Archive for the ‘Teenage Drivers’ Category

The Treatment Research Institute Opens New Center

December 20, 2010

policy makers Joint Meeting Alcohol Treatment Effectiveness JMATE Baltimore recovery treatment brief intervention Community Reinforcement and Family Training CRAFT Partnership at DrugFree.org  Impairment Detection Technology Cleared2Drive sobriety sober The Treatment Research Institute (TRI) in Philadelphia will officially launch a new research center for parents of substance-using adolescents at a national conference this week. TRI said the center would be the “first-of-its-kind” and would focus on translating evidence-based research into specific strategies and tools that will help parents better help their teen-aged children who are struggling with substance abuse problems.

Kimberly C. Kirby, Ph.D., the director of the new center said, “Our goal is to get practical help to parents without short-changing the need to base advice on a solid scientific foundation.”  Funded for five years by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the center’s work was presented to parents, substance abuse professionals, and policy makers at the Joint Meeting on Alcohol Treatment Effectiveness (JMATE) in Baltimore Dec. 14-16.

The new center will focus its work on three projects aimed at helping parents with adolescents all along the spectrum, from occasional users to those in recovery after treatment.

  • First, the center will study the efficacy of a brief intervention for non-dependent teens. Rather than being guided by a counselor, the intervention would be led by parents.
  • Second, researchers at the center will create a consumer guide to adolescent treatment to help parents identify evidence-based care for their children. The research will be conducted in Philadelphia and result in an evaluation protocol that can be disseminated in other cities.
  • Third, researchers plan to refine and test the Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) protocol for use by parents of treatment-resistant teens. Among their goals are to verify the protocol’s efficacy with teens and to create a manual for parents.

The Partnership at Drugfree.org will partner with TRI to disseminate the findings of the new center to parents.

We commend this good work and certainly hope that they expand their reach by offering to introduce Impairment Detection Technologies like Cleared2Drive’s as a means to ensure continued sobriety and success because we all know that get sober is not the most difficult aspect of sobriety, it the maintenance of a individual’s sobriety that is the hardest part.

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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”.

Oregon’s Young Adults has Highest Rate Nationally in Painkiller Abuse

December 12, 2010

deaths injuries drugs motor vehicle accidents drugs marijuana epidemic Attorney General driving under the influence of prescription drugs Cleared2Drive Good2GoWhile Oregon ranks 5th nationally for prescription painkiller abuse according to federal officials, it has the highest rate in the country among 18 to 25-year-olds.  The national survey found it’s mostly dentists who are prescribing painkillers to the 15 to 19-year-olds, an age group that has not fully developed the part of their brain that regulates inhibitory control, said Tom Condon of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.  Those figures were among the numbers presented at a drug abuse prevention summit in Portland that brought together state and federal officials, physicians, pharmacists and law enforcement.

Data from 2007 showed that in 16 states and the District of Columbia, there are more deaths and injuries from drugs than motor vehicle accidents, which has for years been the leading cause of death for teenagers.  This is really scary stuff, people!

A 2009 national survey of drug abuse indicated prescription drugs outpaced marijuana in 2008 and 2009 as the first drug used by people 12 and older with a majority of those users obtained the prescription pills from somebody they knew.

“This says we sure are in the middle of an epidemic,” Condon said, speaking to a group that included Gov. Ted Kulongoski, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger and U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton, who organized the meeting.

But I don’t agree.  I don’t believe we are in the “middle” of the epidemic – and I base that on the conversations we have with our customers – I would say it more like we are still in in the “early stages.”  People still have their heads in the sand about prescription drug abuse and especially when it comes to driving under the influence of prescription drugs.  Most people are fully aware of the “notices’ on the pill bottle about NOT driving, but most just ignore them for whatever reason.  However, Cleared2Drive’s algorithms don’t ignore them.

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.

How Taking Your Teen to Church can Prevent Underage Drinking

December 10, 2010

genetic tendency alcoholism teen family history drinking problems study University of Colorado Columbia University

If you are the parents of teens or children about to become teens, Cleared2Drive wants you to know that there is something that you can do that will greatly reduce their chances of becoming involved in alcohol and drugs: take them to church.  No, that’s not a faith-based opinion, there is actual research that shows that teens who are involved in religious or spiritual activities are less likely to do drugs or drink alcohol.

You may think that is a no-brainer, that teens who are religious are less likely to drink and drug compared to those who are not involved in religion, but what may surprise you is just how much difference it makes.

Teens involved in religious activities are half as likely to have substance abuse problems, according to several research studies.

