Saturday, Sept. 26, marks the 10th anniversary of “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day,” an annual initiative organized by the Drug Enforcement Agency to curb America’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. That’s when, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., police departments and sheriff’s offices across Texas will join in a massive, nationwide drive to collect the unused, expired and potentially dangerous prescription medications in your medicine cabinet, no questions asked.
According to an extensive 2008 study, teens ages 12 to 17 showed the highest percent of drug use with just over 60 percent surveyed saying they had a dependence issue with an illicit drug. The 18 to 25 age group reported a dependence rate of 37 percent while people 26 and older were dependent at a rate near 25 percent.
Studies have shown that the earlier in life someone uses drugs, the more likely they are to develop an addiction. As parents, being able to recognize the telltale signs of substance abuse in our children is vital in order to protect their future. One of the first signs of drug use to appear is a change in appetite. Teens that suddenly begin to gorge themselves and those that seem to suddenly boycott food are likely at risk of using substances ranging from marijuana to amphetamines. These drugs will also change the teens’ normal sleep patterns.
They taste like candy, the sweet and fruit-flavored little cigars, they look like cigarettes, and are as addicting as cigarettes – and young people are flocking to them in droves.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one in 20 middle and high school students said they smoke the sweet small cigars but rises to nearly one in 12 high school seniors who do.
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.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism, known collectively as alcohol use disorders or AUD, are potential consequences of excessive consumption of beer, wine, malt liquor, distilled liquor or a variety of other alcoholic beverages, often requiring professional treatment. For a variety of reasons, the vast majority of the scientific studies used to establish the definitions for alcohol use disorders were performed on adult population groups. According to a study review published in 2010 in Pediatrics, the adult standards for both alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence differ significantly from appropriate standards for teenagers.
Stress is a natural reaction to any situation or circumstance that seriously challenges a person’s sense of well-being or security. While this reaction once played (and in some respects, still plays) a critical role in human survival, people in the modern world tend to experience stress as a recurring or chronic state that decreases the enjoyment of everyday life.
Preteens and teenagers also experience this everyday stress. According to a study published in 2013 in the journal Neuroscience, enrollment in a stress management course can significantly boost the mental health of preteens and teens and help prevent the onset of depression and other stress-related ailments.
Impulsivity is a term that psychologists and psychiatrists use to describe a tendency to act without thinking or regard for the consequences of one’s behavior. All humans naturally have impulses, but most children and teenagers gradually learn to consciously control those urges and comply in meaningful ways with the social norms of their culture.
Current evidence indicates that many teenagers who start smoking have higher levels of impulsivity than their non-smoking peers. According to the results of a study published in 2011 in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, teens and young adults who experience declines in impulsivity levels are able to quit substance abuse, including nicotine, more often than their peers who don’t experience similar declines in impulsivity.
“Love is Greater Than Hate: The Ultimate Strategy to End Bullying”
Keynote Speaker: Brooks Gibbs
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Where: Garland ISD Special Event Center – Garland, TX 75040
CEU’s will be available
A conference for professionals who work with adolescents