Tag Archives: young adults

National Prevention Week: Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow!

National Prevention Week

Preventing substance use initiation, also known as "first-time use," can spare many young people from experiencing significant challenges later in life. While most drug and alcohol prevention efforts target adolescents, we cannot overlook the fact that there is a remarkable number of individuals who use drugs and alcohol for the first time after leaving home for college. What’s more, the late teens and early twenties are when many young people develop unhealthy relationships with mind-altering substances.

Illicit drug and alcohol use is pervasive in high school; however, many teens can avoid situations that could precipitate substance use. Some parents can successfully impress upon their children the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis use; and, when young people fully grasp the potential consequences, they are more likely to make informed decisions.

There will always be teens who disregard the pleas of their parents and teachers to refrain from alcohol and substance use, and fortunately, the majority of such teens will not develop a use disorder down the road. Although, given that it is impossible to predict who will suffer from addiction later in life, it is critical that health experts, college faculties, and parents work together to prevent substance use initiation as long as possible. Furthermore, the use of drugs and alcohol can still cause severe injury or death even without the presence of a use disorder in an individual.

SAMHSA National Prevention Week (NPW)

A teenager or young adult can begin using drugs or alcohol at any time of the year; however, research shows that there are certain months that young people are more likely to start using mind-altering substances. For instance, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that college students most often use a drug or alcohol for the first time during June or July. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) believes that May is an excellent time to focus on prevention efforts. The hope is that as the school year or second semester comes to a close, young people will think twice before using drugs and alcohol.

The SAMHSA Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) reports that 2,100 to 2,500 full-time college students aged 18 to 22 used alcohol for the first time in June and July; compared to between 1,100 to 2,000 young people using alcohol for the first time during other months of the year. The organization finds that tobacco, marijuana, and inhalant use initiation among college students aged 18 to 22 peaks over the course of the summer, as well.

Each May, SAMHSA hosts National Prevention Week! Before young people break for summer, the administration helps schools and organizations host prevention-themed events aiming to strengthen the community, school, and family bonds that can shield adolescents and young adults from substance use. SAMHSA’s primary goals this week are to:

  • Involve communities in raising awareness about behavioral health issues and implementing prevention strategies;
  • Foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health; and
  • Promote and disseminate quality behavioral health resources and publications.

NPW Prevention Challenge: Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow!

Given that not everyone can take part in a National Prevention Week event in person there are other avenues of participation. There are several webinars up in the form of YouTube videos that you may find of interest. The NPW Prevention Challenge is another way young people can take a proactive approach to avoiding the trappings of drugs and alcohol. The theme for NPW 2018 is Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow. SAMHSA asks you to write a video letter to yourself and, if you feel comfortable, upload it to social media. You can find an example below:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

NPW 2018 Prevention Challenge: #DearFutureMe encourages others to take action today for a healthier tomorrow!

PACE Academy

National Prevention Week is an important event that can steer young people toward making healthy decisions. For some young people, however, the cycle of addiction is already in full force, and there is a need for more significant attention. There is a substantial number of college students struggling with drugs and alcohol who require treatment. Unfortunately, a remarkable number of people who need help are resistant to it because they don’t want to get behind in school. The good news is that individuals can address their alcohol and substance use disorder with only a slight disruption to their education.

At PACE Academy, we help young people break the cycle of addiction and equip them with the tools necessary for working a program of long-term recovery. We help clients working towards an associate or bachelor’s degrees at several community colleges and universities. At PACE Recovery Center, we can help you or a loved one keep addiction from derailing one’s future; please contact us today to learn more about our programs.

Parental Provision of Alcohol Use

alcohol use

Parents want the best for their kids. Mothers and fathers take steps to ensure their children have as little risk exposure as feasible. Preventing one’s son or daughter from making mistakes is no easy challenge; a task which gets more difficult as children mature. The majority of people with children shield their kids from engaging in alcohol and substance use as much as possible. Many parents understand the risks of developing unhealthy relationships with substances at a young age, notably the risk of alcohol use disorder or drug addiction.

Going one step further, a good number of parents grasp the susceptibility of developing brains. Adolescents who experiment with drugs and alcohol use are at an exponentially higher risk of developing alcohol or substance use disorders. With that in mind, it’s entirely critical that parents not do anything that might encourage the development of such problems.

There is a mindset shared by a good many parents, the idea that teenage alcohol use is safe when they, as parents, manage the conditions of use. The resignation that teens are going to drink alcohol regardless of the wisdom imparted to them by their elders leads to the above course of thinking. Some parental units decide that they alone can teach their children how to deal with alcohol responsibly, i.e., moderation, not drinking and driving, etc. Notwithstanding parents’ ability to justify supplying their teens with alcohol, scientific evidence suggests that the behavior may lead to more detriment than benefit.

