Talk with your kids about drugs
Talk with your kids about drugs - 2
Talk with your kids about alcohol & drugs
How To Prevent Teenage Drug Use and Abuse
The Ultimate Do’s and Don’ts Guide for Talking to Your Kids about Drug and Alcohol Abuse
All About the Teen Years
Why Do Teens Act The Way They Do?
Preventing Teen Drug Use: Risk Factors & Why Teens Use
Preventing Teen Drug Use: How to Spot the Early Warning Signs
Look for Warning Signs
What drugs are the most commonly abused?
Prepare to Take Action if You Suspect Teen or Young Adult Drug Use
When You Discover Teen or Young Adult Drug Use: Start Talking
When You Discover Teen or Young Adult Drug Use: Set Limits & Monitor
Should You Drug Test Your Child?
What are the Treatment Options?
How to Navigate the Addiction Treatment System
Skills to Help Your Child and Family Heal
Teen or Young Adult Drug Use: Using Positive Reinforcement to Help Change Behavior
Get One-on-One Help to Address Your Child’s Substance Use
Suggesting Treatment to a Loved One
Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Staying on the Road to Recovery Following Treatment
Skills to Help Your Child and Family Heal
Self-Care Isn’t Just for Yourself
Find a Support Group
Parents play a very important part in their child's decision not to use drugs.
Help Parents with Their Children
Pure caffeine powder is killing young people
Should Parents Use Home Drug Tests?
Drug Prevention and Treatment Programs Recommended for Cuts in President’s Budget Request
Drug Deaths in Oregon - 2007
To Parents Struggling with a Child’s Addiction: 3 Things I Want You to Know
Community Drug Prevention
Troubled Teens - The teen drug problem
Should Parents Use Home Drug Tests?
Concerned about Your Child and Drugs?

Why Can’t My Kid Stop Using Opioids?

Drug Myths vs. Reality
Date Rape Drugs

College, Drugs, Your Freshman
"Cheese" Heroin

Inhalants, Huffing, Bagging, Dusting
Ecstasy Can Cause Memory Loss
Drug Memorials
Unethical Addiction Treatment, and What to Do About It (What I Tell Parents Looking to Get Their Child into Treatment)

For parents struggling with a child’s drug or alcohol use. Get Free, One-on-One Help

Periodic Table of Drug Addiction
Detox Centers
Drug & Street Drug Terms
Merchandise - Single card - $1.00 includes shipping, Positive Parenting Pack (all 34 cards) - $13.00 plus shipping

Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong
Why The War on Drugs Is a Huge Failure
"From Teenage Star to Addicted and Homeless"

Effects of Opioids on the Brain
Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari
How to Help Your Child Struggling with Substance Use
How addiction changes your brain
Mechanism of Drug Addiction in the Brain, Animation

Talk with your kids about alcohol & drugsl

The issue of drugs can be very confusing to young children. If drugs are so dangerous, then why is the family medicine cabinet full of them? And why do TV, movies, music and advertising often make alcohol and drug use look so cool?

We need to help our kids to distinguish fact from fiction. And it's not too soon to begin. National studies show that the average age when a child first tries alcohol is 11; for marijuana, it's 12. And many kids start becoming curious about these substances even sooner. So let's get started!

Listen carefully

Student surveys reveal that when parents listen to their children's feelings and concerns, their kids feel comfortable talking with them and are more likely to stay drug-free.

Role play how to say "no"

Role play ways in which your child can refuse to go along with his friends without becoming a social outcast. Try something like this, "Let's play a game. Suppose you and your friends are at Andy's house after school and they find some beer in the refrigerator and ask you to join them in drinking it. The rule in our family is that children are not allowed to drink alcohol. So what could you say?"

If your child comes up with a good response, praise him. If he doesn't, offer a few suggestions like, "No, thanks. Let's play with Sony PlayStation instead," or "No thanks. I don't drink beer. I need to keep in shape for basketball."

Encourage choice

Allow your child plenty of opportunity to become a confident decision-maker. An 8-year-old is capable of deciding if she wants to invite lots of friends to her birthday party or just a close pal or two. A 12-year-old can choose whether she wants to go out for chorus or join the school band. As your child becomes more skilled at making all kinds of good choices, both you and she will feel more secure in her ability to make the right decision concerning alcohol and drugs if and when the time arrives.

Provide age-appropriate information

Make sure the information that you offer fits the child's age and stage. When your 6 or 7-year-old is brushing his teeth, you can say, "There are lots of things we do to keep our bodies healthy, like brushing our teeth. But there are also things we shouldn't do because they hurt our bodies, like smoking or taking medicines when we are not sick."

If you are watching TV with your 8 year-old and marijuana is mentioned on a program, you can say, "Do you know what marijuana is? It's a bad drug that can hurt your body." If your child has more questions, answer them. If not, let it go. Short, simple comments said and repeated often enough will get the message across.

You can offer your older child the same message, but add more drug-specific information. For example, you might explain to your 12-year-old what marijuana and crack look like, their street names and how they can affect his body.

Establish a clear family position on drugs

It's okay to say, "We don't allow any drug use and children in this family are not allowed to drink alcohol. The only time that you can take any drugs is when the doctor or Mom or Dad gives you medicine when you're sick. We made this rule because we love you very much and we know that drugs can hurt your body and make you very sick; some may even kill you. Do you have any questions?"

Be a good example

Children will do what you do much more readily than what you say. So try not to reach for a beer the minute you come home after a tough day; it sends the message that drinking is the best way to unwind. Offer dinner guests nonalcoholic drinks in addition to wine and spirits. And take care not to pop pills, even over-the-counter remedies, indiscriminately. Your behavior needs to reflect your beliefs.

Discuss what makes a good friend

Since peer pressure is so important when it comes to kids' involvement with drugs and alcohol, it makes good sense to talk with your children about what makes a good friend. To an 8-year-old you might say, "A good friend is someone who enjoys the same games and activities that you do and who is fun to be around." 11 to 12-year-olds can understand that a friend is someone who shares their values and experiences, respects their decisions and listens to their feelings. Once you've gotten these concepts across, your children will understand that "friends" who pressure them to drink or smoke pot aren't friends at all. Additionally, encouraging skills like sharing and cooperation -- and strong involvement in fun, healthful activities (such as team sports or scouting) -- will help your children make and maintain good friendships as they mature and increase the chance that they'll remain drug-free.

Build self-esteem

Kids who feel good about themselves are much less likely than other kids to turn to illegal substances to get high. As parents, we can do many things to enhance our children's self-image. Here are some pointers:

  • Offer lots of praise for any job well done.
  • If you need to criticize your child, talk about the action, not the person.
  • Assign do-able chores. Performing such duties and being praised for them helps your child feel good about himself.
  • Setting aside at least 15 uninterrupted minutes per child per day to talk, play a game, or take a walk together, lets them know you care.
  • Say, "I love you." a lot. Nothing will make your child feel better.
  • Information and lessons about drugs are important enough to repeat frequently.
  • If you suspect a problem, seek help.

If your child becomes withdrawn, loses weight, starts doing poorly in school, turns extremely moody, has glassy eyes -- or if the drugs in your medicine cabinet seem to be disappearing too quickly -- talk with your child and reach out to any one of the organizations listed here. You'll be helping your youngster to a healthier, happier future.

Offer lots of praise for any job well done.

If you need to criticize your child, talk about the action, not the person. If your son gets a math problem wrong, it's better to say, "I think you added wrong. Let's try again."

Assign do-able chores. A 6-year-old can bring her plate over to the sink after dinner; a 12-year-old can feed and walk the dog after school. Performing such duties and being praised for them helps your child feel good about himself.

Spend one-on-one time with your youngster. Setting aside at least 15 uninterrupted minutes per child per day to talk, play a game, or take a walk together, lets her know you care.

Say, "I love you." Nothing will make your child feel better.

Repeat the message

Information and lessons about drugs are important enough to repeat frequently. So be sure to answer your children's questions as often as they ask them to initiate conversation whenever the opportunity arises.

If you suspect a problem, seek help

While kids under age 12 rarely develop a substance problem, it can -- and does -- happen. If your child becomes withdrawn, loses weight, starts doing poorly in school, turns extremely moody, has glassy eyes -- or if the drugs in your medicine cabinet seem to be disappearing too quickly -- talk with your child and reach out to any one of the organizations listed here. You'll be helping your youngster to a healthier, happier future.

Talk with your kids about drugs

Over the past few years, surveys have told us that parents have a significant opportunity to influence their children. When kids lean about drugs from their parents, they are 36% less likely to smoke marijuana. 50% less likely to use inhalants, 56% less likely to use cocaine and 65% less likely to use LSD.

Talking about issues such as drugs may be difficult. This card is designed to help you discuss drugs more easily. By maintaining open communication and giving them the truth, you can help your child live a drug-free life.

What do you say?

Tell them that you love them and you want them to live a healthy and happy life.

Say you do not find alcohol and other illegal drug use acceptable. Many parents never state this simple principle.

Explain how this use hurts people.

  • Physical harm, for example, AIDS, slowed growth, impaired coordination, accidents.
  • Emotional harm - sense of not belonging, isolation, paranoia. 
  • Educational harm - difficulties remembering and paying attention.

Discuss the legal issues. A conviction for a drug offense can lead to time in prison or cost someone a job, driver's license, or college loan.

Talk about positive, drug-free alternatives and how you can explore them together. Some ideas include sports, reading, movies, bike rides, hikes, camping, cooking, games and concerts. Involve your kids' friends.

How do you say it?

Calmly and openly - don't exaggerate. The facts speak for themselves.

Face to face - exchange information and try to understand each other's point of view. Be an active listener and let your child talk about fears and concerns. Don't interrupt and don't preach.

Through "teachable moments", in contrast to a formal lecture, use a variety of situations: television news, TV drama, books, newspapers.

Establish an ongoing conversation rather than giving a one-time speech.

Remember that you set the example. Avoid contradictions between your words and your actions. And don't use illegal drugs, period! Even if marijuana is legal.

Learn to read between the lines.

Be creative! You and your child might act out various situations in which one person tries to pressure the other to take a drug. Figure out two or three ways to handle each situation and talk about which works best.

Exchange ideas with other parents.

Convey warmth, respect, and genuine curiosity, and the dividends will pour in when it’s time to talk about other serious issues. And guess what, they’ll probably listen to you more often and even come to you for advice when the going gets tough. How can you go wrong?

How To Prevent Teenage Drug Use and Abuse

Pointing out that teenagers use drugs isn’t exactly groundbreaking news. For generations, teens have turned to drugs or alcohol to experiment, cope with emotions, or to simply fit in.

These modern times, however, are filled with pressures and innovations unlike anything other generations have faced. The internet changed the game for how teens learn about and obtain drugs. And, let’s face it, some of these drugs are much more potent and dangerous than anything you may have encountered as a teen.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the current teen drug use trends and how you can help your teen make positive choices as they go through their journey of maturity.

Drug effects on an adolescent’s developing brain

The adolescent brain goes through rapid changes and development. As it adapts to the world around them, it learns complex life skills like social skills, coping with negative emotions, and taking steps towards independence.

The brain structures go through several changes during the adolescent years. For example, the prefrontal cortex goes through extensive neuromaturation during this time. This structure of the brain assists with emotion regulation, planning, inhibition, and integration of novel stimuli. Drugs can stunt the growth of the prefrontal cortex, which can affect memory and may lead to psychiatric disorders. Substance abuse also decreases the brain’s white matter quality, which helps the neuronal transmissions among brain regions. These are just a couple of the many changes drugs can have on a teen’s brain.

In addition, the younger a person starts using drugs or alcohol, the more likely they are to have significant substance use disorders in adulthood. This can lead to many personal, health, legal, and social issues.

Why teens use drugs

Adolescence can undoubtedly be a hard time to navigate. Finding an identity, fitting in with peers, dealing with a changing body, and the pressures of school and family life present unique challenges.

A regular part of teen development is testing boundaries. The desire to act against established norms and try something risky or new is an alluring part of growing up. Unfortunately, this can include experimenting with drugs or alcohol.

Curiosity and trying to fit in with peers is a significant contributor to experimenting with drugs. After all, teens want to feel like they belong, even though belonging doesn’t have to involve drug use. Getting your child involved in positive activities like sports or community activities can help fulfill the need to feel a part of something.

Teens may also use drugs to:

  • Relieve stress or anxiety
  • Feel good/pleasure
  • Be more social
  • Feel less inhibited
  • Make sex more enjoyable
  • Cope with difficult emotions
  • Forget their troubles
  • Relieve boredom
  • Relax
  • Help them sleep
  • Escape or avoid obligations
  • Feel more creative
  • Fulfill their curiosity about different experiences

Each teen is different. While some use drugs merely for pleasure, others may be trying to self-medicate very complicated emotions that they can’t seem to handle on their own. Taking the time to talk to your teen (discussed later in this article) may help shed some light on why they choose to use drugs or alcohol.

Popular drugs among teens

Just like every other popular trend, the drug scene has changed since you were growing up. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to discover, access, and acquire drugs. Also, information about using legally purchased substance(s) to get high is available with just a few keystrokes. There’s also a wealth of information easily accessible to a teen about covering up drug use and even passing drug tests.

According to the Centers for Disease Control marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco products remain popular drugs for teens to try and abuse. About half of high schoolers reported using marijuana at some point in their lives.

Other popular drugs include:

  • Spice/K2
  • Heroin
  • Prescription Opioids
  • Adderall
  • Bath Salts
  • Tranquilizers
  • Hallucinations
  • Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Inhalants
  • Dextromethorphan (DXM)
  • Benzodiazepines like Xanax

Where teens get drugs

The most accessible place for teens to get drugs and alcohol tends to be at home. If you must keep any alcohol or drugs at home, prescription or otherwise, always have the substances closely monitored. Lock them up if necessary. Even some cold medications or decongestants, when taken above the recommended dosage levels can produce a high.

Of course, your teen doesn’t have to go to a shady street corner to find drugs. The internet connects us with virtually anything, including drugs. Social media, online pharmacies, and the dark web make it easy for teens to get just about any drug. Even if you try to monitor your teen’s web usage, you may still be fighting a losing battle. Chances are your teen knows at least one person who could easily access drugs via the internet.

Speaking of friends, most teens know at least a couple of people who sell drugs at their school. A trip to a grocery or drug store could also be an opportunity for a teen to get his or her hands on some mind-altering substances.

Given the fact that drugs are so easy to obtain, it is crucial that you become a role model and create a support network for your child. Your actions can help shape their attitudes towards drugs and alcohol.

Parents can be a positive or negative influence

Like it or not, your child is heavily influenced by your actions as a parent. After all, you are his or her first and most common example of being an adult. As a role model, you can help shape your child’s attitude towards drug and alcohol use.

If your child sees you using drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, they may see it as a permissible behavior despite anything you say. After all, actions speak louder than words. Seeing you use may make them think it is a typical behavior for “grown-ups.”

Your guidance and behaviors can help shape your child’s attitudes towards substance abuse. Here are some ways you can influence your child and decrease the risk of potential substance abuse:

  • Have a strong bond with your child
  • Cultivate your child’s self-esteem
  • Get your child active in sports, hobbies, faith-based organizations, or community activities
  • Maintain an open dialog about drugs and their dangers
  • Avoid permissive parenting and acting more like a friend than a parental figure
  • Make sure positive role models surround your child
  • Have your child engage in activities where drugs are not tolerated
  • Limit or eliminate your use of drugs or alcohol, especially around your child

Signs your teen is using drugs

Just about any teenager can experience bouts of moodiness, sleeping too much, and challenging their parents. It’s a part of growing up. So how can you tell if their behaviors are abnormal or linked to drug or alcohol abuse? It’s not always easy.

There are some signs you should know that could indicate your teen is using substances:

  • Going out every night and frequently breaking curfew
  • Excessive need for privacy and being secretive
  • Laughing at nothing or exhibiting uncharacteristically obnoxious or loud behavior
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appearance or hygiene
  • Extreme mood swings or emotional instability
  • Associating with a new peer group
  • Less motivation or interest in activities he or she used to enjoy
  • Periods of lethargy or seeming “out of it”
  • Poor balance, stumbling, or lack of coordination
  • Difficulty controlling inhibitions or impulses
  • Unusual odors on breath or clothes
  • Slurred or very rapid speech
  • Sudden changes in body weight
  • Significantly higher nosebleeds or headaches
  • Declining grades or school attendance
  • Complaints from teachers or other school officials
  • Losing interest in sports, social clubs, hobbies, or other extracurricular activities

In addition, if you notice some changes in your home, it may point to a teen using substances. These include:

  • Money or valuables missing from the home
  • Prescription or over-the-counter pills, alcohol, or cigarettes missing
  • Strange odors in car or bedroom
  • Drug paraphernalia or other unidentified objects found in their bedroom or around the house, including pipes, butane lighters, medicine bottles, and strange containers

If you notice even some of these signs, it may be time to have a conversation with your teen. This, of course, is not always easy. After all, even just trying to find out how their day went can be a challenge. Discussing tough issues like drug or alcohol abuse can be difficult for both the teen and the parent. However, it’s a conversation that needs to be addressed for your child’s mental, physical, and social well-being.

Having a conversation with your teen about drugs

If you suspect your teen is using drugs or alcohol, the chances are good that you feel a variety of strong emotions. Anger, disbelief, fear, frustration, and maybe even a little embarrassment. It’s essential to keep your emotions in check. It may be difficult, but you don’t want to turn the conversation into a shouting match.

Remember, your teen’s brain isn’t fully developed. Most human brains aren’t developed until the age of 25. This is one of the main reasons you need to have a conversation with your teen about drugs. As mentioned earlier, drug and alcohol abuse can negatively affect the teenage brain leading to problems well into their future.

Another reason you need to remember your teen’s brain isn’t developed is how they communicate. Since his or her brain is still going through changes, the chances are high that their responses are more impulsive and lack emotional control. If you’re like most parents, some typical teenage behaviors can easily get under your skin. Once you feel your emotions becoming difficult to control or your heart starting to race, remember that you are talking with a teenager, not a grown adult. When cooler minds prevail, the conversation will be much more productive.

Starting the conversation

Try to start the conversation when it is not going to need to be rushed. Avoid doing it too early or too late in the day. Some parents have found going for a walk or taking a drive can be an excellent time to talk. Since eye contact is limited during these types of conversations, your teen may not feel so scrutinized.

Keep an open mind and try to see things from your child’s perspective. If a teen feels understood or validated, he or she will be more likely to open up and share. Ask open-ended questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. Of course, even some of the best open-ended questions may be met with silence or a quick answer. It may take time to build trust and openness for this sensitive subject.

You can build openness by using active listening and what are referred to as “I” statements. These are common practices for psychotherapists and other counselors that, when done effectively, can help take your teen out of his or her defensiveness. Most importantly, fully listen to what your teen has to say. Don’t interrupt or try to get your point across. Simply listen.

Once your teen completed a thought, try to reflect back what you hear. This shows your teen that you are really listening to them. It’s important to speak with a calm, even tone and not sound condescending. Starting your sentences with phrases like:

  • “It seems like you feel [particular emotion] when [an event] happens…”
  • “I’ve noticed that you feel [particular emotion] when you…”
  • “Let me make sure that I am understanding this correctly…”
  • “I’m sorry you feel [emotion or thought]. Is there something I could do to help?”

To make active listening more effective, when it is time to talk, always use “I” statements, especially if things get tense. “You” statements are often blaming or judgemental. Some of the examples above are great examples of “I” statements. Also, let’s look at a couple of “you” statements that could easily be changed to indicate empathy and assertively (rather than aggressively) proving a point.

“You” Statement: “You don’t even care how we feel when you come home late all the time.”

Better “I” statement: “When it past your curfew, I start worrying if you are okay. I feel scared and upset when you don’t send me a text to tell me where you are.”

“You” Statement: “How can you be so disrespectful talking to me that way?”

Better “I” statement: “When you yell and swear at me, I feel like you’re having difficulty getting your point across. Can we find another way to discuss this?”

Make sure your teen knows how drugs affect their body and brain

Like it or not, the teenage years are often filled with vanity. If you have any doubt, just go anywhere that teens usually hang out and see the number of selfies taken in five minutes. One way to really drive the point home about the effects of drugs is by discussing how these drugs eventually affect their appearance and ability to think and act.

For example, you could mention something like, “Everyone says you have such a great smile, do you know smoking cigarettes can stain your teeth. Even worse, they cause bone loss in the mouth, which means you could lose your teeth.”

Or maybe: “You always talked about wanting to go to college. But marijuana can make it harder to stay motivated, remember things, and think clearly. You’re such a smart kid, and if you stay away from drugs, I know you can reach your goals.”

It’s important to open the conversation about drugs and alcohol early and often. You don’t have to wait until you’re checking off several of the warning signs of drug abuse to tackle the subject. Even simple statements, like the examples above, could plant seeds into your child’s mind about how substances can affect their bodies.