Religion Deters Drug Use in Teens

A recent of 4,983 adolescents and their relationship with their parents found that those who were involved in religious activities were significantly less likely to become involved with substance abuse or have friends who are involved.

That same BYU research team conducted an earlier study in 2008 that found that religious involvement makes teens half as likely to use marijuana, a significant finding because marijuana is by far the most popular illegal drug among teens.

Overcoming Genetic Predisposition for Alcoholism

There is also research that shows that involvement in spiritual pursuits can even overcome a genetic tendency for alcoholism in teens who have a family history of drinking problems. A study conducted at the University of Colorado at Boulder of 1,432 twin pairs who had family histories of alcohol abuse revealed that genetic influence could be overcome.

The researchers found that “religiosity” exerted a strong enough influence over the behavior of adolescents to override their genetic predisposition for alcoholism. On the other hand, those twins who were nonreligious were much more influenced by genetic factors for problem alcohol use.

Teens Are Half as Likely to Drink

A study in 2000 at Columbia University found that teens who have an active spiritual life are half as likely to become alcoholics or drug addicts or even try illegal drugs than those who have no religious beliefs or training.

The Columbia study of 676 adolescents aged 15 to 19 found that teens with a higher degree of personal devotion, personal conservatism, and institutional conservatism were less likely to engage in alcohol consumption and less likely to engage in marijuana or cocaine use.

The authors of that study concluded that if teens do not find spiritual experiences within a religious setting, they will go “shopping” for them in other endeavors.

Religion Can Help High-Risk Teens

Also, teens who are at high risk for developing substance abuse problems — those who have a family history or who are influenced by social pressures — might be protected from substance dependence or abuse if they engage in spiritual or religious pursuits, research shows.

You may have noticed that the suggestion is to take your children to church, not send them. Of course, becoming involved in religious activities will not prevent all teens from using alcohol or drugs and some of the studies referenced here are limited in their scope, surveying white Christian teens rather than, say, inner-city youth. But there are no studies that say that taking your children to church makes them more likely to get involved with substance abuse.

The key seems to be to become more involved in your children’s lives and be a good example. The BYU study found that parents who are most involved with their children — those who monitor their activities as well as have a warm, loving relationship — are more likely to have children who do not drink heavily.

Become More Involved With Your Teen

But it is important to do both — emphasize accountability and have a warm, loving relationship.

Teens of “strict” parents who rated high on accountability but low on warmth, were twice as likely to binge-drink, the study found. Teens who had “indulgent” parents, who were rated high on warmth, but low on accountability, were three times more likely to binge-drink.

The bottom line for parents is to become more involved in your children’s lives and don’t be afraid of monitoring their friends and activities. And if you want to give them an extra layer of protection from becoming drawn into substance abuse, take them to church.

Sources:

Bahr, S.J., et al. “Parenting Style, Religiosity, Peers, and Adolescent Heavy Drinking.” Journal on Studies of Alcohol and Drugs. July 2010.

Bahr, S.J., et al. “Religiosity, Peers, and Adolescent Drug Use.” Journal of Drug Issues. October 2008.

Button, T.M.M, et al. “The Moderating Effect of Religiosity on the Genetic Variance of Problem Alcohol Use.” Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. June 2010.

How Your Parenting Style Can Prevent Teen Binge Drinking

December 9, 2010
cleared2drive mother yelling at teenager how to stop drunk driving how to stop binge drinking Researchers at Brigham Young University

What Parenting Sytle Do You Use?

If you are the parent of teenagers and you are concerned about them developing an alcohol problem, your parenting style may have more influence that you think. As promised, Cleared2Drive is dedicating this week to helping parents of teenagers.  As such, we uncovered a study of almost 5,000 adolescents has found that different styles of parenting produce significantly different results when it comes to heavy drinking by teens.

Parents may have little influence over whether their teens tried alcohol, but they can have a huge influence on whether or not they binge drink, the researchers found.

Researchers at Brigham Young University asked 4,983 adolescents between age 12 and 19 about their drinking habits and their relationship with their parents. As a result, the researchers identified four parenting styles:

  • Authoritative Parents – Rank high in discipline and monitoring (accountability) and high in support and warmth.
  • Authoritarian Parents – Rank high in control, but low in warmth and support.
  • Indulgent Parents – Rank high in warmth and support, but low in accountability.
  • Neglectful Parents – Rank low in support, warmth, and accountability.

The researchers, Stephen Bahr and John Hoffmann, describes accountability as parents “knowing where they spend their time and with whom” and describe support and warmth as parents who have a loving relationship with their teens.

