Archive for July, 2008

Substance Abuse Booming In U.S.

July 23, 2008

According to a recent report by the World Health Organization, the U.S. leads the world in substance abuse problems. Despite having a higher drinking age than a majority of other countries, and a strict enforcement of drug laws, substance abuse especially with drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol, among youths continues to climb, but why?

The adolescent years are some of the most crucial and important years of a person’s life because it is during this time that people start to learn about self-preservation and who they are. Because of this, peer pressure can weigh very heavily on the decisions that an adolescent makes. A lot of the times adolescents will engage in using drugs or alcohol while at a party because it makes them feel more acceptable among their peers. Another large reason for substance abuse among adolescents is because of pressure that comes from parents and loved ones. Often times parents have high expectations for their children that are just impossible to be reached and in order to deal with this pressure adolescents often turn to drugs and alcohol to escape a feeling of disappointment that has been caused.

The influence of the media also has a large influence on the substance abuse of adolescents and adults alike in America. The images of Hollywood starlets, and A-list actors that everyday Americans witness on their televisions introduce an unrealistic view of self-esteem and image that most people have come to learn as “acceptable,” and these views are completely false. Many of these stars are pictured using drugs and alcohol while they are supposedly having fun and adolescents begin to develop the thought process that these types of behaviors are acceptable, when in reality they can become extremely life threatening and dangerous. Adolescents are very impressionable and in trying to achieve the “ideal” image that has been created by our media they often turn to abusing substances such as drugs and alcohol because that is what has been shown as the cool thing to do.

So does it really come as a surprise that the U.S. leads the world in substance abuse? I’ll let you be the judge. If you know of an adolescent that is struggling with substance abuse of any kind, help is available to bring about the change that might save his or her life.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

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Growing Up Alcoholic: The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Children

July 21, 2008

Alcohol addiction is a very dangerous disease that not only affects the individual, but also has a direct affect on those family members who are around the addict. A great deal of parents who are dealing with stressors such as their careers, a love life, family issues, tend to turn to alcohol within the home, and more often than not the can become out of control. So how does alcoholism affect the children living in the same home?

According to Stephanie Brown, founder of the Alcohol Clinic at Stanford Medical Center, statistics show that 76 million Americans, which equals out to about 45% have been exposed to some form of alcoholism in the family home in one way or another. What’s worse than this is that about 26.8 million of those numbers are children. Growing up with alcoholism can be a very traumatic experience for a child because one of the main problems in an alcoholic home is one of neglect. The parents who have the problem become so absorbed in their habits that they tend to forget birthdays, and other important events in a child’s life leaving them with a feeling of having no faith in anything or anyone. Children are very influential and after living in an environment of denial they become resistant to discuss important and life-changing aspects of life themselves. And studies have shown that this behavior may cause children to suffer from bouts of depression, anxiety and compulsions later on in their lives.

Growing up in a home with a parent addicted to alcohol also has an effect on the social circles that children get involved in. Without a proper discipline regimen at home, children can get involved with drugs and alcohol themselves and there is also a higher risk for that child to marry someone with an alcohol problem down the road.

Alcoholism is not an individual disease. It affects everyone in the home, and can especially have a dangerous and life-changing effect on the children who are being exposed to it. If you have a family member who is suffering from this dangerous problem, help is available. It only takes one voice to be the difference and the help that a person needs.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

Steroid Use Threatens Young Athletes

July 18, 2008

So many young high school and college athletes look up to their favorite sports players for inspiration. The down side to this is that these young athletes also look up to these professional players for their actions, which many times are not so inspiring. According to a recent article, an increasing number of medical experts are becoming concerned with the effects of anabolic steroids on young athletes who abuse this drug for personal gain in their respective sports.

A report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy showed that in 2007 2.2% of 12th graders, or roughly 1 in 45 had admitted to using steroids for at least the duration of one traditional sports cycle, which lasts anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks. Although steroids have been designated a controlled substance within the United States, many athletes use the drug to increase muscle density and increase confidence. But with this extra boost comes a dangerous risk of damaging their overall health. Studies have shown that anabolic steroids can damage the heart and liver, stunt bone development, and cause extreme mood changes, weight gain and acne. Because steroids are related to testosterone, the use and then withdrawal of the substance can lead to severe depression episodes that may last for months at a time. In turn, this can have a greater effect on the number of suicidal thoughts and according to U.S. government studies; suicide is the third leading cause of death among youths between the ages of 15 and 24.

