A resource for parents of teens addicted to drugs and alcohol


Parent Pathway provides Information, Help, Community and Hope to the parents of teens addicted to drugs and alcohol. Parent Pathway has been created by parents who understand what it is like to have a child struggling with addiction. It is a lonely and desperate time when you realize that your child needs help and it is not easy to determine what to do. And at the same time, it is difficult to cope as a parent. Parent Pathway has been created to help parents find answers and get help. Our goal is to let parents know that they are not alone, others have traveled this path and we are here to help. Our desire is that you will find a sense of hope and community along with helpful resources.

To download a Parent Pathway flyer click here.


Increasing Prescriber Education to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse

From JoinTogether.Org

Doctor counseling patient

Pain management education must help prescribers focus less on patient satisfaction, and more on their functional improvement, according to Sherry Green, the CEO of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL).

Current pain management education is largely based on the concern that people in chronic pain are not receiving adequate relief, Green says. “More and more emphasis has been placed on patient satisfaction. With doctor ratings available online, some physicians are concerned that if they don’t give patients what they want, they will drive them away and receive unsatisfactory ratings. That may make them less willing not to give someone the drug they’re asking for.” The pressure to satisfy patients may also come from hospitals, whose own ratings are influenced in part by patients’ satisfaction with doctors, she adds.

Improving prescriber education was one of the topics at the recent meeting convened by NAMSDL for state and local professionals from around the country to identify legislative and policy options for addressing “pill mills” and safeguarding the legitimate practice of pain management.

Participants included doctors, law enforcement officials, medical board representatives and addiction treatment specialists. They crafted a preliminary set of proposals which NAMSDL will distribute in early 2013 to a wide variety of stakeholders for further review and comment. The goal of the multi-step, multi-disciplinary approach is to provide policymakers with practical solutions to preventing prescription drug abuse, addiction and diversion while safeguarding legitimate access to prescription drugs.

Participants at the meeting agreed patient satisfaction may be receiving too much emphasis. “There’s a concern we’ve gone too far down that road,” notes Green.

They also discussed how pill mills have fueled the prescription drug abuse epidemic. “Pill mills do not necessarily refer to a specific location, but rather to a set of practices that is not legitimate medicine,” Green says. “Pill mills’ entire focus is on prescribing drugs, without taking medical histories, performing physical exams or providing followup. There is no individualized care, and the same kinds of pills are given across multiple types of patients.”

Legitimate pain management involves practices diametrically opposed to pill mills, according to Green. “Pain management is more holistic – it looks at other ways of treating pain in addition to pills,” she notes.

Prescription drug monitoring databases as a tool for combating prescription drug abuse will be a big focus on the state level in 2013, she adds. There are many details that states must consider, including whether to require doctors and other prescribers to use the databases.

“Our goal is to see what are the best kinds of policy and regulatory changes that are needed to reduce prescription drug abuse. Once we agree, our stakeholder groups can move forward and make these changes,” she says.

Parental Monitoring Can Help Overcome Teens’ Genetic Predisposition to Drinking

By Join Together Staff | November 9, 2012 |  Alcohol, Parenting, Research & Youth

Parents who closely monitor their teens’ behavior and friends can help counteract their children’s genetic predisposition to an alcohol use disorder, a new study indicates.

In a previous study, lead researcher Robert Miranda, Jr. of Brown University found teens with a single difference in their genes were more predisposed to alcohol use disorders, according to HealthCanal. In the new study, Miranda found this risk was largely overcome in teenagers whose parents closely monitored their behavior, and who spent less time with ‘deviant’ friends.

The study included 104 teens, who were interviewed about their alcohol use, parental monitoring and friends. They also provided a DNA sample for genetic analysis. The researchers report in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research that 30 of the teens had the genetic variant that increased their risk of an alcohol use disorder. “The key finding of this study is that while genetics appear to play a role in the development of alcohol problems among teenagers, environmental factors can considerably reduce this risk,” Miranda said in a news release.

“If you are a parent, pay closer attention to your child’s whereabouts, and with whom your kids are affiliating socially, both of which can pay enormous dividends in reducing problems,” added John F. Kelly, Associate Director of Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine. “Beginning an open and ongoing conversation with your child along these lines, including discussing the nature of alcohol-specific risks, could eradicate a potentially devastating problem.”

School Nurses: Trusted Student Health Professionals and Agents of Substance Abuse Prevention

Posted by Donna Mazyck, Executive Director, and Mary Louise Embrey, Substance Abuse Prevention Consultant, National Association of School Nurses on November 05, 2012 at 04:35 PM EST

For more than a century, school nursing services have served a critical role in public health and ensuring the academic success of students in America. Particularly over the past five decades, school nurses have become more involved with addressing students’ mental, behavioral, and emotional issues, including substance abuse prevention. In fact, according to the 2007 Government Accountability Office report School Mental Health: Role of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Factors Affecting Service Provision, school nurses spend one-third of their time providing mental health services, including those for substance abuse.

