Underage Drinkers Get Their Alcohol From Adults, US Survey

Friday, June 27, 2008

A new nationwide survey on underage drinking in the US estimates that 40 per cent of underage drinkers get free alcohol from adults over the age of 21, including more than 5 per cent who receive it from parents and guardians.

The report, dated June 2008 and produced by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is available to download from the SAMHSA website.

Underage drinking is responsible for more than 5,000 deaths a year of Americans under the age of 21, said the SAMHSA.

There are about 11 million underage drinkers in the US, according to the study, which surveyed about 23,000 American teenagers and young adults from 2002 to 2006. The researchers defined underage current drinkers as persons aged from 12 to 20 who had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days.

The nationwide survey was the first to ask detailed questions about underage drinking behaviour and social situations in which young people drink alcohol.

It found that 40 per cent of underage drinkers were given alcohol by adults over the age of 21 in the previous month, and that 650,000, or 6.4 per cent, of underage drinkers were given the alcohol by their parents.

The study also found that:

* 53.9 per cent of all people aged 12 to 20 engaged in underage drinking in their lifetime, ranging from 11.0 per cent of 12 year olds to 85.5 per cent of 20 year olds.

* An average of 3.5 million people aged 12 to 20 each year (about 10 per cent of the US population) meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence.

* About 1 in 5 in this age group, or around 7 million, have engaged in binge drinking where they had five or more drinks on at least one occasion in the previous 30 days.

* Over 80 per cent of underage drinkers said they were with two or more other people when they last had an alcoholic drink, during which time they drank an average of 4.9 drinks, compared with 2.9 drinks when they on their own or 3.1 when with only one other person.

* Over half of underage drinkers were at someone else's home when they last had a drink of alcohol.

* Binge drinking occurs significantly more often among youngsters who live with a parent who engaged in binge drinking in the past year.

Acting Surgeon General Dr Steven K. Galson, a rear admiral in the US Public Health Service said:

"In far too many instances parents directly enable their children's underage drinking - in essence encouraging them to risk their health and wellbeing."

"Proper parental guidance alone may not be the complete solution to this devastating public health problem - but it is a critical part," he added.

SAMHSA Administrator Dr Terry Cline said:

"This report provides unprecedented insight into the social context of this public health problem and shows that it cuts across many different parts of our community."

"Its findings strongly indicate that parents and other adults can play an important role in helping influence -- for better or for worse -- young people's behavior with regard to underage drinking."

Research has shown that one of the reasons people who start drinking at an early age tend to become problem drinkers later in life is they use alcohol to relieve stress.

A survey of 27,000 people by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in the US, and published in the January 2007 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, found that people who reported the most stressful incidents in their lives also drank the most, and those who started to drink alcohol in their teens, and reported at least six "stressors" (pressures that made them feel stressed rather than challenged) drank five times more alcohol than those who started drinking when they were 18 or older.

"Underage Alcohol Use: Findings from the 2002-2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health."
Michael R. Pemberton, James D. Colliver, Tania M. Robbins, Joseph C. Gfroerer.
US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Office of Applied Studies.
DHHS Publication No. SMA 08-4333, Analytic Series A-30, June 2008.

Organic Food vs. Childhood Obesity

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eating organic is such a simple concept that it is deceiving. The idea is to eat fruits and vegetables that have been produced without the use of chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides, meat that is from animals that have not been given antibiotics and growth hormones, and food that does not contain chemical flavor enhancers or preservatives. It sounds simple enough, and it is simple — it just isn't easy to accomplish.

We have an epidemic of childhood obesity in this country. The causes for this epidemic are many, but there are two main causes — lack of exercise, and eating the wrong food.

Food preferences are acquired. Little babies aren't born into this world loving chocolate and hating broccoli. They don't have an opinion, but they form opinions based upon their early experiences with food. If they are given chocolate, they will like chocolate. If they are given apples, they will like apples. So the first thing that we can do to stop this epidemic of childhood obesity is to help kids develop food preferences that are healthy and less fattening.