Parental Provision of Alcohol Use

A long-term study involving 1927 teenagers aged 12 to 18 and their parents, should help to debunk some of the myths mothers and fathers have about alcohol. The six-year analysis shows no significant benefits tied to providing teens alcohol, The Lancet reports. In fact, one could interpret the findings as evidence that parental provisional alcohol use heightened the risk of problems down the road. The researchers point out that alcohol use is the number one cause of “death and disability in 15-24-year-olds globally.”

The research indicates that when parents supply teens with alcohol in one year, it doubled the risk the teens would access alcohol from other people in the following year, according to the article. The same teens were found at most significant risk of engaging in binge drinking and experiencing harm from alcohol use; notably, alcohol abuse, dependence, and alcohol use disorders. There’s no evidence to support the idea that parents supplying teens with alcohol leads to responsible alcohol use.

In many countries, parents are a key provider of alcohol to their children before they are of legal age to purchase alcohol. This practice by parents is intended to protect teenagers from the harms of heavy drinking by introducing them to alcohol carefully, however, the evidence behind this has been limited," says lead author Professor Richard Mattick, University of New South Wales. "Our study is the first to analyse parental supply of alcohol and its effects in detail in the long term, and finds that it is, in fact, associated with risks when compared to teenagers not given alcohol. This reinforces the fact that alcohol consumption leads to harm, no matter how it is supplied. We advise that parents should avoid supplying alcohol to their teenagers if they wish to reduce their risk of alcohol-related harms."

Binge Drinking

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines binge drinking as when men consume 5 or more drinks, or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours. Essentially, drinking an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period. The risks of this behavior are many, and young people rarely understand the inherent pitfalls of heavy alcohol use. What’s more, parents are not an exception; otherwise, they may think twice about introducing their children to alcohol in any environment.

At the end of the study, binge drinking was reported among:

  • 81% of teenagers who accessed alcohol through their parents and others reported binge drinking.
  • 62% of those who accessing alcohol from other people only.
  • 25% of teens whose only supply came from parents.

It’s worth mentioning that the longer a person refrains from substance use of any kind, the better. Adolescence does not end until a person is in their mid-twenties, which means the brain is still developing. Exposing our most important organ to alcohol while it’s taking shape can cause many problems, including mental illness. The effects alcohol has on the brain tend to be more pronounced when heavy alcohol use occurs. Notwithstanding the laws that allow for alcohol use, everyone can benefit from using alcohol as intermittently and sparingly as possible.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

Adolescent alcohol use often progresses to alcohol use disorder in young adulthood. Once that transition occurs, there is no turning back the clock. However, those caught in the grips of alcoholism can recover, provided they have help.

Shatter The Myths® About Drugs, Alcohol, and Addiction

addiction

The internet, social media, television, movies, and music have a lot to say about drugs, alcohol, and addiction. Unfortunately, sometimes the message isn't clear, and information doesn’t always deal in fact. The above trend may not seem like that big a deal until you consider the misconceptions that teenagers and young adults walk away with regarding substance use.

In the 21st Century, young people have access to more media outlets than ever before. Theoretically, it should lead to such people having a more informed grasp on any given subject. In just a few moments, one could learn all there is to know about drug and alcohol use on the internet. Television shows air programs that highlight the symptoms of mental illness and the risks of substance abuse. While it’s nice that there is now a lot of buzz about the above subjects, the information projected into the minds of youths is rarely science-based.

Again, talking about drugs, alcohol, substance use disorder, and mental illness is, without any doubt, of the utmost importance. Young people should understand what’s at stake when experimenting with any mind-altering substance, from cannabis right on down to heroin. Right? A problem of concern arises when you look at surveys focusing on this subject matter, revealing that young people have a multitude of potentially dangerous mistaken beliefs.

Surveys, such as Monitoring the Future, often highlight that both adolescents and young adults are misinformed about addiction. It’s entirely critical that younger Americans grasp the risk of prescription drug use, for instance. Experts must reiterate the dangers of binge drinking and regular cannabis use. When people are uninformed about alcohol and substance use, they make decisions putting their life in jeopardy.

Young Americans Misguided Beliefs

Each year, high schools and colleges devote significant amounts of time and resources in educating young people about substance use. Such efforts have paid off in many ways, ever-declining rates of tobacco use are just one example. However, while it’s clear most young people understand the dangers of smoking, many do not seem to have a grasp on the risks of addiction. E-cigarette use is prevalent among young people. Cigarette use down, e-cig use up is just an example of mixed messaging and a demographics failure to grasp the implications of their behavior.

