Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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Monday, December 10, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
Stephen Wallace, senior adviser for policy, research and education at SADD, stated "we hear from young people who believe that marijuana actually makes them a safer driver, that they concentrate harder, drive slower," Wallace says. “Those are all misconceptions”.
On the contrary, marijuana has serious harmful effects on the skills required to drive safely: alertness, the ability to concentrate and make good judgments, coordination, and the ability to react quickly. Marijuana use can make it difficult to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road. These effects can last up to 24 hours after smoking marijuana.
A roadside study of reckless drivers who were not impaired by alcohol showed that 45% tested positive for marijuana. Research conducted by the University of Auckland, New Zealand, proves the link between marijuana use and car accidents. The research found that habitual cannabis users were 9.5 times more likely to be involved in crashes .
Kelly, Darke and Ross show similar results, with laboratory studies examining the effects of cannabis on skills utilized while driving showing impairments in tracking, attention, reaction time, short-term memory, hand-eye coordination, vigilance, time and distance perception, and decision making and concentration. In their review of driving simulator studies, they conclude that there is evidence of impairments in cannabis-affected drivers' ability to control a vehicle in the areas of steering, headway control, speed variability, car following, reaction time and lane positioning.
"Teens are faced with potentially destructive decisions every day and don't always make the best ones," said Dave Melton, a driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and managing director of global safety. "It's our job as mentors, parents, role models or friends to effectively communicate with them to ensure they are armed with the right information and aware of the dangers of marijuana and other substances, especially while driving."
1. "White House Drug Czar Launches Campaign to Stop Drugged Driving.” Office of National Drug Control Policy Press Release, November 2002.
2. Stephanie Blows, Rebecca Q. Ivers, Jennie Connor, Shanthi Ameratunga, Mark Woodward & Robyn Norton, "Marijuana Use and Car Crash Injury," Addiction, Vol 100, April 2005.
3. Kelly, Erin; Darke, Shane; Ross, Joanne (2004). "A review of drug use and driving: epidemiology, impairment, risk factors and risk perceptions". Drug and Alcohol Review 23 (3): 319–44. doi:10.1080/
09595230412331289482. PMID 15370012.
Director of Ulster Prevention Council
According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, there are more than 75 known species of hallucinogenic mushrooms, and psilocybin and psilocyn are the hallucinogenic components found in them. The potency of mushrooms varies. According to the DEA, while street prices fluctuate, psilocybin mushrooms generally cost $20-40 for 1/8 ounce and $100 to $150 for an ounce. Although psilocybin and psilocyn are scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 as Schedule I drugs, the mushrooms themselves are not scheduled.
Physical effects include:
Psychological effects include:
Director of the Ulster Prevention Council
Thursday, October 25, 2012
- Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner.
- Go along with everything their partner says and does.
- Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing.
- Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner.
- Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness.
Warning signs of physical violence:
- Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents.”
- Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation.
- Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors).
- Be restricted from seeing family and friends.
- Rarely go out in public without their partner.
- Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car.
- Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident.
- Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn).
- Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal.
- Ask if something is wrong.
- Express concern.
- Listen and validate.
- Offer help.
- Support his or her decisions.
- Wait for him or her to come to you.
- Judge or blame.
- Pressure him or her.
- Give advice.
- Place conditions on your support.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Recently my 19 year old daughter Liz pointed out a product in our neighborhood supermarket. Smack in the middle of the snack aisle, there was a basket full of what looked like kid’s juice pouches. Liz called my attention to the fact that the pouches were, in fact, single serve alcoholic beverages selling for $1.99 each. She stated that her first thought was that this was a highly “shopliftable” item for her peers. As we continued shopping, Liz pointed out several other locations where these items were placed, including next to the beer and in the “seasonal” aisle. Last week, I was in a convenience store in New Paltz and noted that these drink pouches were placed above the potato chip display in the middle of the center aisle.
