Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Year Is Here

By: CAPT Jeffrey A. Coady, Psy.D., ABPP, Acting Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and SAMHSA Region 5 Administrator

 As individuals, we look forward to getting together with friends and family to celebrate the holidays. It’s also a time when prevention can play an especially important role. December is a deadly month for impaired driving.

The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2019 during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, 210 lives were lost due to alcohol-impaired driving crashes. That’s 210 people in one week who didn’t make it home because either they or someone with whom they came in contact chose to use alcohol and then get behind the wheel. That same year, more than 10,000 people died from drunk driving crashes alone.

These deaths were preventable. That’s why for more than 40 years, preventionists across the country have observed National Impaired Driving Prevention Month in December to raise awareness that impaired driving can be deadly and to put strategies in place for all of us to make it home safely.

As everyone takes precautions to be able to safely return to in-person events, more and more celebrations are being added to the calendar. It could be an intimate dinner at a friend’s house, perhaps a happy hour to celebrate a return to the office, or a gathering of high school friends home from college. In each instance, alcohol and other substances may not be necessarily at the center of the fun but are a common denominator.

Alcohol-impaired driving crashes—which range from being under the influence of substances to distracted driving to speeding—increase throughout December as more people travel. SAMHSA’s 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed over 26 million people ages 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs during the past year. Approximately 17 percent of these people were 20 to 25 years old.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and nonfatal injury among U.S. adolescents, resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths and 300,000 nonfatal injuries each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While NHTSA’s “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving” campaign addresses driving under the influence of just alcohol, it’s important to note that many substances can impair driving, including marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines, or even prescribed or over-the-counter medications.

The good news is that prevention works. As we come together this holiday season, educate yourself and others on the risks of driving while impaired and take steps to stay safe. We can start with the science. There are no shortcuts to “sobering up” and preparing to drive; a person’s coordination and reaction time are slowed long before they actually show signs of intoxication. Coffee is not a cure-all. And even slowing or stopping drinking an hour or more before planning to drive does not mean the alcohol has “worn off.”

These deaths were preventable. That’s why for more than 40 years, preventionists across the country have observed National Impaired Driving Prevention Month in December to raise awareness that impaired driving can be deadly and to put strategies in place for all of us to make it home safely.

As everyone takes precautions to be able to safely return to in-person events, more and more celebrations are being added to the calendar. It could be an intimate dinner at a friend’s house, perhaps a happy hour to celebrate a return to the office, or a gathering of high school friends home from college. In each instance, alcohol and other substances may not be necessarily at the center of the fun but are a common denominator.

Alcohol-impaired driving crashes—which range from being under the influence of substances to distracted driving to speeding—increase throughout December as more people travel. SAMHSA’s 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed over 26 million people ages 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs during the past year.

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A note from your blogger: I would like to think that all of you who follow this web site are careful, responsible drivers. The courageous one is the person who admits she/he has had too much to drink or indulged in other drugs.  But what do you do if a parent has had too much to drink or is on meds which may cause side effects? Hide the keys. If others are around ask for help. Get someone to drive that person home. If you have an understanding neighbor run for help. When your parent is sober discuss with him/her how you worry when he or she drinks, takes drugs and decides to drive. Tell your parent how much you need a parent and driving under the influence just endangers your family life. Speak up. If your parent yells at you say something like, “Just listen to yourself. Here, I am trying to say that I am your son (or daughter) and I love you and don’t want you hurt.”

Happy Holidays and A Happy New Year

We have spoken of this many times. It is so important. Have a list where you can go if things are not going well at home. A friend, a relative, a neighbor? Be prepared. And remember you can always go to an  Al-anon or an Ala-teen meeting. Very important leave a note pinned to your pillow letting your family know where you are.

Know others with the same problem as yours then talk to them.  Make sensible plans together. Perhaps join an outing club. See if some of your local church members will let you join them in their homes.  Also remember just because you may be disgusted with your parent or family for drinking and you have made a vow that you will not be like that does not mean that you should use a substitute such as marijuana or other non-related alcohol drugs. A drug is a drug. Think this through carefully. If need be discuss it with a counselor. Go to https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=141164708  for info on how our brain does not attain full maturity until age 25.

Be good to yourself. Guard your health. Let your brain mature unimpaired by alcohol or drugs.

Halloween is coming

Halloween means party time.

You all know how I always talk about how you should have a safe place to go to if things get out of hand at home – how important it is to be prepared.

This time I want to talk about how you are influenced by the alcoholism in your home. While you may complain about how tough things are at home think about how subconsciously you may be copying your family. Do you drink? Make a list of how you may be copying your family. Do you shout? Hit? Or drink while acting smooth as if nothing were wrong. Are you seeking addictive substances because you think it makes feel you better? Try to find someone who will help you work out these problems.

There is a reason most U.S. States don’t permit drinking in the teen years and many as well in the early 20’s. Scientists today know that our mind is not fully mature until age 25. You can damage your brain before it is fully developed.

And yes, after it is fully developed, if you drink out of social proportion, you can as well damage your brain. If you are taking other substances look up their effects on line. The internet is like a medical dictionary. Know what you are doing.

Be good to yourself.

