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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Study Tells Women: Quit Smoking, Live Longer

For as many times as we have written about smoking cigarettes usually these posts have been about the inherent dangers of smoking and the fact that cigarette smoking is like any other addiction. The bottom line is this: cigarette smoking is a health hazard for the smoker and for those impacted by second hand smoke and once addicted quitting is very difficult. Though quitting is not impossible, sometimes we need a reason to quit. If someone told you quitting could add ten years to your life, would you try to quit?

Do smoking regulations or warning labels make you want to quit smoking?

It might surprise you to know that in 1965 42% of Americans smoked cigarettes. By 2006 that number dropped to 20.8%. Most of this decrease has resulted from studies that show the negative health effects of smoking. People watched their loved ones die as a result of smoking. Regulations and laws were passed to lessen the places where people could smoke. No longer are we allowed to smoke while working; no longer can we smoke on planes, trains or buses; many communities have outlawed smoking in public parks and beaches; and, we can no longer smoke in restaurants and theaters. Adding to these health regulations we also have warning labels on cigarette packaging. These warning labels were first introduced in 1966 with the CAUTION: Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health.

This caution evolved into WARNINGS and in 2009 the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was passed which required color graphics with supplemental text depicting the negative consequences of smoking to cover 50 percent of the front and rear of each pack. While these graphic labels were to be in place by September 2012, the courts are still trying to sort out whether or not this act is a violation of the First Amendment.

So have you quit yet?

Women and smoking...

The American Lung Association offers some interesting statistics regarding women and smoking. Here are just a few eye-opening stats:
  • Annually cigarette smoking kills an estimated 173,940 women in the US
  • As of 2008, 21.1 million women smoked cigarettes
  • Female smokers are nearly 13 times more likely to die from emphysema and chronic bronchitis, compared to women who never smoked
  • Women who smoke also have an increased risk for developing cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and uterine cervix.
  • Women who smoke also double their risk for developing coronary heart disease

New study highlights the benefits to women who quit smoking

This past week the results of a new study were released on-line in the journal Lancet,  The 21st Century Hazards of Smoking and Benefits of Stopping: A Prospective Study of One Million Women in the UK. Here are some of the studies methods and findings:
  • 1.3 million UK women were recruited in 1996-2001
  • These women were resurveyed about three and eight years later.
  • All were followed until January 1, 2011
  • Among UK women, two-thirds of all deaths of smokers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are caused by smoking; smokers lose at least 10 years of lifespan. 
  • Although the hazards of smoking until age 40 years and then stopping are substantial, the hazards of continuing are ten times greater.  
  • Stopping before age 40 years (and preferably well before age 40 years) avoids more than 90% of the excess mortality caused by continuing smoking; stopping before age 30 years avoids more than 97% of it. 

NBC Today Show's Robert Bazell features study results


If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

In closing...

If you are a woman and you smoke, we hope that you will take the time to at least think about what this study is saying. You can quit smoking, if you need help then visit the American Lung Association's site to learn more about getting help to quit smoking. Also, remember that quitting smoking is like quitting any other addictive substance...you can do it one day at a time.


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Monday, October 29, 2012

"Back on My Feet" ~ Anne Mahlum's Vision For the Homeless

Homelessness and mental health

Homelessness has become a very visible part of our culture. If you are old enough to remember 1963, then you might recall the passing of The Community Mental Health Act of 1963. While this act was to allow for Federal funding for community mental health centers, many experts believe that it was this act that set the stage for increasing the number of homeless in the United States. According to Wikipedia, following the enactment of The Community Mental Health Act:

Long term psychiatric patients were released from state hospitals into SROs and supposed to be sent to community mental health centers for treatment and follow-up. It never quite worked out properly, the community mental health centers mostly did not materialize, and this population largely was found living in the streets soon thereafter with no sustainable support system.

Homelessness and addiction

Studies of the homeless indicate that many who are homeless also suffer from prolonged drug and alcohol abuse. On any given night in America approximately 636,000 individuals are homeless.  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): "One study reported a 23 percent lifetime prevalence rate of co-occurring disorders for individuals who were homeless. Individuals with co-occurring disorders who are homeless face complex physical, social, and psychological challenges to recovery."