Young people with stimulant medications for ADHD regularly divert their Adderall and Ritalin to their peers. A large number of people don’t see the harm, saying to themselves, ‘if it’s safe for me to use, surely it’s safe for my friend.’ Prescription stimulants are not to be toyed with, both highly addictive and known to cause dangerous side effects. We are in the midst of a prescription drug use epidemic in the U.S., and yet drug diversion is a clear indicator that thousands of young Americans downplay the seriousness of the situation. Another reason why experts must appeal to young people with facts.

A plethora of teenagers and young adults still don’t see the harm of grabbing oxycodone from the family medicine chest. What’s worse, parents will sometimes divert their opioid meds to an injured son or daughter. The takeaway is that young people are not the only ones with misguided beliefs about drug use.

We could offer up a long list of examples highlighting the misunderstandings young Americans share, but it’s more salient to discuss how to inform such people better, instead.

Shatter The Myths® About Drugs, Alcohol, and Addiction

This week, addiction and health experts around the country are observing National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®. Now in its 8th year, NDAFW brings young people together to get the facts on drugs, alcohol, and addiction. Scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are using this week to Shatter The Myths®.

Here are a few facts that should be of interest to young people:

  • The brain keeps developing well into a person’s 20s, and alcohol can alter this development, potentially affecting both the brain’s structure and its function.
  • Smoking THC-rich resins, known as “dabbing,” pacts so much of the psychoactive ingredient that young people regularly need emergency services.
  • More than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids every day. Nearly 23,000 people died in the United States from prescription opioid pain reliever overdoses in 2015.

Such facts are just some of the information experts are talking about with young people this week. In all 50 states, young people have an opportunity to get clarity on several subjects at community and school events. At NDAFW events, scientists and experts from several fields encourage teens to ask questions about how drugs affect the brain, body, and behaviors. Last year, 2174 events took place in the U.S.

Even if you are unable to host an event or attend one, you can still spread the word about NDAFW. You can partner with the NIH by giving a Shout Out on Social Media (tweet, blog, or update your Facebook status).

Addiction Treatment

When young people don’t have the facts about drugs and alcohol, they are more likely to start down a treacherous path. Young adults struggling with addiction today, more times than not, began using in high school. Many of them had no idea that their behavior was problematic, and would lead them to heartache. If you are a young adult male battling alcohol and substance use disorder, please contact PACE Recovery Center. Let NDAFW be the week you decide to stem the tide of addiction, and embrace recovery.

Alcohol Use Disorder In College Must Be Addressed

alcohol use disorder

College, young adult males, and alcohol—what could go wrong? People who decide to pursue higher education do so to increase their prospects for a better life. The skills one acquires while in college prepare you for being a productive member of society. Landing a good job after college leads to financial security and a better life quality overall, typically. Naturally, the above is the best-case scenario; but for many young people, unfortunately, heading off to college is the start of a perilous journey marked by addiction.

Most young people, particularly males, consider alcohol use their right; they graduated high school, been accepted to a college, and are technically adults. Even though university freshman and sophomores are not 21, it has never stopped the age group from imbibing. While most underage drinkers do not progress to alcoholism, some do experience problems, and an alcohol use disorder (AUD) develops. Without treatment, such people will end up experiencing heartache (or worse) in the coming years.

Students who opt for Greek Life at campus fraternities and sororities are at an unusually high risk of substance abuse. In many ways, heavy alcohol consumption is a prerequisite (seemingly) of such affiliations. Immoderate drinkers in high school can expect their relationship with alcohol to take a turn for the worse in college. These young people who join fraternities can almost guarantee such an eventuality.

Alcohol Use Disorder By The Numbers

Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) puts things into perspective for the general public. First and perhaps most salient is the finding that roughly 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for AUD. Each year, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries (i.e., motor-vehicle crashes).

Heavy alcohol use leads to non-lethal injuries as well. Some 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by a fellow student under the influence. NIAAA reports that 97,000 college students report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

Young adults who meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder are far more likely to experience adverse academic consequences. Such people miss class more than their non-drinking peers and receive poorer grades. If the behavior continues, academic probation, suspension, and expulsion are possible.

College is of the utmost importance for ensuring a stable, healthy life; alcohol along with college drinking culture is an impediment. If you are a young male who has been accepted to college and is struggling with alcohol, please consider postponement. Putting off college to address mental health concerns will enable you to succeed in school, rather than pay tuition and fees only to see your condition progress.

Ensuring College Bares Fruit

Many young men think that, despite drinking more than their peers, they are too young to be an alcoholic. Some believe that their unhealthy relationship with alcohol is just a passing phase, brushing off negative consequences already experienced. However, while smoke doesn’t always indicate a fire, there is an excellent chance that the effects you’ve already experienced portend severe problems down the road. Addressing one’s propensity to consume alcohol now, will pay off significantly in the future.

There’s no age requirement for alcohol use disorder or any mental health condition for that matter. Are you finding it challenging to manage responsibilities? Is alcohol use a consideration when making decisions? When you start drinking, do you struggle to “turn it off?” If so, it’s strongly advised you seek assistance via addiction specialists. Those already in college who take a semester off to address an alcohol disorder are more likely to graduate.

At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in the treatment of college-age males with alcohol and substance use disorder. Our young adult rehab is the perfect environment for beginning or extending the journey of recovery. In addition to breaking the cycle of addiction and showing you or your son how to work a program of recovery, we teach our clients life skills useful for employment and college. Please contact us today to start your life-changing journey of addiction recovery.

Alcohol Use: Colleges Deadliest Ritual

alcohol use

Young adults who go off to college typically have few allusions about the prevalence of alcohol use on campuses. Most have expectations of attending parties where drinking and drugging takes place, and know full well that they will probably partake in the use of such substances, at least from time to time. For others, drinking alcohol in unhealthy ways will be a weekly ritual. Engaging in binge drinking, which is when a male consumes 5 alcoholic beverages and female drinks 4 in a 2 hour -period. Over the course of the night, drinking in that manner can bring one’s blood alcohol level to dangerous, and even deadly, heights. Yet, both young men and women will take such risks several days in row, sometimes from Thursday to Sunday.

Try as colleges and universities might, educating young people about the inherent risks of alcohol use, especially regarding binge and high-intensity drinking (i.e. women/men consuming 8+/10+ drinks in a day), is a difficult task. People in their late teens and early twenties often forget the impermanence of existence. That is, they are not invincible.

All of us, especially those who are working a program of addiction recovery, at one point in our lives harbored false beliefs about what we could tolerate; we have views about what we can put our mind and body through without consequence. Most of our former errors in thinking we inherited from our peers, in many cases those who are older than us. You may have an older sibling or close friend that introduced you to drugs or alcohol at a young age. They may have encouraged you to do certain things without a second thought of the consequences. In most cases, people who are exposed to mind-altering substances early on actually move on to adulthood without any serious, life-changing costs. But for others, something quite different often occurs.

Alcohol Use Disorder In College

Most teenagers have their first drink in high school. Some parents will try to instill a healthy relationship with alcohol at fairly young ages (which often backfires). In other cases, initiation begins at parties, or with older siblings or peers of similar age. But for those who will go on to experience the unmanageability and true costs of heavy drinking, it usually occurs at and around schools of higher learning—where entire communities revolve around both a learning and drinking culture.

In many ways, campuses are the perfect environment to incubate the growth of unhealthy drinking patterns. From social drinking abuses at fraternities and sororities, to a wealth of parties where drinking games and drug use are rampant. Those who engage in heavy drinking on a weekly basis put themselves at serious risk of developing alcohol dependency, and some will develop an alcohol use disorder. This may not happen in college, but later down the road.

It is not uncommon for college students to need to seek help for an alcohol use disorder. Some will drop out, others will take a semester hiatus to go into treatment. At PACE Recovery Center, we know first-hand that a significant number of male students need help, but only a few receive assistance. Partly because it is easy for a young person to convince oneself that their consumption is on par with their peers, thus convincing himself that he doesn't need treatment. A college faculty is rarely equipped with skills to identify which students are in need of intervention.

Campus faculties across the country do work hard to mitigate the prevalence of alcohol consumption, and encourage students to exercise good judgment, if alcohol is to be imbibed. But, and by default, if alcohol is mixed into just about any equation, sound judgment has left the party a long time ago. And it is often only after a tragedy when a university realizes that several of their students needed far more than an hour-long orientation into the dangers of drinking, or having to take a class after being caught with alcohol in the dorm. It is usually only after a death, or several, before someone says, ‘wait a minute.’ The behaviors exhibited in Greek life should not be allowed to continue. Yet each year, young men die from alcohol and hazing related deaths.

One Drink Too Many Changes Several Lives

Naturally, in the field of addiction our primary focus is to encourage people to seek help when their lives have become unmanageable because of substance use. This is not always an easy task with young males. We know that when addiction is left unchecked, the risks of serious life problems and premature death are exponentially greater. But it is also important to discuss the risks of substance use even when addiction is not part of the equation, as is often the case in college.

Even when you are not the one who is injured because of alcohol use, there can be a cost. As is the case involving the death of student this year at Penn State University. A fraternity party in early February that involved alcohol hazing, caused 19-year-old pledge Tim Piazza to incur an estimated BAC of .40. After repeated falls, and then falling down a flight of stairs, Piazza sustained a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen, and a non-recoverable brain injury, according to NBC 10. A tragedy to be sure. But what has many people across the country alarmed is the fact that the Brothers of Beta Theta Pi did little if anything to help the sophomore pledge—failing to call for an ambulance until 10:48 a.m. the next day.

The New York Times reported last month that eighteen members of the fraternity were charged in connection with the death: eight were charged with involuntary manslaughter and the rest with other lesser offenses. The death of one young man will, in one way or another, change the lives of nearly twenty young men in the prime of their life. And for what?

Alcohol Use Can Be Deadly

Cases like Piazza are not unique. Sadly. There is little way of knowing what it will take to convince young people that the game they are playing with alcohol has the highest of stakes. Whether from alcohol-related trauma, or the development of an alcohol use disorder, little good comes from heavy drinking. If you have a son in college who you believe to be abusing alcohol, please contact PACE Recovery Center today. We specialize in the treatment of young males whose lives have become impacted by the use of drugs and alcohol.

Depression Affects Many Young People

depression

At the beginning of May we wrote about depression, which was timely considering that the debilitating mental illness was the focus of the World Health Organization’s World Health Day (April 7, 2017). If you did not read the article, no worries, we can give you a little recap. The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a year-long campaign called, “Depression: Let’s Talk” to illuminate the public about the fact that over 300 million people around the world suffer from depression. WHO has determined that the mental illness is one of the leading causes of poor health in the world.

If people are unwilling to talk about the mental health disorder due to fear of social stigma, the whole world suffers. For every person touched by the illness, there are exponentially more people who are close to the afflicted whose lives are affected. By encouraging people to talk about their disease, we have a better chance of such people seeking help. In the realm of addiction medicine, it is abundantly clear that untreated mental illness of any form is correlated with an increased risk of substance use and abuse. Simply put, those who ignore their mental health disorder, by not seeking help, are on an easy course to addiction.

In the 21st Century, a time where the use of social media is ubiquitous, our ability to have open discussions about not only mental illness, but also the effective treatments available is significantly greater than in decades past. What’s more, the ability of scientists to disseminate facts about mental illness and that mental health problems beget other mental health issues—is greatly improved by the internet.

With that in mind, we also know now that problems like anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder often begin at a young age. And if it can be screened for early on, then it can be treated before behaviors like self-medicating with drugs or alcohol develop.

Depression Affects Teenage Boys and Girls

At PACE Recovery, we specialize in the treatment of addiction affecting young men. However, it is relevant to discuss how mental health is a problem for both sexes. A new study of data regarding children's mental health in the United States, showed that depression can begin in children at age 11, The Washington Post reports. The data indicates that 13.6 percent of boys and 36.1 percent of girls have experienced or are depressed by age 17. The results of the study highlight the importance of early screening. The findings were published in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

mental illness

The researchers admit that the reasons why females are at greater risk of depression in adolescence are not well understood, according to the article. Teenage boys, the data shows, are more likely to have problems with conduct, aggression and substance abuse; whereas depression appears to be much more common among girls. Understanding the reasons why for the time being, in many ways, pales in comparison to the importance of parents, teachers and medical professionals keeping a close eye for signs and symptoms of depression. Failure to do so, as you well know (probably), can have disastrous consequences—addiction and suicide to name a couple.

When you are seeing young people with symptoms consistent with depression it is really much, much better to get them connected to a pediatrician to get them a comprehensive mental health assessment and hook them into treatment sooner rather than later,” said study author Elizabeth Miller, director of the division of adolescent medicine at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Young Adult Rehab Program

In a perfect world every child, of either sex, would be screened early on and regularly for mental illness. Unfortunately, we are not at that point, yet. The fact is, many young men experiencing symptoms of mental illness make it through high school without ever having been screened, and as a result turn to mind-altering substances to cope with their symptoms. As is clearly evident by the prevalence of young adults in need of substance use disorder treatment in America.

The good news or silver lining, in a sense, is that mental illness, whether it be depression, addiction or both, can be treated. Recovery is possible and the trained professionals at PACE Recovery Center can help you break the cycle of addiction and learn how to live a fruitful life in recovery. Please contact us today to begin the process, it is likely to be one of the most important phone calls you ever make.

Addiction Linked to Weak Working Memory

addiction

Addiction and poor impulse control. Well, it is fair to say that the two go hand in hand. Addicts and alcoholics can easily be typified by making rash decisions, that are rarely in one’s best interest. A major component of addiction recovery is reining in such destructive impulses that, in recovery, can surely lead to relapse. It isn't an easy task. True addiction develops over the course of years. During which time, people’s brains become wired to act and react to various things in certain ways. Breaking such patterns is hard work, requiring continued maintenance.

Those living in active addiction have a “go to” response for most things that come up. If they are stressed, they use. If they are happy, they use. Ad infinitum. But in most cases, the continued reliance on a substance for coping with all things Life, comes down to how your brain functions with regard to memory. Addicts and alcoholics often have short attention spans, and minds that easily forget where drugs take them. Sure, one may find relief in using a substance for a time. But such relief is always outweighed by the bad that comes with the use of a substance. Despite that fact, people continue to use regardless.

Naturally, we are all wired a little bit differently, sometimes a lot differently. Beginning at a young age, individuals process things in a subjective manner. Some young people excel at staying focused and on-task, while others struggle to keep their heading. There is compelling research indicating that those who struggle with impulse control and working memory, the capacity to focus on a task without being easily distracted, are at greater risk of substance use disorder later in life, according to a study conducted by researchers at three institutions. The findings of which, were published in the journal Addiction.

Risk of Addiction

More times than not, teenage substance use is a risk factor for a substance use disorder in adulthood. Early drug and alcohol initiation, while the brain is still developing, can wreak havoc on the course of one’s life. However, that is not always the case. The majority of teens who experiment with alcohol, tobacco and marijuana in high school, don’t progress to addiction later in life. For a significant minority, the future holds something altogether different.

It goes without saying there isn’t a test that will identify who will be touched by addiction. Sure, there are several factors that often play a part in the development of the disease (i.e. family history and upbringing), but they do not necessarily mean that the child will follow the same road as an addicted parent. While doctors cannot look at any one thing and say emphatically, ‘this teen will have problems later in life,’ identifying which adolescents have certain risk factors can help guide prevention methods that may mitigate the likelihood of addiction developing in the future.

Researchers looked 387 study participants (ages 18-20) who were recruited as 10- to 12-year-olds in 2004 for a long-term study, a University of Oregon news release reports. Baselines for the participants working memory and impulsive tendencies were defined at the beginning of the study. Teens with weak working memories and poor impulse control were at a greater risk of experimenting with substances at a young age, and having a substance use disorder later in life.

We found that there is some effect that was carried through the early progression in drug use. It is a risk factor," said Khurana, who also is a research scientist in the UO's Prevention Science Institute. "But we also found that the underlying weakness in working memory and impulse control continues to pose a risk for later substance-use disorders."

Predicting Addiction Later In Life

In middle schools and high schools across the country, substance use prevention efforts employ a total abstinence methodology. The idea being that if teens don’t ever use drugs and alcohol, they will be less likely to have a problem later in life. While that may be true in some cases, it is an idea that isn’t based in reality for the simple fact that young people will often do that which they are told not to do. As was mentioned earlier, most of the young people who experiment will not have a problem later in life. With that in mind, it would seem that prevention and intervention methods that work to improve certain behavioral deficits, could help many young people in the future.

Drug prevention strategy in the schools typically focuses on middle school when early drug use tends to take place and assumes that any drug use at all is a problem,” said Co-author Dan Romer, research director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. “This study suggests that prevention needs to be more nuanced. The risk depends on whether drug use is likely to progress.”

If impulse control and one’s ability to stay focused is strengthened, teenagers and young adults would benefit greatly with regard to the relationship they develop with mind-altering substances.

Working with Young Adult Males

Through intensive, one-on-one addiction psychotherapy, under the care of licensed Master Level Therapists, PACE Recovery Center clients learn about and become aware of their experiences with addiction and behavioral health issues. They begin to identify personal core beliefs associated with negative sense of self, which exacerbates self defeating behaviors such as depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol use. Clients begin to challenge these self-destructive beliefs and ultimately restructure them into a healthier and more adaptive way of living free from mood altering substances. Each client's treatment plan is closely monitored, modified when necessary and evaluated by their therapist and the clinical treatment team.

Heroin Overdoses Among Young Adults

heroin

Researchers from the University of Michigan conduct the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey every year. The answers that high school students give, provide experts a window into the severity of teen substance use and abuse. The findings can help direct preventive measures in the coming years. The 2016 MTF presented some promising findings, especially regarding prescription opioid use among young people. In fact, past year prescription opioid use among 12th graders dropped 45 percent, compared to five years ago.

