• Alcohol advertising targets youth

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Self-regulation in the alcohol advertising industry is producing ads reminiscent of “Joe Camel” which target impressionable youth, according to Australian addiction scientists who call for stricter regulation of the ads (Fielder, Donovan, & Ouschan, 2009). In the U.S., where alcohol advertising is also subject to self-regulation by the industry, more than 4,600 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of alcohol use each year. Past studies show that people who start drinking as adolescents have a higher risk of lifelong problematic drinking, ultimately perhaps necessitating a stay in alcohol rehab. Other studies suggest that young people are more likely to drink when they’re exposed to more alcohol advertising. The Australian researchers found that adolescents saw near...
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  • Helping Your Troubled Teen Without Making Things Worse

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Recent revelations of scams and manipulations on Wall Street have opened our eyes as to just how greedy and dishonest some individuals can be. It should be no surprise that there are individuals who prey on the desperation of parents whose teens have become involved in alcohol and other drugs, gangs, crime and violence. Considering the many forms of trouble that seem to attract teens, and our seemingly limitless willingness to sacrifice for our kids, parents of troubled teens are appallingly at risk for exploitation. This sad truth is grippingly revealed in Maia Szalavitz’s appropriately titled Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids (Riverhead Books, 2006). Even professionals in human services are often not aware of what can be done for teens tha...
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  • From Adolescent Substance Experimentation to Addiction

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Although adolescence has always been a time of great transition, many older adults today may have trouble appreciating just how different adolescence has become. High school students today have extensive substance use experiences. For instance, based on federal studies, about 75% have tried alcohol (with 50% drinking regularly), 38% have tried marijuana, 20% have tried cocaine, 50% have had sexual intercourse and 50% have tried cigarettes (with 20% smoking regularly).  These numbers show us that most adolescents today face a range of choices that their parents may not have realized even existed. Despite the large numbers of adolescents who are exposed to substances and other addictive behaviors, most adolescents do not develop addiction problems. For most adolescents substance use is...
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  • Why Do College Students Drink So Much? Why Does Anyone?

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Some college students drink to excess. Such drinking is obvious to anyone who visits a college town on nights that “specials” are offered at the bars, and on other nights also. Why? Just a result of college culture? A self-fulfilling prophesy of the party crowd when they leave home? A youthful perception of invincibility? Perhaps. But how about a more mundane and controllable factor: the price of the alcohol? In her column, “Tara Parker-Pope on Health” (Sept. 2, 2009), Parker-Pope reports that alcohol researchers from the University of Florida and San Diego State University studied how drink specials influenced the alcohol consumption of about 800 men and women leaving seven near-campus bars. Patrons were studied at different times, with drink prices varying from time to time. Alcoho...
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  • Teach Teens Drinking Before it Kills Them

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    A. Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP Alcohol prohibition in the US lasted from 1919 to 1933. Prohibition continues for those under age 21. Prohibition was repealed because it was violated so often.  Given how much people like to drink, prohibition as a public policy was not realistic. In this article I suggest that we are seeing similar violations of drinking laws by young people, and that it is time to modify the prohibition on their drinking. The actions I suggest are already in place in many families. Drinking actually seems to be decreasing among young people (according to the Monitoring the Future surveys the federal government funds).   However, despite the “zero tolerance” approach, some young people drink regularly or in large amounts. On occasion, some die from drinking. Many colleg...
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  • Addiction and Youth

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Addiction, Recovery and Society How society should view addiction Ending recoveryism Let’s stop insisting addiction is a disease Will insurance cover addiction treatment if addiction is not a disease? AA’s dominance in the US is harmful Court-ordered 12-step attendance is illegal CRAFT: An alternative to addiction "intervention" Substance abuse evaluations in child custody cases Addiction and youth Teach teens drinking before it kills them Why do college students drink so much? Why does anyone? From adolescent substance experimentation to addiction Helping your troubled teen without making things worse Alcohol advertising targets youth Addiction impaired professionals On June 30, 2008, the state of California stopped its medical diversion program.  ...
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  • Substance Abuse Evaluations in Child Custody Cases

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    A. Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP I make a number of assumptions when conducting a substance use evaluation as part of a litigation process: The individual’s use is usually not less than the individual reports, but it might often be more (or much more). Inaccurate accusations of substance abuse are common because there is usually little negative consequence for inaccurate accusations. The parties to the litigation, and those connected with them, may provide biased and inaccurate information. Therefore outside corroboration of their reports is essential for determining the extent and consequences of substance use. Getting outside corroboration: As a practical matter, getting outside corroboration (information from sources not connected with the litigation) is difficult because suc...
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  • School-level substance use and addiction treatment and prevention in middle school

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Antismoking campaigns and prevention programs in middle schools may be beneficial in teaching adolescents about the harms of smoking and drinking. Students who have been smoking and drinking in middle school may continue to smoke and drink throughout high school and even be at a higher risk for alcohol abuse in their lifetime. Thus, using evidence based approaches to inform adolescents about addiction treatment may be helpful in reducing the number of students who try drinking and smoking. Parenting style is another key indicator of drinking and smoking by adolescents where subprime parenting may lead to an increased risk of tobacco use by middle school students. Individualized drug and alcohol treatment programs can help to reduce the risk of substance abuse in adolescents and possi...
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  • The effect of MDMA (Ecstasy) on cognitive performance in drug recovery

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    According to previous research, MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), popularly known as Ecstasy, may negatively affect cognition among heavy users. Golding et. al. set out to investigate whether light users and ex-users of MDMA in drug recovery also exhibit deficits in cognitive performance (2007). MDMA has an interesting history. It was first synthesized by a Merck chemist in 1912 and largely forgotten for the next 60 years. MDMA appeared as a street drug in the 1970s after its analogue MDA (3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine), known as “the love drug” or “the hug drug” in the 1960s, was criminalized. Andrew Shulgin, a researcher at the University of California, become interested in MDMA after hearing about its unusual effects from students. Shulgin developed a new way to synthesize...
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  • Gender differences in alcohol’s effects on the brain for adolescents in alcohol recovery

    Posted on July 23, 2013
    Adolescent alcohol use and alcohol use disorders among adolescent constitute serious problems. By grade 12, nearly 60 percent of adolescents have been drunk, and studies suggest that approximately 6 percent of adolescents have an alcohol use disorder. In adulthood, males typically drink more frequently than females. However, during adolescence, females drink at rates equivalent to those of males. Among adults, alcohol dependent women seem to be more susceptible to brain damage due to alcohol use. Animal studies suggest that the adolescent brain is more susceptible to brain damage due to alcohol use. Thus, alcohol use may affect male and female adolescent brains differently, and females may be more susceptible to brain damage from alcohol use in alcohol recovery. Researchers from the Uni...
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