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Friday, July 25, 2014

Americans In Favor of Legal Drinking Age

A Kranz (wreath) of K├Âlsch beer.
It's been 30 years since Reagan signed a bill that withheld Federal highway funding from states that kept the legal drinking age at 18; the bill was the straw that broke the camel's back ultimately causing all 50 states to adopt 21 and over laws. While there are some Americans who are in favor of changing the drinking age back to 18, Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the legal drinking age where it stands, according to a recent Gallup poll.

In fact, seventy-four percent say they would oppose legislation that would change the legal drinking age, while 25% would favor it.

Originally, raising the legal drinking age was an attempt to reduce the number of drinking and driving fatalities, but research has shown that it has had other effects worth noting. The increase led to a reduction in: heavy drinking, unsafe sex, suicide, and dating violence.

There are some who believe that lowering the drinking age back to 18 and teaching kids about alcohol at a young age may diminish the allure of alcohol. If teenagers were taught how to drink responsibly it may dull the allure of alcohol from those unable to drink.

It may come as a surprise that the poll showed that younger adults were no more likely than older adults to support a lower drinking age.

Most teenagers are unaware of just how dangerous alcohol can be, leading to teen binge drinking and often times drunk driving. The likelihood of the drinking age ever going back to 18 is slim and hopefully it stays that way. In the meantime parents need to work hard to educate their children so that they do not form unhealthy relationships with alcohol at a young age.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Drug-Sniffing Dogs Popular Amongst Parents

Parents are always on the lookout for innovative ways to stay ahead of their teenagers. In a world connected by social media, as well as online marketplaces that teenagers can use to buy illegal drugs without ever leaving the house, it is imperative that parents stay on top of their children’s activities. Some parents have resorted to using drug-sniffing dogs to comb their households for drugs and/or paraphernalia, according to NPR.

Across the country there are private drug-sniffing K-9 businesses that parents can hire to find out if their kids are hiding something from them. Many argue that it is better to invade their teenager's privacy than it is to do nothing and potentially lose a child to addiction.

Tom Robichaud, a former dog trainer and owner of Discreet Intervention, a Massachusetts based dog-sniffing company, knows firsthand what it means to lose a loved one to drug addiction, having lost his own brother to an overdose, according to the article. “Every time I go into a house, I see those parents like my parents, [and] what they went through,” says Robichaud. “It just destroyed my family.”

On the other end of the spectrum, some believe that hiring private drug-sniffing dogs could be a slippery slope. Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union says he believes drug-sniffing dogs cross a line, pointing out that dogs are capable of sniffing out more than illegal drugs which could potentially invade people’s privacy.

“There’s a fundamental principle here that we don’t intrude in that way on people’s homes,” he said. “And I don’t think we want to go down the road to allowing open season for neighbors to spy on each other.”

Friday, July 11, 2014

2014 National Drug Control Strategy

The opioid epidemic in America has become the focus in the 2014 National Drug Control Strategy released by the Whitehouse, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Acting “drug czar,” Michael Botticelli, who unveiled the administration’s strategy on Wednesday, makes clear that “we cannot arrest or incarcerate our way out of the drug problem.”

“Instead, it builds on decades of research demonstrating that while law enforcement should always remain a vital piece to protecting public safety, addiction is a brain disorder—one that can be prevented and treated, and from which people recover.”

The problem of addiction in this country hits close to home for Botticelli, who said “I’m also a person in long-term recovery from substance-abuse disorders”.... ”I’m speaking about my recovery because for too long the stigma associated with the disease of addiction has quieted too many of our fellow Americans who have struggled with this disease.”

The 98-page strategy highlights the nation’s growing middle-class opioid problem, due to the rampant heroin and prescription painkiller scourge raging in middle-America. The strategy also points out that drug overdoses will most likely surpass traffic accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in 2014, according to the American College of Physicians. What’s more, the strategy focuses on the legal alternative of substance use disorder treatment over incarceration.

“The plan we released today calls on healthcare providers to prevent and treat addictive disorders just like they would treat any other chronic disorder, like diabetes or heart disease,” Botticelli noted. “It calls on law enforcement, courts, and doctors to collaborate with each other to treat addiction as a public health issue, not a crime.”

Friday, July 4, 2014

Holidays Can Be Hard In Recovery

Major holidays can prove challenging for those in recovery; it is important to stay close to one’s recovery network. Holidays are notorious for relapse, feelings arise that are unique in one’s memory; recovering alcoholics and addicts can easily remember the good times they had, quickly forgetting the depths of despair that those good times ended up bringing them.

The 4th of July is no exception, arguably being the biggest drinking holiday all year. In some places, every other house is throwing some kind of party or get together and it’s easy for people in recovery to see the allure of such gatherings. Individuals working a program of recovery need to have a plan for the day, idle time is never a good thing. In every city there are a number of meeting houses and Alano clubs that host Alcathons (24/hrs of meetings) that usually start the night before the said holiday.

If you find yourself struggling there is always somewhere to turn; don’t let one bad idea make all the hard work you have put into your recovery count for naught. If you want to let loose on the holiday, it’s likely that there is a 12-step dance taking place close to where you live. It is possible to have fun in recovery and not pick up that first drink or drug.

If you cannot get a hold of someone in your support network and can’t get to a meeting, you can get the number to your local 24 hour helpline at the AA or NA websites. If you are willing to reach out, there is always someone in the program who is willing to help.

AA Orange County Hotline: (714) 556-4555 (24 Hours) 

NA Orange County Hotline: (714) 590-2388 (24 Hours)

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