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Signs of Teen Alcohol or Drug Abuse

by James Heller 12. January 2010 16:08
Most parents take the “Not my kid” approach to teen alcohol and drug abuse.  Statistics show, though, that many of them are not facing reality.  Most of the adolescents who engage in alcohol abuse or drug abuse can fool their parents, unless the parents know what signs to look for.

It is difficult for parents to accept that teen alcohol abuse or drug abuse are the reasons why their children’s’ grades are slipping or friends are changing.  They see it as a reflection on themselves.  So teens are rarely confronted with the subject until parents find drugs, or after an automobile accident or arrest.

There are many reasons, other than the obvious, that parents should try to stop youth alcohol or drug abuse as soon as it begins.  Besides being injured, causing injury or death to others, and having arrest records, teens do permanent damage to their minds and bodies by using alcohol and drugs.  At the very least, brain development suffers and the likelihood of future problems with alcoholism is increased.

Some clear signs are the smell of alcohol or drugs, missing money from around the house, and finding drugs or paraphernalia in hidden places.  These signs usually mean that teens have used alcohol or drugs for some time, and became complacent.  Adolescents are very careful about getting caught in early stages of use.

By the time the above signs appear other things should be evident, and parents can address the problem early.  Mood changes and defensiveness is difficult to measure with teens.  So when an abrupt change in friendships occurs, parents should insist on meeting the new acquaintances.  A sudden change in grades, loss of interest in favorite hobbies, and unusual outbursts are also very telling.

A very strong sign of teen substance abuse is when appearance and hygiene become messy, but perfumes and colognes are regularly used.  They don’t seem to care about how they look, yet they must mask the smell of drugs and alcohol.  

When parents see changes like those listed above, they should talk about them with their teens.  There are too many consequences to ignore them due to what is most-likely pride.  Adolescents need to hear the negatives of substance abuse from their parents to counter what they hear from their friends.  Otherwise, they may end up in alcohol or drug detox and treatment.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Teen Drug Abuse during the Holidays

by James Heller 10. December 2009 14:01
The holidays mean that teens will be out of school and, for many of them, a lack of supervision.  Adolescent drug abuse is not going away, and parents would like to think they can trust the youth in their homes to abstain from such activities.  But perceptions of risk may play a part in young minds, making them believe they are not doing anything harmful.

Many parents struggle to find positive activities for their teens during the holiday break from school.  But even so, a lot of them are left seeking something to do with the idle time in between.  And since boredom is a major reason given by teens for substance abuse, even the most trustworthy can be at risk.

Perception of risk is an important factor for teens who are faced with a decision of whether or not to use drugs for the first time.  So parents should be aware of trends pertaining to the perception of risk for the age groups in their household.  This is because perception varies due to both age, and the drug in question.

The graph below is from a report sent by the University of Maryland, College Park that shows variances in perception of risk by age group and the drugs marijuana, LSD, cocaine, and heroin.  Parents can use this as a guide to discuss the real risk of drugs with adolescents at home.  It is the best defense against teen drug abuse.

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-- Source: http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/cesarfax/vol18/18-48.pdf --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides family services as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in youth alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with drug addiction or alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley. 

LSD and Ecstasy on the Rise in Teen Drug Abuse

by James Heller 23. November 2009 15:03
They say history and trends repeat over time.  Drug abuse trends change as new generations reach adolescence, not only depending on availability of specific drugs.  The recent upward trend of hallucinogen and “club drug” use among adolescents harkens back to the 1960’s and those who “tune out and turn on”.  Parents and the drug and alcohol treatment community need to take note.

Teen drug abuse trends have increased with club drugs like MDMA (ecstasy) and, making a comeback, LSD (acid).  Ecstasy is not a true hallucinogen, but its use causes psychological sensory “enhancements”.  The physical effects mainly affect heart rate and blood pressure, which can be fatal to some.  Coupled together, risk of overdose is high for many seeking to prolong the euphoria.  And the psychological withdrawal can lead to suicidal ideations.

LSD is a strong hallucinogen that gained popularity in the 1960’s.  Many popular artists were experimenting with it, and even endorsed the drug.  To date, there are still those who believe that LSD offers more benefits than problems for its users.  But the fact remains that LSD alters sensory perception in a way that places the user in danger.  There is nothing positive for the LSD user who believes he can safely walk off the top of a building.

