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Friday, December 30, 2016

Fewer Teens Doing Drugs

Here’s some upbeat news: Fewer teens are using illegal drugs than ever before and fewer are falling prey to the epidemic of opioid abuse, according to the findings from a new survey by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Even marijuana use is at an all-time low among eighth to 10th graders, though it’s steady among high school seniors, according to the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, an annual study of behaviors and choices among teens in the eighth, 10th and 12th grades.

Other research, however, shows that marijuana use is increasing among 18- to 24–year-olds, however, which is alarming since their brain development isn’t yet complete, NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow told USA Today.

Many teens have even sustained from drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, said Volkow. E-cigarettes are still a public health threat among adolescents, however.

Other highlights of this year’s survey included:
  • Use of illicit drugs other than marijuana is at its lowest level in the history of the survey for all three grades. For example, 14 percent of 12th graders said they used an illicit drug, compared to 18 percent in 2013.
  • Teen use of prescription painkillers is trending downward among 12th graders, with a 45 percent drop in past year use compared to five years ago. 
  • Only 5 percent of high school seniors said they smoke cigarettes every day, compared to 22 percent two decades ago. 
  • About 56 percent of 12th graders drank alcohol in the past year, compared to a peak of about 75 percent in 1997.
  • The percentage of eighth graders who reported using marijuana in the past month fell from 6.5% in 2015 to 5.4% this year. Among high school seniors, 22.5% used the drug within the past month and 6% used it daily, essentially unchanged from last year.
"It is encouraging to see more young people making healthy choices not to use illicit substances," said National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli. "We must continue to do all we can to support young people through evidence-based prevention efforts as well as treatment for those who may develop substance use disorders. And now that Congress has acted on the President's request to provide $1 billion in new funding for prevention and treatment, we will have significant new resources to do this."

Getting Help for a Loved One
One of the most important decisions you can make is to support your son or daughter in seeking treatment for addiction. For information about Hope Academy's young adult substance abuse treatment program, or to begin the admissions process for a loved one, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Millennials and Addiction

Are Millennials more at risk for addiction? Some studies say yes — and perhaps one reason is that the adolescent brain, which is impulsive and risk-taking, is wired to get addicted to things.

From e-cigarettes to smartphones, a Bustle magazine highlighted some aspects of millennial life that create the possibility of “an addiction loop in the brain, creating a driving need, going into withdrawal if denied, and needing more and more to keep itself happy and rewarded.”

Here’s a quick summary:

E-cigarettes: They are now the number-one tobacco product among Millennials, and young people are particularly vulnerable to its effects, according to the Surgeon General. These include nicotine addiction, use of other addictive substances, reduced impulse control, deficits in attention and cognition deficits and mood disorders.

Cell phones: Being attached to your smartphone can trigger a behavioral addiction, which produces some of the same effects in the brain as substance use disorder, including withdrawal.

Gaming: Specifically multiplayer online gaming (think Pokemon Go) has been linked to behavioral addiction among adolescents. One study notes that this can lead to “preoccupation with gaming, lying gaming use, lost interest in other activities, withdrawal from family and friends, and the use of gaming as a means of psychological escape, noted the article.

Multi-tasking: Constantly switching from Facebook to email to twitter – also known as multi-tasking – has been linked to addictive behavior. And it can also put you at risk for reduced brain volume and emotional intelligence, according to a 2016 study cited in the article.

Addiction Treatment for Young Adults
At Hope Academy, our young adult program is designed to help you change destructive behaviors and make lasting changes that will have a positive impact on your life and long-term health. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Heroin Overdose Deaths on Rise

Just in: The Drug Enforcement Administration released its 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA), which details the impact of illicit drugs on the United States. The report further illuminated the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation and the growing heroin user population. And, perhaps most alarming, it showed that overdose deaths more than tripled between 2010 and 2014 due to the use of these drugs.

Other highlights of the recent report include: 
  • In 2014, approximately 129 people died every day as a result of drug poisoning and 61% (79) of them are pharmaceutical opioid or heroin related.
  • Heroin overdose deaths are high across the United States, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest.  
  • Deaths in the “synthetic opioids” category rose 79% from 3,097 in 2013 to 5,544 in 2014. Fentanyl, which is sometimes added to heroin batches, or mixed with other adulterants and sold as counterfeit heroin, is contributing to most of this increase. 
  • Methamphetamine continues to be readily available throughout the U.S., and methamphetamine distribution and use continues to contribute to violent and property crime across the nation. 
  • Cocaine availability and use in the U.S. increased across multiple fronts between 2014 and 2015 – and it’s likely continue to rise in the near future. 
"Sadly, this report reconfirms that opioids such as heroin and fentanyl - and diverted prescription pain pills - are killing people in this country at a horrifying rate," acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg told sources. "We face a public health crisis of historic proportions. Countering it requires a comprehensive approach that includes law enforcement, education, and treatment."

Finding Help for a Loved One
One of the most important decisions you can make is to support your friend or family member in seeking treatment for opioid addiction. For information about Hope Academy's young adult substance abuse treatment program, or to begin the admissions process for a loved one, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Eating Disorders and the Holidays

For those who have struggled with years of disordered eating, the holidays can be quite the challenge. With food front and center at almost every celebration, the thought of attending a family or social gathering can cause anxiety, stress, and even the impulse to return to former patterns of restriction, purging, or overeating.

Luckily, a little preparation can help you to make healthful choices and hopefully enjoy the season ahead. Start with these tips adopted from the National Eating Disorder Association:

  1. Stick to a regular and moderate eating pattern. Avoid skipping meals to make up for what you recently ate or are about to eat.
  2. Focus on the size of your heart, not your hips. Remind yourself that the holiday season is a time to reflect, enjoy loved ones, give back, and be grateful for the many blessings in your life.
  3. Work with your healthcare team to develop a game plan. Together you can predict, prepare for, and make a plan to get through any uncomfortable situations or self-destructive behaviors.
  4. Lean on your support network. Line up a few loved ones who will be able to provide extra support. And don’t hesitate to call if you’re struggling with negative thoughts, difficult emotions, or addictive behaviors.
  5. Designate a loved one to be your “reality check.” He or she can help you fix a plate at a holiday gathering or provide objective feedback on the food portion sizes you make for yourself.
  6. Take a holiday from self-imposed criticism and rigidity. Remind yourself that it’s okay to be a bit more flexible during the holidays when it comes to what and how much you eat.
  7. Don’t overbook yourself. Cutting down on unnecessary events and obligations will help you avoid over-stressing or turning to eating-disordered behaviors or other unhelpful coping strategies. Leave time for relaxation, contemplation, reflection, spiritual renewal, simple service, and enjoying the small yet important things in life.
Seeking Support at Hope Academy
At Hope by the Sea’s Hope Academy program, we specialize in treating co-occurring eating disorders
and addiction. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.
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