Image Courtesy of Photopin.com
In May of 2013, when Alyssa was 13 years-old, she was molested and a week later Baker Acted which means she was involuntarily sent to an institutional facility and examined due to her mental health condition. She became Baker Acted three other times for self-harm. Alyssa never really had a problem with drugs, but self harm was her addiction. Inspirations for Youth Teen Rehab worked with her on her issues and she is now on her way to full recovery.
Alyssa grew to love Inspirations and could not fathom that people in recovery can go to the beach and movies. But that is the Inspirations way of treating teens by taking them on lots of day trips. It is defined as recreational therapy - so when it is time for the teens to go home – they are ready for the outside world.
“My therapist helped me through everything. Right now I am not wearing any makeup and I never have been this confident about myself in my life,” said Alyssa.
And now her relationship with her father is much improved.
“I was terrified of my father. Terrified. I had very bad trauma with him. Every time he tried to give me a high-five I flinched.”
“Prior to Inspirations, I had not seen my dad in two years until he came here for Family Weekend. I was proud to have him there to see me perform a tribal dance. Now, he is going to move down and live near me for the first time. I am starting to open up to him about my problems like my eating disorder.”
Perhaps, Alyssa summed up her recovery best by saying: “I am 13 and looking clean. And another thing I learned here, I may not always like myself, but I will always love myself.”
Angelica Brodeur of Women’s in Distress of Broward spoke to the teens at Inspirations for Youth and Families about Domestic Violence, which happened to be during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Women In Distress of Broward County is the only nationally accredited, state-certified, full service domestic violence center. They offer 24-hour crisis intervention through their Crisis Hotline and emergency shelter, as well as counseling and support for victims and their children. They also provide education and professional training on domestic violence and related topics in Broward County schools and the surrounding community.
Angelica explained to the teens that when a young child lives in a household with Domestic Violence, they learn the behavior and can become a bully in school. They see that they can get what they want by exhibiting violent behavior. This learned behavior carries over to their teen years when they first start dating. Then these teens become adults and have kids and the cycle continues.
If this conduct is not corrected at an early age, we can see in the future that the child will become violent. Anyone can be a victim or abuser of domestic violence. It does not spare age, race, gender, or sexual preference. Studies show that one in three teens experience dating violence.
Some of the presentation topics included:
- What are boundaries
- Defining what is an unhealthy relationship
- The importance of respect in a relationship
- The warning signs of an abusive relationship
Angelica shared her presentation (see below) and opened the floor to discussion throughout the speech. It was obvious her message stroked a chord as the Inspirations’ teens were very active participating by asking questions and sharing their opinions. Angelica’s presentation explained what the teens should expect in a healthy relationship and she informed the group on how to detect an unhealthy one.
Relationship issues to be aware of:
- If there is jealously in a relationship then you should talk about it with your partner so the hard feelings do not escalate too far
- No one deserves to be called something offensive when they are in a relationship – and if this should occur – it needs to be addressed immediately
- Strong communication between partners fosters respect
- Sometimes it is good to take a step back before confronting your boyfriend or girlfriend
- There is nothing wrong with having time on your own
- Boundaries can change over time
Unhealthy traits of a relationship
- Boundaries are ignored
- There is no respect
- One person is yelling or giving the other the silent treatment
- One partner is always trying to take control through coercive tactics
After Sheldon sprained his ankle playing basketball, he was prescribed oxycodone, an opiod that led him to heavy drug use and then addiction. Fortunately, for Sheldon, his addiction did not involve heroin, which is often the case.
According to a recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Americans between the ages of 12 and 49 who had abused prescription painkillers were 19 times more likely to have initiated heroin use recently than those who hadn’t and a staggering 4 out 5 new heroin users reported abusing pain pills in the past.
Now the good news. Sheldon recently and successfully completed the Inspirations for Youth and Family (IYF) teen drug and alcohol rehab program. Sheldon had a dependency on pretty much everything. Just like many that go through Inspirations, Sheldon was a very good student, but his grades started slipping when he started using drugs.
Here are the excerpts from the interview with Inspirations for Youth and Families Director of Education, Denise Achee.
And listen to the podcast
Inspirations: “So what brought you here?”
Sheldon: “I had a choice to go to jail or come here. I chose here, which was an excellent choice.”
Inspirations: “So you were a very good student.”
Sheldon: “I was until my grades started slipping. They went from getting perfect scores on state tests, to above average to average to just enough to pass and scraping the bare minimum. Everything just declined.”
Inspirations: “So how was your experience here?”
