Archive for the ‘Alcohol Prevention’ Category

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!

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!

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!

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!

Drunk Driving: A Deadly Choice

June 30, 2008

“In Texas, someone is hurt or killed in an alcohol-related crash every 19 minutes, and drunk driving claims five lives every day.”

Drunk driving is a violent and deadly crime that happens far too often in our nation today. In the United States, crimes involving drunk driving actually happen more than any other type of crime. Texas sits at the top of the list, second only to California, for traffic deaths that involve the abuse of alcohol. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2004 in Texas, 1,642 motorists were killed in alcohol related accidents. What may be more disturbing than this however, is the age of the drivers being caught drinking and driving.

According to a report in 2004 by the Department of Public Safety, of the 98,349 arrests made for drunk driving in Texas, 303 of these arrests were young children between the ages of nine and sixteen years old. Oh, but it doesn’t end there. Additionally, 9,285 minors between the ages of 17 and 20 were arrested for driving under the influence. The legal age to buy and drink alcohol in Texas is 21, and this data shows that under-aged minors committed 11% of the total amount of drunk driving offenses.

This data may not be so surprising to some especially with the large number of colleges in Texas. Underage drinking is huge among college campuses all over the country and with very limited supervision by parents, dorm resident advisors, and other friends it is becoming increasingly easier to obtain and abuse alcohol.

Although it is practically impossible to completely demolish drunk driving from our nation, it is possible to stop yourself or someone you love from driving under the influence and abusing alcohol. Drug rehab and alcohol treatment centers such as The Right Step, located in Houston, Texas are specially trained to help those with substance abuse problems. Experts believe that in Texas, 70 residents will be injured or killed from an alcohol-related crash. Don’t become another number to add to this statistic. If you or someone you know has a substance abuse problem, get help. It could save their lives.

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

Alcohol At Every Turn

June 27, 2008

All over the world alcohol abuse is incredibly popular amongst all different age groups. Because of this, alcohol seems to be everywhere you turn. Take for instance the genre of popular culture, i.e., the TV. It’s almost inevitable that while sitting down on a Friday night you will see a commercial that glorifies the use of alcohol. A perfect example would be the contest that Captain Morgan Rum has created. Now I may not be the best case study because I watch way more TV than I should, but I would have to say that I see that commercial at least once everyday, if not twice while I’m watching my shows. As a matter of fact, I’d have to say that the majority of commercials that grace my tube are those that relate to alcohol in some way. So what’s wrong with this picture?

The problem is that popular culture now a days has helped to desensitize the way that people view alcohol. These commercials do their best to inform the viewers that alcohol can be harmful and that it’s important to be responsible while drinking. However, the scenarios that are shown on the TV are portrayed to be fun situations. So in essence, the makers of the alcoholic product are contradicting themselves in order to make a profit. Underage drinking is still a large problem in our society, and by making these commercials readily available on mainstream television we only add more fuel to the fire. I mean, let’s be realistic. Are teenagers going to playback in their heads the warning about being responsible, or the amount of fun the actors are having as a result of the alcohol?

So what are parents doing to stop the excessive drinking of younger teens? Here in this question lies yet another problem. When my cousin started college, she wanted to have a party, which most college students want to do. My aunt and uncle knew very well that if she went to a college party with her friends that the amount of alcohol would be overflowing, and the situation could get very dangerous. In an attempt to remedy this, they offered she have the party at their house and they would provide the alcohol. I think by doing this they were hoping to control the amount of alcohol served, and also monitor the overall situation. And the truth is, many parents have this same mentality. They think that if their children drink at home, and not out in bars it will keep them away from harm, which couldn’t be more wrong. Again, this scenario shows the effects of alcohol have desensitized even parents.

Substance abuse is a growing epidemic in our country and alcohol is right up there at the top of the list of misused drugs. I have to wonder who’s to blame. Yes, it’s true we all have our own free will, but when ads, commercials, films, and music all portray alcohol to be a fun activity, can we really just say no? If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol, there is help. All you have to do is take it.

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

4 Tips For an Alcohol Free Summer

June 25, 2008

For people who are recovering from alcohol or drug addictions it can be difficult to find activities that don’t include these substances. This problem often arises during the summer months due to vacations and holidays. So what can family members do to help those who are struggling with the addiction? Here are some tips to help people experience a fun and exhilarating summer without any alcohol.

1.) Manage Expectations

What’s the 4th of July holiday without a party in which you and your friends and family get together for a Barbecue? If you are planning on having a party for this holiday, or for any get-together over the summer, make it clear up front to the guests that there will be no alcohol available. By casually informing your guests that you don’t plan on serving alcohol, they will not come with any prior expectations about drinking and they won’t be leaving disappointed in a huff.

2.) Early Events

I don’t know why, but for some reason, nighttime parties and alcohol have always gone together. In order to avoid the temptation of an evening cocktail party try throwing your parties earlier during the day. Especially during the summer, daytime events focus on the amazing weather and outdoor activities for people to get involved in. So the next time your friends want to go to an evening party and invite you along, don’t be afraid to suggest an afternoon picnic instead. You may find throwing that Frisbee around could be more fun that expected.

3.) Invite the Kids

Another summer party suggestion if you want to have some fun without all the alcohol is to suggest your friends bring along the entire family. For many adults the presence of children discourages acts of heavy drinking and by inviting the entire family to join in on the fun, you are sending a polite message that alcohol is not wanted. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Even with children present it is possible for adults to have a great time playing card games, or even a friendly game of basketball.

4.) Edit the Guest List

After leaving an alcohol recovery center, it is important for people to readjust their everyday lives to fit a new lifestyle. This may mean leaving out certain friends for a dinner party. If you have friends who love to drink and become the center of attention, it may be best to leave them out of these dinner parties in which there will be no alcohol. It’s not that you are saying you don’t like them, it’s just important you put your health before their enjoyment. So don’t be afraid to cut your guest list by a few people.

These are just a few things individuals and families who have recovering alcoholics in their homes can do to still have a fun and enjoyable summer. Although recovery may be difficult, it doesn’t have to cut you off from the rest of the world. So go out and enjoy your summer of healthy living!

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

Drinking May Damage More Than The Liver

June 23, 2008

According to the American Medical Association abusing alcohol brings with it many health related issues including hypertension, gastro-intestinal bleeding and notably the most known problem, cirrhosis of the liver. But for both men and women, alcohol can also bring on problems with the heart and arteries, as reported by MSNBC. Heavy drinking, which is defined in the article as more than 21 drinks a week for men, and 14 a week for women, can cause high blood pressure, and stiff arteries in men and enlarged hearts in women. These problems then can spiral into more deadly problems such as strokes or heart attacks.

Dr. Azra Mahmud of St. James Hospital believes that the higher risk for heart problems caused by drinking is for women.

“Basically, women are not able to cope with high alcohol consumption. It is going directly to the heart and damaging it.”

The study observed 200 men and women, whose average age was 46, and split them into three different groups; nondrinkers, moderate drinkers, and heavy drinkers. The reason behind the study was to determine whether or not alcohol causes structural changes in the hearts and arteries of people who are already at risk for high blood pressure. The results showed that for heavy drinkers, alcohol accelerates the effects of high blood pressure in men, and brings a very toxic effect to the heart tissue of women.

It is important to realize that heart disease is the number one killer around the world. By using addictive substances such as alcohol to increase that risk, people are endangering their lives by a much higher percentage. For people who have a drinking problem, an alcohol and drug recovery center may be an option to explore, especially now, knowing that this option could save your life in more ways than one.

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