Understand that asking for help may be necessary

As parents, we would like to think we have all the answers. Unfortunately, as hard as we try, sometimes we need a little extra help. This is especially true when a teen is abusing drugs or alcohol. Sadly, seemingly harmless experimentation can quickly turn severe and even deadly.

If you can’t seem to get through to your teen, know there are several resources available for you and your child. Online resources and articles on this website can be helpful. There are also times when the assistance of a professional counselor or addiction specialist can help your child pull out of the downward spiral of substance abuse and once again take control of his or her life.

Early interventions can save a lot of pain and struggle down the road. Don’t wait until things get out of control. It may be one of the most important decisions you make as a parent.
Source: www.pinnaclepeakrecovery.com/how-to-prevent-teenage-drug-use-and-abuse/

To Parents Struggling with a Child’s Addiction: 3 Things I Want You to Know

Parent friendships are a funny thing. They don’t start out like other relationships, over shared interests – they start over playdates, school activities and birthday parties, or are the result of our children’s friendships. Others are born out of shared experiences, sometimes in the most unexpected and difficult circumstances. We all know it’s futile to try to manage our children’s friendships, but, one way or another, our children are very often responsible for ours.

One of those less happy ways this can happen is when we discover our children are using substances. Will people think it’s my fault? Is it my fault? What if I’m labeled a “bad mother?” But so much is to be gained from reaching out and asking for help. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. There’s power in sharing stories.

Many parents feel ashamed, guilty or embarrassed when their child has a substance problem. They buy into the stubbornly prevalent myth that addiction is somehow a character flaw that can’t be cured – even though the science is clear that addiction is a treatable disease and families can and do recover. It’s easy to see why parents might be tempted to shut down and close themselves off from the world.

But when I was recently a Master of Ceremonies for a fundraising event for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, I was deeply moved by the powerful stories shared by parents during their testimonies of heartbreak or recovery. I was one of these parents. My own story began on March 4, 2012. That was the day I got the kind of phone call every parent dreads: “Mommy, I can’t breathe.” It was my oldest daughter Christina, then in her senior year at Yale, two months away from graduating.

Looking back on that March day as I frantically drove from New York to the emergency room in New Haven, and later when we left the emergency room with my sedated daughter crying in my arms, and later still over the hard weeks that followed, I focused on all that I was grateful for: that my daughter was alive, that she wanted to get well, that she had a loving family that rallied around her, and that we were lucky enough to find inspiration and support from other families that had been through similar experiences.

And just over a year later, my daughter taught me a lesson about the importance of sharing stories when she decided to go public and share her own:

Writing this blog a year ago would have been impossible, because of the shame and the deep guilt I felt about being an addict. I have never been abused or neglected. I didn’t grow up in an alcoholic home. I have been blessed with an unconditionally loving family and I have been given every opportunity to thrive. Why then? Why cause the people who love me so much pain? Why be seemingly intent on throwing it all away?

The honest answer is: I don’t know. What I do know — and I have grappled with this over the past 13 months — is that addiction is a disease. It is progressive, it can be fatal and it can touch anyone.

My life as it is today was unthinkable thirteen months ago. Yes, I mean the particulars — I have a steady job and healthy, loving relationships — but more than that I’ve learned to be vulnerable. I’ve learned how to apologize and how to forgive. I’ve learned how much strength it takes to let go. If writing this can help one person feel a little less alone, if it encourages one person to ask for help, if it allows one person to know that no matter how hopeless it feels right now, it can get better, then that is enough.

What she taught me is that it’s important not just for the people suffering from addiction to share their stories, but for their families as well. And I witnessed the power of these family stories the night of the recent Partnership event. It’s inspiring and empowering when you know that others have been through what you’ve been through.

I’m glad to say that Christina recently celebrated her fifth year in recovery. And I’m also glad that so many parents are telling their own stories to help and support others.

2. We can all do our part to erase the stigma and create change.

As a journalist, I know the power of words and stories. They are some of our most important tools not just in helping eradicate the stigma of addiction, but in creating life-saving change. Families are showing up by the thousands on Capitol Hill, speaking out and advocating for legislation to help curb our country’s opioid epidemic. And what they’re also doing is writing the most personal, most heartbreaking obituaries in their local media, not hiding the fact that their son or daughter died of an overdose, so that another family can seek help and never have to suffer the same tragic loss.

Words matter, and they deepen our compassion, empathy, caring, understanding and love. Addiction is one of the most misunderstood diseases in modern society. With addiction often viewed as a choice or a moral failing, families struggling with this disease just do not get the same support that families coping with other illnesses do.

3. It’s important to take care of you.

Finally – and this is true for all parents – it’s also important to remember that to take care of anyone else, including your own child, you have to take care of yourself. It’s like what they say on airplanes: put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. It’s not selfish. Making sure you’re recharged, renewed and resilient is the best way to help your child and your family.

This impulse to discount our own well-being is understandable. But if we are stressed and burned out, we are less able to help our child by remaining strong, calm and optimistic. And when we prioritize our well-being, we’re not just replenishing resources our children need, we’re also modeling behavior that will be as good for them as it is for us.

Some of the parents I met at the Partnership’s fundraiser had never met one another before, but I could see new friendships and relationships already forming. Their shared experiences, their willingness to speak out to stand up for their families, and to demand changes that will support other families was powerful. It’s true of the community they’ve found at drugfree.org, as well.

As Christina wrote, it takes a lot of strength to be vulnerable. But when we can do that, we help not just ourselves but the world around us. The more we take that to heart, the easier it becomes to move from struggle to grace.
Source: drugfree.org/parent-blog/to-parents-struggling-with-a-childs-addiction-3-things-i-want-you-to-know/

What drugs are the most commonly abused?

Each year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) tracks drug use trends among high school students (8th, 10th and 12th grades) through the Monitoring the Future Study (MTF). The following is a list of the most commonly abused drugs among 12th graders, starting with the most frequent: marijuana, Adderall, Vicodin, tranquilizers, cough medicine, sedatives, hallucinogens, MDMA/ecstasy, OxyContin, cocaine, salvia and Ritalin.
Source: www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/underage-issues/frequently-asked-questions-from-young-people

Community Drug Prevention

Millions of Americans are currently involved in social, business and/or community groups that would like to do something constructive for their community. Community coalitions provide these individuals and their groups with the ability to make a real difference. By organizing the resources of multiple sectors of the community, coalitions improve the quality of life within local communities and help to keep kids away from drugs.

Did You Know?

  • According to a recent study, approximately one in four 12th graders, one in five 10th graders and one in eight 8th graders reported that they had used some form of illicit drug within the past 30 days.
  • Studies clearly demonstrate that cooperative efforts that mobilize and involve individuals and community groups at the grass roots level are the most effective strategies for preventing drug use.
  • There are a multitude of anti-drug coalitions across the country that spearhead community drug prevention efforts…but they need increased participation from individuals, groups and businesses in order to strengthen their efforts.

In the past four years, there has been a 19% decline in the number of young people who reported using illicit drugs. However, the reported abuse of presciption drugs and inhalants has increased.* Preventing drug abuse is a daunting job, but studies have shown that the greatest positive difference is made when individuals and community groups get involved in the lives of young people in their cities and towns. It's proven that kids who are involved in extracurricular or afterschool activities are less likely to use drugs.

The campaign launched in August 2000 and it is designed to increase the public's awareness of, and participation in, community coalitions that provide activities and support for the youth in their neighborhoods. The ads seek to motivate adults to volunteer, coach or mentor to keep kids active, off the streets and away from drugs. The message is that everyone has something to offer in order to be a positive influence on the kids in their community.

Campaign Objective

Encourage individuals to involve their social, business, and community groups in community coalitions and urge viewers to call a toll-free number at 877-KIDS-313 or www.helpyourcommunity.org to find out how to become involved with a coalition in your area or to find local opportunities to get involved. The website connects visitors to anti-drug coalitions and other national youth-oriented organizations that have local chapters.

Drug Memorials

The Partnership has created a new Memorial website, www.drugfree.org/memorials to give families and friends a special place to remember loved ones lost to drugs and alcohol. Our new site (which is not final and in a testing phase) allows visitors to share their story along with photos and memories and offers a reflecting-pool design, easy-to-use forms, and a tool for friends and family to leave tribute messages. Please tell others about this new site so we can reach as many kids and parents as possible.

Drug Deaths in Oregon - 2007

The release of the 2007 figures on drug deaths comes after the heroin deaths of several Oregon high school and college students made headlines in recent months. That's 241 lost in 2007. What a loss.

Drug Related Deaths - 2007 - Oregon
+/- 2006







* Most since 1999

Ecstasy Can Cause Memory Loss

Ecstasy use can cause short- and long-term memory loss, and some users may experience memory problems after taking just a single dose of the drug.

Ecstasy use can cause short- and long-term memory loss, and some users experience memory problems after taking just a single dose of the drug, according to British researchers.

Reuters reported June 28 that 75 percent of Ecstasy users have memory impairments, and that the damage does not seem to be limited to long-term users.

"It's almost as if there is a one-hit problem," said lead researcher Keith Laws of Hertfordshire University. "Essentially it's the same if you take only a few, or an extremely large amount of tablets."

Laws and colleagues reviewed 26 Ecstasy studies that included 600 users. "Often when you ask people who take ecstasy if they have memory problems, they say no, but when you test them, they realize that they have serious problems," he said.

The study is slated to be published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental
Source: www.jointogether.org/news/research/summaries/2007/ecstasy-can-cause-memory.html

College, Drugs, Your Freshman

I remember the excitement I felt before heading off to college - so many possibilities, freedoms and challenges. On campus, I welcomed new experiences, which at times included opportunities to try drugs and alcohol. In retrospect, I realize how lucky I was to dodge the negative consequences of my not-always-wise decisions.

Today I am a drug-treatment counselor. As I talk to young people getting ready to go off to campus, I'm often tempted to grab them by the shoulders to make sure they understand that it's not only their academic choices that will have an impact on their future. Their social decisions will matter greatly, too.

More than that though, I want to sit down with parents and make sure they know that their advice, opinions and insights are still going to be important to their college student. Through education and support, they can still affect the choices their young adults make when it comes to drug and alcohol consumption, even if they are hundreds of miles away.

The most common discussion I have with parents who have had a child in drug treatment is that they wished that they'd listened to their gut feelings and asked more questions. So many say, "If only I knew then what I know now."

Don't let distance discourage you from trying to learn about your child's daily life. Talk with your child on a regular basis, especially in these weeks as he or she prepares for college.

Once they're on campus, try to keep a good read on how life away from home is going. Be involved but nonjudgmental. Maintain communication, and ask specific questions that give you an indication of how he or she is handling the daily pressures, both academic and social.

If you ever suspect that your child may have a problem, address it immediately. The longer you brush a problem aside, the worse it becomes.

Even though parents may have experimented with drugs during college, it's essential that they feel comfortable discussing the dangers of being a user. It is the healthy behaviors that parents exhibit now that matter, not what occurred 25 years ago. Try to avoid giving mixed messages by telling tales of your own "glory" days that can glamorize drug and alcohol use. Point out that it's possible to have fun at college without consuming alcohol; there are many groups and events on campus that don't involve alcohol and drugs.

Of course, you can offer support and guidance, but ultimately they will make their own decisions and grow into their own unique people while at school. But by showing interest in their social life, as well as all areas of their college experience - not just academics - they're more likely to talk openly and turn to you for advice.

One other point parents should be aware of is the growing trend of students abusing their own prescription drugs, or their friends'. Many college students are using them as study aids or to get "high." If your teen has a legitimate prescription, make sure he handles it properly and stress the importance of not sharing with others.

The college years can be a hectic, stressful time. But with continued support and guidance from parents, they can also be the best years of a person's life.
Source: This commentary first appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 24, 2006. Bessie Oster is director of Facts on Tap, an alcohol and drug prevention initiative on college campuses, including Temple and Villanova Universities. Her email is boster@phoenixhouse.org. The article appears at www.jointogether.org/news/yourturn/commentary/2006/college-drugs-your-freshman.html

Troubled Teens - The teen drug problem

The teen drug problem in America has drawn the attention many parents in recent years. According to the 1998 National Household Survey on Teen Drug Abuse, nearly ten percent of teens between the ages of twelve and seventeen used illegal drugs - a number less than 11.4 percent from just the year prior – including marijuana (8.3%), cocaine (0.8%) and inhalants (1.1%) (SAMHSA, 1998).

Statistics for 2002 reflect a slight drop in teenage drug usage to 8.3 percent for overall consumption of all illicit drugs. Still heading the list as most commonly used drug for troubled teens was marijuana (75% of all teen users) followed by cocaine (0.9%) and marijuana combined with one or more other drugs (20%). Cigarettes were found to be a strong precursor for troubled teens to who used illicit drugs, representing about eight times the number to those teens who smoked (48.1%) and those teens who did not (6.2%). Gender differences play a role as well amongst teenagers, with a greater majority of male teens using illegal drugs (12.3%) than their female teenage counterparts (10.9%) (SAMHSA, 2002).

Alcohol, a legal drug restricted to teens only by age, proves both plentiful, available and popular among teens aged twelve through seventeen, with both casual and binge drinking reflecting a higher percentage of usage in college-age teens (GDCADA, 2004).

Research indicates there are a number of social and environmental factors that are related to the teen drug problem in America, with a significant number of teenagers engaging in some form of drug and/or alcohol testing period at some time during their adolescence without falling into the unending cycle of teen drug abuse and substance abuse. When teens are brought together under a foundation of negative influences – broken home, developmental problems, emotional issues, familial problems, etc. – the underlying risk factors inherent to structural functionalism can in many instances act as the agitator for substance abuse.
Source: www.teendrugabuse.us/Problem.html

Concerned about your child and drugs?

Are you suspicious that your son or daughter is using drugs? You want to find out and take responsible action, but you need information and support? There is an answer.

The Curry County, OR Sheriff's Department has put together a Parent Aid kit to help parents with their children through confidential, reliable drug testing.

Aid for Parents

There is an answer

You now have a way to receive information that can help guide you in making decisions regarding what steps to take.

The first step in solving the problem is recognizing that you (parents/guardians) can take responsible action. The second step is to use a test kit for detection of drugs. Results are given only to you, without legal consequence.

We want to help parents help themselves in dealing with drug problems at the earliest stage of abuse. Parents using correct information and the support of community service agencies can.


The Curry County Sheriff's Office (Oregon) will maintain strict confidentiality. ONLY YOU WILL BE TOLD THE TESTING RESULTS. Our goal is to provide you with the information which will assist you in making decisions and taking action to help your son or daughter. The results of the test cannot be used for any litigation purposes.

If the results indicate that drugs are present, you as a parent have community resources available for additional information, support and counseling. Physicians, nurses, school counseling staff, counselors, and health educators are some of the resources. Also, there are local organizations such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. These resources maintain confidentiality.


When a person consumes a drug, it is processed by the body and unused portions are excreted in the urine. The testing laboratory has highly trained personnel who use stare-of-the-art instrumentation to detect these drugs. Solid dosage items can also be tested, i.e., white powder, green leafy material, etc. Analysis results can not be used for any enforcement or litigation purposes! The specimen is discarded after analysis.

General Chart for Drug Detection
Retention Time *


24-48 hrs

Barbiturates - short acting

24 hrs

Barbiturates - long acting

3 days

Valium related drugs

3 days or more


1-21 days **

Cocaine metabolite

1-4 hours

Opiates: Heroin/Morphine

2 days


2 days


12 hours


Up to 3 days

* Note: Interpretation of retention time must take into account variability of urine specimens; drug metabolism and half-life; patient's physical condition; fluid intake, and method and frequency of ingestion. Theses are general guidelines only.

** If a person smokes one marijuana cigarette, the drug may be detectable up to 48 hours later. Light smokers (once a week) 1-3 days; Moderate (3-5 times a week) 3-10 days; Heavy/Chronic (Daily) 5-21 days because the drug builds up in the body fat and may continually be detectable for up to 4 weeks after the person stops smoking.

How do I use the kit?

Instructions are provided that will guide you, step by step, to complete the process.

How will I be notified of the results?
You will be contacted according to the information that you provided in the materials which were submitted. It will take at least five (5) working days for the results to be given to you.

Curry County Parent Aid is a community partnership between Curry County Sheriff's Office, Brookings Police Department, Gold Beach Police Department, Port Orford Police Department, and human services agencies in Curry County. The following have generously contributed to the Parent Aid Program:  Gold Beach Rotary, Port Orford Rotary, City of Gold Beach, City of Brookinsg, City of Port Orford, Commission on Children and Families and parents like you!

Source: Contact Sheriff Mark Metcalf, Colvin & Moore, PO Box 681, Gold Beach, OR 97444, 541.247.3242

Should Parents Use Home Drug Tests?

There Are Some Drawbacks to Home Testing

Home drug testing kits have become popular in recent years for parents trying to determine if their children are using drugs or to prevent them from abusing substances. But are home tests really effective? And are they helpful? Can they do more harm than good?

Is your child using drugs or alcohol? Are you sure? Answering these 20 questions can help you recognize some of the tell-tell signs.

Why Test Your Kids for Drugs?

There are several reasons that you might consider using home drug tests.

You may have considered it because the suspect your child is drinking or using drugs. The child's appearance, behavior or attitude has changed, and you suspect it may be due to substance abuse.

Or you may want to use the tests as a preventive measure. You don't believe your children have started using drugs yet, but you know drugs are out there and they are available. You believe if your children know they are going to be tested, it will prevent them from drinking or using.

Perhaps you already know your child has used drugs, because they got caught - at home, at school or by the police. You have placed your child on restrictions and have demanded that the drinking or drugging stop. You want to use the test to determine if your child is complying with your demands.

What Kind of Tests Are Available?

There are dozens of companies that offer home testing kits for sale. Home testing kits that produce instant results include breath tests, saliva tests and urine tests.

There are also kits that will test hair and blood samples, but those require a laboratory for screening results.

There are kits that will test for one drug at a time, and there are more expensive kits that will test for several drugs at the same time. Most of the drug testing kits test the child's urine.

The alcohol tests are usually breath or saliva tests.

How Do the Tests Work?

Most home drug testing kits detect the presence of alcohol or drug metabolites in urine, saliva or breath within minutes. Typically, the metabolites react with reagents and antigens on the test strips to cause them to change colors indicating either a positive or negative result.

Does Testing Prevent Drug Use?

The people who claim that home drug testing kits are effective in preventing substance abuse among children are mostly the people who are selling the drug kits. There is apparently little or no scientific evidence that using random drug testing -- either at home or at school -- is effective in preventing kids from initiating alcohol or drug use.

Those who sell the drug testing kits online claim that home testing prevents drug abuse by reducing peer pressure, but there is a void of scientific studies that substantiate those claims.

Are Drug Tests Accurate?

There is research that shows that drug testing is very accurate in verifying self-reports of drug use among children and adults.

In other words, if the person said they have used drugs in the past month, testing can verify that claim most of the time. Likewise, if someone says they have not used drugs, testing can confirm that also.

But the researchers found accurate results were achieved only when the people conducting the drug testing were "knowledgeable concerning the performance characteristics of analytical procedures used for the drug tests," including knowing "the capabilities of the test methods and validation of procedures used by the testing laboratory." In other words, someone who is trained to conduct drug tests.

Are Home Drug Tests Accurate?

The home drug testing kits are "not consistent with the guidelines of professional medical organizations," according to other researchers. If you read the fine print on many home drug testing kits, it says that the kits only provide a "screening" for drugs for preliminary testing only. The sample must be sent to a laboratory for confirmation.

Even for medical professionals, drug testing is technically challenging. One study showed that certified laboratories could have false negatives between 6% and 40% of the time. Testing performed at home by untrained parents would naturally have higher rates of error than tests conducted by healthcare professionals, researchers say.

What Are the Other Drawbacks to Home Tests?

The danger in using home drug testing lies with getting incorrect results. If you get a false negative with a drug test, you may be reassured that your child is not using drugs when in fact they are. On the other hand, if the test produces a false positive, you will mistakenly accuse your child of using drugs when they are not.

There are several other reasons home drug tests can be counterproductive:

  • It's Easy to Cheat: There are many ways to cheat a urine test, which we won't list here, but it's done all the time. The instructions are on the Internet.
  • False Positives Are Common: There are many household products and medications that can cause false positives.
  • Testing for the Wrong Drug: If you catch your kid smoking pot and test for marijuana, he could switch to painkillers or inhalants, and you would not know the problem was ongoing.
  • Time Limits of Testing: Most drugs clear the system within one to two days. Testing occasionally would not catch casual drug use, giving you a false sense of security.

Should You Home Test Your Child?

Ultimately, only you can make the decision whether or not to test your children for alcohol or drug use, but the experts say the negatives typically outweigh the positives on using home drug tests. You could get a false result and wrongly accuse your child, causing serious damage to your relationship.

After a 2004 study at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital, the Committee on Substance Abuse of the American Association of Pediatrics amended its policy to include a statement discouraging home drug testing by parents.

They suggest if you suspect that your child is using drugs, seek a professional assessment rather than conduct a drug test at home.


Levy, Sharon. "A Review of Internet-Based Home Drug-Testing Products for Parents ." Pediatrics. April 2004.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. "Comparing Drug Testing and Self Report of Drug Use Among Youths and Young Adults in the General Population." 19 June 2008.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Study Leads Pediatricians to Discourage Home Drug Testing by Parents" 31 July 2008

Source: www.verywell.com/should-parents-use-home-drug-tests-69522

Should You Drug Test Your Child?

As a parent searching for answers, you may be considering drug testing with the expectation that it will discourage your child from experimenting with drugs, hopefully preventing a world of hurt down the road. If you suspect your child is already using substances, you may assume that testing will discourage experimental use before it escalates into serious use or addiction.

Testing your child can make a lot of sense for worried families. After all, testing kits are readily available, relatively inexpensive and easy to use. However, many experts recommend against drug testing our kids unless it is done by a medical professional, and only when it is truly warranted.

Here are some difficult questions parents ask when considering drug testing:

What about timing?

Timing is tricky because various drugs react very differently. For example, marijuana leaves the system slowly and may result in positive tests for several days or even a month, depending on the amount and frequency of use. On the other hand, cocaine, heroin and meth generally clear the system very quickly, usually in one to three days.

With that in mind, should you test once a week or more often? On Monday mornings? The day after a party or social event? Random tests provide the element of surprise, but they also present the possibility that your timing will be off and your child will test negative, even if they have has used during the past few days.

Is testing an invasion of my kid's privacy?

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that testing can be an invasive breach of trust that may damage the relationship between parent and child. If not done correctly, you may be viewed as a police officer rather than a parent, which does little to promote a healthy, trusting relationship. Regaining lost trust with a child who feels betrayed is never easy.

In general, it’s risky to test your child without a really good reason. A kid who has no intention of experimenting with drugs or alcohol will understandably resent the lack of trust indicated by testing without clear justification.
Source: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Drug Myths vs. Reality

While you are teaching the facts about drugs, your child is getting lots of misinformation and mythology from peers. Be aware and be ready to address the half-truths and misinformation that children hear and believe, such as:

Myth: Marijuana is not harmful because it is "all natural" and comes from a plant.
Truth: Marijuana smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing compounds as tobacco, sometimes in higher concentrations.

Myth: It's okay to use marijuana as long as you're not a chronic user or "stoner."
Truth: Occasional use can lead to frequent use.

Myth: Because sniffing powdered heroin doesn't require needles, it isn't very risky (40% of high school seniors polled do not believe there is a great risk in trying heroin).
Truth: Heroin is dangerous no matter how it's ingested. Once addicted to heroin, users may eventually switch to injecting the drug because it's cheaper.

Myth: Drugs are not that dangerous and I can handle it.
Truth: Drug use is extremely unpredictable and affects people differently. Anyone can become addicted to drugs.

Myth: Everyone is doing it.
Truth: Research shows that more than four out of five eighth graders have not used drugs in the past month. Even among high school seniors (the group with the highest rate of marijuana use), only a quarter of those polled in a national study reported using marijuana in the last month. In any given school, most students aren't doing drugs.

Need more information about alcohol, tobacco or a specific drug? Click here.
Source: www.helpthemknow.com/~helpthem/myth.php

Pure caffeine powder is killing young people

A deadly powdered drug is catching the attention of U.S. lawmakers, and it isn't heroin or cocaine.

It's pure caffeine powder.

A single teaspoon of pure caffeine powder is equal to around 28 cups of coffee, and "very small amounts may cause accidental overdose," according to the Food and Drug Administration. Overdose symptoms "can include rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures and death."

The powder is sold in bulk bags over the internet, and it's nearly impossible to measure out safe doses using everyday kitchen tools. "Volume measures, such as teaspoons, are not precise enough to calculate how many milligrams of caffeine are in the serving size," according to the FDA.

Senators want to ban it: In a letter sent to the FDA on Tuesday, Democratic senators campaigned for a federal ban on the sale of pure caffeine powder, the Hill reported. The senators reportedly said the FDA has been a "bitter disappointment" in dealing with the dangerous product.

The lawmakers' concern stems from two overdose deaths from pure caffeine powder in 2014.

The first was Logan Stiner, a high school senior who died after using caffeine powder to boost his energy -- but misjudged the dosage, according to the New York Times. The second was James Wade Sweatt, a 24-year-old recent college graduate who reportedly died after consuming a blended drink containing caffeine powder.

What the FDA has done so far: In a statement following Stiner and Sweatt's deaths, the FDA recommended that people avoid pure caffeine powder. And in 2015, the agency sent "warning letters" to five distributors of the powder, "because these products are dangerous and present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury to consumers," according to a statement.

But it hasn't been enough, the senators argued.

"It is disturbing that despite two unintended and untimely deaths associated with powdered caffeine, the FDA has done little to regulate these products or adequately enforce the standards in place to protect Americans," their letter read, according to the Hill.

"These products do not provide a way to measure a safe dosage per FDA recommendations, and are sold in quantities that could easily kill hundreds of individuals if ingested incorrectly," the letter also stated.

Caffeine kills in other ways, too: We're talking about energy drinks, like Rockstar and Red Bull. A November study found that consuming just one energy drink causes a significant spike in blood pressure -- a risk factor for stroke and heart attacks, Mic reported at the time.

The FDA has also investigated a number of deaths in recent years linked to Monster and 5-Hour Energy shots.

"I bet a lot of people don't realize how much caffeine they're getting," Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, said at the time.
Source: www.aol.com/article/2016/04/29/pure-caffeine-powder-is-killing-young-people/21353197/

Unethical Addiction Treatment, and What to Do About It: What I Tell Parents Looking to Get Their Child into Treatment

It is a well-known fact that over the course of the last several years our country has found itself in the grips of the worst addiction epidemic in American history. Numerous factors such as pharmaceutical companies’ marketing tactics and doctors’ overprescribing of opioids (prescription pain medication), all taking place within our current instant-gratification society, have brought the country to the breaking point now faced by every community nationwide.

Parents and families find themselves in fear and crisis, often uneducated and not knowing where to turn to find the help vitally needed for their children and young adults.

Unfortunately, the opioid crisis has become the breeding ground for numerous unethical people to prey upon the fears of families. Addiction treatment has become big business and a family in crisis or an individual suffering from addiction are now commodities.

Marketing companies’ call centers and even many treatment centers have engaged in immoral and sometimes even illegal behaviors in order to lure potential patients through their doors, offer sub-standard care for the purpose of making money off their insurance. Addiction treatment is often the Wild West in terms of the healthcare services industry – often unregulated and with many states having poor oversight due to understaffed government organizations.

While years ago addiction treatment was a small industry run by a dedicated few – often people in recovery themselves or clinicians with a heart to help those suffering from addiction – over the last decade the industry has caught the eye of Wall Street. Large organizations and venture capitalist companies have entered the picture, putting bottom-line profits ahead of patient care.

The corrupt and often illegal behaviors within the addiction treatment industry can take many forms.