Ulster Prevention Council
Thursday, August 16, 2012
A new effort to help teens quit smoking will use one of their most constant companions: the mobile phone. SmokefreeTXT is a free text message service from NIH that provides 24/7 encouragement, advice and tips for teens trying to quit smoking.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Its health consequences build up over time and include many different types of cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases.
Nearly 20% of teens are current smokers. “Unless we make efforts to intervene today, they will most likely continue smoking into adulthood,” says Dr. Yvonne Hunt, a program director in tobacco control research at NIH.
Many teens want to quit. Go online to teen.smokefree.gov. To enroll on the go using a mobile phone, text QUIT to iQUIT (47848).
Director of the Ulster Prevention Council
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
The NIDA-funded 2010 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 0.5% of 8th graders, 1.0% of 10th graders, and 1.5% of 12th graders had abused anabolic steroids at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. While the numbers are relatively small compared to other substances of abuse, it is important to know about these dangerous substances and the potential consequences of using them.
Steroids are prescription drugs that are legally prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions that cause loss of lean muscle mass, such as cancer and AIDS.
Most anabolic steroids are synthetic substances similar to the male sex hormone testosterone. They are taken orally or are injected. Testosterone not only brings out male sexual traits, it also causes muscles to grow. ("Anabolic" means growing or building.) Some people, especially athletes, abuse anabolic steroids to build muscle and enhance performance. Abuse of anabolic steroids can lead to serious health problems, some of which are irreversible. They can cause changes in the brain and body that increase risks for illness and they may affect moods.
Our body’s testosterone production is controlled by a group of nerve cells at the base of the brain, called the hypothalamus. It also helps control appetite, blood pressure, moods, and reproductive ability. Anabolic steroids can change the messages the hypothalamus sends to the body. This can disrupt normal hormone function.
Anabolic steroids are bad for the heart—they can increase fat deposits in blood vessels, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. They may also damage the liver. Major effects of steroid abuse can include jaundice, fluid retention and high blood pressure; Also, males risk shrinking of the testicles, lowered sperm count, baldness, breast development, and infertility. Females risk growth of facial hair, menstrual changes, male-pattern baldness, and deepened voice. Teens risk accelerated puberty changes and severe acne. Steroids can halt bone growth— which means that a teenage steroid user may not grow to his/her full adult height. All users, but particularly those who inject the drug, risk infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
Scientists are still learning about how anabolic steroids affect the brain, and in turn, behavior. Research has shown that anabolic steroids may trigger aggressive behavior in some people. Some outbursts can be so severe they have become known in the media as “roid rages.” And when a steroid abuser stops using the drugs, they can become depressed, even suicidal. Researchers think that some of the changes in behavior may be caused by hormonal changes that are caused by steroids, but there is still a lot that is not known.
Doctors never prescribe anabolic steroids for building muscle in young, healthy people. But doctors sometimes prescribe anabolic steroids to treat some types of anemia or disorders in men that prevent the normal production of testosterone.
Doctors sometimes prescribe steroids to reduce swelling. These aren’t anabolic steroids. They’re corticosteroids. Since corticosteroids don’t build muscles the way that anabolic steroids do, people don’t abuse them.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Although use of illicit (illegal) drugs is relatively uncommon among adults over age 65, there has recently been an increase in the percentage of people 50 and older abusing illicit drugs. In fact, the number of current illicit drug users aged 50-59 nearly tripled between 2002 and 2009, from 900,000 to more than 2.5 million. More older adults are also seeking treatment for substance abuse and having increased hospitalizations and visits to emergency rooms (up 60 percent in 55-64 year-olds from 2004 to 2009) because of illicit drug use.
These patterns and trends partially reflect the aging of the baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964). This could be for two reasons: (1) there were more people born in that generation and therefore there are now more people in that age group than before; and (2) baby boomers were more likely than previous generations to use illicit drugs in their youth, which is a risk factor for later use.
