage your children in conversation about their lives, their friends, school – just talk. Ask questions and really listen to their answers,” said CASA’s Kathleen Ferrigno. “The magic that happens over family dinners isn’t the food on the table, but the communication and conversations around it. Of course there is no iron-clad guarantee that your kids will grow up drug free, but knowledge is power and the more you know the better the odds are that you will raise a healthy kid.”

The complete report, “The Importance of Family Dinners VI,” is available online.

Drugged Driving Increasing

December 1, 2010

With prescription drug abuse a growing problem in the state and nation, it’s no surprise police are seeing a result on roadways. “We’re getting pounded by painkillers,” said Cpl. Chad Blankinchip, an instructor at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center in Selma. “Marijuana is still the most common because people think it’s undetectable, but painkillers are right up there with it.”

However, the upside in the battle against drugged drivers is Alabama is one of 46 states that participate in the nationally recognized Drug Recognition Expert, or DRE, program. State troopers as well as some police and sheriff’s departments around the state use the trained experts.

DRE experts are training to conduct a series of tests on the suspect permitting them to serve as an expert witness when discussing the driver’s impairment in court.

Blankinchip said after a traffic stop is made, a field sobriety test is given followed by a breath test. If the level doesn’t measure for alcohol, a further evaluation is performed for drug impairment, including pulse checks, checks of vital signs and pupil dilation. The trained officer also looks for injection sites on the body of the suspect and takes statements. Finally, the suspect goes to the hospital for toxicity screening. It can take an hour or longer to charge an individual with drug-related DUI.  “That’s a drawback and a concern because there’s really nothing that can be done to speed up the process right now,” Blankinchip said.

Rogersville, Alabama Police Chief Terry Holden said he’s seeing more cases of drug DUIs.  “We see as many DUI drug cases as we do alcohol,” Holden said. “Five years ago, you just didn’t have that much.”

Town Creek Police Chief Jerry Garrett said the only test an officer can give for drugs is field sobriety, but there are definite differences between someone impaired from alcohol and drugs. “The biggest thing is their speech,” Garrett said. “They talk with a thick tongue, and speech is impaired worse than with alcohol usually.” He said his last few DUI cases have been for controlled substances. “The problem is you can’t walk up and smell it like you can marijuana or alcohol,” he said. “Officers have to pay close attention to the drivers. A sobriety test can only go so far. One of the biggest arguments I hear from suspects of drug DUI is, ‘I have a prescription for it.’ ”

While Garrett said people are smarter about (refraining from) drinking and driving, “they’re not using their brains at all when it comes to popping pills and getting behind the wheel of a car.”

Tony Faulkner, community marketing representative for Bradford Health Services, routinely deals with individuals referred from the courts after DUIs. There’s been a definite increase in those cases with the biggest growth in prescription pills. “I always say that most addicts are dyslexic when it comes to taking pills,” Faulkner said. “Instead of taking one every four to six hours, they take four to six pills every hour.”

Blankinchip said as long a prescription pills are so readily available, “the problem will just continue to grow.”  And, for loved ones of those that continue to abuse drugs, the only safe guard is a Cleared2Drive system in every vehicle.

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!

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.

Ignition Interlock Summit Helps States in the Fight Against Drunk Driving

November 16, 2010

Last year, 10,839 people died because of alcohol-related car crashes.

Although this number declined 7.4 percent from 2008 to 2009, none of these deaths ever should have happened. And even a single death due to drunk driving is one too many.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control met with members of the Governors Highway Safety Association for a National Ignition Interlock Summit. This was a full-day work session to help state safety professionals figure out how to get a handle on drunk driving.

Impaired driving is involved in 32 percent of all crashes on American roads. But an ignition interlock system that blocks a convicted drunk driver’s vehicle from starting when that driver is impaired can prevent many of those crashes and save lives.

In 2006, MADD launched a Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, calling for increased use of ignition interlocks for impaired driving offenders. The Department of Transportation has been a strong supporter of this campaign, and in the last four years, interlock use has more than doubled from approximately 100,000 in 2006 to 212,000 in 2010.

But that covers only a small percentage of the 1.4 million drunk drivers arrested last year in the US.

Today, all states except Alabama and South Dakota have laws that authorize ignition interlock use for at least some offenders. Yet we know that one-third of those 1.4 million arrests involve repeat offenders, and we know that many fatal drunk driving crashes also involve repeat offenders.

 

MADD DOT NHTSA CDC Ignition interlock system impaired driving alcohol-related car crashes US Department of Transportation

Alcohol Related Traffic Fatalities per State

That’s why 13 states have passed mandatory ignition interlock laws for all drunk drivers–including first offenders.

And that’s why DOT is providing technical assistance and support to help states move toward increasing their interlock use and strengthening their laws and interlock programs.

As I said in September, when I announced the drop in drunk driving deaths, our roads are the safest they’ve ever been. But, to make America’s roads even safer, we are committed to continuing our vigorous fight against drunk driving. Ignition interlock systems are a critical part of that fight, and I urge states to make the best use of this valuable tool.

Reprinted from the US Department of Transportation