With numerous stories on the news displaying professional athletes being accused of using steroids, young up and coming students are being given a false view of the “perfect image” and are thus abusing steroids to try and meet the pressures to look athletically “perfect.”

The abuse of steroids can be just as dangerous as becoming addicted to more common substances such as alcohol and prescription drugs and for 17 and 18-year-old kids, the repercussions are life threatening and can be very difficult to quit.

They say the proof is in the pudding. I’ll let you be the judge of that:

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

How Many Are Hurt By Addiction?

July 16, 2008

For someone struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, life can be a very difficult time. The consequences of addiction can lead to a number of life-changing events including job loss, divorce, not to mention an ongoing list of health problems. But what many addicts may not realize is that addiction is not an individual disease. In reality, the effects of addiction not only drastically change the life of the person abusing the actual substance, but this disease also directly affects those family members and friends who are connected to the addict.

It is said over and over, that admitting that there is a problem is actually the hardest step for an addict to take. So what happens when families have become affected by the problem and can no longer distinguish that there is in fact a life-threatening problem? Whether it is a father, mother, or child who is suffering from the substance abuse problem, addiction has a deteriorating effect on the overall family support system. Not only does addiction impact the stability of a family home, but it also has a negative effect on the mental, and physical health of the family dynamic. This can become difficult because these problems create a mask over the actual issue, making it harder for anyone to admit that there is a problem. And a lot of times, members of the family will just simply ignore the reality because it they cannot handle the repercussions that exist as a result.

Drug and alcohol addiction is never an easy problem to face, but it is even more difficult to face alone. Maintaining a solid support system through family members and friends may just be the intervention that an addict needs to survive the deadly grasp that the disease of addiction can take hold. If you know of a family member who is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, don’t be afraid to speak up and get them help. It won’t only save his or her life, but it will save yours as well.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

Alcohol and Energy Drinks: A Dangerous Combination

July 14, 2008

College students are constantly looking for ways to pick themselves up from the all-night study sessions, the tedious homework assignments and the ever-popular college social life. In recent years, a growing trend among college students has been the emergence of energy drinks to help provide a stimulating boost for those long hours. Popular brands among students include Red Bull, Venom, and Adrenaline Rush. This trend has not only affected college students, but people around the world bringing with it yet another trend: mixing these popular energy boosters with alcohol at parties and bars.

By mixing energy drinks with alcoholic beverages, you are ultimately endangering your body two-fold. Most energy drinks contain an obscene amount of caffeine, which is meant to boost the immune system and send more energy to the body. According to the National Institute of Health, energy drinks can increase the heart rate and blood pressure of a person’s body, which can cause palpitations. By mixing these drinks with alcohol, people are thus increasing the chance for heart rhythm problems to occur. A misconception among students is that by combining the energy drink with alcohol, their bodies will be able to physically last for a longer period of time, allowing them to drink further into the night. In reality however, both alcohol and energy drinks cause dehydration in a person’s body and by mixing the two, the effects of dehydration become worse.

Steve Clarke, director of the College Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center says:

“Energy drinks have a lot of stimulants in them like ginseng and taurine, while alcohol is a depressant so by mixing the two you’re sending mixed messages to your nervous system which can cause cardiac related problems.”

According to the Core Institute, which is an organization that focuses primarily on college drinking habits, 159,000 of today’s college freshmen will drop of out of school after their first year because of alcohol or other drug related problems. A common phrase among many students is that after they graduate they will stop drinking and get his or her act together, but the reality is that engaging in heavy drinking all through college can have a traverse effect on becoming a full blown alcoholic later on in life.

Abusing alcohol in and of itself can be a very harmful action, but when bringing energy drinks into the mix, the danger of its effects are greatly intensified. College is meant to be the beginning to the rest of your life, so don’t let it be the end. If you or someone you know has a problem with substance abuse, get help now. It may just be the beginning you are looking for.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

A Crack Down On Underage Drinking

July 11, 2008

The abuse of alcohol by underage drinkers has been problematic for many years due to the easy accessibility of the substance. Students who go off to college often get involved in social circles that invoke the pressure to drink in order to fit in with peers, and sadly the consequences that come from this can be dire. Maybe this is why the government has decided to implement tougher laws for underage drinkers. According to a recent study, which was funded by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program, the harsh enforcement of state laws that make it illegal to possess or purchase alcohol if under the age of 21 has caused an 11% decrease in the number of alcohol related traffic accident deaths among youths.