Teen Less Likely to Binge Drink

It comes as no surprise that teens whose parents scored high on both accountability and warmth were less likely to binge drink:

  • Teens of authoritative parents were less likely to drink heavily compared with all the other parenting styles.
  • Teens with indulgent parents, who scored low on accountability but high on warmth, were nearly triple the risk of binge drinking.
  • Teens with strict parents, who scored high on accountability but low on warmth, were twice as likely to drinking heavily.

For the purpose of the study, heavy drinking was defined as having five or more drinks in a row during a relatively short period of time.

The researchers found that none of the parenting styles had significant differences in terms of their teens trying alcohol, but did influence the more risky binge drinking.

“The adolescent period is kind of a transitional period and parents sometimes have a hard time navigating that,” Bahr said in a news release. “Although peers are very important, it’s not true that parents have no influence.” The bottom line for parents is if you want to have a positive influence on your teen’s decisions regarding substance abuse, it takes work – having both accountability and support in your relationship with your adolescents.

The worse thing you can do is be neglectful in your parenting, the researchers concluded.

Source: Bahr, S.J., et al. “Parenting Style, Religiosity, Peers, and Adolescent Heavy Drinking.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. July 2010.

How a Good Relationship With Parents Can Prevent Teen Drinking Problems

December 8, 2010

How a good relationship with your teenager can prevent them from abusing alcohol and drugs Cleared2DriveAs evidence continues to mount that parents have a significant influence on whether their children develop substance abuse problems Cleared2Drive is committed to helping parents develop methods for keeping their children from using alcohol and drugs.  The most important thing you as a parent can do is develop a relationship with your teenagers in which they feel like they can discuss their problems with you and feel that you respect their feelings.  Doing this will increase the chances you can prevent them from developing alcohol problems.

A new study found that teens with a “strong relationship” with their parents have less risk of developing drinking problems.

A lot of research has shown that the age at which children begin drinking alcohol is a factor in whether or not the eventually develop alcohol abuse disorders and related problems, such as antisocial behaviors and school or work problems.

Lower Risk of Drinking Problems

A study of 364 teens by the Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems examined the relationship between early drinking age and the teenager’s relationship with their parents. The teens were questioned three times over a two-year period.

The lead researcher, Dr. Emmanuel Kuntsche, found that teens that reported an early drinking age during the first survey tended to be heavier drinkers during the second survey and were a greater risk for alcohol-related problems by the third time they were surveyed.

Those findings confirm earlier research. But Kuntsche also found that the only group that had a lower risk of drinking problems by the third survey were teens who reported both a later drinking age and a strong relationship with their parents.

Healthy Development

The researchers suggest that high-quality parent-child relationships can “trigger a spiral of healthy development during adolescence” that can lead to a lower risk of alcohol problems.

Kuntsche’s study, “The Earlier the More? Differences in the Links Between Age at First Drink and Adolescent Alcohol Use and Related Problems According to Quality of Parent-Child Relationships,” was published in the May 2009 edition of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Baylor University study gives insights into why teens may consume alcohol to dangerous levels

December 7, 2010

Dr. Doug Matthews research scientist Baylor University College of Arts and Sciences blood-alcohol levels binge drinking adolescence Purkinje neuron alcohol-induced behavioral Cleared2Drive Impairment Detection Technology Good2GoResearchers have known for years that teens are less sensitive than adults to the motor-impairing effects of alcohol, but they do not know exactly what is happening in the brain that causes teens to be less sensitive than adults.  But now, Baylor University neuropsychologists  have found the particular cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the age-dependent effect of alcohol in teens that may cause the reduced motor impairment.

The study reported by the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, is the first to identify a mechanism underlying one of the main behavioral differences between adolescents and adults in their response to alcohol.

“This study is a significant advancement in understanding why adolescents are insensitive to alcohol and provides some insights into why teens might consequently consume alcohol to dangerous levels,” said Dr. Doug Matthews, a research scientist at Baylor, College of Arts and Sciences, who led the study.  “This differential effect is not due to different blood-alcohol levels.  Such reduced sensitivity in teens is troublesome considering that binge and heavy alcohol consumption increases throughout human adolescence and peaks at 21 to 25 years of age.  Therefore understanding the mechanisms that underlie the reduced sensitivity to alcohol during adolescence is critical.”

Specifically, the Baylor researchers found the firing rate of a particular neuron called the cerebellar Purkinje neuron was insensitive to large alcohol doses in adolescent animal models, while the firing rate of those neurons was significantly depressed in adults.  The spontaneous firing rate in adults from Purkinje neurons decreased approximately 20 percent, which researchers said indicates potential motor impairment.  Adolescents, on the other hand, did show a slight motor impairment, however the firing rates from adolescent Purkinje neurons did not dramatically change in response to alcohol, and in fact showed a five percent increase in firing rate.

The Baylor researchers said this alcohol-induced reduction of spontaneous Purkinje neuron firing rates in adults could explain the greater sensitivity to alcohol’s motor impairing effects in adults compared to adolescents.  However, there are likely to be contributions from other systems involved to cause thee different behavioral effects.

This study validates what we at Cleared2Drive have also discovered during the testing of our Impairment Detection Technology (which is based upon a response time to performing a set sequence of tasks) conducted at the University of Akron, we also uncovered that teenagers are able to complete the sequence at a different level than adults.  Consequently, we have developed an algorithm specifically for teenagers and young adults.

How to Keep Teens from Alcohol and Drugs

December 6, 2010

cleared2drive how to keep from teenagers drinking and driving how to stop impaired driving how to stop teenagers from using alcoholFor parents trying to keep their children away from alcohol and drugs during their formative years, there is good news — research shows that parents can have considerable influence on the decisions their teens make regarding substance abuse.

As part of  Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month we at Cleared2Drive are devoting this entire week to providing useful information to parents concerned about what they can do to keep their teenager from using drugs.  The following are the best tips for parents from the latest scientific research into why teens do and do not decide to drink alcohol or do drugs during adolescence.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 45% of teenagers drink alcohol, and of those who drink, 64% admit to binge drinking. Not only is consuming five or more drinks in a row a dangerous practice itself, the CDC found that teen binge drinking is strongly associated with other risky behaviors, such as sexual activity and violence.

Parents Do Have Influence

As a result of the CDC report, New York University Child Study Center developed five tips for parents to use to curb teen binge drinking by maximizing the influence they have over their children’s decision-making.  “Contrary to popular belief, parents remain the greatest influence over their children’s behavior,” said Richard Gallagher, Ph.D., Director of the Parenting Institute and the Thriving Teens Project at the NYU Child Study Center, in a news release. “Though media and peers play a role, parental influence is critical and there are ways parents can maximize that influence to reduce the likelihood that their children will engage in binge drinking.”

Tips for Parents

Dr. Gallagher suggests these five tips to help parents curb teen binge drinking:

  • Clearly state what actions you expect your teen to take when confronted with substance use. Teens who know what their parents expect from them are much less likely to use substances, including alcohol.
  • Talk about the alcohol use that your children observe. Parents need to make it clear how they want their children to handle substances, such as alcohol and tobacco. Children need to have controlled exposure to learn the rules of acceptable use.
  • Help your teen find leisure activities and places for leisure activities that are substance-free. Then, keep track of where, with whom, and what your teen is doing after school and during other free times.
  • Limit the access your children have to substances. Teens use substances that are available. They report that they sneak alcohol from home stocks, take cigarettes from relatives, and obtain marijuana from people that they know well.
  • Inform teens about the honest dangers that are associated with alcohol use and abuse. Although teens are not highly influenced by such information, some discussion of negative consequences has some impact on the decisions they make. Especially emphasize how alcohol clouds one’s judgment and makes one more likely to be harmed in other ways.

According to the CDC, binge drinking is associated with unintentional injuries (such as car crashes, falls and burns), intentional injuries (firearm injuries and sexual assault), alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy, among other health problems.

Sources:
Child Study Center, New York University School of Medicine, NYU Child Study Center Expert Recommends 5 Tips To Help Curb Teenage Binge Drinking . AboutOurKids.org. Accessed January 2007.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Quick Stats: Binge Drinking.” June 2006.

Congratulations Mississippi Highway Patrol!

December 5, 2010

Mississippi Highway Patrol State Troopers DUI arrests law enforcement agencies drunk driving related deaths Public safety commissioner holidays reducing alcohol-related accidents Cleared2Drive Good2Go ignition interlock device impaired driving drunk driving under the influence arrested Good news for the state of Mississippi. In the past several years, DUI arrests have sky-rocketed which has resulted in the lowest number of drunk driving related deaths in decades.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol attributes the surge in DUI- arrests to law enforcement agencies all over the state becoming more involved.

Public safety commissioner Steve Simpson says the  MHP “blitz periods” during the holidays aimed at reducing alcohol-related accidents have been extremely successful.

Cleared2Drive salutes all of the members of the Mississippi Highway Patrol!