Archive for the ‘Psychoactive Drugs’ Category

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Teens and Parents Under Report Illicit Drug Use

November 15, 2010

Cleared2Drive pediatrics HealthDay Teens Parents Under Report Illicit Drug Use cocaine alcohol University of Texas San Marcos psychology professorParent after parent, generation after generation has at some point come to the conclusion that the parent is the last to know and is especially true for parents of substance abusing teens.  We hear it everyday from parents who call requesting a Cleared2Drive System because they discovered that their child has been using or abusing substances for quite some time.  However, even when the parents do find out, as this newest study indicates, they typically don’t tell the truth when asked about their child’s use of cocaine and opiates, even if they are told they will be drug-tested and their responses kept confidential, HealthDay reported Oct. 25.

The study, led by Virginia Delaney-Black, M.D., a pediatrics professor at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, compared survey responses collected from over 200 teens and over 200 adult caregivers (mostly mothers) with the results of hair tests for drug use. Participation in the study was limited to African-American families who had received care at one urban antenatal clinic.

Hair tests on the teens showed that 30 percent had used cocaine, whereas only one percent reported it. Hair tests from parents showed that 28 percent had used cocaine, but only about six percent said they had. Results for opiates were similar.

Other studies have shown that adults under report their own substance use, but very few comparable studies have been done on teens who are not in the court system or in treatment. Estimates of national prevalence rates of teen use outside of the court system or clinical settings are based on data collected anonymously and on what teens report about their use; the new study suggests that the estimates may be too low.

Delaney-Black said that the results of the study should be useful for pediatricians. “If you think it’s important to know whether a kid is doing drugs — specifically heroin, prescription pain killers or cocaine — then don’t rely on what the teens report,” she said.

The research “generally reinforces what we know from work in adults, which is that people are usually less honest about substance use than we hope,” said Ty S. Schepis, a psychology professor at Texas State University at San Marcos and our staff at Cleared2Drive knows this all too well.   Admitting that your loved one is out of control, for some people is just too hard.

The study, “‘Just Say “I Don’t’: Lack of Concordance Between Teen Report and Biological Measures of Drug Use,” appeared online Oct. 25 in Pediatrics and will appear in the November 2010 print issue.

Is Anyone Surprised?

November 5, 2010

Is anyone surprised by the new research that found that adolescents who abused marijuana and alcohol scored lower on a battery of intellectual aptitude tests than their drug-free peers, HealthDay News reported Oct. 19?

University of New Mexico (UNM) investigators asked 48 teens aged 12 to 18 to undergo a battery of tests to assess the effects of chronic substance abuse on their intellectual function. The tests measured a range of neuropsychological skills, including verbal reasoning, executive function, visuospatial ability, memory, and processing speed. Nineteen of the participants had a diagnosis of substance abuse or dependence, 14 were abstinent but had a parent who abused alcohol, and 15 were abstinent controls with no family history of alcohol abuse.

The researchers found that teens reporting the highest substance use had lower test scores across the board. In particular, teens who abused alcohol scored substantially lower on the test measuring executive function, while teens who abused pot scored lower on measures of memory performance.

Interestingly, teens who were abstinent but had a parent who abused alcohol were also affected, scoring lower on the test for visuospatial ability.

This is one of the reasons the results should be interpreted with caution, noted Ramani Durvasula, PhD, associate professor of psychology at California State University in Los Angeles. According to Durvasula, the authors failed to take into account socioeconomic and educational factors that influence intellectual development or to assess for problems at home. “Kids who abuse drugs and alcohol are different from those who don’t,” she said. “Let’s face it, when kids are drinking 13 drinks a day (the study average), there’s not a lot of parental supervision going on.”

Robert Thoma, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at UNM and lead author of the study, agrees the results raise a “chicken and egg problem.”

“Which came first,” said Thoma. “The low executive function, which could lead to drinking more, or the heavy drinking, which leads to poor executive function?” Large longitudinal studies are needed to definitively answer to that question, he concluded.

The study was published online Oct. 19 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

New Study Reveals Alcohol More Dangerous Than Drugs

November 3, 2010
alcohol more dangerous than drugs

New Study Reveals Alcohol More Dangerous Than Drugs

LONDON—According to a new study by Britain’s Centre for Crime and Justice and published in the medical journal, Lancet,  alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine.  It is believed that the reason alcohol scored so high is because it is so widely used and has devastating consequences not only for drinkers but for those around them.

The study evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on both how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole.

Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison.

Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the considered the deadliest. However, alcohol outranked all other substances overall, followed by heroin and crack cocaine.  Scoring far lower were Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD.

When drunk in excess, alcohol damages nearly all organ systems. It is also connected to higher death rates and is involved in a greater percentage of crime than most other drugs, including heroin.   But experts said it would be impractical and incorrect to outlaw alcohol as history has already proven.

“Drugs that are legal cause at least as much damage, if not more, than drugs that are illicit,”  said Wim van den Brink, a professor of psychiatry and addiction at the University of Amsterdam. He was not linked to the study but co-authored a commentary in the Lancet.