The findings are a good sign that we may see reductions in opioid use among 20 something-year-olds in the coming years, an age group that as of late has been using both heroin prescription opioids at alarming rates. The dangers of using opioids of any kind need to be reinforced in young people early on and repeatedly. If preventative measures fall short, more and more young people will succumb to hooks and snares of opioid narcotics. Unfortunately, identifying the groups of people at greatest risk of opioid use initiation isn’t an easy task, partly due to stereotyping.

Heroin Outside City Limits

Heroin, like “crack cocaine,” is often considered to be a drug that primarily wreaks havoc in the inner city. A drug that is used by downtrodden and impoverished Americans. While there is a lot opioid abuse in urban areas, the situation has changed. In recent years, the opioid addiction epidemic has predominantly affected suburban and rural parts of the country. Additionally, many of the young people abusing heroin today, come from white middle class or affluent families. These are young people who have access to financial resources that make it easier to maintain an addiction.

But, even with more resources than the average person of the same age, what often starts as a prescription opioid problem can quickly morph into a heroin problem. The reasons are simple. The price of drugs like OxyContin has only gone in one direction—up! Heroin on the other hand is cheaper, and in many cases, stronger than prescription opioids. Easier to acquire, as well.

One of the unintended consequences of this prescription opioid epidemic has been the increase in heroin addiction and overdoses, in part due to the transition from prescription opioids to less expensive heroin street drugs,” California state health officials report. “Heroin deaths have continued to increase steadily by 67 percent since 2006 and account for a growing share of the total opioid-related deaths.”

In the first quarter of 2016, 412 adults age 20 to 29 went to emergency departments in California due to heroin, according to Los Angeles Daily News. Los Angeles and Orange counties have seen a continued increase in ER cases involving heroin among people in their twenties.

Spotting the Signs

If you have a child in their twenties, frequently they are still living at home, as many Millennials do. But if you have never used an opioid, there is a good chance you would not be able to spot the signs of use. And it isn’t like your child is just going to use right in front of you. So how can you identify signs of a problem? In some cases, you may see track marks from IV heroin use. However, many young heroin addicts do not use needles, opting to smoke or snort the drug. In which case, track marks will not be a signpost you can rely on.

Common signs of opioid use, include:

  • Tiny Pupils
  • Nodding Off
  • Slurred Speech
  • Incessant Itching
  • Complaints of Constipation
  • Diminished Appetite

There are other signs, but those listed are synonymous with opioid use. If you see any of those appearances or behaviors, there is a good chance there is a problem. Such discoveries should prompt further investigation. You can always confront your child about the signs you are seeing, but getting an honest answer is easier said than done. Addiction will lead people to do or say just about anything to continue fueling the fire.

You can also ask if they would be willing to take a drug test. If they refuse, that’s a pretty good sign that you are on the right track. The best results for getting your child into treatment often come by way of interventionists. They are skilled professionals who can help walk you through the process of saving your child’s life.

PACE Recovery Center Can Help

If you know, or suspect that your young adult son is using heroin or prescription opioids, please contact us as soon as possible. With so many young people succumbing to heroin addiction, time is of the essence.

A Clean Break for Recovery this Spring

clean break

Unless you live in the Southwest or Southeast, there is good chance that you are feeling the chilling effects of winter weather right about now. If that is the case, it is likely you are already pining for warmer weather which, thankfully, is not far away with the beginning of February knocking on the door. But, for young people who have been hitting their textbooks all winter—the end of the school term, and with it warmer weather, might seem like forever.

Every Spring, thousands of young adults make a pilgrimage in search of more tropical climates, i.e. South Florida or Mexico. For many, the reprieve from studies and less than desirable weather, is needed (borderline mandatory), if they are expected to trudge through to the end of the semester. Those planning to take a week off in the company of better weather, usually do more than just bathe in the sun. Spring Break is notorious for young adults consuming copious amounts of drugs and alcohol.

Naturally, being in an environment surrounded by peers partying all week, would be considered not the best idea for young people working a program of addiction recovery. The temptation to use or imbibe may be too strong to resist, the risk of relapse is extremely high. If you are a young male or female working a program, you may be thinking that you are not able to take part in any sort of Spring Break? Lest you put yourself at risk of relapse.

In a normal Spring Break setting, you would be right to be fearful of beach activities with people not working towards the goal of abstaining from drugs or alcohol. However, over the last 8 years more than 1,000 young people in recovery have been able to enjoy Spring Break without drinking or drugging at what are known as Clean Break events.

A Clean Break This Spring

It may seem premature to discuss Spring Break when February has not even begun. Although, tomorrow is the deadline for you and your recovery peers to RSVP for Clean Break. Every week in March, young people in recovery will be staying at The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, FL.

If you were thinking that you would have to lay low while everyone else in college heads to tropical weather for a week, that is simply not the case. The Clean Break experience is affordable, fun and puts recovery first. No matter when your school schedules Spring break, you and your friends can head south between: March 6-11, 13-17, 20-24 or 27-31st. The organization states:

A week at Clean Break provides a solution for the college student in recovery who would have to choose between isolating on an empty campus or tagging along with friends who are not sober and hoping they don’t use drugs or alcohol. Clean Break is an affordable peer based recovery event for college students during Spring Break, that creates new relationships, supports recovery, provides new ideas for sober fun, all in a safe group setting." recovery

Enjoying Life in Recovery

On page 132 in the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, it states, “...we aren't a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn't want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life.” There is a lot of truth to be found in those words. Addiction recovery is not about turning your back on fun, turning into “shut-ins.” If that were the case, it would seem, that few would be able to stay the course. Alternatively, much of recovery is about building and maintaining healthy relationships with people working towards a common cause. Relationships that are not contingent on drugs or alcohol.

At PACE Recovery Center, we understand the value of having fun in recovery. We are a proud sponsor of Clean Break, and strongly encourage young adults to take advantage of these types of opportunities. If you decide to attend, there is a good chance that your program will become stronger as a result, on top of making friends who you would have otherwise been unable to meet.

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week 2017

drug and alcohol use

A large percentage of young adults who struggle with addiction began using drugs and alcohol when they were in high school. The reasons for substance initiation are varied. Sometimes use begins due to pressures from your peers (i.e. siblings, friends and older classmates). Others begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol because of something they saw in a movie or television show. Media outlets have a penchant for showing people drinking and drugging with a smile on their face, veritable pictures of conviviality.

People often gauge the risks and dangers of doing something based on inaccurate images presented to them, and there isn’t a law mandating that media always present the dangers of drug and alcohol use when they show characters engaging in such pastimes. More times than not, it seems, media outlets effectively glamorize substance use, painting pictures of people having fun while engaging in activities that can beget addiction down the road. While it is easy to say that movies and TV shows are works of fiction, not intended to be taken at face value—young people (it would appear) often struggle to differentiate between fact and fiction. Dangerous misconceptions, to say the least.

It isn’t that movies and television are completely off when they show alcohol and drugs being a good time. Anyone working a program of recovery can likely recall a time before they lost control of their substance use, before the transition into abuse when getting drunk or high went from being a choice, to a need that felt like life depended on it. While the majority of young people who experiment with mind-altering substances are able to skirt the hooks and snares of addiction, there is a significant number of individuals who are not so fortunate. Those whose causal alcohol and drug use in high school would soon end up morphing into full-blown addiction. Many of those same people’s use began with misrepresentations in the media, resulting in misconceptions in the mind.

That being said, it is vital that teenagers and young adults have all the facts, so that they can make informed decisions before they engage in substance use.

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

Every January, the National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) sponsors National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW). The organization’s goal is to Shatter the Myths that young people have about drug and alcohol use. In partnership with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the two along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) help organize events in communities and schools across the country, which give young people an opportunity to speak with experts about drug and alcohol use. This year’s NDAFW is happening right now, ending on Sunday, January 29th.

While the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey shows that teen alcohol, cigarette and some other drug use has continued to drop in recent years, in order for the trend to continue persistence is required. Data indicates that among high school seniors, more than 5% misuse prescription drugs; more than 20% smoke marijuana, and 35% use alcohol in the past year. It is likely that those same young adults who reported past year use, do not have all the facts regarding these behaviors. Both NIDA and NIAAA believe, when given information about how drugs affect the brain, body, and behaviors—young people will make different choices.

Please watch a short video about National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week:

If you are having trouble seeing the video, please click here.

If you are interested in taking part in NDAFW, please visit the website. There you can find the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz, the Drugs: SHATTER THE MYTHS booklet and a number of other valuable resources.

Young People In Recovery

If you began using drugs and alcohol in high school, which resulted in addiction as a young adult, please contact PACE Recovery Center. Recovery is possible, and there are many young people dedicated to working a program every day of the week. The sooner the problem is addressed, the sooner you can begin working towards a future free from the deadly symptoms of addiction.

At PACE, we specialize in treating young adult males who have been impacted by drugs and alcohol. Our qualified staff can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction, and learn how to live a healthy, balanced life.