Adult children of alcoholics and the homeless

The homeless are often alienated by their family and close friends. This alienation almost always starts with the homeless person's disease of addiction alienating an addicted individual's family and friends who could otherwise provide support during difficult economic times. The family members may want to help, but they may also be physically, emotionally and financially exhausted from living with the addict and the disease. It is after all, a family disease. Any every family member needs to figure out how they can deal with watching their loved one's life implode from addiction. This is particularly true of adult children of alcoholics.

Meet Anne Mahlum founder of "Back on My Feet"

According to the Back on My Feet (BoMF) website:

"Anne's relationship with running began when she was 16 as a way to deal with her father’s struggle with a gambling addiction. While Anne could never find a way to help her dad, she found her own answers in the life lessons that surround running, such as taking things one step at a time and learning the value of being on difficult roads. Ten years later, Anne's running led her past a homeless shelter in Philadelphia where she developed a friendly rapport with some of the residents. One morning, she realized that running could benefit these individuals in the same way that it helped her. Back on My Feet had its first official run on July 3, 2007 and in just a few years, has grown to a $4.8 million nonprofit that’s moved hundreds of individuals experiencing homelessness from dependency to self-sufficiency."

CBS Evening News "Turning Around the Lives of the Homeless"

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

World Homeless Day 2012

World Homeless Day 2012 was held on October 10th. While the homeless population in the United States seems staggering, you may be surprised to know that worldwide it is estimated that the number considered homeless is 100 million.

As always, advocacy for any cause cannot be about one day, it must be about one day at a time.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Substance Abuse Diagnoses Increase, But So Do Prescriptions For Addiction Treatment

If you are an addiction treatment professional, then you have probably noticed trends when it comes to the number of people suffering from the disease of addiction and seeking treatment. Now a new study has determined that while the number of those diagnosed with addiction is up, there are also encouraging statistics as to how many patients are seeking treatment.

Study overview

A study was conducted by Joseph W. Frank, MD; John Z. Ayanian, MD, MPP; Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, with the lead author being Dr. Joseph W. Frank from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. They reviewed two national surveys reviewing data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) from 2001 through 2009.

The study's results were published online on October 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine as a research letter. An overview of the study can be seen here: Management of Substance Use Disorders in Ambulatory Care in the United States, 2001-2009.

Study findings

The authors analyzed 8930 visits, which represented an estimated 42.2 million adult visits which involved substance abuse disorders. Findings point out:
  • Such visits increased 70% from 10.6 million in 2001 through 2003 to 18.0 million in 2007 through 2009.
  • Visits of opioid use disorders increased 6-fold from 772,000 in 2001 through 2003 to 4.4 million in 2007 through 2009, accounting for 7% of all substance use disorder visits in 2001 through 2003 and 25% of visits in 2007 through 2009. 
Dr. Frank estimated that a review of the data indicates 22.5 million US residents are currently dependent on alcohol or drugs. That number represents 6.8% of the US population.

There is some good news

The researchers also point to some good news:
  • When patients were seen by their doctors, the doctors did prescribe medicine to treat the drug and alcohol problems. 
  • These prescriptions were issued to 643,000 patients between 2001 and 2003; this number grew to 3.9 million patients between 2007 and 2009. 
  • Most of these prescriptions were written to treat people with opioid addiction.
  • The most popular prescribed treatment was "talk therapy" (psychosocial therapy, mental health counseling, stress management) which was used for 25 million patients.
The disease of addiction is treatable. Recovery is possible. Stay informed, talk to your primary care physician or if you find yourself in an emergency room suffering from your addiction - be honest with the hospital staff that is trying to assist you through your current acute symptoms.  

The first step (We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable) is all about being honest with yourself and those who are trying to help you.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Remembering Paul Wellstone - The Senator, An Advocate For Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

, former member of the United States Senate fr...
Paul Wellstone former member of the United States Senate from Minnesota. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you suffer from addiction and/or co-occurring mental health issues or you have a child who is diagnosed with either, then there is a good chance that you are familiar with the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. But you may not realize that it was 10 years ago this week, specifically October 25, when Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash 11 days before the 2002 US Senate Election.

Remembering Paul Wellstone

Though gone now almost ten years, Paul Wellstone is remembered for many projects and causes that he diligently fought to bring to the public's awareness. But it was his awareness of how impactful a mental health disorder can be to the person and his/her family (Wellstone's older brother suffered from crippling depression) that inspired him to work tirelessly for mental health parity and addiction equity.

Sometimes the wheels of legislation turn slowly. According to a October 12, 2012, Huffington Post article: "In 1995 Wellstone and Senator Pete Domenici, a New Mexico Republican, co-sponsored a bill that would require insurance companies to provide mental health patients with the same level of care as those suffering from physical illnesses."  And it took until 2008, six years after his passing, for the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 to be passed by both houses of Congress. In case you are counting...that is 13 years!

The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (a part of Division C) mandates that if U.S. health insurance companies provide coverage for mental health and substance abuse, the coverage must be equal for conditions such as psychological disorders, alcoholism, and drug addiction.

Senator Wellstone's son, David Wellstone continues his father's work

It is important to remember that on the plane crash that took the life of David Wellstone's father also took the life of his mother Sheila Wellstone and his younger sister, Marcia Wellstone. David was devastated, as was his younger brother, Mark Wellstone. David retreated; he stayed out of the public spotlight for five years until he was asked to testify before the US Congress in July 2007. And testify he did saying of his father's work: "Although he was passionate on many issues, there was not another issue that surpassed this in terms of his passion."

Now David Wellstone has written a book: "Becoming Wellstone: Healing from Tragedy and Carrying on My Father's Legacy." 

CBS Minnesota recently interviewed David:
If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

David recently founded a nonprofit group, the Wellstone Mental Health Initiative, which is pushing for a federal rule that will put teeth in the mental health parity legislation. The Post-Bulletin quotes David Wellstone:

"It's like my dad used to tell me and others. Folks with mental illness and addiction are a besieged minority. They are struggling with their own struggles, don't have a lot of political clout," he said. "So if I can help in that field and do good work on the policy side, then that's what I'll do." 

In closing...

Senator Paul Wellstone worked for all people suffering from addiction and mental health issues...his work also has helped parents as they seek treatment for their children. We are hopeful the fruits of his labor will continue to help establish parity and we are thankful for David Wellstone's willingness to continue working on this goal.

As we close today remembering Senator Paul Wellstone, we would also like to recognize the passing of Senator George S. McGovern who lost two children to the disease of addiction and also worked as an advocate for families touched by mental health issues and alcoholism. 

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gambling Initiatives On The November Ballot - What's The Risk, What's The Price?

This November we will have an election. We will go to the polls to select someone to be our President for the next four years, we will pick our U.S. Representative, many will be voting for a U.S. Senator, some state governors will be chosen, many local political seats will be decided upon...and we will also be asked to vote for or against statewide or local initiatives. Sometimes it is these ballot measures that can impact our lives for years to come, either by what was approved or not, what program was funded or not, what tax was passed or not. This year a few states have ballot measures that deal with gambling.

States with ballot gambling initiatives

On October 6, 2012, a gambling website posted an update on which states will have ballot initiatives and which states failed to succeed in getting a gambling initiative on the ballot in 2012. Those states that for sure will have a gambling related initiative are:
  • Maryland ~ Question 7
  • Oregon ~ Measure 82 and Measure 83
  • Rhode Island ~ Question 1 and 2

A focus on Maryland

Maryland's Question 7 is known as the Gaming Expansion Referendum. Specifically it asks the voter if they are "for" or "against":

"Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education to authorize video lottery operation licensees to operate “table games” as defined by law; to increase from 15,000 to 16,500 the maximum number of video lottery terminals that may be operated in the State; and to increase from 5 to 6 the maximum number of video lottery operation licenses that may be awarded in the State and allow a video lottery facility to operate in Prince George’s County?"

Notice that the primary purpose is for raising revenue for education. This purpose type always pulls at the heartstrings of a voter. Who could vote against raising revenue for education? If you have school-aged children or grandchildren chances are you will vote for the referendum. Or if you are employed as a teacher, school administrator, or school employee, then chances are you want more funding for education. When you add these potential voters to those who might be able to find a new job in the building of a casino or working in a casino, then chances are you will vote for the referendum.

Here are few blogs/articles that discuss the Question 7 referendum:

A few final points...