With a presence in 75 percent of the Nation’s schools, school nurses comprise a significant force of professionals who serve as prevention agents. School nurses are in touch with substance abuse trends within the school and in the greater community, enabling them to make educated assessments when students visit their offices.

Many school nurses also spend time in classrooms providing substance abuse prevention curricula, and some with advanced training start treatment support groups. School nurses often work in teams with other specialized instructional support personnel, such as school psychologists, social workers, and counselors, to address substance abuse issues in schools.

When the rate of prescription drug abuse began to increase rapidly, school nurses recognized the trend and took action. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) got the word out by providing school nurses with data showing that more teens are abusing prescription drugs than illegal drugs (except for marijuana);[i] that prescription medications, along with marijuana, are the drugs of choice among 12- to 13-year-olds;[ii] and that every day, approximately 2,000 young people use a prescription pain reliever non-medically for the first time.[iii]

The NASN provides materials to help school nurses understand and promote drug use prevention, including:

NASN recommends the following tips for school nurses:

[i] Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH): National Findings, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2012.

[ii] Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH): National Findings, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2012.

[iii] SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (formerly the Office of Applied Studies), National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2009 and 2010.


New research stresses potential health dangers of “bath salts”

3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV)

Science Spotlight: NIDA research published in today’s Neuropsychopharmacology shows that MDPV, a synthetic chemical commonly found in the drugs referred to as “bath salts,” is potentially more dangerous than cocaine when tested in rodents. In this study, MDPV prolonged the effects of two neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine (by blocking reuptake at brain nerve cells) and produced hyperactivity, rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure – highly dangerous symptoms.Though this study was done in rodents, these results could explain why these substances are addictive and highly dangerous in humans, as indicated by reports that MDPV is the chief substance found in the blood and urine of emergency room patients who have overdosed on “bath salts.”

For a copy of the study abstract, go to www.nature.com/npp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/npp2012204a.htmlExternal link, please review our disclaimer.. For a recent interview on “bath salts” with the article’s first author, NIDA staff scientist Dr. Michael Baumann, go to www.nature.com/multimedia/podcast/npp/npp_09212012.mp3External link, please review our disclaimer.. For more information on “bath salts” and other emerging drugs, go to www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/emerging-drugs.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245.


“We are confident the U.S. Department of Justice will uphold the Administration’s position against legalization and deem these initiatives to be a clear violation of Federal law,” said General Arthur T. Dean, CADCA’s Chairman and CEO.

Nov 07, 2012 CADCA Opposes the Legalization of Marijuana in Washington and Colorado National Anti-Drug Association Calling for “Reality Check” on Pot Washington, D.C. – Voters in Washington and Colorado approved a ballot question to allow the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, allowing adults to possess and grow marijuana with state regulation and taxation. The legalization measure in Oregon was defeated. Arkansas voters rejected the use of so-called medicinal marijuana, but voters in Massachusetts joined 17 other states and the District of Columbia in supporting “medical” marijuana. Montana retained their “medical” marijuana law with more restrictions.

Under federal law, any marijuana use is still illegal. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) opposes marijuana use by anyone for any reason. “We are confident the U.S. Department of Justice will uphold the Administration’s position against legalization and deem these initiatives to be a clear violation of Federal law,” said General Arthur T. Dean, CADCA’s Chairman and CEO. According to recent research from the National Institutes of Health, marijuana is significantly associated with lower IQ scores and learning problems, mental illness, car crashes, and a lower quality of life. “Despite being outspent by several million dollars, CADCA member coalitions faced with these ballot challenges have done an outstanding job of mobilizing and educating the public that more marijuana availability isn’t good for public health or their states’ economy.

Unfortunately, there is a well-funded effort to misinform the American people when it comes to the facts about marijuana, contributing to a disturbing disconnect among the media and the voting public. Allowing marijuana use will further increase overall drug use rates, youth access and use and treatment admissions,” said Gen. Dean. CADCA does not subscribe to smoked marijuana being called “medicine” by citizen voting. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have said smoked marijuana has no medical benefit. The American Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine have stated their opposition to legalize marijuana. Research shows marijuana harms adolescent cognitive brain development, contains carcinogens, and is linked to mental illness, especially schizophrenia. Marijuana use by drivers doubles the risk of car crashes.

A longitudinal study supported by NIDA shows that persistent marijuana use decreases IQ as much as 8 points, moving a person of average intelligence into the lower third of intelligence. “Marijuana use is related to a host of health and safety concerns, and frankly, dulls your brain. Our nation cannot afford to raise a generation of pot smokers and expect to compete in this high-tech, global economy. We need a reality check,” Gen. Dean said. Although the negative impacts will undoubtedly be the same, the approaches of the two states differ: • In Colorado, Amendment 64 allows those 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate six marijuana plants. The initiative also allows for over-the-counter sale of marijuana, reduces penalties for larger possession charges and legalizes hemp farming; • In Washington, Initiative 502 allows adults 21 and older to purchase marijuana from state-licensed and state-regulated businesses. It also creates a regulatory system, much like the liquor control system, in which a board oversees licensing of marijuana producers, processors and retailers, and imposes an excise tax of 25 percent at each step. “Tuesday’s results give coalitions in those states and around the country even more work to do to build a healthier environment around our kids,” said the CADCA Chairman and CEO. “CADCA will continue to serve as a resource to its members facing marijuana-related ballot, legislative and associated issues as this continues to unfold in states around the nation.” About CADCA CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is the membership organization representing over 5,000 coalitions and their affiliates working to make communities safe, healthy and drug-free, in the U.S. and internationally. CADCA’s mission is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions by providing technical assistance and training, public policy and advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, conferences, and special events.

Doctor Visits for Drug or Alcohol Use Increased 70% Between 2001 and 2009

By Join Together.org | October 23, 2012 |

Doctor counseling patient 10-23-12

The number of doctor visits for substance use disorders increased 70 percent among American adults between 2001 and 2009, according to a new study. The increase appears to be driven in large part by prescription drug abuse, the researchers said.

The availability of effective treatment also contributed to the increase, lead researcher Dr. Joseph W. Frank of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston told Reuters. Frank estimated that 22.5 million Americans are dependent on alcohol or drugs.

The researchers analyzed data from two national surveys of physician visits, and found the number of visits involving drug or alcohol abuse or addiction rose from 10.6 million between 2001 and 2003, to 18 million between 2007 and 2009. The number of visits involving a diagnosis of opioid abuse rose almost sixfold, from 772,000 to 4.4 million.

“This finding is consistent with trends in substance use disorder-related utilization at the nation’s community health centers and emergency departments and, sadly, use of its morgues,” the researchers wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study found the number of people prescribed medications to treat substance use disorders during doctors’ visits rose from 643,000 to 3.9 million during the study period. Buprenorphine and methadone were the most commonly prescribed medications. Talk therapy was used in about 25 million patients during the same period.

National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

Did you know that more than 6 million people ages 12 or older have abused a prescription drug and one in 10 youth ages 12 through 17, or 2,400,000 children, reports having intentionally abused cough medicine to get high?  Help raise awareness about the dangers of prescription (Rx) drug abuse and over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse by taking part in National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, observed annually in October.

Parents and adult caregivers are often caught unaware that their teens may be abusing Rx medications. They are all too often surprised when they discover that their children are abusing these drugs under their watch. They have much to learn about Rx abuse and must keep it on their radar screen along with alcohol, marijuana and other drugs.

1. Get the facts— teen Rx abuse is a problem:

  • Educate yourself about this growing trend.
  • New users of prescription drugs have caught up with new users of marijuana, and next to marijuana, the most common illegal drugs teens are abusing are prescription medications.

 2. Protect your teenager.

  • Watch for behavioral and physical symptoms of abuse.
  • Check for signs of Rx medications that do not belong in his/her room.
  • Talk with other parents and share information.

3. Talk with your teens and grandchildren to dispel the belief that Rx drugs can be safely abused.

4. Safeguard your medications.

  • Lock up your meds.
  • Keep track of medication quantities.
  • Properly dispose of them if they are no longer needed.

Learn more at:

Synthetic Drugs: K2, Bath Salts, now…”Smiles”?

Parents of teens and young adults will want to know about this…. News of another synthetic drug called Smiles is linked to recent deaths. There are reports that Smiles is the newest in a wave of designer drugs to hit smoke shops, convenience stores and internet marketplaces. Just a few months ago, the deaths of two North Dakota teens in the same town were associated. This week, Sons of Anarchy star Johnny Lewis is believed to have been under the influence of the drug when he murdered his landlady and then committed suicide.

The Smiles drug has been one of many designer drugs to follow in the footsteps of bath salts and K2 synthetic marijuana products. A refined white powder, the drug can be taken in capsule form, eaten or snorted. Internet reports state that users commonly mix the Smiles powder with chocolate or candy prior to ingesting it. It causes hallucinations and a euphoric state that resembles stimulants like methamphetamine. In some cases, the effects can last for days. It’s most popular amongst high school, college kids and young clubbers.

Paranoia, anxiety, panic and nausea have been reported amongst users, along with a potential loss of consciousness. The DEA has banned the drug, known to G-men as “2C-1″, but right now, use is continuing to rise. Fueled by misinformation spread by kids in chatrooms and social media sites, many naive partiers are scrambling to get their hands on it. Initially available on shelves in the stereotypical “not for human consumption” labels, distribution is now most commonly seen through black market dealers and white-envelope internet deliveries.