Grandma is the drug connect.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Drugs

Drug counseling.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Grandparents are some teens drug supplier of choice.

Medicine cabinet.

Bathroom medicine cabinets. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Grandmas. along with grandpas, mothers and dads are becoming the major suppliers of illicit drugs for today’s teens. Grandma may not know it yet, but the drugs she supplied could put her grandkids in the hospital emergency room. This hasn’t happened just once; it has occurred repeatedly all across America. Teens are getting their drug supplies by raiding the old people’s medicine cabinets and dresser drawers.

This is not an isolated incident. Abuse of prescription medications, popping the old folk’s pills, is replacing Methamphetamine as the drug of choice for today’s teens in many places across America.

Kids have always raided the old folk’s stash, purloined the liquor and smoked dads weed, but this is different and more ominous. Kids are ending up in emergency rooms from overdoses of unknown prescription medication. Frequently the teens don’t know what they have taken. Not the pharmaceutical names or the consequences. With the rapid increase in prescription drugs on the market the standard drug tests don’t begin to detect all the life-threatening drugs or combinations teens may have taken.

Combine unknown prescription drugs with alcohol or the new synthetic drugs and the results can be fatal. The casualties add up at an ever more rapid rate. Today’s teens are more likely to become addicted to prescription painkillers than to illegal street drugs.

The liver may work hard, but put alcohol in the bloodstream and that poor little liver is overwhelmed. It just can’t cope with all those pills. Lots of bad things including death can happen.

We try to control this. At least I hope doctors are trying. When they see someone who is abusing prescription drugs, or just that grandma is using too many, they may not write more prescriptions. Grandchild’s supply may dry up.

Deprive a hooked person of their prescription Opiates or Opioids and it is a short progression to the illegal ones. You can buy the pills on the street, but Vicodin and Oxycodone sold at the bus stop don’t come cheap.

Teens in my town have caught on to smoking heroin to avoid the withdrawal symptoms from the prescribed opiates. Smoking heroin gets expensive fast. They soon find that most of the potency goes up in smoke. So the new connection, the one grandma never expected, is all too ready to show the new addict how to assemble a rig and how to shoot up a vein.

There is a solution to the problem of keeping kids out of the old folk’s pills. Lock the meds up and keep the key a secret. Unfortunately, we older types forget where we put the key. We also don’t remember that there are leftover meds for all sorts of things, in cabinets, drawers, and on the kitchen table. We used to have to take these pills but stopped taking them. We still have pills left.

Some people try flushing them down the toilet. Not recommended. It does all sorts of things to the environment. There are other ways I have heard of, but I won’t tell you about those ways here as they are also not recommended.

There is a much better solution. Surrender unused medication at the next:

NATIONAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE BACK DAY on April 28, 2012.

A list of the collection sites is found at Collection sites. 

Please consider – This is no small thing!

Over the last 13 months, the American public has turned in almost 500 TONS of unneeded prescription drugs. That is – for us non-math majors just short of ONE MILLION POUNDS of drugs that were lying around the house. These were drugs that might have ended up sending your kids or grandkids to the hospital emergency room or worse.

Please turn your unneeded drugs in and don’t become the next grandma drug connect.

This post was featured in “Best of Blog – May 2012

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Teens, drugs and resiliency

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Teenagers.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Some new developments in the area of teens, drugs, and resiliency

Energy drinks:

These drinks have been involved in a large increase in hospital emergency room visits. Many young people and some adults think that energy drinks since they are sold in food and convenience stores are safe. Maybe they are in and of themselves but the way many people are using them is not safe. In a five-year period, hospital emergency room visits involving energy drinks have increased more than 1,000 % from just over 1100 to 13,000. The majority of these incidents, more than half, involved using energy drinks with drugs and alcohol. Males were more likely to mix energy drinks with illegal drugs and alcohol while females mixed them with prescription drugs.

A single can of the stronger energy drinks contains up to ten times as much caffeine and other stimulants than a caffeinated soda. People who consume energy drinks with alcohol are more likely to be involved in accidents as they do not feel impaired and over-estimate their abilities to drive or engage in other dangerous activities. The full report is available from SAMHSA, in the DAWN report (Drug Abuse Warning Network.)

New synthetic drugs.

In the race to create new drugs and the efforts to control or ban them, we are not sure who is winning. These products often sold as “bath salts” or incense but commonly abuse by younger consumers by smoking, continues to be a problem. Despite analog and similar laws that say that even if you paint the duck red it is still a duck, manufacturers are finding ways to make and market new synthetic drugs that are different enough to escape the net of banned substances.

Join Together, (join together at the partnership at drugfree.org.)  a great source of information on the latest drug trends, reports that 43 states have laws regulating synthetic drugs. Some laws list specific chemicals as illegal. The manufacturers of synthetic drugs keep changing to new chemicals, not on the list. Other localities have listed categories of chemicals as illegal. Under these laws, prosecution is more difficult as the chemical may have legitimate uses that are not related to drug abuse.

Occasionally one of these new synthetic drugs results in a rash of hospitalizations or even deaths. Often these incidents are confined to a small area or a particular supplier of the product. The risks here are real but the problem keeps changing.

Volunteering reduces teen drug use and increases resilience.

In a previous blog, I wrote about the role of sleep in reducing teen problem behaviors and increasing resilience. There is more.

Another simple low-cost prevention measure for reducing teen drug use and improving resilience has been found. Surprising how simple some of these ideas are. The report, again by Join Together staff, reported that kids who regularly volunteer to help others are less likely to use drugs and get into trouble. This sounds a little twelve stepish.

The study they reported about was conducted with rural teens. Rates of drug use among rural teens are rising rapidly. No folks you can’t protect your kids from drugs by moving to the country, and the country folk isn’t just drinking whiskey anymore.