One well-known corrupt behavior is patient brokering, where treatment centers pay brokers a fee in order to gain patients. Each patient has a price tag and brokers are paid for sending kids to specific treatment centers. The brokers, typically people with no training or clinical expertise, sell patients to treatment centers regardless of how clinically appropriate that rehab may be to meet the needs of the patient.

Illegal enticements by patient brokers or even directly from treatment centers are another example, sometimes offering free plane tickets to fly patients to treatment or offering free rent at recovery or sober homes if a person is enrolled in a specific outpatient program.

Many treatment centers utilize online marketing tactics including posturing online as inpatient or residential treatment while they are actually an outpatient treatment facility with sober living which is a much less intense and restrictive level of care.

Online marketing tactics also include treatment centers setting up generic looking websites and call centers and “Help Lines,” posturing as objective but with the purpose of steering families and patients toward a specific facility that owns them or selling those patient leads to the highest bidding treatment center.

There has also been a recent trend of treatment centers hacking into the online listings of other facilities and changing the contact information, so when a family or individual attempts to call a specific rehab for help they instead reach someone else who redirects them to their facility.

I see this every day.

All of these predatory practices within the addiction treatment industry are something that I see and hear about on a daily basis. Not a day goes by that I or someone on our admissions team doesn’t receive a call from a parent or family member regarding a horror story they’ve experienced with their loved one dealing with an addiction treatment center or industry-related individual. This is both heartbreaking and infuriating.

Parents complain that the experience they were expecting for their child was nothing like what actually occurred. They report that there was little to no interaction with the treatment center when their loved one was there and they received no explanation for how or why certain situations were handled. They complain about receiving enormous bills after the treatment episode, for toxicology tests, treatment services and other ancillary services. And they have every right to complain and be outraged.

The truth is that within the addiction treatment field there are many good quality treatment providers that go above and beyond for those in need and their families and continually put patient care first.

If your child was diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness like cancer or heart disease, you wouldn’t jump at the first option, would you? You wouldn’t send them across the country to a place you’ve never seen simply because they had a sleek website and sounded nice on the phone, would you? No. You would make sure the facility was vetted thoroughly. You would ask other professionals for their recommendations of that hospital. You might ask family and friends if they had any experience with that specialist or facility. You would go with your child to meet the hospital and staff and make sure everything meets your standards.

Unfortunately, this isn’t so with addiction.

Because the crisis occurs and the stigma exists, the natural inclination of parents and loved ones is to not talk about it with their friends and rather to simply find the first place that seems nice and that will immediately get their child in the door so that mom and dad can finally sleep at night, knowing their child is safe. This is understandable, but it has created an environment where the unethical, unscrupulous and dishonest prey upon the scared and helpless.

So What Can Parents Do?

The best way that parents and families can protect themselves and make sure they are sending their loved one to an ethical, quality treatment providers that best fits their child’s needs is to become an informed and educated consumer. This can guard you against being taken advantage of during these anxious times.

1. Be wary of information you find via an online search. All you will find is an overload of information on treatment centers, all with great websites claiming to do everything for everybody. Instead, ask questions. Reach out to local professionals, therapists or other addiction specialists in your area. They will be able to give you a better understanding of the issues your child is suffering from and thus what types of clinical services will best meet their needs. Is this simply addiction – or are there other mental health issues at play? Is there trauma? Grief and loss? Are they dealing with gender issues? Behavioral issues? Every case is different, which it is why it is imperative to understand what the issues are in order to find the best clinical fit for your child.

2. Vet the treatment center you’re considering. Use your consumer education skills that you would use in any serious health care decision. Trust your judgment and your feelings about the answers you get from the people you talk to. Here are some things to consider:

  • Are they transparent?
  • Is their staff listed on the website, with their experience and qualifications?
  • Are they easily accessible to answer your questions? Make sure to listen to what they are saying. Are they just telling you what they want to hear? Treatment for addiction is uncomfortable, for both the child and family. If a treatment center is explaining themselves and their programs to you, listen to see if they explain why they do what they do and what is the rationale behind their practices.
  • Ask about their clinical philosophy. Every treatment center should be able to explain this, the philosophy behind their decision-making and ultimately their patient care.
  • Ask about their programs and what they entail. If they say they offer detox, make sure that means an actual detox with 24-hour medical care. If they say they are residential, what does that look like?
  • Ask about licensing and accreditation (although be careful if they sell themselves too much on their accreditation, as many centers hire consultants that basically walk them through the accreditation process.)
  • Ask if the program uses a published assessment tool. Assessment is the cornerstone of the decision-making process from which all else should flow. As you look for a program, check to see if they use an assessment tool that has been tested and found to be reliable and valid versus an assessment that the program designed by itself.
  • Because mental health issues often go hand-in-hand with drug and alcohol abuse, it is important that your son or daughter will be be assessed for co-occurring mental health problems.
  • Ask them pricing upfront. If they accept insurance, they should be easily able to give you a full amount of what treatment will cost.
  • Ask about their urinalysis billing. If they are residential, there should be little need for your loved one to be drug tested more than a few times. If it is an outpatient program, there is a need for drug testing but no more than twice a week at most unless there is suspicion of drug use.
  • Listen if the treatment center is trying to sell you on their facility because of the amazing amenities. Single rooms, big-screen TVs and pools are nice, but are not treatment for addiction. Rather, they should be explaining their clinical services.
  • Ask if the staff is full time.
  • Ask for references.
  • If you’re able to, visit the program with your child, meet the staff and make sure everything seems legitimate.
Questions to Ask Treatment Programs

This list of questions can help guide your conversation with treatment program staff to help you decide which program is the best fit for your child and family. (35 page PDF)


3. Finally and perhaps most importantly, ask about their family program.Addiction is a family disease and treatment centers need to do more to treat the entire family unit through this process. For too long treatment programs have been neglecting the family and allowing children to be dropped off at their door. The family — parents, sibling and other significant household members such as step-parents — need help learning how to trust again, build healthy relationships with their child or sibling and learn how to function as a family with a child in recovery.

Ask what their family program looks like. For some residential programs, they will offer family education weekends or programs. This is important, but not enough. The family should be involved throughout the entire process of treatment, meaning regular phone calls (sometimes daily), therapy sessions (either in person or via phone or Skype) and support and coaching from the facility. Additionally, the treatment center should make referrals to the family for any needs they may have in terms of therapy, psychiatry or community support services. If the family already see professionals, the treatment center should work in collaboration with them.

The good news for families is that there are amazing, ethical treatment centers across the country that offer high-quality, comprehensive services and hold themselves to the highest of standards. However, with the landscape as it is, parents and families need to be armed with the facts, learn what steps they can take to navigate this process and make sure that their child is finding the best help available to meet their needs.

Addiction is treatable and recovery is possible so the most important part is finding the best place for your child for them to start their journey of healing.

Struggling with your child’s substance use? We’re here to listen and help you find answers. Call or chat with us now

Source: drugfree.org/parent-blog/what-i-tell-parents-looking-to-get-their-child-into-treatment/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=PARENT&utm_campaign=unethical-treatment#more


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