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December 30, 2007

The Holiday Season; A Difficult Time

The holiday season is a treacherous time for those who suffer from addiction and particularly for adolescents and their families.  While those who use drugs and alcohol need little reason reason to abuse substances (often citing the fact that they day of week ends in a "y"), the time between the beginning of holiday break and ending with the resumption of school in the new year is landscape littered with  relapse triggers and temptations.  Being out of school for several weeks coupled with Holiday parties usually produces a rise in the admission of adolescents at drug treatment centers throughout the country.

It was just such a holiday season seven years ago that brought us to the doors of Fairbanks a substance abuse treatment center in Indianapolis.  In the preceding six months we had battled our son David's growing substance abuse  by imposing increasing restrictions and consequences but it was clear we did not have the knowledge or tools to combat his growing disease of addiction.  We needed professional help and so the new year of 2001 we sought knowledge, guidance and hope from the professionals at Fairbanks.

The knowledge, insight and tools we gained in going through treatment with our son have been invaluable to us in the years since despite David's death from addiction in June of 2001.  If we could go back and do things differently we would certainly have gotten David into treatment earlier even though there is no guarantee that the result would have been different.  But the fact remains that families who struggle in dealing with their children's drug abuse the holiday season is a difficult time

December 30, 2007 at 01:39 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 16, 2007

No Cause For Celebration

According to the 2007 Monitoring The Future report released last week by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan there continues to be a gradual decline in illicit drug use among 10th and 12th graders across the county.  While the decline since the peak years of the mid-1990s is welcome news it should certainly be no cause for celebration by anyone.  Crystal Meth led the way on the downward trend along with other types of stimulants but marijuana use only slightly declined from 2006 while use of drugs like LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack and opiates saw little of no change.  Political types are always eager to tout substance use declines as evidence of enforcement efforts and declare victory but prevention and treatment professional are less interested in downward trends than problems that are on the rise. 

In 2007, and for the last several years, the abuse of prescription drugs has been steadily on the increase.  That certainly comes as no surprise to any teenager who will tell you that "Pharming" parties (where middle and high school students bring prescription drugs "harvested" from their parents and grandparents medicine cabinets) have become the "Raves" of the first decade of the 21st Century.  And while the problem has grown significantly in recent years public awareness has been slow and the response from the Pharmaceutical Industry has been non-existent.

In my view there is no cause for celebration for declines in substance use....so instead of patting ourselves on the back for this "downward trend", lets take a moment to acknowlegde the current data and then roll up our sleeves and get back to work...there is still so much to be done.

December 16, 2007 at 09:00 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack