Drug Addiction Thoughts

May 27, 2009

Identifying Medications Before You Take Them

These days, it can be difficult if not impossible to keep up with all the latest trends and issues in the world of illicit and over the counter drugs.  The one thing that I found very helpful in this, is called the online pill identifier.  You can locate this at www.drugs.com and it is an extremely helpful tool to help you identify any prescription medications that you come across in your home, whether they are in a cabinet in an unmarked bottle or you find them in your child’s possession.  This pill identifier requires on three bits of information in order to let you know exactly what pill you have in your possession.

1.  You must get the sequence of letters or numbers that are imprinted on the pill.  On many medications they are printed in white, but you may need a magnifying glass to identify these characters correctly.

2.  The shape.  You will need to identify the shape, but the great thing about it is that they offer examples of the shapes to help give you a better idea of what you are dealing with.  And for the most part, if you make an error, you won’t be able to locate the medication and then you may need to try a different variation of the shape.

3.  The color.  Sometimes it can be a bit difficult to determine the exact color since there are so many variations of color, however consult with someone else or try the colors that you think are the closest and you will probably get the information after just a few tries.

This is an excellent pill identifying method and one that can let you know for sure what your kids are into.  Every parent needs to know about this free, online service.

May 22, 2009

Cough Syrup…The Over The Counter High

Kids are finding new and less expensive ways to get high, and one of the items they are using are cold medication products.  Fortunately the government is aware of this issue and so they make the legal age to purchase these items 18 for that purpose, and they also limit the number of these items that can be purchased at one time to help curb the problem.  This only helps with some of the problem, because part of the problem comes from homes where parents don’t have the information about the dangers of these drugs and therefore either provide them for their children unknowingly or allow them free access to these seemingly harmless over the counter medications.

The chemical to look out for is called DXM or Detromethorphan and it is a synthetic drug that is chemically similar to morphine.  It was approved by the FDA as a cough suppressant in 1954 and drug manufacturers began putting it into cough syrups in the 1970s as a substance that they thought would be less addictive and have fewer side effects than the codeine it was replacing.

When taken at high doses DXM is a CNS depressant and acts similar to PCP and ketamine, and in combination with drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, or alcohol, as it is commonly being used it can have serious psychological effects.

Poison control statistics show a four fold increase in abuse cases of DXM since 2000 and most of them involve school aged kids and young adults.  It is particularly prevalent in the dance and rave scenes.  Intoxication usually comes from ingesting large doses of cough medicine which is known as robo tripping or robo dosing or from taking a hand full of cough suppressant pills, which is commonly called skittles because it has a candy like appearance.

DXM creates a depressant effect, as well as a mild hallucinogenic effect.  It is often used as an alternative to ecstasy. According to addiction experts, cough syrup’s inexpensive price and easy availability is attracting adolescents.

Street Names
Dex, DXM, Robo, Skittles, Syrup, Triple-C, Vitamin D, Tussin

May 15, 2009

Think Drug Abuse Doesn’t Affect You…Think Again

Many people know at least one or more people who are addicted to some sort of substance, and yet if they don’t have it in their immediate family, then they probably think that it is not really something that affects them, however drug abuse really does affect all of us.  The following are just some of the consequences of drug abuse on the US as a whole:

  • The United States loses approximately $414 billion dollars annually in economic costs due to substance abuse.
  • There are more deaths and illnesses in the US resulting from substance abuse than from any other health condition that is considered preventable.  Substance abuse causes approximately 1 in every 4 deaths in this country alone.
  • Of adults who are arrested for major crimes, at least half of them tested positive for drugs at the time of their arrest.
  • 32% of newly diagnosed HIV and AIDS cases in the US come from injected drug users or those who have had sexual contact with them.  More than 1/3 of those who have died of AIDS have been injectable drug users and their sexual partners.
  • Employees who are using drugs and alcohol tend to have poor work attendance and unsteady work histories.  This accounts for loss in the workplace, as well as for others having to pick up the slack of these employees.
  • More than 75% of all children who enter the foster care system, do so because of alcohol and drug abuse issues in their homes.
  • The number of drug related deaths in the United States has more than doubled since 1980 and is still on the rise.

Worse than that are the personal effects that substance abuse has on the innocent in this country, like the children, who are without parents due to drug abuse.  The people who live on the streets because they can’t beat the addiction.  And worse yet, are those who are the regular members of our society, who are hiding their addiction daily while continuing their regular jobs such as policemen, EMS workers, doctors, nurses, bus drivers and school teachers, just to name a few.

So the next time you think that drug abuse doesn’t affect you, think again…It Does!

April 17, 2009

Addiction…Everything In Moderation?

Are alcohol, drugs and cigarettes bad? Well, in essence they really aren’t it is actually the way we use them that is bad. Using a little of this and a little of that in moderation, may in fact be okay for some. However, if you find that you think about these things when you are in the middle of your day, when things get you down, or you are counting the minutes until your next fix, you are hooked. This actually begins to happen before you start feeding it, but if you notice these signs in yourself and notice yourself become a bit obsessed with a particular substance then it is time to consider abstinence. Being aware of potential predisposition to substance abuse can help, so look at the following list and consider whether or not some of these particular things apply to you.