Parents must realize that teen drug abuse in today’s world does not differ much from the drug culture of the 1960’s.  When adolescents feel as part of a group or cause, they will often follow trends of the majority to fit in.  If a drug culture develops in that group they may at least try the drugs that are being used by their peers.  Teens look for acceptance among their peers in any generation.  

We can be happy that efforts to slow adolescent drug abuse are working with most illicit drugs.  But while the percentage of youths using marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs (non-medical use), and methamphetamines has dropped, the increased use of ecstasy and LSD are clear warning signs of trouble.  Parents need to be educated about signs that their teens or friends are using them.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has released the latest report on drug use trends.  The excerpt below is from an article introducing the findings, which includes a link to the report.  We need to continue our work with all illicit drugs, but it is especially important that we are aware of youth drug abuse trends.

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“The survey findings are important because they often point to emerging patterns of substance abuse,” said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy.  “Although we see some success reversing trends in prescription drug abuse, there are indications that progress in other areas may be at a standstill, or even slipping back, particularly among youth. As we develop the Obama Administration’s first drug control strategy, we will emphasize a balanced approach that can respond to current and emerging drug abuse trends. Improving substance abuse prevention and treatment systems will be among our priorities.”

Despite many positive trends, the most recent NSDUH survey also reveals continuing problems and setbacks.  For example there were significant increases in the rates of Ecstasy and LSD use among youth over past few years.  The level of past year Ecstasy use in 2008 for youth was 1.4 percent – lower than the 2.2 percent in 2002, but higher than the lowest level of 1.0 percent reported in 2005.  Likewise, the 2008 level of past year LSD among youth of 0.7 percent, while lower than the 2002 level of 1.3 percent in 2002, is significantly higher than the lowest use rate of 0.4 percent reported in 2006.

-- Source: http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/090910NSDUH)5111.aspx

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides drug addiction education as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in youth alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one has a problem with drug addiction or alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

SAMHSA Teen Alcohol and Drug Abuse Reports by State

by James Heller 18. November 2009 15:26
Teen alcohol abuse and drug abuse can lead to future problems with alcohol dependence and drug addiction.  The upward trend of alcohol and drug use among adolescents is well covered, but until now there has not been a comprehensive, state-by-state report.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has provided these reports.

These reports should be of interest to parents and professionals alike.  Since the reports are based on nationwide polls that include data from each state and the District of Columbia, they provide good local and comparative national information.  

Parents, for example, can learn whether alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs or methamphetamine are the concern in their respective states.  This, along with stats on youth perceptions of risk, can help parents to prioritize discussions within the family.  They can also learn about substance abuse and mental health treatment resources that are available locally.  

Professionals can use the reports for hints on where their continuing education should be focused.  If the youth drug abuse problem in a particular state is with prescription drugs, it is important for counselors, mental health and medical professionals to learn as much about them as possible.  

The Treatment Needs section of the reports may also be some good reading for government officials.  California, for example, is below the national average in meeting treatment needs.  But overall drug use trends are at or better than the national average over the past few years.  This can likely be attributed to the success of Prop 36 and offering treatment instead of incarceration.  This has reduced the amount of non-violent drug offenders from returning to a life of drugs and crime.

However it is that alcohol abuse or drug abuse is a part of your life, these reports provide some very helpful information.  The excerpt from SAMHSAs introduction to the reports below shows some of the general topics covered.  It is followed by links to the map of state reports and the national report.

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Entitled Adolescent Behavioral Health: States in Brief, the reports provide the following information for each individual state, the District of Columbia and the country as a whole through a variety of charts, graphs and accompanying text:
 
  • Adolescents' risk perceptions associated with substance use
  • Prevalence of illicit substance and alcohol use
  • Number and type of substance abuse treatment facilities
  • Numbers and trends on those seeking treatment for substance abuse
  • Levels of those needing, but not receiving substance abuse treatment
  • Levels of underage smoking
  • Mental health indicators
 
 
The data included in these States in Brief reports are drawn from three large national surveys sponsored by SAMHSA - the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Treatment Episode Data Set and the National Survey on Substance Abuse Treatment Services.

-- Source: http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/0911121635.aspx --
-- State Reports Map: http://samhsa.gov/statesinbrief/ --
-- National Report: http://samhsa.gov/StatesInBrief/2009/teens/OASTeenReportUS.pdf --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcoholism or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Gambling a Sign of Teen Alcohol or Drug Abuse?

by James Heller 10. November 2009 16:01
Teen behaviors are clues to parents that they are engaging in alcohol abuse or drug abuse.  They just need to know what to look for.  Gambling, for example, is a possible sign that a youth has a future with alcohol and drug use.  We can use this example to explain a common factor among those with alcohol dependence and drug addiction.