Let’s Talk Again About Sex

We have talked a lot about how sex is a responsibility, how having a baby at a young age may be more demanding than you thought, how your need for a family life you don’t have may be pushing you into relationships for which you are not ready. Have questions about contraceptives? What to do if you are  LGBT? Are unexpectedly pregnant or have gotten your girlfriend pregnant? Do you live in a State that has restrictive laws controlling contraceptives, out of wedlock pregnancies, or alternative sex lifestyles? Help is available.

Go to:      https://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center.

You’ll learn where the nearest Planned Parenthood is located. You can also talk to them on the phone.  They show respect. They are caring. When needed they may help you financially to travel to them, pay for contraceptives and other necessary medical procedures.

Bullying? Don’t do it and don’t put up with it

If you are a bully – and you know who you are – ask yourself why. Is it the way your family acts? Or do you only feel powerful, liked and safe when you bully? Bullying will only get you the wrong kind of friends. Bullying will keep you from doing your best work, from advancing in the world. You can change. Go for counseling. Talk to someone you trust. If you have a college or university near you that trains therapists see if you may work with a therapist in training free of charge. If you have a copy of For Teenagers Living With A Parent Who Abuses Alcohol/Drugs go to its “Resources” chapter and see what help is available. Don’t have the book.  Then take it out of your public library. By the way as a card holder of your public library you have the right to ask them to get the book if they don’t have it.

Let’s look on the other side of bullying – those who are the victims of being bullied. Our government’s Health Resources & Services Administration  has some good advice. Click and then get the info by inserting the word “bullying.” Here are two things you can do immediately. Confide in someone you trust. If that person does not help you ask where he/she would advise you to go for help.  Furthermore realize that if you are being bullied others are as well being bullied by that person. Make friends with those. Sit together at lunch. Walk together. Plan to change the subject when a bully starts talking. Try humor. And let the school know what is going on. If you are at a job where there is bullying let human resources know. If you are at a small company and the owner is your source of trouble –  remember right now there is a shortage of workers. Start looking.

Re: GUILT

As promised in my last blog I did give a talk about GUILT at the ARS, ARHS, AAPG conference. Who hasn’t at some point felt guilty? So I want to share with you what we found out about guilt. Each one who attended the lecture made a list of everything about which he/she felt guilty. And then everyone looked again at his/her list and moved some of the items on the list to the “regret column,” the “shame column,” the “selfish column,” etc. You get the picture. We tend to feel guilty about actions which belong in another area. Don’t be hard on yourself. Guilt covers moral misdeeds such as murder, rape, abuse, stealing, lying, or cheating. What are you like today? Have you changed? Is it time to forgive yourself? I know, tough questions.

A CONFERENCE GEARED TO YOUNG ADULTS

Association of Recovery in Higher Education and the Association of Recovery Schools as well as the Association of Alternative Peer Group are having a conference discussing the how’s and why’s and the because’s of addiction.  I will be giving a talk on GUILT – UNDERSTANDING AND OVERCOMING on June 22nd from 4:50 to 5:50PM Eastern Time. Who hasn’t at some point felt guilty? What do you do with such emotions? There will be other talks by compassionate professionals who will zero in to your needs.

Whether you are in college, planning to go, are in junior college, a senior in high school or none of these but curious then visit https://collegiaterecovery.org/2021conference/.  The  conference is virtual. It starts June 21st and ends June 24th. Tell your counselors, teachers and members of Ala-Teen, Al-Anon about the conference. Worried about the cost? Scholarships are available. Hope to meet you all virtually.

Think About This

There are articles and articles in magazines and in newspapers how the pandemic has caused more drinking and drug use.

Lets take a closer look at this info. Those of you who don’t drink but may be living with someone who does and you may need to protect yourself. Stay in touch with those who understand and have compassion. Lets go over the list – In The Rooms, Ala-teen, Al-anon, and you might visit https://drugfree.org/about-us/. Have you gotten your vaccination? If not, do it. If you need to sleep at someone else’s house you want them to feel safe. Remember to pin a note in your bedroom letting your family know where you are.

If you are drinking or taking drugs you are endangering your life. It is a good time to go on line with Alcoholics Anonymous. Pick a group with whom you feel comfortable. They have groups for all male, all female, gay people, black folks, teenagers etc.  Addiction has been so publicized that you should feel free to discuss it with whomever you like – a counselor at school, your minister, your rabbi, a relative, a close friend. Take action.

SOME USEFUL INFO

Remember you are not alone, and you are not the only ones who may use these phone numbers. If you need them go for them.Addiction and Mental Health Treatment – 1-866-393-0480 SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 Suicide Helpline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Veterans Crisis Line. 1-800-273-8255

Have we discussed this before?

The term may sound boring but it sure can make your life better.

Here goes: HEALTHY HABITS which include cleanliness, diet, exercise, mental health. Yes, there is enough material here to fill a book. I think most of you know the answers to these pointers. Your biggest worry may be mental health especially those of you who live with a parent who suffers with addiction. But you know something – it is your life and you can turn it around. Cleanliness, good diet and exercise does contribute to good mental health. Remember you are not alone. Go on line to Ala-teen, In The Rooms, and if you are a young adult feel free to join Ala-non.  Share your feelings. Remember no one will ask your name. Everything is anonymous. Pregnant? A father in waiting? Go to Planned Parenthood. Or contact https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/promoting/parenting/pregnant-teens/.  Getting as much information as you can is important. Pouring out your feelings also contributes to mental health. Go for it.