Category Archives: smoking

Drugs and young brains

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), one in four young people (ages 12-17) who uses illicit drugs will also develop a dependency. This is a much higher rate than that for adults.

Why? No one is certain, but there are some known factors.

Heredity is one of those factors. Is there an addict or alcoholic (recovering or otherwise) in your family’s history? If so, be aware that this one factor can greatly increase your child’s chances of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol. You should talk to your teen about this with the hoped-for effect that she will choose to be more careful.

Here are some other factors listed in an AAP web article:

  • “Untreated psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and personality disorder. For these youngsters, as well as for those with untreated attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other learning problems that interfere with academic and social success, taking illicit drugs may be their way of self-medicating.
  • Temperament: thrill-seeking behavior, inability to delay gratification and so forth.
  • An eating disorder.
  • Associating with known drug users.
  • Lack of parental supervision and setting of consistent limits.
  • Living in a family where substance abuse is accepted.
  • Living in a home scarred by recurrent conflicts, verbal abuse and physical abuse.”

Start the conversation about drugs and alcohol early on, in age-appropriate ways. And don’t assume that just because you’ve had this talk once, that’s good enough. Young people are confronted with opportunities on a regular basis, so make sure that you leave the door open to talking with you about it.

Not sure how to begin? Here’s another great AAP article entitled “Talking to Teens about Drugs and Alcohol.” It gives great advice about a conversation that is essential to your child’s health.

Educate yourself about drugs and alcohol. Have open conversation. Don’t abuse substances. Help your teen stay healthy and free from addiction.

© 2016, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved

Marijuana, the safe drug? Think again.

Now that laws in some states (though not in Kentucky) are easing in regard to marijuana possession and usage, some teens and adults believe it must be a harmless drug.

Not so, especially for teens.

Marijuana, according to an article by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), affects many aspects of a young person’s mental, physical and emotional health, and it’s certainly addictive.

For someone who smokes or ingests marijuana regularly, clear thinking and good judgment are often affected.  This can cause school work (and grades) to falter, and can lead to bad decision-making.  The AAP states that marijuana users are more likely to engage in “unwanted or unprotected sex” because their judgment is impaired.  Also, “Those who drive or take other risks after smoking marijuana are much more likely to be injured or killed.”

According to the same article, because teens are still growing and developing, marijuana usage “can lead to a wide range of serious health problems, including heart and lung damage, cancer, mental health problems, and addiction. Depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia occur more often in marijuana users.”

How to prevent addiction to marijuana and other drugs in your teen?

  • Educate.  Make sure you know about drug usage and its signs, and educate your teenager.  When you see someone else acting irresponsibly, or hear about a situation of driving under the influence, initiate a calm discussion.
  • Monitor.  Don’t assume your child will never try drugs.  Marijuana, say teens, isn’t that hard to come by.  Watch for signs.  Pay attention to the people your kids hang out with.
  • Be an example.  Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol.  Make sure illegal drugs have no place in your home.
  • Get help.  Make sure your teen sees a counselor if needed—not just if she is using drugs, but for any emotional or educational issues.  This is a serious concern and outside help is sometimes needed.
  • Be aware.  If you think your child could be using drugs, you may contact our office for a drug screen.

Your teen needs you to keep an eye on his total well-being, and that includes making sure he stays away from addictive substances.

© 2014 MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved.

Dangers of e-cigarettes for children and teens

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently expressed their concerns about electronic cigarettes at a congressional hearing and on their website.  In an article entitled “E-cigarettes: Dangerous, Available & Addicting,” the AAP warns parents about the problems with e-cigs, and those problems are many.

Many adults use e-cigs to try to end their smoking habit.  E-cigs deliver nicotine through a battery operated device that resembles a cigarette, but without the tobacco or smoke.  The e-cigs use water vapor to deliver the nicotine.

You may think that e-cigs are safer than tobacco cigarettes, but you should know that, according to the AAP, an e-cig “can have as much nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found cancer-causing chemicals in electronic cigarettes.”

This presents a host of dangers.

  • Teens, apparently believing that e-cigs are safe, have doubled their use of these devices, bringing the usage to about 1 in 10 high school students.  They may be avoiding tobacco, but nicotine is highly addictive.
  • The AAP is concerned about some e-cig flavors (e.g., vanilla, chocolate, peach schnapps and gummy bears).  In the congressional hearing Dr. Suzanne Tanski answered “yes” when asked if she believed these flavors would be appealing to children.
  • Nicotine is a poison.  The cartridges that contain nicotine are not childproof, and, says the AAP article, “Most cartridges have 20 milligrams of nicotine, and a dose of as little as 10 milligrams of nicotine can be fatal for a child. In addition, children can easily become hooked on the nicotine.”
  • E-cigs are widely available.  Even though Kentucky law prohibits their sale to minors under the age of 18, they can be purchased online.

Keep your children away from electronic cigarettes and keep them safe from nicotine addiction or poisoning.  If you are trying to quit smoking, nicotine patches or gum are safer alternatives.

 

© 2014, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved