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Online Pharmacies Drive Teen Prescription Drug Abuse

by James Heller 4. August 2009 10:08
Teen prescription drug abuse is on the rise due, in large part, to the ease with which these drugs can be obtained compared to yesteryear.  Beyond stealing from the family medicine cabinet and buying from illegal drug dealers, they can now get whatever they want from “rogue” internet pharmacies.

These new drug dealers disguise themselves as legitimate suppliers of drugs to those who need them.  In reality, they are no different than the classic drug dealer on the street.  Like street dealers change corners to avoid getting caught by police, online prescription drug dealers will change website addresses.

Being illegal and elusive, these websites create a serious problem for parents of teens who abuse prescription drugs.  Even if parental control software is installed on every computer in the house, there is no way to effectively prevent youths from purchasing drugs on the web.  Parents need to stay informed and arm themselves with knowledge.

For this purpose, Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles suggests that parents read the information below from the Treatment Research Institute (TRI) and Unyos, and bookmark the website www.websafeparent.com.  Although the website launch date is in September, it promises to be a good tool for parents concerned about adolescent prescription drug abuse.

-- Begin external content –

Harnessing the Internet to Combat Youth Substance Abuse: TRI and Unyos Join Forces to Address Escalating Issues of Web Content and Drug Abuse 
Philadelphia, August 3, 2009:   The Treatment Research Institute (TRI) and Unyos, a Maryland-based software developer, announced today they will collaboratively develop a software platform to help parents, professionals and others address the danger of teen-age access to rogue Internet pharmacies. 
Due for release September 2009 at www.websafeparent.com, the novel TRI/Unyos website will offer a mix of downloadable, science-based information, other multi-media resources, and an on-line community network.  The goal is to help concerned parents, patients and professionals understand and manage the dangers that Internet access to prescription drugs poses to cyber-savvy teen-agers and young adults. 

The resource will build upon "WebSafe," an existing TRI training for parents.  WebSafe is based on TRI's research into Internet pharmacies, where "no questions asked" purchase of dangerous prescription drugs - some just as lethal as heroin and other street drugs - is commonly available.

 "Drug addiction is a major problem of our society.  It destroys human potential and community and has led to an overburdened criminal justice system.  We are excited by the opportunity to help TRI address this misunderstood health care problem and continue the shift to prevention and treatment." stated Mr. Carey Kriz, the CEO of Unyos.   "We were looking for a partner to help us explore how the Internet could be used to enhance social communication and support in health care, and TRI, with its experience with WebSafe and more generally the addiction community, stood out as best-of-breed".

Constance Pechura, Ph.D., TRI Executive Director, applauded the potential of the alliance to propel dissemination of science-based information, particularly to parents.  "TRI conducts some of the best addiction research in the nation and is committed to increasing the impact of our findings by communicating them as broadly as possible.  Unyos understands how to use modern technology to rapidly disseminate targeted information," Pechura said.  "The TRI/Unyos collaboration has the potential to extend the reach of our discoveries to the very people who need but otherwise might not get them," she said.

As part of the alliance, Unyos will bundle its secure collaboration platform with TRI-reviewed content to establish a single web destination helping parents and other individuals and organizations create a defensive and protective strategy against unacceptable drug content from the Internet.  Their new web site will include a mixture of information, how-to tips, and downloadable software, and is designed to become the leading destination for help in managing damaging Internet content. 

For more information, contact Mr. Larry Jones at Unyos at ljones@unyos.com or 1-301-641-8334, or Bonnie Catone, TRI Director of Communications, at bcatone@tresearch.org.

-- Source: Email from the Treatment Research Institute (TRI) –

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

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange 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.

Adolescent Prescription Drug Dealers

by James Heller 29. July 2009 09:24
Parents today are more likely than ever to get the bad news that their teens need help with prescription drug abuse.  The family medicine cabinet is no longer the only source for prescription drugs, since they can be obtained illegally from drug dealers.  This is the sad reality with rising trends of adolescent prescription drug abuse.  The real shock, though, is when a parent discovers that their teen is an illegal prescription drug dealer.

Many of these parents would say that they had no warning.  Even parents that pay attention to their teens’ activities can miss what is happening right in front of them.  Adolescents use texting to communicate, and a text message can be deleted quicker than it was typed.  So drug deals can be made at the family dinner table, using an extreme example.

Some parents may know that their teens engage in occasional alcohol abuse or marijuana abuse, and others may feel certain that they don’t use any substances.  In either case, adolescents who sell illegal prescription drugs may not abuse them.  Occasional use is not necessarily abuse, but it has the potential to lead a teen to future alcoholism or drug addiction.

Drug dealing is usually a means of making either money or friends.  It can also be used to support a growing drug habit.  But selling drugs tends to strike fear in parents where alcohol and drug use may not.  They know the legal implications can have a profound effect on the teen as well as the family.

Since the outward signs of negative behavior are not always visible, a call from school or the police station can turn the lives of family members upside-down.  The legal problems are just the beginning.  This is because the illegal activity is only the presenting problem, and the real problem needs to be processed in therapy.

When a teen is arrested for non-violent drug crimes, it is likely that some form of drug rehab will be ordered by a judge.  Adolescent drug rehab includes family therapy, so healing can begin if all are willing to participate.  So what about parents who discover the drug dealing without the aid of law enforcement?

Some teens “slip up” and parents find a bag full of painkillers, a neighbor reports strange behavior, or an angry friend lets the truth be known.  The first thing a parent will do in these cases is call a friend and ask, “What do I do?”

The answer is similar to what law enforcement does.  Insist that drug dealing teens meet with an admissions counselor in adolescent alcohol and drug rehab.  It is better to be safe than sorry, and assume that adolescent drug abuse is a problem.  By taking quick action, you can keep your child out of the justice system, and prevent future problems with alcoholism and drug addiction.  

The approach to alcohol and drug rehab needs to be presented as the only acceptable option.  Parents need to make it clear that they care about their teens’ safety, and that the drug dealing is placing the entire family at risk of legal troubles.  No amount of illegal drug sales or use should ever be accepted in the home.

Adolescents perceive that there is little risk in using prescription drugs since doctors give them to patients.  But side effects and withdrawal symptoms can cause serious medical and emotional complications, and overdoses can be fatal.

If you need help with teen prescription drug abuse, including dealing, please call Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

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

Discussing Prescription Drug Overdose With Teens

by James Heller 13. July 2009 08:24
Adolescent prescription drug abuse continues to climb.  Teens are now using painkillers at a rate that is second only to marijuana, as well as using sedatives like Valium and Xanax.  And the trend is being driven primarily by a perception among youth that prescription drugs are not dangerous.

Now is a good time for parents to have a very effective conversation with their children about the dangers of prescription drug overdose.  Although the jury is still out on the cause of death for Michael Jackson, there are news reports that he possessed a large amount of prescription drugs and used some of them.  Armed with some knowledge, families can possibly get positive results from a sad loss.

The conversation can begin by asking your teens how they feel about Michael Jackson’s death, and if they are aware of the possible prescription drug abuse involved.  You can then lead the discussion to how other teen idols, including some from your time and your parents, died as a result of prescription drug overdose.

You should name stars like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, and others.  Note that they were all popular like Michael Jackson at the time of their deaths, and had influence on large populations.  This will eliminate any sense that Jackson’s was an isolated incident.

Adolescents want to emulate pop idols, even when they exhibit negative behaviors.  Unfortunately, we hear about these behaviors often, and teens have a tendency to see them as normal and okay.  So the goal of this conversation is to inject the reality that prescription drug abuse is very risky.

Do not let the conversation end without driving home the point that prescription drug overdoses resulting in death are not so uncommon these days.  It is also important to remain calm and non-accusing throughout the conversation.  

If you need further assistance in talking to your teen about prescription drug abuse, or if there is already a problem, Tarzana Treatment Centers can help.  Please call us at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

The BHC Journal has posted an interview with Marvin D. Seppala, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Hazelden.  The excerpt below should encourage any parent to read the entire interview.

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Dr. Seppala, what would you like to tell other behavioral healthcare professionals and primary care providers about the state of this problem in our country right now?

Marvin Seppala: Well, it’s the fastest growing of the addictions. It’s really skyrocketing in regard to trends in addictions – and this is one that is really trending upward. It’s to the point where the prescribed opioids are now basically second to marijuana, if you think of them as an elicit substance. So if you exclude alcohol and tobacco addiction because they’re legal and say what’s illegal, because the abuse of these substances is illegal, then marijuana is first, and prescription opioids are second. And so there’s a huge problem occurring across the country. We’ve seen dramatic elevation of E.R. admissions for opioid-related problems, in particular overdose. There’s been a dramatic elevation in treatment center admissions for opioids. So it’s become a significant problem, even to the point that methadone (and not the liquid methadone for maintenance programs), the wafer methadone that’s prescribed by pain clinics, killed more people in Oregon last year than heroine. And that’s happened in a couple of other states, as well. So we’re seeing just a huge increase in the use of pain medications by the general population.

-- Source: http://www.bhcjournal.com/News/SpecialFeatures/tabid/252/Default.aspx?ArticleId=31647

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

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