Humans have a natural defense that keeps them from engaging in behaviors that will cause loss, pain, or destruction to themselves.  With gambling, individuals will typically quit when they win or lose a little.  But a small percentage will experience a thrill from gambling that will keep them playing whether they are winning or “losing the farm”.

The thrill associated with gambling is closely associated with the desire to escape feelings with drugs or alcohol.  It isn’t just a distraction from feelings.  Brain chemicals are released that mimic the effect of alcohol and drugs for an addict.  So adolescents who have the fever for gambling are basically no different from those abusing alcohol or drugs.  They just use behavior rather than a substance.

Gambling, internet use, video games, shopping, and sex are only a few of the behaviors that alcoholics and addicts in recovery use in a cross-addictive manner.  So if parents know that teens are gambling, it is a good idea to discuss adolescent alcohol abuse or drug abuse with them.  With teen prescription drug abuse on a fast rising trend, it is better to be safe than to dismiss the behavior as a “phase”.

The excerpt below from Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly offers a brief view of how teen gambling could be a sign of other problems.  A link to the journal’s website follows.  Parents need to be aware of all signs of teen alcohol or drug abuse if we want to reverse trends.

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Risky or problem gambling among young adolescent boys is associated with general deviance at this age, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. According to John Welte, Ph.D., and colleagues, youth without symptoms of conduct disorder have a five percent rate of risky or problem gambling, compared with a rate of 23 percent among youth with conduct disorders.

However, while this association is very strong among 14- to-15 year-olds, it does not exist among 20-to-21 year-olds. The authors conclude that risky gambling that emerges in young adulthood has different origins.

-- Source: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/110575473/home --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Understanding Teen Prescription Drug Abuse

by James Heller 6. November 2009 13:22
There are several reasons that teens engage in prescription drug abuse.  The obvious one is peer pressure.  But while peer pressure has great influence where adolescent prescription drug abuse is concerned, it is less effective when parents take positive action.  Action starts with knowledge, and parents should know that boredom and a low-risk perception are also reasons for use.

We all know that the mind of a teen is in constant input mode and output is often abrupt and random.  They are always looking for something to do, consciously or sup-consciously.  So, for many, drug abuse is an escape from that turmoil.  If teens are encouraged to be involved in positive activities boredom has less time to set in.

Most teens will not turn to alcohol or drugs like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin because they understand the risks that come from alcohol abuse and drug abuse.  But many of those same teens report in surveys that they see little or no risk in using prescription drugs recreationally.  Parents need to educate the youth of our society about the truth.

There is no guarantee that talking to your teens will prevent them from prescription drug abuse.  But if they don’t hear about the risks, they will only have peer pressure as input.  Remember that every little thing you say plants a seed that will grow with their experiences.  And most teens that see risks with alcohol and illegal drugs will make the risk connection in their minds.

Lassen County News posted an article about the teen prescription drug abuse problem in their California County.  The excerpt below offers tips for parents to identify when teens are using prescription drugs.  The full article link follows the excerpt.

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Signs parents should look for
Goodridge provided signs parents should look for to help determine if their child might be having a reaction to prescription drugs.

He said if a teen is awake when they are supposed to be sleeping or sleeping when they should be awake, that could be a side effect of a prescription drug.

If a teen comes home looking pale, clammy and has shallow breathing, parents need to call 911.

Opioids can depress breathing, but if a person has combined the drugs with medication such as Xanax, Avidan or alcohol, it can make the symptoms worse, Goodridge said.

Parents should also be watchful if their child is withdrawing from activities they normally enjoy, or if all at once the friends they hang out with have a sudden change in behavior, then Goodridge said parents need to start asking questions. The changes might not even be drug-related, but something is probably going on, he said.

-- Source: http://www.lassennews.com/News_Story.edi?sid=5894&mode=thread&order=0

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment with prescription drug detox as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare.  If you or a loved one has a problem with prescription drugs, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Missing Meds

by James Heller 26. October 2009 15:26
October 23 – 31, 2009 is National Red Ribbon Week.  The purpose is to bring awareness to teens and parents about the dangers of adolescent drug abuse.  A major effort this year will be made to reverse the trend of adolescent prescription drug abuse.