While it is relatively rare for adults over 65 to have ever used illicit drugs, baby boomers (adults in their 50s and early 60s) are more likely to have tried them. Greater lifetime exposure could lead to higher rates of abuse as baby boomers age. The most common drugs of abuse include the following
- illegal opioids, such as heroin
- illegal stimulants, such as cocaine
- hallucinogens, such as LSD
Although under federal law, marijuana is illegal to use under any circumstance, in some states doctors are allowed to prescribe it for medical use. However, most health experts do not recommend smoking marijuana to treat disease, particularly given potential negative effects on the lungs and respiratory system. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two medications chemically similar to marijuana to treat wasting disease (extreme weight loss) in people with AIDS and to lessen symptoms associated with cancer treatment, such as nausea and vomiting.
Opioids are powerful drugs that at first cause feelings of euphoria, then periods of drowsiness. They can also slow breathing. Some opioids are legal and prescribed by a doctor. Others, like heroin, are illegal. All types of opioids can be addictive and can lead to death if too much is taken (overdose).
Stimulants like cocaine make people feel more alert and energetic. But they can also cause elevated heart rate and blood pressure, paranoia, panic attacks, aggression, and other problems. They are very addictive and can lead to death if too much is taken (overdose). Some stimulants are legally prescribed by a doctor to treat health conditions. Other kinds -- including cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), and methamphetamines -- are illegal.
Hallucinogens and dissociative drugs can greatly distort perceptions of reality, including making a person see, hear, and feel things that are not really there. Physical effects may include increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, sleeplessness, sweating, dizziness, and loss of appetite. Flashbacks and mood disturbances can also occur. This group of drugs includes LSD, peyote, psilocybin ("magic mushrooms"), and phencyclidine (PCP).
Age-related changes to our brains and bodies as well as typical diseases of aging could result in greater health consequences for older adults, even with lower levels of drug use. Illicit drugs affect older people differently than younger people because aging changes how the body and brain handle these substances. As people get older, the body goes through a number of changes and cannot break down and eliminate a drug as easily as it once did. As a result, the drug may remain in the body longer than it would in a younger person. Even a small amount can have a strong effect.
Abuse of illicit drugs can make an older person’s overall health worse. For example, cocaine can cause heart problems even in young abusers. The effects on older people, who may already have heart disease, could be even more severe. In addition, people who abuse illicit drugs may be exposed to diseases they otherwise wouldn’t risk (such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, a liver disease). This is because drugs compromise judgment and can lead to harmful behaviors. Older adults who take illicit drugs also have a higher risk of accidents, falls, and injuries.
Director, Ulster Prevention Council
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Family Services Inc. has announced the appointment of Richard Mitchell, Esq. to the Agency’s Board of Directors. Mr. Mitchell has provided extensive community leadership in numerous organizations including having served in various capacities on the boards of the American Heart Association, the Area Fund of Dutchess County, the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, United Way of Dutchess County, and Vassar Brothers Hospital Foundation, among others.
Monday, June 18, 2012
- How to Know? I think my Child is using alcohol and/or drugs
- What to Do? I know my Child is using alcohol and/or drugs
- What Now? My Child is in Recovery
Ulster Prevention Council
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
I worked in chemical dependency treatment programs for over 25 years. A common phenomonon would occur after the overdose death of a heroin addict. Other addicts would inquire what “brand” of heroin had been used and they would seek it out, rather than avoid it.
Recently I’ve received several inquiries about Krokodil, and I’d like to share some thoughts with you. Often when adolescents hear about a new drug or drug use trend, they don’t react in the same way that you and I probably would. Their brains are wired to seek out novel experiences and they see risky behaviors as exciting, not frightening.
Therefore, after an initial exploration I decided to conduct a secondary search as a curious adolescent would, Googling terms such as “Krokodil recipes”, “how to make Krokodil” and the like. Fortunately, most of the sites turning up in the search basically said “What are you, crazy? This stuff will make your flesh fall off and kill you!”