Sheldon: “It was great. At first it was really hard to like get adjusted and everything but as soon as you started working, and as soon as you started getting into it you don’t actually think about going home all the time. It’s way better, because you started working on yourself. You actually learn how to become better. It is so much more productive than sitting and wallowing in your thoughts.”
Inspirations: Do you feel like you gained some new tools?
Sheldon: “I have a whole tool box. I am ready to just go out there and find a new world. I am totally looking at the world from a different perspective now then I was when I first got here. So I am kind of grateful for that.”
Inspirations: “Do you think this type program is good for anybody?”
Sheldon: “Yeah this program is good for anybody. You just have to come in and accept your rehab and find your way out of it. You have to take your accountability of what you did. You can’t just say oh yeah I messed up but I don’t need to be here. Obviously you did something to put yourself in this position. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here.”
Inspirations: “What was the first drug you used?”
Sheldon: “Oxycodone after breaking my ankle and then it went to weed, mushrooms, acid, cigarettes to all sorts of things.”
Inspirations: “So how do you feel now?”
Sheldon: “I am so ready to go home. At first I was just like I wanted to go home so I can go back to my old ways. But now I want to go back to NA meetings. I want to do this and I want to do that I want to aspire. I want to have all this ambition. It is more like a drive to be a better person. Instead of being boarded up in mom’s basement. I only see possibilities now rather than impossibilities.”
Inspirations: “So it is true when you were using and you went as deep as you went do you feel now that you are sober the fog has lifted off and you are now at a whole new perspective.”
Sheldon: “I hit rock bottom. Once you stop using drugs and get all the toxins out of your system, it’s like your body starts working the way it is supposed to. It is like looking atop a mountaintop seeing over the whole world. This is how life was supposed to be and you were taking four or five detours and ending up back where you were. It is just not how you were supposed to live. So it’s better to have your mind working, you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. Your mind is in the right place. You’re dealing with your problems so it becomes what it needs to be.”
Inspirations: “Did you blame your parents about your substance abuse problem?”
Sheldon: “I blamed everyone but myself. In every way, shape and form I would deny my addiction. I could throw four or five names together and no one would know who they are and blame it on them. I would just deny it, deny it, and deny it.”
Inspirations: “How is your relationship with your parents now?”
Sheldon: “So much better. I feel the trust. I feel the respect. Back when I first started using, I felt isolated and I didn’t feel like I was a part of my family. I thought they were looking at me through steel bars and I was the freak. Now we are going on vacations and doing what we need to be doing as a family and I feel comfortable doing so. Even when I am uncomfortable, being here has taught me to be comfortable about being uncomfortable. So it is kind of weird in the sense that I may not like doing certain things, but there is enough in my heart, there is enough respect in the air for me to just say yeah this may not be what I want to do, but I might gain something out of it. I might just be sitting her for a purpose. You can’t always defeat yourself before things already happen. You have to try.”
Inspirations: Do you think that therapy would be useful for everybody?”
Sheldon: “Yes, literally everybody has problems and having issues is a part of being human. It is good to talk to someone who is trained to uncover those feelings and let you feel what you need to feel.”
Inspirations: How long did it take you to have that fog lifted off you and have a new you emerge?
Sheldon: “It took me about one month. When I first got there everyone said oh yeah it took them only a few weeks before they felt back to normal. But in my opinion, it takes a good month of establishing a routine, structure, having your medicine in place, exercising and getting all your toxins out of your body and once that happens, you will feel your body running right and you will be thinking this is the way your body should be functioning. Your brain just works so much better this way.”
College offers most freshmen an exciting new life that allows students to finally be free from parental control. Often a student’s initial interpretation of college life is that there will be freedom to explore in a number of activities that were not permitted to them when they were in high school. Sometimes these activities could involve going to parties where there are drugs and alcohol. The mere thought of this undoubtedly can keep parents up all night. If you have a child going away to college, you know what I’m talking about.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 35% of the freshmen population will comprise the bulk of new drug users and potential drug abusers on college campuses nationwide.
1. Alcohol – Alcohol, wine and beer are the widest used controlled substance consumed on college campuses. The most prominent effect of alcohol is dependence and according to national statistics 15% of college freshmen are alcoholics or enrolled in an AA program after completing their freshman year.
2. Marijuana or Mary Jane, which is also referred to as a blunt, weed, herb, bud and chronic is considered to be the second most readily used drug on college campuses. Aside from alcohol, nearly 65% of student drug abusers smoke or otherwise imbibe in marijuana. Side effects include blood-shot/glassy eyes, dry mouth or cotton mouth, increased appetite (munchies) and loss of coordination.
3. Ecstasy is a man-made pill that emits both psychedelic and stimulant effects. Ecstasy is usually mixed with other drugs like caffeine or amphetamines. The pure form of ecstasy is called Molly, which is popular among college kids! Even pop artists are singing about Molly in their songs. Ecstasy lasts four to six hours. The effects can include teeth clenching, muscle tension, confusion, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness and extreme paranoia. One of the greatest risks with “Molly” is dehydration. The body temperature gets too high and people die or get heart and kidney damage. “Molly” also damages your brain so you cannot think and it can cause memory loss.
4. Adderall is a drug that has exploded on college campuses! Its known as the “study drug” which causes students to stay awake and helps them to focus on what they are studying. Federal studies show as many as one in three college students frequently use Adderall, especially when cramming for exams. Adderall abuse can lead to serious health issues like depression, anxiety and psychosis. Studies have also shown that college students who use Adderall with a valid prescription more often engage in binge drinking and experiment with other drugs.
So parents pay attention. As a bonus – look below at some often used “slang” names for various drugs, and if you hear your child talk about “Molly” – chances are its not a person.
“Slang” names for common drugs used by college students
Alcohol – Booze, brews, sauce, hard stuff
Cocaine – Coke, snow, blow, white powder
Dextromethorphan (DXM) – Dex, dexing, red devils, DM, robo, robotripping
Ecstasy – Molly, love drug, C, XTC, E
LSD – Acid, mellow yellow, Lucy in the sky with diamonds
PCP – Angel dust, wack, rocket fuel, embalming fluid, ozone, killer weed
Heroin – Smack, junk, thunder, H, hell dust
Ketamine – Vitamin K, Special K, K, breakfast cereal, kat
Marijuana – Grass, pot, weed, Mary Jane, THC, dope, ganga
Methamphetamines – Meth, crystal meth, speed, ice, chalk, crank, black beauties, uppers
Prescription medications – Trail mix, smurf, vic, xbrs
Ritalin – Kibbles & bits, pineapple
Rohypnol – Date rape drug, roaches, roofies, roche, forget pill, R-2
In recognition of National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, the topic of prescription drug abuse is extremely relevant. Prescription drug abuse
is when someone takes a medication that was prescribed for someone else or takes their own prescription in a way not intended by a doctor or for a different reason—like to get high.
Parents need to be aware that all prescription drugs in their medicine cabinet can be abused. Despite the fact that many of these medications below do not appear to be abused by teens, they may try anyway and become sick or even overdose.
Top 10 Most Prescribed Drugs In America:
#1 Synthroid 22.6 Million Prescriptions Are Filled Every Month in America – Synthroid is used to treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). It replaces or provides more thyroid hormone, which is normally produced by the thyroid gland.
#2 Crestor 22.5 Million Prescriptions Are Filled Every Month in America – Crestor is used along with a proper diet to help lower “bad” cholesterol and fats (LDL), triglycerides and raise “good” cholesterol (HDL) in the blood.
#3 Nexium 18.6 Million Prescriptions Are Filled Every Month in America – Nexium is used to treat certain stomach and esophagus problems (such as acid reflux, ulcers). It works by decreasing the amount of acid you stomach makes and relieves symptoms such as heartburn, difficulty swallowing and persistent cough.
#4 Ventolin HFA 17.5 Million Prescriptions Are Filled Every Month in America – Ventolin HFA (albuterol) is used to prevent and treat wheezing and shortness of breath caused by breathing problems (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
#5 Advair Diskas 15.0 Million Prescriptions Are Filled Every Month in America – Advair Diskas is used to control and prevent symptoms (wheezing and shortness of breath) caused by asthma or ongoing lung disease.
#6 Diovan – 11.4 Million Prescriptions Are Filled Every Month in America – Diovan is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart failure. It is also used to improve the chance of living longer after a heart attack.
#7 Lantus Solostar – 10.1 Million Prescriptions Are Filled Every Month in America – Lantus Solostar is used along with a proper diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar and used in people with type 1 (insulin-dependent) or type 2 diabetes.
#8 Cymbalta – 10.0 Million Prescriptions Are Filled Every Month in America – Cymbalta is used to treat depression and anxiety.
#9 Vyvanse 10.0 – Million Prescriptions Are Filled Every Month in America – Vyvanse is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as part of a total treatment plan, including psychological, social, and other treatments.
#10 Lyrica 9.6 – Million Prescriptions are filled every month in America – Lyrica is used to treat pain caused by nerve damage due to diabetes or to shingles (herpes zoster) infection and is also used to treat pain in people with fibromyalgia.
Resource: Research Firm IMS Health