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Tag: drug abuse

In-Home Education Reduces Drug Use and Depression Among Pregnant Teenagers

Posted on January 5, 2015 in Research & News

In-Home Education Reduces Drug Use and Depression Among Pregnant TeenagersAmerican Indian teenagers frequently face both impoverished homes and impoverished communities. As a group, they have the highest rates of illegal drug use, failure to finish high school, suicide and pregnancy of adolescents in any ethnic or racial group in the United States.

A recent study from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health explored whether intensive in-home health and parenting education could help pregnant American Indian teenagers to overcome some of these challenges and break the cycle of multi-generational substance, behavioral and mental health problems that affects many of these communities. The study was published in the October 10, 2014 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Subjects Randomly Selected for “Family Spirit” In-Home Visits

The researchers for this study selected 322 pregnant American Indian teenagers to receive either optimized standard care or optimized standard care with the addition of 63 home visits. 84 percent of the study participants had a history of substance use, 32 percent had a lifetime history of depression symptoms, 57 percent had not completed high school and 51 percent had experienced “residential instability,” meaning they had been forced to move more than two times in a 12 month period.

The optimized standard care provided the expectant mothers with transportation to prenatal and well-baby clinics, referrals and pamphlets with childcare information. The home visit program, known as Family Spirit, included weekly visits during the last trimester of pregnancy, bi-weekly visits until the infant was four months old and bimonthly visits until the child reached three years of age.

Health, Parenting and Life Skills Education Provided Through Home Visits

During the Family Spirit visits, the teenagers were educated about parenting skills such as breastfeeding and parenting techniques such as establishing reliable feeding and sleeping schedules. They also received education about pregnancy and maternal health, and even household management skills such as conflict resolution, budgeting and substance use prevention.

After three years of care and observation, both the mothers and the children in the Family Spirit group showed promising results. The mothers who received the in-home education were less likely to engage in illegal substance use, less likely to have symptoms of depression and less likely to display behavioral problems.

The children in the Family Spirit group were less likely to display early behaviors that have been identified as risk factors for later behavioral and emotional problems. They were easier to soothe than children in the optimized standard care group, had more regular sleeping patterns, had more regular appetites and met more of the emotional and behavioral milestones expected of their age group.

Questions Surround Cost of Intensive Parenting and Health Education

The positive results of intensive in-home education are not particularly surprising, but clear evidence of positive results is crucial given the significantly greater investment of both time and funds necessary for such a program. The Johns Hopkins study is a strong argument in favor of the significant and consistent results that can come from home-visit education programs.

This study also evaluated the success of using local community members as health educators rather than fully trained nurses. The results suggest that community members can be effective in such counseling and educating positions, reducing the cost of operating such programs while also providing much needed jobs to members of impoverished communities.

While this study focused on American Indian teenagers, the researchers believe that programs like Family Spirit could be equally effective in other low-income populations where there are high rates of incomplete schooling, substance abuse, behavior problems and depression, and where family and community dysfunction has become a cycle affecting generation after generation.

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Too Many Parents Believe They Have ‘Little Influence’ Over Teen Drug Use

Posted on June 22, 2013 in Research & News

Too Many Parents Believe They Have ‘Little Influence’ Over Teen Drug UseThe 2012 Monitoring the Future study shows that teens use both illicit and prescription medicines to get high, and that marijuana—the most popular illicit drug—has been used by more than a third of high school seniors. Although your teen’s friends are important influencers when it comes to the likelihood of him or her using drugs, new research suggests that more than one in five parents believes that what he or she says has “little influence” over the teen’s behavior. This statistic is shocking, and underlines the importance of educating parents regarding teen drug use and how to prevent it.

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The Top 10 Most Addictive Drugs: An Introduction

Posted on April 25, 2013 in Research & News

The Top 10 Most Addictive Drugs: An IntroductionAnyone who has become addicted to a chemical intoxicant will be facing one of the most daunting challenges of her life if and when she finally decides to make a concerted effort to overcome her dependency. Drugs and alcohol encase their victims in a physical, emotional, and psychological prison, and while escape is possible, the path to freedom is steep, rocky and filled with treacherous detours.

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The Ten Best Pieces of Advice for Family Members and Friends Who Want to Help the Addicts they Love

Posted on March 16, 2013 in Recovery

The Ten Best Pieces of Advice for Family Members and Friends Who Want to Help the Addicts they Love After attempts to offer advice, assistance, and support to addicted loved ones have been repeatedly rebuffed, the family members and friends of substance abusers often throw up their hands in despair and surrender, convinced that the situation is hopeless and that they have no power to make a difference. Feeling as if they have no other choice, they may reluctantly decide to cut the addict out of their lives completely, leaving her all alone to face the stark consequences of her self-destructive, out-of-control behavior. No one wants it to end this way, but if a substance abuser refuses to grab any of the lifelines that her loved ones have thrown into the turbulent waters of her life she will inevitably drown, and there will be nothing anyone can do to stop tragedy from occurring.

But while the loved ones of an addict or alcoholic whose attempts to help have been rejected may believe that terminating the relationship is their only remaining option, before they permanently sever the ties that bind they may want to take a little time to reassess their previous approach. In many cases, the strategies that families adopt when trying to rescue an addict from the dark pit of chemical dependency are ill conceived and inappropriate.

When someone is lost in a storm you wouldn’t tell them to use the stars in the sky as their guide back home, since the sky would be covered by clouds and the stars would not be visible from their location. But addicts and alcoholics are wandering aimlessly in a tempest-plagued land where the sun, moon, and stars are perpetually obscured, which is a fact that many family members and friends truly fail to truly grasp. Because they underestimate the all-encompassing and all-corrupting influence of addiction, they choose approaches that might work perfectly well in other situations but will make no impact on the life and distorted world view of a substance abuser. So before giving up completely on an addict or alcoholic, it would behoove her loved ones to take a second look at what they have been doing to see if perhaps there might be a better way.

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Drug Abuse and Hepatitis

Posted on February 26, 2013 in Research & News

Drug Abuse and HepatitisHepatitis is a medical term used to describe swelling and inflammation in the liver. Doctors and researchers also use the term to refer to five separate forms of viral infection that can result in that inflammation. Specific forms of hepatitis common in the United States include hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. People who abuse drugs have seriously elevated risks for developing viral hepatitis. The clearest risks appear in people who use intravenous (IV) drugs, who have increased risks for both hepatitis B and hepatitis C. However, drug abusers who smoke or nasally inhale a variety of substances also have elevated risks for hepatitis C.

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Drugged Driving is a Serious Issue, and a Growing Problem in California

Posted on January 4, 2013 in Research & News

Drugged Driving is a Serious Issue, and a Growing Problem in CaliforniaA recent survey finds that around 14 percent of tested drivers are coming up positive for drug use.

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) announced that its recent survey shows that there are more drivers testing positive for drugs than for alcohol. There are more drivers on the road with marijuana running through their veins than alcohol, but by a narrow margin – 7.4 to 7.3 percent.

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Online Black Market for Illegal Drugs is Booming

Posted on September 10, 2012 in Drug Crimes

In the age of the Internet, illegal drug sellers have found a new way of distribution. Avoiding street traffic, violence, and face-to-face sales, distributors and buyers can keep their anonymity, purchase from a wide selection of substances, and have the substances delivered safely straight to them.

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UN Releases Global Drug Report

Posted on September 6, 2012 in Research & News

Drug addiction is a serious problem. Not only can drug addiction impact an individual’s professional, financial, social and family life, it can also impact other aspects of health. Many individuals who struggle with drug addiction also have other mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety.

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Drug Availability and Usage Rates

Posted on August 6, 2012 in Research & News

If the war on drugs has done nothing else, it’s certainly caught many large-scale producers of drugs and shut down a lot of supply chains. The presumed effect of this is that the amount of people taking drugs will decrease in lock-step with the reduced supply. The effectiveness of the measures is fairly hard to gauge, because drug usage rates fluctuate wildly, seemingly independent of the ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of drugs on the streets. Using the data from the recent "Monitoring the Future" study, we can examine the effects of the availability of drugs on the amount of people who use them.
The Data Source

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Ketamine Control

Posted on April 13, 2012 in Club Drugs

A drug commonly used in anesthetic can cause long-term problems if abused. An article out of the United Kingdom includes information about a study on ketamine, otherwise known as “special K” and the effects it has on the urinary system if used inappropriately.

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