  • Addiction in the Family
  • Obsession with a Particular Substance
  • Sneaking the Substance
  • Periods of time you don’t Remember
  • Mental Conditions, including depression and schitzophrenia, also bipolar disorder
  • DUI or DWI issues

Many of these can be indicators that you are not a person who can drink or use other substances in moderation. You may need to get help.

April 2, 2009

Are We Becoming Passive to Drug Use?

It seems that in general with the introduction of more drugs into the world, at least in the US the general population is truly becoming almost numb to the issue.  Drug addiction is a very serious problem, and yet for the most part, American’s feel that at least some substance abuse is normal.  Whether it is grandma with her pack a day habit, dad coming home from work and downing a 6 pack of beer before bed, or mom taking ritalin to keep up with her day to day life, more often we are seeing drug use in our society and for some although the illegal drugs are “taboo” they are more than willing to pop someone else’s prescription to get the job done, or even go so far as to mix with legal drugs like alcohol to get that “high”.  Unfortunately, American’s fail to realize that this practice is still dangerous, and just like you may be able to get pot for you local teens and 20 somethings out there, the new generation of middle life American’s are toting around prescriptions for the asking.  Many adults are toting pain pills, and you will find that if you start complaining about back pain at work, you may just find someone willing to sell you one of those little happy pills for a few dollars to make it all better.  Also, in addition to those pain pills there are a large number of anti-depressants available for the asking as well.

But where does it all stop.  Well, honestly it needs to stop with the doctors who are readily making these medications available for the asking.  Without limits or measurable results, they prescribe these medications solely on the word of the patient, and without regard for what people are doing with them.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that they should with hold drugs from those who are really chronically ill, however they should be thinking twice about passing out these meds for sprain strain type injuries.  This could stop a lot of this insanity.

March 8, 2009

Parents Pushing Alcohol On Minors

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We have all been teenagers, and I think that we can all agree that teens will more often than not, sneak and do things that they are not supposed to.  Some of these things include things like underage drinking, smoking, use drugs and have sex.  I am not naive to this fact at all, nor am I one to think that my children will never do these things.  I think that parents have a complete right to make choices for their own children, and I support that right.  I however, take exceptions to grown ups who make choices to serve alcohol to minors at parties.  I think that a group of 15 year olds, sometimes even younger, should not be readily given alcohol to drink at a teen party.  Again, it is there right to make decisions for their kids, however when they encroach on my beliefs when in supervision of my children, I do take issue with this.  If a child comes to stay at my house, I make sure I know in advance about the ratings of movies and video games that they are allowed access to at home.  I verify this information with the parents.  I can’t just assume that because I feel one way about a particular game or movie, that everyone will share that same view.  It is there right to tell their child what they can and can’t do, and whether they are in my care or the care of their parent’s the rules should still be the rules.  I just think that parent’s should act like parents, and whether or not they can and will use these things, should still not be supported by the adults in charge.  Not to mention that throwing alcohol parties for 15 year olds is illegal and they can go to jail for it.  Seems to me that letting this type of grown up raise children seems over the top.  I have seen those children who are allowed to smoke and drink in their own homes, and since they are encouraged to do so they actually wind up using drugs, going to kiddie jail and getting themselves in more trouble, than those whose parents are supervising their activities.  I am not saying to be overprotective, but keep an open communication with your teens, and then you will know what everyone is doing.

February 20, 2009

Teens Use Of Illicit Drugs Is On The Decline

A recent study shows that teens are using less illicit drugs, such as marijuana, heroin, and cocaine.  This sounds like good news for our drug addicted society, however this study has a significant down side.  More and more teens are replacing use of these drugs with the use of prescription drugs.  This is due to the convenience of getting the drugs more so than anything else.  Studies show that instead of buying drugs from dealers on the streets or in the schools, that they are getting their drugs of choice from their homes.  Medicine cabinets with multitudes of drugs are supplying today’s teens with the fix they need.  So what can you do about this growing problem?

1.  Keep your medications under lock and key.  Don’t allow your children or their friends to have access to any prescription drugs, because even if they don’t use them themselves, they can actually sell them to their friends at school.

2.  Know which drugs are the most popular for teens to take.  This list included Ritalin, Oxycontin, Adderall, and several others that are being routinely prescribed by doctors these days.

3.  Do not allow your child to self dose.  You hold the medications and provide them only one pill at a time, and be sure to watch them consume it.  This is the only way to really control a substance like Ritalin, since many children are on this drug.  Don’t allow them to store it in their purse or room.  They should not have control over this substance, you should.