I couldn’t find information supporting manufacture and use in the U.S. However, Krokodil is a huge problem in Russia, and worth knowing about. In October 2011, indications of krokodil use were found in Germany, with some media outlets claiming several dead users.
Desomorphine is an opiate analogue invented in 1932 in the United States that is a derivative of morphine. It has sedative and analgesic effects, and is around 8-10 times more potent than morphine. To produce the potentially deadly drug, which has a comparable effect to heroin but is much cheaper to make, users mix codeine with gasoline, paint thinner, iodine, hydrochloric acid and red phosphorous (obtained from matchboxes). The process is similar to the manufacture of methamphetamine from pseudoephedrine, but desomorphine made this way is highly impure and contaminated with various toxic and corrosive byproducts.
The street name in Russia for home-made desomorphine made in this way is "krokodil" reportedly due to the scale-like appearance of skin of its users, and it is used as a cheaper alternative to heroin.Since this mix is routinely injected immediately with little or no further purification, "krokodil" has become notorious for producing severe tissue damage, phlebitis and gangrene, sometimes requiring limb amputation in long-term users. The amount of tissue damage is so high that addicts' life expectancies are said to be as low as two to three years.
Photographs of late-stage krokodil addicts are disturbing in the extreme. Flesh goes grey and peels away to leave bones exposed. Those large pieces of dead skin are referred to as eschars, leaving the user prone to infection, amputation and other complications.
Krokodil users are instantly identifiable because of the iodine smell that infuses all their clothes. Unlike heroin, where the hit can last for several hours, a krokodil high only lasts between 90 minutes and two hours. Given that the "cooking" process takes at least half an hour, being a krokodil addict is basically a full-time job.
The recent recession in the United States has driven many drug users - particularly teens and the poor - to find cheaper alternatives to their drug habits. Illegal street drugs are likely to be too expensive for teens that don’t usually have regular incomes. Many young people and adults have turned to abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) medications to support their habits.
Krokodil has 3 things going for it that could attract users in the U.S.:
- It has roughly the same effect as heroin (a depressant that affects the brain’s pleasure systems and interferes with the brain’s ability to perceive pain), but is more powerful.
- The cost is three times cheaper than heroin.
- It is easy to make (cook) from items found in most households.
Too many kids think taking OTC drugs in excess won’t hurt them, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Keep ALL medicines and like items locked up where kids and young people can’t access them. Don’t leave meds in your purse, on the nightstand or on the breakfast table where a teen can easily take a few at a time without anyone noticing.
Keep paint thinners, gasoline and other products locked up in the garage where no children or teens can gain access to them. Be sure to keep track of your keys to padlocks, too. Keep a locked gas cap on your vehicles. Don’t leave matchboxes lying around and dispose of them by tearing up the striking pads.
Watch your teen for any tell-tale signs of drug use: strong odors of cleaners, solvents or anything abnormal. Listen for drug slang terms. Look for sores on the skin and notice if he or she wears long-sleeves or pants even in hot weather. It’s the little things often overlooked that will stand out as clues to the parent who’s well-aware and informed.
If you think your teen, child or other loved one is secretly (or openly) using drugs, get professional help immediately through the family doctor or local treatment center.
Cheryl De Paolo
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Walk A Mile In Her Shoes!
Everyone is invited! Help us raise awareness and support Crime Victims. You can register as an individual or a team. We’ve got great prizes for walkers who bring in the most sponsorships.
If you don’t have a pair of heels, don’t worry we’ve got a pair of pink flip flops for you!
Date: Saturday April 21st
Time: 10:30 - 11:30 Registration 11:30 - 12:00 Walk
Location: Marist College McCann Center
The event happens rain or shine.
In case of bad weather we'll be inside the McCann Center,
so don't worry about getting your shoes wet!
Monday, April 16, 2012
Measure calls for an increase in protections, harsher penalties
Reprinted from the
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, introduced a bill this week to revise the state’s 2007 law to hold sex and labor traffickers, sex-tourism operators and other human traffickers accountable.
The measure would particularly increase protections in cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children.
