Friday, August 12, 2011

IPod or iStash?

IPod or iStash?
Kids, who use drugs, are constantly looking for new places to hide their stash of drugs from parents and others. From shoe boxes to drawers, any place in a teen’s bedroom is a hiding place. A new portable hiding place that some teens may use is an old iPod.
Teens have gutted out old iPods and used them as a way to hide their drugs from parents.  Some online forums can help a teen with this process. One forum user online went as far as to post the step-by-step process of prying the iPod open, and cleaning everything on the inside out.
Parents, if you buy your child a new iPod, find out what they are doing with the old one, because hopefully they aren’t using it for this.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Household Spice or Gateway Drug?

With kids constantly exploring and finding new ways to get high, parents need to keep another experimental supplement on their radar… Nutmeg.  According to ABC News (link to nutmeg story), this spice that is used in various cooked dishes can also be used as a hallucinogenic drug by kids.
When nutmeg is taken in large doses, it can cause one to hallucinate about 30 min. to an hour after consumption. The time elapse between use and the high can be deadly, because kids may overdose on nutmeg thinking they just didn’t use enough of the substance.
Short-term effects of nutmeg are fever, palpitations, nausea, convulsions, insomnia, body pains, and more.  Some long-term effects could be cancer (nutmeg contains safrole, which is a cancer causing compound), and liver problems.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Drugs101 featured on WBPH's "Taking the Initiative"

Last month, I was honored to be asked to sit in on a roundtable discussion on WBPH in Allentown, PA along with Bethlehem, PA Police Commissioner, Stuart Bedics, to recap our Drugs101 - What Parents Need to Know session that we presented in conjunction with the Bethlehem Drug Task Force.

This clip is the last 10 minutes of the 30 minute roundtable.

We discuss the effectiveness of drug education programs and give parents and teachers more insight into teen drug use indicators and trends.  I recommend SAP Team Leaders, parents, teachers and health education professionals concerned about drug use in their community watch the short clip.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lower Dauphin School District

It was great going back to Lower Dauphin Middle School on April 25th to present our Drugs 101 program.  This was the district's second time scheduling the presenttaion for their parents.  We previoulsy visited the district back in March of 2007.  It is nice to see schools bringing us back and being pro-active in educating their parents about today's most abused drugs.

We had approximately 37 parents attend the program.  A local police officer set up a display with drug paraphernalia and real drugs.  It was an extra bonus for the parents to see that night.  Kudos to the Lower Dauphin School District for such a great night! 

Methacton School District

On April 20th and 21st we visited Methacton School District outside of Philadelphia. The school district asked us to present the Drugs 101 to their parents on the 20th and the Drugs 101 In-Service for their staff the next morning. 

WOW! We had great turnouts for both presentations.  Approximately 75 parents attended the parent presentation and approximately 150 teachers/staff attended the in-service.  The conversations and comments from participants was very encouraging and we feel the programs definitely made an impact.

Thank you to the Methacton School District for being pro-active in the fight against drugs!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bath Salts should be banned in Pennsylvania

Many parents and teachers have already heard about the dangers of "bath salts" - a fairly new and still legal substance that is turning out to be a major issue with teen drug use in Pennsylvania.

I want every parent and teacher to watch this video about the loop holes that make this substance still available at convenience stores, head shops, and other retailers across the state.  This news clip about the dangers of bath salts comes from our friends at WFMZ out of Allentown in Berks County, PA:

This new teen trend of using these bath salts to get high is definitely something every parent and teacher needs to know.  Hope this tip helps.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prescription Drug Abuse

For those that didn't hear, the FDA released a surprising new report this week about prescription drug use.  The report states and approx. 1 in 5 Americans over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs for purposes other than why they were prescribed.

We actually tackle this topic during our Prescription Drug Abuse section of the Drugs 101 presenations.

Many parents (and teachers) look for the "usual suspects" of drug abuse in teens, i.e. alcohol, pot, meth, etc., but they don't consider that many young adults explore drug use by getting into their parents' prescription drugs.  That part of our presentation is always eye opening for the adults sitting in the audience who never considered their medicine cabinet as a danger ground for their kids to explore or use drugs.

Here's the link to the White House's FDA report on prescription drug abuse.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bethlehem Anti-Gang Task Force Presentation

Mock Bedroom Scene
This past Monday we were in Bethlehem, PA presenting at the Northampton Community College.  The Bethlehem Anti-Gang Task Force sponsored the presentation.  We had approximately 70 people attend.  They wanted to educate their parents on how gangs and drugs are connected. 