If parents aren’t taking steps to prevent teen prescription drug abuse in their households, they should be.  These drugs are becoming increasingly more available to adolescents, and perception of risk is low.  Along with educating our youth, parents need to know what to do to stem the tide of prescription medication availability.

When painkillers or benzodiazepines are prescribed, like Vicodin, Oxycontin, Xanax and Valium, the warning to “Keep out of the reach of children” is very clear.  But all too often these drugs are kept in the medicine cabinet next to the toothpaste.  This is often because the warning label is misunderstood as referring to only small children and not teens.

Parents will lock the liquor cabinet, but leave dangerous drugs in an easy-access place.  This not only validates teens’ perceptions of low risk, but can also increase supply to the illegal prescription drug market.  Very few parents count these medications to make sure none are missing at any given time.

Remember that most people who use these drugs will not abuse or addict to them.  They will only use a portion of the supply they were prescribed, then either dispose of the rest or leave them unattended where they sit.  Sadly again, very few know how to properly dispose of these leftovers.

The illegal prescription drug supply to dealers is largely driven by stolen medications.  Although a major supply of the drugs is stolen from suppliers and pharmacies, every little bit counts.  Taking steps in the home to reduce the supply, even by a small margin, could save many lives.  

The teen perception of low risk from abusing prescription drugs also comes in part from the seemingly casual attitudes of their parents.  So the practice of securing prescription drugs during use, and disposing of them properly, can do a lot to reverse the adolescent prescription drug abuse problem.

The US Food and Drug Administration have released guidelines for the disposal of prescription drugs.  An important portion about “flushing” them is below, and a link to the full article follows.  All parents who use prescription drugs should read this, and family and friends should pass it on to those who do.

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Despite the safety reasons for flushing drugs, some people are questioning the practice because of concerns about trace levels of drug residues found in surface water, such as rivers and lakes, and in some community drinking water supplies. However, the main way drug residues enter water systems is by people taking medications and then naturally passing them through their bodies, says Raanan Bloom, Ph.D., an Environmental Assessment Expert in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Most drugs are not completely absorbed or metabolized by the body, and enter the environment after passing through waste water treatment plants.”

A company that wants FDA to approve its drug must submit an application package to the agency. FDA requires, as part of the application package, an assessment of how the drug’s use would affect the environment. Some drug applications are excluded from the assessment requirement, says Bloom, based on previous agency actions.

“For those drugs for which environmental assessments have been required, there has been no indication of environmental effects due to flushing,” says Bloom. In addition, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, scientists to date have found no evidence of adverse human health effects from pharmaceutical residues in the environment.

-- Source: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/UnderstandingOver-the-CounterMedicines/ucm107163.pdf --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides prescription drug detox as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in youth alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help for drug addiction or alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Medical Marijuana vs Teen Marijuana Abuse

by James Heller 20. October 2009 07:36
The US Department of Justice has relaxed enforcement of federal marijuana laws on legal users and dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal.  Individuals can have their opinions about the new guidelines.  But it gives us the opportunity to again stress the adolescent marijuana abuse problem we now face.

Don’t get distracted by the uncertainty brought on by the new quasi-legal status of marijuana.  Is marijuana safe for medical use? Is it legal or illegal? Should adolescents ever use marijuana? Instead, since the consequences of youth drug abuse are very severe, we hope this article will help you focus on preventing it from happening in your home.

Adolescent marijuana abuse trends, though, have remained steady over the past few years.  This is for a variety of reasons.  Teens report that it is easier to obtain than alcohol, and there is also a perception of low risk with use.  It is likely that teens will now find it easier to obtain and, like other prescription drugs, will more readily perceive it as safe to use.

For the good of society or not, the decriminalization of marijuana has consequently encouraged some physicians and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the situation.  They prescribe and sell marijuana in a manner that does not meet the intent of current laws.   So it is almost common these days to see teens showing off their marijuana prescription.

However, most experts who advocate medical marijuana still only recommend it for AIDS patients. Unless a trusted physician prescribes marijuana for a real medical purpose, teens should not use it considering the effect it has on adolescent development.  Parents should always get a second and possibly third opinion when it is prescribed.  

Finally, you must talk to your teens about marijuana.  If you don’t tell them the negative aspects of using marijuana, they will most likely listen to their friends.  Learn as much as you can about adolescent drug abuse so you can give them the facts, and not sound like you are just “barking orders”.  In the end, your teens may still try marijuana.  But they will hear your words if problems develop.

A portion of an article from the Washington Post is below.  The full article offers a clear view of the availability of marijuana in California, where medical marijuana was pioneered.  

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At the other end of the supply chain, some 200 dispensaries have opened using a legal loophole in an L.A. moratorium on such outlets, some making only the thinnest pretense of operating as "caregivers," the legal justification for providing cannabis directly.

 "Medical marijuana, right here, right now," chants a barker on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, outside the doorway of the Medical Kush Beach Club. "Get legal, right now."

It really is that easy, the barker explains. Before being allowed to enter the upstairs dispensary and "smoking lounge," new customers are directed first to the physician's waiting room, presided over by two young women in low-cut tops. After proving state residence and minimum age (21), customers see a doctor in a white lab coat who for $150 produces a "physician's recommendation."

-- Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/11/AR2009041100767.html --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with drug addiction or alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Cough Medicine Abuse

by James Heller 7. October 2009 14:34
An area of teen drug abuse that does not get much attention is in Over The Counter (OTC) drugs.  While these medications are safe to use without a prescription for colds and coughs, they can be extremely dangerous when used in high doses.  Parents need to be made aware of this trend, and educated about certain OTC medications.

A lot has been written about the rising trend in adolescent prescription drug abuse.  But not so much has about OTCs. These are readily accessible in most households.  And since they are so common, the perception of a youth may be that no harm can come from using a higher dosage than is indicated on the bottle.

Adolescents need to hear from their parents just how damaging OTC medications can be to their health when abused, as well as prescription drugs.  Since parents can’t keep an eye on teens every hour of the day, they must be armed with specific knowledge about these drugs and how they are being abused.

October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month.  The information below is from the official website.  Please take the time to read the entire report on OTC medications and bookmark the site to further educate yourself on all types of medicine abuse.

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According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five teens reports having abused a prescription drug to get high. Where OTC medicines are concerned, data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America indicate that one in 10 teens reports having abused OTC cough medicines to get high, and 28 percent know someone who has tried it.

The ingredient the teens are abusing in OTC cough medicines is dextromethorphan, or DXM. When used according to label directions, DXM is a safe and effective ingredient approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is found in well over 100 brand-name and store-brand over-the-counter cough medicines. When abused in extreme amounts, DXM can be dangerous.

-- Source: http://www.stopmedicineabuse.org/learn/ --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or your teen needs help with alcohol or drug abuse, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Teen Access to Drugs

by James Heller 30. September 2009 11:57
A few years ago parents were shocked to discover that teens reported they had easier access to marijuana than alcohol.  Sadly, the shocking news has compounded today.  Not only do teens report that marijuana is as easy to obtain as cigarettes, but alcohol is now considered harder to get than prescription drugs.

Knowing this, parents need to realize that there is nothing they alone can do about teen access to drugs.  The supply is there, so parents should focus on educating adolescents about the dangers involved with drug use.

Obviously, there is a market for all of these drugs or they would not be so readily available.  Studies have shown that teens have a general perception that marijuana and prescription drug use comes with little risk.  In order to discourage teens from using them, parents must correct that notion.

The best defense to youth drug abuse is for parents to educate themselves about overdose, drug-use causing injuries, and how adolescent drug and alcohol abuse affects brain development.  Planting these seeds of wisdom makes teens think before they engage in alcohol or drug use.

The University of Maryland, College Park, has posted data from the 2009 National Survey on American’s Attitudes on Substance Abuse that details drug availability to teens.  The text is below, with a link to the website for CESAR (Center for Substance Abuse Research) following.  Parents can also get more information from our blog’s adolescent drug abuse category.

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Teens are equally likely to say that cigarettes or marijuana are the easiest for them to buy, according to data from the 2009 National Survey on American’s Attitudes on Substance Abuse. Slightly more than one-fourth (26%) of teens said that cigarettes were the easiest for someone their age to buy and the same percentage cited marijuana. The third most prevalent response was prescription drugs (16%), followed by beer (14%). Ten percent of teens reported that they thought all four substances were equally easy to buy. When the parents of these teens were asked which substance they thought was easier for teens their child’s age to buy, more than one-third reported cigarettes (37%), 22% reported marijuana, 12% reported beer, and only 9% reported prescription drugs (data not shown).

-- www.cesar.umd.edu

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the youth alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

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