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Friday, August 26, 2011

Four State Prescription Drug Task Force

As the battle against the prescription drug epidemic wages on some states are finding that they cannot fight this fight alone. There are simply too many variables to counter, because, let’s face it: a state can make it harder for people to get prescribed prescription drugs theoretically lowering the number of pills that hit the street, but, what will stop people from bringing in pills from the state next door? The answer to that question may be what four states have already decided to do; Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia created the Interstate Prescription Drug Task Force to fight the region’s prescription drug abuse problem.

30 experts from drug agencies and law enforcement make up the task force, according to The Courier-Journal. Fortunately, all four of the states have already set up electronic drug monitoring systems to collect information on who receives and prescribes certain medications, according to the article.

The task force’s success will depend in large part on sharing drug information through these programs, according to Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. “Kentucky isn’t an island. We have to attack this problem on a nationwide basis and work with other states to share information if we hope to turn around the prescription drug problem,” he said in a news release.

The federal government is pushing for prescription drug databases in every state as part of their five year plan to cut prescription painkiller abuse by 15 percent in the next five years. The only way to lower abuse and keep more people out of the E.R. is if states start working together on this epidemic, every household in America should be cognizant of the danger that prescription drugs pose.

Friday, August 19, 2011

MADD Talking To Students

As we approach the new school year parents and teachers are preparing themselves for another year of aspiring young minds testing the limits of achievement. High school students and freshman at colleges across the country will also be preparing for another year of parties where drinking and drug use will take place. Naturally, parents and teachers will be working hard to combat peer pressure and binge drinking to the best of their ability. There is never any question about whether or not students will be drinking, the goal is to limit students' ability to binge drink and drive drunk.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has partnered with Pennsylvania State University’s Dr. Robert Turrisi on a program that is based on his handbook for parents of college freshman. The handbook has helped to reduce underage drinking behaviors, even in households with below average communication.

Here are a few practical tips for communicating with teens about underage drinking:

Talk before a problem starts.
  • Have the important discussions now, before there’s blame, anger or punishments.
  • Agree on a time to talk about the dangers of alcohol — preferably when they’re not tired, hungry or angry.

Discuss rules and consequences.
  • Explain expectations and tell them you don’t want him/her drinking.
  • Agree on consequences for broken rules.

Show you care.
  • Show affection and tell them that you care about them and want them to be healthy and safe.

Pay attention.
  • Even when life gets hectic, take time out to listen to them.
  • Know where they are and what they’re doing.

Give and get respect.
  • Listen and respond respectfully when they talk.
  • Insist that they treat you with respect too.

"Teen alcohol use kills 6,000 young people each year, more than all other illegal drugs combined. However, research shows that three out of four teens say their parents are the number one influence on their decisions about alcohol", according to MADD's president Jan Withers.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Transdermal Patches Child Danger

Modern medicine has improved the way in which drugs are administered, the level of sophistication that goes into the making of pharmaceuticals is beyond most peoples’ understanding. Just because drugs are becoming more and more advanced does not mean that there isn’t still a level of danger which everyone should be concerned about. In the last decade more and more drugs are being offered in a transdermal form. Nicotine patches are probably the most widely known and used, but there are transdermal patches that can administer nitroglycerin and strong painkillers like Fentanyl over an extended period of time which lessens the possibility for overdose or abuse.

If children happen to get their hands on one of their parents’ patches it can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. MSNBC reports of several cases where children have found unused or discarded patches in the trash can and sucked on them, by doing so it will cause the medication to get into the blood stream rapidly potentially causing an overdose. There are about 60 different types of transdermal patches and in the United States alone, 22 million of them were prescribed last year according to MSNBC; so it is clear that there are plenty of opportunities for kids to find such drugs around the house with relative ease.

“Even after they’re used, after 72 hours, there’s still a residual drug that can be left in the patch and can be dangerous for a child,” said Thomas Clemence, a registered pharmacist at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

Parents who are prescribed transdermal medications need to be vigilant about where they store them around the house, as well as have a biohazard receptacle for disposing of used patches to protect curious children. Since 1997, at least four children have died and six have been hospitalized from exposure to opioid Fentanyl patches.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Underage Drinking and Marijuana Use

Underage drinking is a major concern from California all the way to Maine, a bi-coastal problem with implications more severe than most may even understand. It is a common misconception that marijuana is the "gateway drug"; the fact is that most addicts and alcoholics start the journey towards addiction with a drink from their parents’ liquor cabinet at a relatively young age. Children and parents alike share the belief that alcohol is not that big of deal, if it were, alcohol would not be legal let alone sold on almost every street corner in the United States.

Surprisingly, the state that leads the nation in underage drinking is one of the smallest, according to new statistics. A new federal report, made public recently, showed that Vermont has the highest rate of underage drinking in the nation and is second in youth marijuana use, the Burlington Free Press reported. Vermont had the highest estimated rate of adult marijuana use in the 18 to 25 age bracket (30.6 percent); what’s more, Vermont had the highest rate of adults who started using marijuana (11.9 percent), while Utah had the lowest rate (3.5 percent).

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conducted a state-by-state analysis of behavioral health issues. Their findings revealed that 36.6 percent of 12- to 20-year-olds in Vermont said they drank alcohol in the previous month; Utah had the lowest underage drinking rate, 14.2 percent.

Vermont's location may be a contributing factor in all of this considering that it is sandwiched between Montreal and Boston, according to Barbara Cimaglio, Deputy Commissioner for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs for the Vermont Department of Health. That part of the country is an area that sees a lot of drug trafficking and very little entertainment, there are no major sports teams or large concert halls. The citizens of Vermont also experience long cold winters that does not afford people the opportunity to go outside and be active; idleness can lead to depression that gets treated with substance abuse.
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