It would also close a gap in the state’s 2008 Safe Harbor Law, which prohibits prosecution and incarceration of children on prostitution charges. Children ages 16 and 17 still have been arrested and convicted in criminal court because the judicial system has some discretion about transferring cases to Family Court, Paulin said Thursday.
Prosecutors, members of law enforcement and organizations that serve victims of human trafficking have pointed out other gaps and loopholes in the law that make it more difficult to catch traffickers, she said.
“My bill builds on the 2007 anti-trafficking law by increasing accountability for the criminals, the buyers and the traffickers who are fueling the underground growth of this massive industry,” Paulin said.
The legislation would create the felony sex offenses of first-, second- and third-degree aggravated patronizing a minor so penalties would conform to those for statutory rape. Under existing law, patronizing a minor for prostitution is a class E felony. Rape is a class B felony, a more serious offense.
“People who buy sex from children should face the same penalty as people who commit statutory rape of children,” said Dorchen Leidholdt, director of the Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services at Sanctuary for Families in
The legislation would classify sex trafficking as a class B violent felony, which carries more penalties than a B felony, as it is categorized under current law. It would increase the penalty for labor trafficking from a class D felony to a class B felony.
Sen. Steve Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, said he would introduce the bill in his house, “knowing full well that it’s going to need some work.”
Paulin said she and Saland put in everything they want in the bill and will begin the negotiating process.
The bill would remove
I’ve spent the last few days with six wonderful teaching assistants from the
Schools are charged with helping students to master academic content and become able to succeed in an increasingly complex world. Yet, many students lack the social and emotional skills they need to learn and grow, or they possess them but require ongoing reinforcement to reach their full potential.
Teaching students effectively is difficult when pupils are unable to properly engage in the learning process. Some students have difficulty managing emotions, act out in unhealthy and potentially harmful ways, detract from the healthy functioning of the school environment and/or create conflict in the classroom, playground, cafeteria or school bus.
The PATHS® program teaches skills that allow children to calm themselves when angry, make friends, resolve conflicts respectfully, and make ethical and safe choices. Social and emotional competence underlies both effective behavior and academic success.
PATHS® supports federal requirements that mandate schools to provide safe and effective learning environments, helping to reinforce a bully-free climate. The program can also help students meet Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and can support goals for reading, writing, listening and speaking. The PATHS® program was one of only 12 SAMHSA Model Programs that had documented academic achievement outcomes - and one of only two programs designed for children ages 5-12.
According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, classroom and school interventions that make the learning environment safer, more caring, more participatory, and that enhance students’ social competence have been shown to increase student attachment to school. In turn, students who are more engaged and attached to school have better attendance, higher graduation rates, higher grades and standardized tests scores and decreased rates of high-risk behaviors including alcohol and drug use, violence, truancy, and bullying.
In rigorous clinical studies, the PATHS® program has been shown to:
• reduce teachers' reports of students exhibiting aggressive behavior by 32%
• increase teachers' reports of students exhibiting self-control by 36%
• increase students' vocabulary for emotions by 68%
• increase students' scores on cognitive skills tests by 20%
• significantly improve students' ability to tolerate frustration plus their ability -- and willingness -- to use effective conflict-resolution strategies
• reduce depression and sadness among special-needs students
For more information regarding PATHS®, please contact me.
Monday, April 9, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called upon the Department of Health to take action to ban the sale of these dangerous products.
The order states, "synthetic cannabinoids have been linked to severe adverse reactions, including death and acute renal failure, and commonly cause: tachycardia (increased heart rate); paranoid behavior, agitation and irritability; nausea and vomiting; confusion; drowsiness; headache; hypertension; electrolyte abnormalities; seizures; and syncope (loss of consciousness).
The Commissioner's order calls for sales and distribution of these products to cease immediately and it calls upon local health officials to distribute the order and check for compliance.
Last week, the Commissioner sent special health alerts to local health departments, emergency departments and other health care providers to make them aware of the dangers of these products.