On October 15, 2012, Petula Dvorak wrote a column for The Washington Post. Here are a few of her observations:
  • Based on statistics on the effect of the proximity of casinos within 50 miles of a person's neighborhood, Maryland could expect to have 60,000 people with gambling problems
  • To deal with this projection there is a new Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling based at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine. This center opened with a $5 million grant from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Do you have a problem with gambling? Do you have a loved one who has a gambling addiction? How has it impacted your life? 
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Monday, October 15, 2012

The Stigmas Associated With Addiction And Mental Illness

Addiction and mental illness stigmas

Last week we wrote about Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012 and we have often written about the stigma associated with the disease of addiction and mental illness. The most basic reason for the stigma associated with addiction and mental illness is that most people who suffer from these find it hard to talk about it and they fear that they may lose their family, friends, employment, military career and may face incarceration should their secret be discovered. Additionally, families don't want to share the fact that their loved one suffers from the disease of addiction or a mental illness, let alone the combination of both - co-occurring disorders. Unlike when a family is presented with a diagnosis of other chronic or acute disorders, like cancer, diabetes, autism, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy...we don't rush to share the fact that our loved one is addicted to a substance or has a mental health issues. The fear of the stigma stops us and we start to isolate ourselves from our friends, other family members, co-workers, etc. Often we don't even know where to turn for help.

News stories about these stigmas

You don't really have to search very hard to find news stories that deal with the impact of stigma, as it relates to addiction and mental illness. It is important to remember that the problem with stigmatizing people who suffer from mental illness and/or addiction is not limited to the United States, this is a worldwide problem. Consider some of the following:

Vivid statistics about mental illness in the United States

This past weekend NBC's Melissa Harris Perry profiled some of the vivid statistics about mental illness in the United States.

If you are having trouble viewing this video, you can see it here.

What can you do about the stigma that surrounds addiction and mental illness?

There are a few simple steps you can take to help alleviate the stigma that surrounds addiction and mental illness:
  1. Stay informed: watch the news, read articles that deal with stigmas attached to addiction and mental illness.
  2. If you find someone in your family has an addiction or mental illness, then don't hide, seek support groups like Al-Anon or Mental Health America  
  3. Don't be afraid to reach out to someone who appears to be suffering from addiction and/of mental illness or a family member of same. Encourage your co-worker to seek help through an Employee Assistance Program. Many private and public sector employees offer such programs.
  4. If your loved one is receiving treatment for addiction and/or a co-occurring disorder, then take advantage of the treatment center's family program   
Finally, remember that Mental Illness Awareness should not be about one week in October, it should be about being aware all the time. It will be the only way we can deal with this national health crisis; remember it takes a community. Be a part of the community.  

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

SMASHED A Portrait of Addiction Circa 2012 - Is It Today's Version Of The Days of Wine and Roses?

50 years ago at the movies The Days of Wine and Roses

50 years ago an Academy Award winning film The Days of Wine and Roses debuted. It is a powerful film that most accurately tells the story of a couple whose lives spiral downhill with alcoholism and their attempts to deal with their alcoholism. It was critically acclaimed for the realistic portrayals by Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick. Lemmon was nominated for Best Actor and Remick was nominated for Best Actress. The theme song "The Days of Wine and Roses" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.  Some thirty years later, Jack Lemmon stated in an interview that he really was a recovering alcoholic. Perhaps that is one reason why Mr. Lemmon was so intent on playing the part of Joe Clay and with conviction uttered one of the most famous lines from the movie: "My name is Joe Clay...I'm an alcoholic."

Enjoy The Days of Wine and Roses original trailer

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Smashed, a portrait of addiction, opens this Friday, October 12, 2012

This past January, Smashed premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. It won the coveted U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence. Eventually Sony Picture Classics picked up the film and it now will be released nationwide (albeit a limited release) on October 12, 2012.

It stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Kate Hannah) and Aaron Paul (Charlie Hannah) and according to IMDB, Smashed is "R" rated and deals with: "A married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of alcohol gets their relationship put to the test when the wife decides to get sober."

Critics seem to agree that this film is worth viewing, for example:
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly: "What's new about this affecting, unsensationalized portrait of addiction, recovery, codependence, setbacks, one-day-at-a-time progress, and their effects on relationships, is the low-keyed energy of the storytelling."
  • James Rocchi of The Playlist "But all of the pain and problem-solving here feel human and natural, never forced or contrived. The sober are not heroes; the drunk, not all demons. Ponsoldt, Paul and Winstead make a remarkably effective team for this film's points and purposes, and "Smashed" burns long after it goes down smoothly."
  • Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter: "Smashed by its nature includes the obligatory AA meetings, spills off the wagon and strains with loved ones. But its sharp writing and essential credibility make this small, intimate tale fresh."

View Smashed trailer


If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

The power of movies...

There is no doubt that over the history of film-making many movies have dealt with the subject of addiction, specifically alcoholism. Some people, including an alcoholics' family and friends, have trouble watching these movies, the subject is too close to home. But every once in a while, a powerful film will be just enough to help an addict decide to get help.

If you see Smashed, let us know what you think.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012 - Let's All Do Our Part To End The Stigma of Mental Illness

Chances are today you are celebrating the Columbus Day Holiday, the second Monday in October. It has been a Federal Holiday since 1937, celebrating Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World in 1492. Depending on where you live in the United States today will vary from no celebration to interesting parades, special sales, school holidays, banks may be closed (Federal Holiday) and for sure there is no United States mail delivery today.

But did you know that yesterday marked the beginning of Mental Illness Awareness Week here in the United States?

Mental Illness Awareness Week history

According to the National Alliance On Mental Illness's (NAMI) website:
 "In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in recognition of NAMI's efforts to raise mental illness awareness. Since 1990, mental health advocates across the country have joined together during the first full week of October in sponsoring many kinds of activities.
MIAW has become a NAMI tradition. It presents an opportunity to all NAMI state organizations and affiliates across the country to work together in communities to achieve the NAMI mission through outreach, education and advocacy."

Mental Illness statistics in the United States

NAMI gathers statistics from across the United States and reviewing these can help us understand the sheer numbers of people who suffer from mental illness, how families are impacted and why the availability of treatment is so important:
  •  One in four adults—approximately 57.7 million Americans— experience a mental health disorder in a given year. One in 17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder1 and about one in 10 children live with a serious mental or emotional disorder.
  • About 2.4 million Americans, or 1.1 percent of the adult population, live with schizophrenia.
  •  Bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million American adults, approximately 2.6 percent of the adult population per year.
  • Major depressive disorder affects 6.7 percent of adults, or about 14.8 million American adults. According to the 2004 World Health Report, this is the leading cause of disability in the United States
    and Canada in ages between 15-44.
  • Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder and phobias, affect about 18.7 percent of adults,
    an estimated 40 million individuals. Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depression or addiction disorders.
  • An estimated 5.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders. Of adults using homeless services, 31percent reported having combination of these conditions.
The full NAMI report of Facts and Numbers can be seen here.

Take the first step - learn about mental illness

If you think for one moment that you and your family are not touched by mental illness, think again. NAMI reports that the disease of mental illness affects one in 15 families. Picture any neighborhood in the United States and chances are that at least one family in that neighborhood has a loved one who suffers from mental illness. We see headline grabbing stories everyday in the United States that draw our attention to mental illness and what havoc it can bring to the person and the community. Consider: Jared Loughner and the killing of six people and injuring of 13 others in the City of Tucson in January 2011 or James Holmes and the killing of 12 and the injuring of 58 in the Colorado movie theater in July 2012. These are just two examples of mentally ill suspects, the list goes on in small towns and cities across the United States. And whenever we question "why" we continue to hear about such events the number one reason that these events continue to occur is that the average American does not take the time to learn about mental illness. For some reason we tend to think we won't be touched by mental illness...it won't happen to us, to our loved one, to our community.

Work to eliminate the stigma, the shame of mental illness

If you have never lived with any kind of stigma (a mark of disgrace), then you are fortunate. Stigma can result from the way we look to the way we act, people shy away from those who suffer from mental illness. We seemed to think if we don't "see" it, then it doesn't exist. We move through life thinking that what we don't know or recognize won't hurt us. How many times have you driven past a homeless person or maneuvered your way through a grocery store trying to avoid the person who seems "a bit off?" We all do it. We are all consumed with our own lives and just trying to make it through each day. But ignoring the mental illness we see in our fellow human beings won't make it "not so."  We all need to allow those suffering from mental illness the ability to speak up without shame...reach out and help them get help.

The Bring Change 2 Mind organization promotes "working together to erase the stigma and discrimination of mental illness."

Here you can view an interview with actress Glenn Close who speaks about ending the stigma of mental illness.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

As we move through Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012, remember that October 9th is National Day Without Stigma...let's work together.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Teen Drinking and Driving Stats Down, BUT Related Stats Are "Sobering"

Parents of teenagers have many concerns...

The parent of a teenager worries about many teen behaviors and the effect these behaviors can have on their teen's life. Parents worry about their teen doing well in high school, they worry about their teen performing well enough on the SAT test to be accepted to college, they worry about their teen's after school activities, they worry about who their teen chooses to be friends with, they worry about who their teen dates, they worry about instilling good morals and a good work ethic. And on the day their teenager passes their driving test and receives their first driver's license the game changes...then every time their teenager ventures out in the family car the typical parent says a silent prayer and hopes their teenager returns home safely without having inflicted injury to themselves or others.

CDC teen drinking and driving statistics validate parents' concerns

For as many times that parents counsel their teens not to drink and drive and not to accept a ride with a friend who has been drinking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following "sobering" statistics gathered from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey:
  • High school teens drive after drinking about 2.4 million times a month.
  • 85% of teens in his school who report drinking and driving in the past month also say they binge drank. 
  • 1 in 5 teen driver involved in fatal crashes has some alcohol in their system in 2010. Most of these drivers (81%) had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than the legal limit for adults.

But the latest CDC stats offer some good news

If you can assimilate the statistics offered above, there is some good news regarding teen drinking and driving: Since 1991 drinking and driving among high school aged teens has gone down 54%.

The reasons offered for this decrease include:
  • Many states now have stricter laws that restrict teen driving privileges limiting the hours that teens can legally drive after dark.
  • Some states have graduated driver licensing and limits to the number of passengers a teen driver can have in the vehicle.
  • Teens are driving less as a result of the economy - higher gasoline prices and the general effects of the recession.
  • Many parents use "contracts" with their teens regarding driving rules.

ABC WJLA Channel 8 (Metropolitan Washington D.C. area) video coverage

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here
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Monday, October 1, 2012

"Smiles" Latest Designer Drug Is No Laughing Matter

2C-I Image via Wikipedia
Did you ever wonder who "creates" the names for designer drugs? It is interesting, isn't it?
  • Euphoria
  • Bath Salts
  • White China or China White
  • Plant Food
  • Nexus
  • Foxy
  • Orange Sunshine
  • Pandora

"Smiles" latest designer drug to hit the news

Over the past couple of weeks news outlets have started reporting on, the latest designer drug "Smiles."  Smiles, as it is known on the street, is an illegal synthetic drug officially called 2C- I. According to a Fox News report:
'2C-I is part of the 2C family of drugs, a group of closely related molecules that have psychedelic effects. Along with the other 2Cs, 2C-I was discovered by chemist and synthetic-drug guru Alexander Shulgin, who published the formulas of psychoactive drugs in his book "PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story." As of July 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration classifies 2C-I as a Schedule I controlled substance, making it illegal to manufacture, buy, sell or possess the drug.'
At least two deaths appear to be connected to Smiles - a 17-year-old from East Grand Forks, North Dakota and one other teen in East Grand Forks.

Now celebrity death may be tied to "Smiles"

Does it really take the death of a celebrity (famous or infamous) to steer the American public's attention to focus on the dangers of any kind of drug? The sad truth is: the answer to this rhetorical question is YES! Our lives become so busy with everyday schedules that we often pay no or little attention to news headlines, until a celebrity is mentioned. Perhaps the celebrity's connection to a news items provides a point of reference that we can recognize. Quite simply it is the celebrity's name that sells the headline.

On September 26, 2012, Johnny Lewis died. Johnny is believed to have either jumped to his death or fell from the rooftop of a home. Now police are investigating whether or not Mr. Lewis may have been high on the latest designer drug "Smile". Toxicology reports will not be available for several weeks, so the investigation continues.

ABC News report features Johnny Lewis and "Smiles"

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Children, teenagers, and adults of all ages need to understand the dangers associated with designer drugs. Don't be lured by a catchy name. Designer drugs are dangerous and lethal.
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