Many times, underage youths will use a fake ID to try and get into bars or parties with their friends. This is especially popular during the first few years of college. A select few states that have robust fake ID laws have been toughening the monitoring of these fake IDs in recent years and because of this, these states have experienced a 7% drop in alcohol-related car fatalities for youths under 21. Although it’s not really a problem per se, the drinking legislation and fake ID rules vary by state, meaning that the percentage of accidents relating to youths and alcohol may be much higher in one state than in another. But it is up to the state to decide how many legislative options to enforce against underage drinking.

As required by the federal law passed in 1984 that rose the legal drinking age to 21, all states have enforced at least two core laws that make alcohol possession and consumption illegal for those under 21. Some states however have gone even further to help prevent the consequences that can come from underage drinking and have implemented additional measures to discourage this behavior including lowering the BAC, or blood alcohol content driving thresholds.

Underage drinking is an extremely difficult situation to keep a handle on because youths can access alcohol from a number of different sources including friends, family and even some businesses thus creating a platform that could possibly lead to addiction, health issues, or even death. It is uncertain whether or not all underage drinking can be prevented with time, but author James Fell, senior program director of traffic safety and enforcement programs with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation believes that this report on underage drinking came at the right time.

“I think the timing of this report is very good, because there are several states that are currently considering legislation to actually lower the drinking age back down to 18, either for the military or for all citizens. And this research shows that while the laws we now have cannot totally prevent underage drinking and driving, they are effective and do reduce it.”

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

Heroin Addicts Clean Up With the Help of A New Drug

July 9, 2008

Heroin addiction is a deadly disease that affects drug users of all ages. Recent research has revealed that a drug known as buprenorphine may help heroin addicts stay clean according to a U.S. study. Over a 24-week period, 126 detoxified heroin-dependent patients were placed into a study that compared three different types of drug groups. The first group was given naltrexone, which is a standard treatment for drug abuse, the second group was given buprenorphine and the third group was given a placebo and was used as a control for the study. Throughout the duration of the study, researchers compared heroin abstinence, prevention of relapse, and reduction of HIV risk behavior among the three different groups.

The results determined that the patients that had been given buprenorphine were far more effective in all three categories. The group taking the buprenorphine lasted almost twice as long in both heroin relapse and time until first heroin use compared to those in the group who had been given the naltrexone. They also had more than twice as many continuous days of abstinence compared to the placebo group. As far as the HIV risk, the results determined that there was no significant difference between the groups as the behaviors in all three groups had diminished.

“Our findings lend support to the widespread dissemination of treatment with buprenorphine as an effective public health approach to reduce problems associated with heroin dependence,”

Concluded Dr. Richard Schottenfeld, of Yale University School of Medicine. These findings have led many medical experts to believe that naltrexone should no longer be the only treatment for opioid dependence. The introduction of burprenorphine comes as an incredible breakthrough for the treatment of heroin addicts and could possibly become an effective public health measure leading towards more success stories in the world of drug recovery.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

Prescription Drug Use A National Problem

July 7, 2008

A Riverside, California psychiatrist wrote prescriptions in the lobby of his fitness club and outside ofrestaurants for $100 each. An Orange County man who sold plastic bags of narcotic painkillers had more than $1 million stashed in his house. Outside an LA pharmacy, people peddled drugs, while their counterparts sneaked inside to buy more.

These examples are just a few highlighting the rising problem of prescription drug abuse. According to an article posted in the Chicago Tribune Online, 25 million doses of commonly abused drugs were reported stolen last year nationwide. Health care professionals and dishonest patients are diverting their prescription drugs to willing buyers, which are helping to fuel a shift towards abusing pharmaceuticals as the drugs of choice. Robberies and Internet pharmacies, which don’t require a great deal of information, are also lending a hand to the problem.

A recent survey from the federal government showed that the use of prescription drugs for non-medical uses was around 7 million Americans in 2006. According to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse the abuse of prescription drugs has been an increasing problem for years.