4.  Be aware that when visiting friends or other relatives, they can gain access to these drugs.  Don’t be afraid to inform others about prescriptions drugs and teens who are abusing them.  Many older relatives will have medication bottles all around, and they need to be made aware of this growing phenomena.

5.  Don’t let other know what drugs you are taking or have available.  Only those who need to know.  This will help you avoid becoming a target from someone looking for a particular substance.

Taking these steps you can help to stop this growing problem.  It may sound extreme, but these teens are smart and they know their drugs.

January 12, 2009

Taken By Surprise…Finding Out Your Child Is An Addict Too Late

One particular story really struck a cord with me.  It is one in which this nice couple had a son.  He was 20 years old a college student.  He was a good person, got good grades, had a job and friends, and was for all purposes everything one would hope for in a son.  For a few weeks, he was feeling tired and sleeping a lot.  Other than this, all his behaviors were as they had always been, relatively normal.  One day, his father goes into his room to wake him up, and finds him dead under the covers, only to discover that his son had overdosed on 4 different prescription drugs including Oxycontin, and now he was dead.

They never knew he was using drugs.  He never seemed like he had a problem, yet here they were learning that their son was a prescription drug user over his dead body.  You may ask how this can be possible? Well, the answer is simple.  Although many people exhibit signs and symptoms of drug use, there are many people who can live their lives on drugs and keep the signs and symptoms down to a minimum.  They can function relatively normally through life, and this can make it very difficult to see.  The same as a long term alcoholic.  When someone is drunk everyday of their life, that is what they are used to and that is how they are, so they don’t see different from day to day and their problem can be overlooked.

Anyone can be a drug addict, so don’t be afraid as a parent to snoop where you aren’t supposed to or ask questions even if they are annoying to your child.  Knowing there is a problem is th first key to being able to help them.  Drug use and abuse can be deadly, so don’t be afraid to get tough.

January 9, 2009

Drunk Driving Turns Deadly

You have been arrested for a DUI and served time for it before.  After that ordeal is over with, you decide it would be great to have a job at a local pub off campus, so you take a job there working a few nights a week.  On this particular night, you decide to stay after closing with a group of other employees and have a few drinks.  You hang out and have a few rounds and you decide at 5am to get behind the wheel of your car.  Sure you’d been drinking, but honestly no more than any other night.  You are driving home and you hear a thud like you hit something and decide that you should really get off the road so you drive home.  You rest for a few hours and then you wake with a headache and stink of alcohol, but you decide to get a cup of coffee and see what is on TV.  All of a sudden you hear about this horrible hit and run accident in which a 55 year old woman, dressed all in reflective clothing was struck and killed by a car right in the area where you work and right around the time that you came home.  Well, you head out to your car and you see the busted front end and smashed windshield.  Do you not know that you were the hit and run driver? REALLY?

This is a story ripped from the headlines, and believe me, it is not the first time that someone has been so drunk behind the wheel of the car, that they didn’t know they hit and killed another human being.  There was even one guy who drove all the way home with the dying person laying on top of his car and didn’t see them until the next morning.

I can’t emphasize enough, drinking is not a great pastime, however, if you choose to do it, then please don’t drink and drive.  You can change the lives of people forever, including your own.

January 3, 2009

Talking With Your Kids About Drugs & Alcohol

I keep an ongoing, running dialog with my kids. I don’t talk about the issues of the teenage years behind closed doors, unless, the child requests it, or I am addressing the specific problems of a specific child, then of course I will provide them with the privacy needed. For the most part, my kids can ask me anything and we talk about all of it right out for everyone to hear. We talk about issues like sex, drugs, and alcohol in the car, at the dinner table, wherever and whenever the issues come up. Don’t get me wrong, I was not raised in a household where these things were discussed openly, but I have learned to take these topics out of hiding and stop making them hush hush. Teens and even older children need this information to make good informed choices. They take what information they get from out there in the world, and they need a place to sound off about it, and I want to be that place. I want to have a say in the information that they are getting and be able to correct any misinformation that they may have received, after all, this is my job.

I know you may be thinking that you could never just field questions about sex and drugs and alcohol, but believe me you will be more embarrassed when your kids get into trouble with these things, then you will be talking to them about them. Let them know facts and statistics. Let them know that they have their whole lives ahead of them in which to drink, use drugs and have sex if they so choose so waiting a little bit isn’t going to hurt anything. Be sure to impress upon them over and over again the things you want them to know. Keep them to short phrases and use those phrases over and over again. For instance, I have told my kids, don’t ever get into a car being driven by someone who has been drinking. Over and over again I repeat this, and yet, to my wonderment, my daughter did it anyway, only it was a friends parents who were driving drunk. I have told her, and yet as many times as I have said it, she did it anyway. That is why it is so imperative to keep telling them the same things over and over again, and to keep those discussions flowing. Doing this will not only let them know what you think about things, but will also allow them a forum in which they can explain to you what they hear, see and experience and as a parent this is priceless. Keeping the dialog open will help you keep a handle on your teens and will help you to gauge whether they need help.

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