Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011: No Change in Overall Drug Use, but Encouraging Reductions in Specific Drug Categories

This year survey results, released in December 2011, indicate that overall drug use, as measured by past month use of any illicit drug, in each of the three grades was unchanged from last year.

That is, there were no statistically significant changes. However, a number of drug categories showed statistically significant reductions between 2010 and 2011 for some grades. These include the following declines:

  • Past-year use of Vicodin among 10th graders (7.7% to 5.9%)

  • Past-year use of any illicit drug, including inhalants, among 8th graders (20.3% to 18.2%)

  • Past-year use of inhalants among 8th graders (8.1% to 7.0%)

  • Past-year use of inhalants among 10th graders (5.7% to 4.5%)

  • Past-year use of crack cocaine among 12th graders (1.4% to 1.0%)

  • Past-year use of amphetamines among 10th graders (7.6% to 6.6%)

  • Past-year use of tranquilizers among 8th graders (2.8% to 2.0%)

  • Past-year use of over-the-counter cough/cold medicine among 12th graders (6.6% to 5.3%)

  • Past-month use of hallucinogens other than LSD among 12th graders (1.5% to 1.2%)

  • Past-year and past-month use of Ecstasy among 8th graders (2.4% to 1.7% and 1.1% to 0.6%, respectively) and

  • Past-year use of androstenedione (a steroid) among 12thgraders (1.5% to 0.7%)

  • A Call for Action: New Information on the Use of Synthetic Marijuana 

    One of the most noteworthy findings of the latest MTF survey involved the use by 12th graders of synthetic marijuana (specifically “Spice” and “K2”), which consists of leaves of an ordinary plant sprayed by chemicals that mimic the mind-altering effects of marijuana.

    The 2011 MTF study included for the first time a question on past-year use of synthetic marijuana among high school seniors. The results indicate that the prevalence of use in the past year among 12th graders was estimated at 11.4%. Synthetic marijuana ranks as the second most frequently used illicit substance, after marijuana, among high school seniors.

    Action to Address This New Threat:

  • In September 2011, the DEA used its emergency scheduling authority to ban the sale of the chemicals used to manufacture K2 and Spice.

  • ONDCP has brought together public health and safety agencies from across the Federal Government to share data and coordinate the Federal response to new synthetic drugs.

  • The House of Representatives passed legislation that would ban synthetic drugs to include those marketed as “bath salts”.(And many states have taken action to ban the chemicals found in K2 and Spice, as well.)

  • Given the latest data, ONDCP will be reaching out to a nationwide network of state and local public health and safety organizations to provide them with the latest information on this public health threat and spur action at the local level.

  • Information Above is Courtesy of the: Office of National Drug Control Policy

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Give your Child the Gift of Knowledge - Talk to Them About Prescription Drug Abuse

    One of the biggest dangers facing our youth today is the abuse of prescription drugs, and abuse rates are increasing at an alarming rate. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five teens say they have taken a prescription drug without having a prescription for it themselves. In addition, 2,500 teenagers use a prescription drug to get high for the first time every day with many accessing these drugs readily available in their parent’s medicine cabinet.

    Inspirations for Youth and Families, aka Inspirations Teen Rehab wants parents to learn the dangers of prescription drug abuse, as well as steps they can take to prevent it.

    Teens are abusing prescription drugs for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they are using to party and get high, but some are also using to “manage” their lives. Many teens are abusing pain relievers like Lortab or Oxycontin to cope with academic, social or emotional stress.

    Some are also abusing prescription amphetamines to lose weight; some are abusing prescription medications such as Ritalin or Adderall to give them additional energy and ability to focus when they’re studying or taking tests. Ultimately, many who are using are doing so because they are addicted and cannot stop.

    Many people do not equate the dangers of prescription drug abuse with those of illicit drugs. However, one can easily overdose by mixing prescription drugs with over-the-counter mediation and/or alcohol. In addition, the longer-term use of prescription pain relievers and other prescription medications are potentially addictive.

    So, this Holiday Season we suggest that you give your child the gift of knowledge on prescription drug abuse. Visit websites reporting on the subject and show them the end result of teens that have abuse prescription drugs. In addition to talking to your children about the dangers of prescription drug use and setting clear concise rules about them the same way you do about illicit drugs and alcohol use, there are steps you can take to prevent prescription drug abuse. The Partnership at DrugFree.org, suggests three basic steps to take: monitor, secure and dispose.

    Monitor - Parents are in an influential position to immediately help reduce teen access to prescription drugs because these drugs are found in the home.

    Start by taking note of how many pills are in each of your prescription bottles or pill packets.

    Keep track of your refills. This goes for your own medication, as well as for your teens and other members of the household. If you find you need to refill your medication more often than expected that could indicate a problem.

    If your teen has been prescribed a drug, be sure you control the medication, and monitor dosages and refills.

    Make sure your friends and relatives – especially grandparents – are also aware of the risks. Encourage them to regularly monitor their own medicine cabinets.

    If there are other households your teen has access to, talk to those families as well about the importance of helping safeguard medications.

    Secure - Teens abuse prescription drugs because they are easily accessible, and either free or inexpensive. Approach your prescriptions the same way you would other valuables in your home, like cash or jewelry.

    Take prescription medications out of the medicine cabinet and hide them in a place only you know about.

    If possible, keep all medicines, both prescription and over- the-counter, in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet your teen cannot access.

    Tell relatives, especially grandparents, to lock their medications or keep them in a safe place.

    Talk to parents of your teenager’s friends. Encourage them to secure their prescriptions.

    Dispose – Safely disposing expired or unused prescription medications is an important step in helping to protect your teens. Take an inventory of all the prescription drugs in your home. Start by discarding expired or unused prescription drugs, when your teens are not home.

    Unbelievable though it may seem, teenagers will retrieve discarded prescription drugs from the trash. To help prevent this from happening, mix the medication with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. Put the mixture into an empty can or bag and discard.

    Unless the directions on the package say otherwise, do not flush medications down the drain or toilet.

    To help prevent unauthorized refills and protect your and your family’s privacy, remove any personal, identifiable information from the prescription bottles or pill packages before you throw them away. 

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Synthetic Marijuana May Pose an Even Greater Psychosis Risk

    According to a news release from the DEA at the time of the ban, synthetic cannabis (smokeable herbal products, Spice) have become especially popular with teens and young adults because they are marketed as being legal while containing chemicals that supposedly mimic THC.

    "Young people are being harmed when they smoke these dangerous 'fake pot' products and wrongly equate the products' 'legal’ retail availability with being 'safe,' “added DEA administrator Michele M. Leonhart in the news release.

    "These chemicals, however, have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process," writes the DEA. Synthetic cannabis is often labeled as "herbal incense" and reportedly causes cannabis-like psychoactive effects. Its use led to hundreds of visits to emergency departments since 2010.

    Synthetic cannabis products pose a risk for psychosis in users, including those with no prior history of a psychiatric disorder. Spice may pose an even greater risk of psychosis when compared with the natural product as it lacks the antipsychotic protective agents found in natural cannabis. These findings were presented at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) 22nd Annual Meeting & Symposium.

    Alan J. Budny, PhD, from the Center for Addiction Research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, warns parents that some teens use synthetic cannabis to "beat the tests" done to detect marijuana use. As Spice does not get picked up on the regular drug tests parents should look for more sensitive tests that are now being developed and marketed to test synthetic marijuana.

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Teens Who Can Express Themselves Are More Likely to Avoid Drugs

    New research shows that teens who are able to express themselves to their moms are better able to resist peer pressure and say no to drugs and alcohol.

    The findings appear in Allen J.P. Child Development, 2011

    Researchers interviewed more than 150 teens and their parents about substance use and abuse, daily interactions, and relationships with friends. The teens who were able to hold their own in discussions with their moms particularly about grades, money, rules, and friends were better prepared to stand up to their peers, the study showed.

    “Parents who can have the right kind of discussions with their kids are setting their children up to handle peer influences,” says study author Dave Szwedo. He is a doctoral student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

    What are the right kinds of discussions? “They are calm and reasonable,” he says. “They are not based on shouting or whining. They allow kids a chance to be heard.”

    The findings make sense to says Gail Saltz, MD, a New York City-based psychiatrist who has teen daughters. “The mother-daughter relationship is a template for a lot of future relationships and how to manage them,” she says.

    Adolescence is the time of finding your own identity. “Disagreement is part of this gig, and some parents and kids deal with this better than others,” Saltz says.

    Home needs to be a place where  teens can process emotions -- pain, disappointment, and anxiety -- in a healthy way, if they can’t, they may turn toward drugs and alcohol or be more susceptible to peer pressure.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    What is the Difference Between "Opioids" and "Opiates"?

    Opiates are drugs derived from opium. Opioids used to refer to synthetic opiates (drugs created to emulate opium, however different chemically). Now the term Opioid is used for the entire family of opiates including natural, synthetic and semi-synthetic.

    An opioid is any agent that activates opioid receptors (protein molecules located on the membranes of some nerve cells) found principally in the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. There are four broad classes of opioids:
    • Endogenous opioid, naturally produced in the body, endorphins
    • Opium alkaloids, such as morphine and codeine
    • Semi-synthetic opioids such as heroin oxycodone, and Buprenorphine
    • Fully synthetic opioids, such as methadone, that have structures unrelated to the opium alkaloids
    Medical professionals use the word "opioid" to refer to the entire family of opioids, and the word "opiate" for a specific non-synthetic opioid, however, many only use "opioid". Consistent with the current definition, Inspirations for Youth and Families, aka Inspirations Teen Rehab’s website uses "opioid" to refer to all opioids and opiates.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Adolescent Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Comorbidities

    Substance use disorders have a serious impact on adolescents because these disorders have high prevalence rates and frequent associations with psychiatric disorders. Surveys of adolescent behaviors and substance use show that alcohol is the most common substance abused by adolescents. Despite the high rates of current alcohol use and binge drinking among adolescents, current diagnostic criteria are problematic. Adolescents may have a developing problem with substance dependence but not meet criteria for either substance abuse or dependence. At-risk adolescents, called "diagnostic orphans," may meet only 1 or 2 criteria for alcohol dependence and no abuse criteria and therefore do not receive an alcohol use disorder diagnosis from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Adolescents with substance use disorders tend to have higher rates of comorbid psychiatric disorders and are more likely to report a history of trauma and physical and/or sexual abuse than adolescents without a substance use disorder. In addition, psychiatric disorders in adolescents often predate the substance use disorder. Once the substance use disorder develops, the psychiatric disorder may be further exacerbated.

    Information above has been compiled from: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health