“Unlike illicit drug use, which shows a continuing downward trend, prescription drug abuse … has seen a continual rise through the 1990s and has remained stubbornly steady … during recent years.”

Another reason for the increase in prescription drug abuse is due to forgery and fraud and the length of time it takes to check out a patient’s background. In order to detect for fraud and pill abuse, pharmacists and doctors can request a patient’s prescription history from a computer database. The problem however, is that they may not receive the information for weeks. Robert Pack, whose children were struck by a car and killed by a woman who was hyped up on vicodin and muscle relaxants, has dedicated his time, life, and money to creating a computer based system that will almost instantaneously check the prescription records of patients.

Obviously something needs to be done to stop the diversion of prescription drugs because the number of people who abuse these drugs is rising at an alarmingly fast rate. For every problem there is a solution, and if you or someone you know has a drug problem in Houston, TX, don’t be afraid to seek out drug and alcohol treatment centers to get help.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

The War On Drugs: A Losing Battle?

July 4, 2008

Drug use is a widely abused epidemic that has been a problem for years. Research indicates that the use of illicit drugs varies by demographic group and by geographic area. This claim can be substantiated with statistics that demonstrate the amount of drug use in different U.S. states. Take for instance, the state of Texas. Texas is one of the leading states for drug trafficking and drug use among both males and females.

According to the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration, in 2007 the federal government seized 13,134 kgs of cocaine, and 490,313 kgs of marijuana in Texas alone. These statistics conjure up thought of curiosity as to why states like Texas, New Mexico and California have a high amount of drug trafficking going on. The simple answer lies in geography. For years the war on drugs has been raging globally and one of the more affected areas is Mexico. A number of organized drug rings help to traffic drugs across the U.S. border into states like Texas. In what is similar to a chain of events, these drugs get smuggled into the U.S., mainly by commercial tractor-trailers, and are then distributed to users all over the country.

Border control officials are doing their best to stop drug trafficking but with drug use continuing to rise it is evident that the war on drugs is failing miserably. But thankfully, there are a number of drug treatment centers that are available for help. The Right Step, a drug rehab and alcohol treatment center, has locations all over the state of Texas including branches in Houston, Dallas, and Odessa. If someone you know is battling against a war on drugs within themselves, The Right Step can help. Their mission is to provide affordable, state-of-the-art, high quality addiction treatment within a caring atmosphere.

Don’t let the war on drugs win. With the proper help from treatment centers, the battle can be yours to win.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

Are the Punishments For DUI Harsh Enough?

July 2, 2008

Texas is one of the leading states in the U.S. for alcohol-related traffic accidents. According to the Department of Public Safety, 98,349 arrests were made in Texas alone for drunk driving and a number this large makes you question whether or not the punishment for DUI offenses are hard enough on violators. My own personal opinion is that far too much leniency is given towards alcohol-based offenses. And it doesn’t help that when doing a search on Google, hundreds of DUI lawyers pop up ready and willing to help clear violators of the offense.

Please tell me how in the world this helps to stop the number of drunk drivers in the nation? To me it would appear that these lawyers are just making it easier to go out and continue to commit the offense again. It’s like taking a piece of candy away from a child, and then minutes later feeling badly about it and giving it right back. There are no lessons to be learned when offenders get a slap on their wrists.

Using Texas as a basis, there are three levels of punishment when it comes to DUI. The first offense for someone driving under the influence is a civil punishment of up to $2,000 fine, 72 hours to 180 days in jail, and a driver’s license suspension from 180 days to 2 years. The only difference for the second offense is that it has a fine of up to $4,000 and 30 days to 1 year in jail. The amount for the fine and time in jail rise again for the third offense. My question is: why do we need to have three offenses?

With so many alcohol related accidents occurring in Texas and all over the U.S., it’s obvious that the current system for punishment is not harsh enough. It seems as though even within the current consequences there are a number of unknowns. For example, what variables are used to determine how many hours or days the offender will spend in jail? It seems as though by providing a range, the government is saying that some DUI offenses are worse than others, but what factors are used to make that decision? Maybe it’s the number of deaths caused by the accident. Or maybe it has something to do with the blood alcohol concentration of the driver at the time of the infliction. There are so many questions, with little to no answers.

One thing is certain though. The future of drunk driving rests in your hands. If someone you know has an alcohol substance abuse problem, it’s crucial to seek out help. Just as the famous quote says:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!