The second thing that we can do is to systematically begin eliminating the additives and preservatives in food that contribute to childhood obesity — and adult obesity as well. Flavor enhancers like MSG actually excite brain cells to the point that they self-destruct. The additive also increases the tendency for obesity. There's no doubt about it.

There are other food additives that are just as bad. The best policy is to eliminate all prepackaged foods from a child's diet. The weight loss will begin almost immediately when organic apples are substituted for potato chips.

The toxins that are in food that is produced by conventional means are also contributing to childhood obesity. Organic food can help to cure the childhood obesity epidemic!
Sober Teens Online!

Studies link marijuana, schizophrenia

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Last year, Netherlands researchers reviewed five studies and concluded that the use of marijuana (cannabis) approximately doubles the risk of developing schizophrenia. Because the studies excluded anyone with a history of psychosis and controlled for the use of other drugs, they were "able to show the specific effects of cannabis."

Now a new study from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York has shed light on the reason for the link between marijuana and schizophrenia. With several groups of adolescents as their subjects, they used a special type of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging to compare the brains of those with and without schizophrenia, both users and non-users of marijuana. They found that heavy use of marijuana caused the type of abnormalities in certain areas of the brain as were found in the brains of the subjects with schizophrenia, and these abnormalities were the most pronounced in schizophrenic subjects who regularly smoked marijuana. The abnormalities occur in a brain pathway related to language and auditory functions which is still developing during adolescence.

Thus if a young person is genetically at risk for schizophrenia, the research suggests, the use of marijuana can cause the same kind of damage the schizophenia would cause, which could bring on the illness when it might otherwise have not have emerged, cause earlier onset, and/or worsen the condition.

Newsday quoted one of the study's authors, Dr. Manzar Ashtari, as saying, ""Don't put yourself at risk, especially if you have a family history of schizophrenia or severe mental illness -- especially when the brain is still growing."

College Culture: The Way to Addiction

Friday, June 13, 2008

Most college kids, being away from home are sucked up in the pressures of belonging, gaining friends, as well as being popular and invited to the frequent parties that come with college life. College is usually the time where the youth learn about drugs and at the same time experiment on drug use. Being in college also means drinking parties from left to right with no parents watching over or family members reminding the youth about what is right from wrong. This may result to drug abuse or being under the spell of alcoholism.

There are a lot of addicts who started their dependence on drugs and alcohol due to the following situations that are normal in colleges:

*Fraternity pressure – because of the student’s need for being accepted, they join a fraternity and then succumb to the pressures of the organization. It is a reality that a lot of negative and sometimes deadly activities are being performed by fraternity members. One such activity is hazing which would range from being spanked hundreds of times by a paddle to being forced to drink gallons and gallons of water that at one time or another lead to the death of one or a couple of members. Most fraternities also encourage members to drink and do drugs and this commonly result to substance abuse. This is also the main factor for reported fraternity deaths.

*Binge drinking – this activity will never be absent from parties, especially fraternity parties. Some students are being forced to drink in order to be part of the cool crowd; this activity more often than not cause the youth to be inflicted with alcoholism and there were even some reported deaths caused by binge drinking. Most alcoholics under going treatment admit that their drinking habit started with a single or a couple of bottles of alcohol in school parties and that took them to where they are now: a rehabilitation center for alcoholics.

Using alcohol and drugs is viewed as normal activities and at the same time harmless during college. The fact that it is taken for granted leads the students to being addicts and before they know it, their lives are ruined. After all, nobody ever dreamed of becoming an alcoholic or an addict.

Education on alcoholism and substance abuse prevention should be reiterated by college campuses. Programs to fight off college addiction should also be part of the college activities. Remember that the youth headed on the path to college addiction will never admit it and would not want to seek help so it is up to the college to ensure that every student is aware of the signs and symptoms of alcoholism and drug abuse. Preventive Measures on becoming addicts also need to be reminded to the students.

Drinking habits and drug intake habits may also be developed during college, leading to their use even after graduation especially because of the feeling of being freer now that they have graduated and will soon be working. A college addiction is never harmless. It should be stopped as early as possible.
C.King, M.Ed.

Teen Depression Worsened by Marijuana, Government Says

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

By Sarah Baldauf
Posted May 9, 2008

Today the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy sent out a clear message on teen pot use and depression: They're a bad combination. Issuing a report that analyzes around a dozen studies about marijuana use and mental health, the policy office warned that teens who use marijuana to "self-medicate" may worsen their underlying depression or other mental health issues. The intention of the report, says John Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, is to "try to correct two misunderstandings: That teen depression is not a problem and that teen marijuana use is not a problem—marijuana use is not safe." He advises parents to talk to their kids' pediatrician if they see signs of depression and suspect drug use.

The report, entitled "Teen Marijuana Use Worsens Depression: An Analysis of Recent Data Shows 'Self-Medicating' Could Actually Make Thing Worse," cites statistics to support its warning message, but experts are quick to note that it should be interpreted with caution. For example, the report's statement, "One 16-year study showed that individuals who were not depressed and then used marijuana were four times more likely to be depressed at follow-up," suggests marijuana might cause depression. That data from a 2001 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry was only statistically meaningful after the researchers adjusted for variables including age, gender, and antisocial symptoms, suggesting a weaker relationship between depression and marijuana before adjustments were made.The study also showed that those who were not depressed when first surveyed and then used opioids were 228 times more likely to be depressed at follow-up—without any adjustments. That statistic was not mentioned in the Drug Control Policy's report today. "Adolescent marijuana use may be a factor that triggers psychosis, depression, and other mental illness," says Walters, acknowledging that "research about causality is still ongoing."

Policy groups on the other side of the aisle believe the report is misleading. "We agree that kids shouldn't smoke marijuana, but we simply have to be honest to teens and parents. This report [is] deliberately confusing correlation with causation," says Bruce Mirken, director of communications at The Marijuana Project , a Washington-based group that aims to remove criminal penalties for marijuana use and make medical marijuana available to seriously ill patients with doctor's approval. "This very week the British government's official scientific advisors on illegal drugs issued a report saying they are 'unconvinced that there is a causal relationship between the use of cannabis and any affective disorder,' such as depression." Mirken takes issue with the lack of warning about alcohol's relationship to depression. "Data linking alcohol to depression is much stronger and alcohol use by teens is greater than marijuana use," he notes.

To be sure, experts believe marijuana carries risk, especially in the subset of teens who are more susceptible to substance abuse and mental health problems due to genetic makeup or environmental factors. "Among treatment populations [in] youth with substance abuse, there's a pretty high rate of clinical depression," says Oscar Bukstein, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; "many kids get high not to stay low."

Perhaps most important, those people with co-existing substance abuse and a mental health disorder have worse outcomes than those with either problem alone, he adds. For perspective, Bukstein notes that research has shown 1 in 10 kids who smoke marijuana go on to develop dependence, and about 1 in 10 kids who become dependent on marijuana have psychotic symptoms.

The bottom line, says Bukstein, is that mental illness and substance abuse very often go hand-in-hand. Parents who spot signs of depression should have their child professionally assessed for mental health issues, he says, and also for substance abuse—and the reverse is also true. As part of their development, kids are curious (see our previous story on teens' questions about drugs, addiction, alcohol and the like). To lower the likelihood of experimentation with pot, he advises parents to:

Always monitor and supervise. Know where your kids are going and with whom.

Set limits. Be sure they're not hanging out in homes where no adults are present.

Be consistent. Discipline works only when it's reinforced.

Seek professional help. If you have a hunch something's wrong, you're probably right.

Take care of your own problems. The biggest risk factor for substance abuse and mental health problems is family history.

A new National Directory of addiction and alcoholism treatment centers, therapists and specialists.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Most addicted people need help to find a way to live clean, sober lives. Treatment Centers, therapists and specialists are often the last stop in the vicious cycle that is substance addiction.

Maryland 6/03/2008 07:29 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

TreatmentCenters.com is a national directory for treatment centers, therapists and specialists. We offer a free, simple and comprehensive index that provides assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, eating disorders, cancer and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul. We also offer a wide variety of addiction and illness treatment centers, as well as individual counselors that can address your specific needs. We include peer support and detoxification programs. In addition, we can provide you with many resources for outpatient and residential programs.

Making the choice to seek treatment for an illness or addiction can be challenging. Our goal at TreatmentCenters.com is to make that job easier for you. We provide a bridge between people seeking treatment and the centers, physicians and counselors who provide that treatment. Keeping in mind that any disorder can affect the entire family, we provide resources and information for friends and family members as well. If you are a person seeking treatment, you will find a vast number of resources on our site.

If you are a professional offering services, we provide a first class showcase for what you have to offer. Our site consists of an easy to use search center that will match your needs to the services provided by professionals in your area. We also offer discussion forums where you can dialogue with others about various relevant topics. We provide cutting edge news on a variety of treatment related topics and offer a blog section in which you can journal about your personal experience.

Many individuals will not seek treatment for various reasons. It has been our experience that 'active' addicts and alcoholics, as well as people afflicted with different addictions or physical conditions can sometimes lose the ability to reason. A therapist or specialist for a specific illness or addiction issue, or a full-fledged residential treatment center can and will help. You, and/or your loved one, can find it at TreatmentCenters.com.

We appreciate input to further refine and maintain the efficiency of this website.
Please contact us with your thoughts. Thank You.

"Turn over a new leaf with TreatmentCenters.com"

Our motto "Hope, Help, Heal, and Happiness" shows the path.
You provide the hope. We provide the help

TreatmentCenters.com is a national directory for treatment centers, therapists and specialists. We offer a free, simple and comprehensive index that provides assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, eating disorders, cancer and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.

For further information, please contact us at 713.992.2828.
Sales: palmer@treatmentcenters.com
Webmaster: dan@treatmentcenters.com
source: TransWorld News

How To Live Without Drugs And Alcohol

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Addicts and alcoholics that are still drinking and using can be overwhelmed at the prospect of getting clean and sober. The problem is not sobering up, because that happens every once in a while anyway. The problem is not even "how do I stay clean?", because most people understand the basics of such an idea--you avoid drugs and alcohol. The real question then becomes: "how do I live without self-medicating? How do I cope with life?"

Recovery programs as a guide for living

This is what recovery programs are for, such as the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. The program itself doesn't really address the mechanics of putting down the booze or even how to avoid slippery places (such as a bar) that might get you in trouble. Instead, the program is a guide for living; a set of guidelines to keep a person on an upward path of spiritual growth.

Do I need a program in order to enjoy the benefits of recovery?

Probably, but not necessarily. There are many paths to recovery. For example, some addicts find recovery and meaningful growth simply by going to counseling each week. Others might find salvation in a church community. The program itself is probably much less important than the level of conviction with which you pursue it. So it might be useful to start out in a program of recovery, something with some guidelines about how to live. The reason a program is useful is because most of us don't really know how to live when we first get clean and sober. Our lives are a mess and we are out of control. So you might do well to seek out some guidance and ask for help.

So how can I live without drugs and alcohol?

So the real secret to finding a successful life in sobriety is through a replacement strategy. You need to find passion and excitement about living again without drugs and alcohol. Some people will find this passion through church, some through a 12 step program and working with other recovering addicts and alcoholics, and some might find it through a personal path of spiritual growth and development. What's critical is that you have a strong commitment to sobriety and pursue your own growth and development with enthusiasm--regardless of which "program" you are practicing.

Still struggling to make recovery work for you? Are you clean and sober, but find that you're not really happy? If so, then learn more about how to live without drugs and alcohol.

Patrick Meninga is a recovering addict and alcoholic who authors the Spiritual River

WHO Slams Tobacco Marketing to Youth

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The tobacco industry deliberately targets children with advertising, warranting a complete ban on tobacco ads worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Fox News reported May 30 that the United Nations agency marked World No Tobacco Day by excoriating the marketing practices of multinational tobacco firms.

"The bombardment of messages through billboards, newspapers, magazines, radio and television ads, as well as sports and fashion sponsorships and other ploys, are meant to deceive young people into trying their first stick," said Shigeru Omi, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific.

The WHO called on member nations to implement the advertising ban spelled out in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, noting that only total ad bans are effective because the industry takes advantage of partial bans by shifting their resources to alternative types of promotions.