The economy and government budget cuts have reduced or eliminated many after-school programs and activities for kids. There are almost always opportunities to volunteer to help others. Not only did volunteering to help others reduce rates of teen drug use, the results continued into their young adult years, possibly beyond.

Food is also a treatment for teen drug use and promotes resilience.

While I am on the subject, I recall a study that reported that teens that sat down around one of those old fashion dining room table things, no T. V. mind you, that is kids who regularly eat dinner with their parents, they have fewer drug problems, better grades, more resilience and so on.

The conclusion

The risks and dangers for kids continue to grow. We can’t always protect them, probably parents have always been less able to protect kids than the adults would have liked. What we are seeing are research studies that show what a lot of folks always knew. Plenty of sleep, regular family meals, being taught right from wrong, and volunteering to help others, all these things result in a teen who is less likely to take excessive risks and more likely to develop resilience and bounce back from adversity.

Till next time, I will keep working on that elusive book and writing this blog. Your comments are welcome. What do all of you think about adolescent drug use, risk, and resilience?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

7 “New Drugs” parents should be aware of

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Drugs.

Drugs.
Photo courtesy of pixabay.

7 “New Drugs” parents should be aware of.

New drugs and new patterns of drug use continue to emerge. When I first started talking about this in my class for drug and alcohol counselors the thought entered my mind that giving out information on new drugs might encourage their use. I didn’t need to worry about that, the people who want to use them knew about them far before I did. But now that there have been a few overdoses I believe it is important for parents and professions to be aware of these new trends in drug use. So here are six new drugs and one new drug use trend that are beginning to rival the old drug use problems. For up to the minute information on these drug use trends you only have to search the internet.

1. Khat

Khat is a stimulant plant from the Middle East, another of the results of our involvement in wars there. The leaves are chewed while still fresh and moist and are a mild stimulant similar to Coca leaves. The plant and the fresh leaves are rare in the U. S. The synthetic version is becoming more common.

2. Methcathinone

Methcathinone is a synthetic and potent laboratory-produced version of the Khat plant’s active ingredient. It is not illegal or regulated everywhere yet and is growing in popularity. Results are reported as being similar to Methamphetamine.

3. Bath salts.

These are not the kind of bath salts your grandmother might have used. These drugs are being sold in “head” or “smoke” shops not bath boutiques and the label is certainly a misnomer. Common names include such benign-sounding names as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Vanilla Sky” and “Bliss.”

They are used by smoking and can contain a variety of chemicals. Join Together reports that DEA has placed a temporary ban on three ingredients used in the manufacture of bath salts, Mephedrone, MDPV, and Methylone.

As fast as one ingredient is made illegal the manufacturers switch ingredients. Overdoses can be particularly nasty and use may result in psychoses or death. To re-quote “What a price to get your kicks.”

4. Synthetic Cannabinoids.

These are best known locally under the brand names of “Spice” and “K-2.”  This can be most any dried vegetable material, commonly parsley which has been coated with a synthetic Cannabinoid. There are 300 different chemicals involved so far and more are sure to be discovered. A few have been made controlled substances, mostly this means they are illegal in the U.S. As fast as one is banned another variety comes into use. These are not benign chemicals. Overdoses and toxic results have been reported including hallucinations that have not gone away after withdrawal from the drug.

5. Salvia Divinorum.

An unusual member of the sage family originally from Central America it appears to be the only member of the sage family with psychoactive properties. It was used by Native Americans in religious ceremonies and does not appear to be especially dangerous when used that way. When combined with other drugs, especially synthetics and alcohol the results are reported as being unpredictable. Since stimulants and depressants are the most popular drugs, consciousness-altering drugs like sage have not caught on in popularity the way Methcathinone and bath salts have. As with most dried herbal products the potency and ingredients can vary considerably.

6. Kratom.

Bet you thought I made that up? This has nothing to do with Superman. It is a tree, originally native to South East Asia. The leaf is reported to have both stimulant and depressive properties. In some places it is illegal and in other places, it is totally unregulated. At high doses, it has been reported to have effects similar to morphine. Some of the trees are now in the U. S. but most of the use is by buying leaves and preparations from the internet. The tree does not grow well in cold climates so most of the cases reported are from Florida. Like all other drugs, it is likely to spread over time.

7. Smoking of Heroin by teens.

This is a new twist to an old drug. This trend is occurring in the wealthier and more affluent parts of town. Abuse of pills is now epidemic. Teens have ready access to powerful painkillers. Sometimes these have been prescribed to them for injuries but often these pills are being taken from parents and grandparents medicine cabinets. After a short time, opiate addiction develops. Unable to get more pain pills an exceptionally large number of teens have taken to purchasing heroin to replace the pills. At first, they may be induced to smoke the heroin, thinking that this differentiates them from the drug addicts who use needles. The high price of the drug and the larger quantities needed when smoking result in most switching to needle use. Heroin is consuming a whole new generation.

By the time I get this posted it is likely there will be additions to the list. I hope this helps in the way of information. The only antidote I know of for an increase in drug addiction among our children is parental and societal involvement with kids. Happy, healthy kids are less likely to become addicted and they are more likely to turn to adults for help. Kids with mental health problems, who are estranged from their parents, are at increased risk. Trying to keep drugs out of our communities does not seem to be working as you can see here new drugs of abuse will keep entering our society. The only hope for taming the dragon of addiction is early intervention and treatment.

Great sources of up to date information on drug use trends and laws are THE PARTNERSHIP AT DRUG FREE.ORG and Join Together. They send out frequent updates via email. Check them out at http://www.drugfree.org/join-together

As always comments and questions are welcome.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel