So many drug addicts end up in prison because of the desperation this disease causes in its victims. Addicts will often commit crimes to get a fix – including the relatively minor crime of buying drugs on the street. The result is that many people who need treatment for addiction end up in prison getting little or no help. An innovative and ambitious program in Utah is changing the typical pattern. It is helping addicted inmates battle their demons through exercise, setting goals and replacing addiction with something meaningful.
Since 90 percent of addictions start in the teenage years, the results from a new study by The Partnership at Drugfree.org showing a dramatic and alarming increase in drug and alcohol use among Hispanic teens is particularly troubling.
The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), sponsored by MetLife Foundation, also reveals that drug use is becoming a normalized behavior among Hispanic youth.
Compared to teens from other ethnic groups, more than half (54 percent) of Hispanic teens surveyed said they had used an illicit drug in the past year. In contrast, 45 percent of African-American and 43 percent of Caucasian teens reported illicit drug use in the past 12 months.
Parents of teens today may have more to worry about than finding a marijuana joint in their son or daughter’s back pocket. The U.S. prescription drug epidemic is filtering down to young adults, with recent figures showing as many as 10 percent of adolescents using prescription drugs recreationally.
According to a recent iTech Post article, kids who abuse prescription drugs are at a higher risk of other substance abuse issues and are more apt to engage in additional risky behaviors. A study originating from the University of Florida, Gainesville showed that teens who abuse prescription medications were 17 times more likely to use steroids than their peers. They were also 14 times more likely to use heroin and 11 times more likely to smoke pot.
Drug, alcohol, and cigarette use among Texas teens has been dropping in recent years. Use of some substances has gone up, while others have gone down or stayed the same. Overall, though, the outlook is good and fewer teens are using these substances. Alcohol and drug abuse among teens poses many serious problems. Young people are more susceptible to the harmful physical effects of using drugs and alcohol. They are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors when they are using. That overall usage has gone down is great news for the state of Texas.
Slang is difficult to keep up with, especially with the instant connectivity provided by the Internet. Slang terms are widely employed by teens so they can discuss drugs in front of teachers or parents without attracting suspicion. Then there are many unfamiliar terms that have harmless meanings. Staying on top of trends and drug nicknames is extremely useful if you think your teen may be using drugs or has been using terminology you don’t understand. Learning a little about teen slang can also help you to differentiate between ordinary communications and terms that could relate to drugs.
How The Right Step Can Help You Help a Teen Overcome Addiction
Not long ago on his television program, Dr. Phil McGraw – yes, THAT Dr. Phil – arranged an intervention on a teen named Brandon in the hope that he could help Brandon’s parents help their son to change his life.
If you’re reading this, you know what kind of change they were talking about. Brandon was addicted to drugs, and the good doctor arranged probably the most difficult of “family reunions” to bring the problem into focus.
The show chronicling the intervention and the aftermath was a moving, gut-wrenching roller-coaster ride, as Brandon continued (and continues) his battle to become and remain sober. Afterward Dr. Phil posted on his website a recap of the experience, which included THE question that is top-of-mind for literally thousands of parents today:
What should we do when we suspect our children of drug or alcohol abuse?
Over the holidays surround yourself with a community that understands.
Most people describe the holidays with words, for example, such as “family,” “fun,” and “frolic” It’s expected that we look forward to the happy times between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
For the person with a history of alcohol or drug issues, however, the very holidays many people celebrate can be anything but festive. Addicted people and their loved ones need to be especially on guard for the prospect of relapse, according to a story on the website ezinearticles.com.
Here are some highlights from the article:
The Right Step’s Alumni Program Can Provide Help When It’s Most Needed
Five years ago, in a courtroom where he stood begging for clemency after an arrest tied to a drug-related traffic accident, Garrett Reid told a judge, “I don’t want to die doing drugs. I don’t want to be that kid who was the son of the head coach of the Eagles, who was spoiled and on drugs and OD’ed and just faded into oblivion.”
On August 5, 2012 this, in essence, became his obituary.
Reid, known primarily as the troubled son of NFL coach Andy Reid, died of an accidental heroin overdose in a dormitory room at the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice facility on the Lehigh University campus. He was 29.
He had undergone treatment for addiction issues several times before his death.
The sad ending to Reid’s struggle with substance abuse was chronicled in news stories across the nation, including one by the Philadelphia-area ABC affiliate that recalled his poignant, ironic courtroom plea cited above.
The story also noted that Reid had worked hard to overcome his drug problem, taking a job as the Eagles’ assistant strength coach after a two-year stay in prison for his part in the traffic accident, which injured another person.
Everywhere they look—television, billboards, magazines, the Internet, and the radio—adolescents see messages about alcohol, sex, drugs. According to The Journal of Adolescent Health, “those brands with higher youth-to-adult viewership ratios were significantly more likely to have a higher percentage of occurrences with addiction.” That means the things adolescents see in their everyday lives may negatively affect their behavior. More than one third of American teenagers are turning to alcohol or drugs: 32 percent saying they drink, 19 percent saying they use drugs, and 15 percent saying they do both. That can leave a parent feeling hopeless and out of control. So what can parents do to help?
Become a careful observer of red flags
The first step to any recovery is to become a careful observer of adolescents’ behavior, particularly the small details that make up their lives: changes in friends, sleep patterns, grades, moods, judgement, personality. Be careful not to jump to conclusions because adolescents’ addiction chemically alters their brains, so they are not always ready to hear what parents have to say. Create a nurturing home environment so teens will still receive the love and support they need and feel their parents are trustworthy. This is the time to listen to them and make a sincere effort to hear what they are going through and how it got to this point.
For adolescents, living a normal life is important. When a teen is taking the steps toward alcohol and drug addiction recovery, maintaining a structured, sober lifestyle plays a key role. When adolescents are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it’s important that they learn how to live fulfilling lives that include sobriety. Breaking damaging habits and discovering a happy new life can be obtainable during and long-after outpatient rehab!
Outpatient rehab is no easy task. It requires dedication, structure, support, and a sense of confidence. Being at home during recovery treatment allows adolescents to be surrounded by family and, the more parents are involved, the greater the recovery success rate. Outpatient rehab also encourages support from the community and trusted friends. Outpatient rehab can focus on various areas of adolescents’ lives, in addition to relationships with their parents.