After the presentation, I had a SAP (Student AssistanceTeam) team leader approach me and request we come to her school.  We also had a high school Health and Phys Ed teacher ask about the Drugs 101 program for their high school.

Looking over the parent evaluations now....
"Liked the, skit and video...kept my interest" 
"Found the bedroom scene very informative"
"Great program!  Would like to see the school one (Teacher In-Service)"
We hope to go back and do more presentations very soon!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Parents learn to spot possible drug, alcohol use

Photo by Kate Penn.
Parents view our mock-teen-bedroom scene before the program starts
Sandy (my boss) and Marguerite (my talented colleague) gave one of our Drugs101 presentations to  over 100 parents at Northern Middle School in York County the other week.

Here's a link to the story about it that ran in The York Daily Record.

York Daily Record/Sunday News Reporter Amy Marchiano and Photographer Kate Penn came by to cover the event.  The photos on this post are Kate's from the actual event.

Thanks, Kate, for capturing these images of our drug education program for parents!

Here's a reposting of the story along with the official photos:


Parents learn to spot possible drug, alcohol use

For the Daily Record/Sunday News

York, PA - More than 100 parents attended a session Wednesday at Northern Middle School to gain more information about drug use.

This was the first time for the "Drugs 101" event, said Sylvia Murray, principal of the Carroll Township school. It was presented by the Susan P. Byrnes Health Education Center of York.

"We just want to educate parents," Murray said, adding she was pleased with the turnout.

Photo by Kate Penn:
Over 70 teen drug use indicators are used in our mock-bedroom
Those attending had the opportunity to look at a mock bedroom scene and see if they could spot any of the 70 items related to drug use. On average, about 30 to 40 items were spotted, as shown by adults raising their hands.

The items included a T-shirt with an angry snowman on it -- a coded reference to cocaine -- hollowed out CD cases that could be used to store drugs, and a scale.

Before the two individuals from the Byrnes Center were introduced, Murray and seventh-grade math teacher Troy Sauer spoke. Sauer said the community was great and so are the students. But "you can't fight what you don't know."

Several skits were presented, and information about gateway drugs -- such as alcohol and tobacco -- marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs and methamphetamines were discussed.

"It's never too early to start" to have discussions about drugs, said Sandy Gladfelter, one of the presenters.
Setting an example is important, they said. Whether it's that one beer or cigarette, what you're doing communicates signals to your children, they said. The items youngsters use can come from your home or from those they know, they said.

For example, "every single day about 2,500 kids start using prescription drugs for the first time," Gladfelter said.

Methamphetamines can be made with household items, too. Those who try them "can become addicted after just one hit," Marguerite Ferrara said.

If a young person tries a cigarette they can be "addicted in as little as ten cigarettes," she said. "There's no such thing as just a cigarette."

Photo by Kate Penn:  Our Drugs101 presentations are always interactive
Some parents who attended said they learned a lot.

"I thought it was excellent," said Debbie Chopka, a Dillsburg resident. She has children in the Northern York County School District. Learning the nicknames of some of the drugs and the warning signs was beneficial, she said.

Getting involved in your child's life, enforcing clear rules, being a positive role model and having your children choose friends wisely and staying informed matters, according to the presenters.

"You have to find your opportunities" to stay involved, Gladfelter said.


Friday, April 8, 2011

What Drugs Cause the Biggest Problems?

I had a high school principal call me yesterday. 

He started out by saying,
"I need a drug education program for my teachers as an In-Service for the 2011-2012 school year.  Your problem was recommended, but I was curious about which drugs you cover in the presentation?  We have a specific problem with a few drugs and I want to know if you could tailor the program to those issues for our school?"
This is exactly the type of question we love getting.  The answer is yes.

I told him,
"We're experts on alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, prescription drugs, tobacco, and inhalants.  You can select four of these for me to go more in-depth during the 90-minute presentation."

Drugs101 - What Parents Need to Know

As my first blog post, let me share the WGAL news clip about our Drugs101 - What Parents Need to Know program

This is a nice, short, visual overview of the drug education program.  It's a 90-minute, interactive, multi-media presentation that we bring to middle schools, high schools, community centers, and companies in the Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Mid-Atlantic region to help teachers and staff (ACT 48 In-Service Program), HR Directors and their employees, or parents in a particular community better understand the latest teen drug use indicators, trends and dangers.