Tag Archives: Talbot Partnership

Teen drug abuse: 14 mistakes parents make

imgresTeen drug abuse: 14 mistakes parents make

Talbot Partnership wants parents to know that they can do a lot more than some realize to help protect teens from drugs or alcohol. One key is avoiding simple mistakes, like these 14 cited by addiction specialist Dr. Joseph Lee, a spokesman for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and medical director the Hazelden Center for Youth and Family, an addiction treatment facility in Minneapolis.

  1. Failing to set expectations

Teens who know their parents disapprove of drug use are less likely to use – and vice versa. Dr. Lee says it’s best to let your kids know how you feel about drugs before they hit their teenage years.

  1. Ignoring mental health issues

More than two-thirds of young substance abusers suffer from mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and eating disorders. As a rule, substance abuse and mental health issues come together in young people. If your child undergoes an evaluation for drug abuse, make sure it includes a thorough mental health screening.

  1. Assuming experimentation is no big deal

Experimentation doesn’t necessarily lead to addiction, and some parents figure that there’s nothing especially worrisome about a child trying drugs or alcohol. In fact, even dabbling in substance abuse can cause big problems, such as car accidents, sexual assault, and serious overdoses. It’s not a normal rite of passage.

  1. Being dishonest about your drug use

Parents often feel uncomfortable discussing with their children their own experiences with drugs or alcohol.

There’s certainly no reason to wax nostalgic about the “glory days,” but Dr. Lee recommends being honest if kids ask. “I am not aware of research indicating that an informed discussion with kids about your drug use leads to them to use drugs,” he says.

  1. Blaming yourself (or your spouse)

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, and there’s no use in shouldering all the blame (or blaming your spouse) if a child has a drug or alcohol problem. Feeling guilty isn’t just unpleasant, it can complicate substance abuse treatment – by dividing the family just when it’s important to pull together as a team.

  1. Setting a bad example

Think teens simply don’t pay much attention to their parents? Research suggests otherwise. Parents should remember the power they have to positively influence their teen’s choices through their own behaviors.

  1. Being judgmental

Being firm is one thing, but “laying down the law” in a moralistic way can close off lines of communication.

Try not to be judgmental or to jump to conclusions. Do all you can to make your child feel comfortable about coming to you for help, if it’s needed.

  1. Failing to consider risk factors

Just as obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, smoking is a risk factor for teen substance abuse. Other substance abuse risk factors include early aggressive or disruptive behaviors, depression, ADHD, and anxiety. If your child has any risk factors, get help.

  1. Confusing intelligence with maturity

Just because a child is smart doesn’t mean he/she is mature enough to have good judgment about drugs and alcohol. The brain region responsible for judgment – the prefrontal cortex – doesn’t fully mature until a person is in his/her mid-20s.

  1. Not locking the medicine cabinet

Prescription drug abuse is a huge problem in the U.S. The CDC says one in five teen’s experiments with prescription drugs at some point, and most teens obtain the drugs not from drug dealers or the Internet but from friends and family. Be sure to keep track of all drugs in your home. If you no longer need pills, get rid of them. And pay attention to other substances around the house that have the potential for abuse, including solvents, aerosols, etc.

  1. Failing to consider family history

Like many diseases, addiction can run in families. If it runs heavily in yours, it might be a good idea to adopt a strict no-drinking policy in your home. There are no hard and fast rules for what is acceptable for all families, Dr. Lee says. And a teen can develop a substance abuse problem even in the absence of any family history of addiction.

  1. Not noticing changes in your teen

Changes in sleep, mood, friends, activity level, academic performance, weight, personal hygiene, etc. can all signal a substance abuse problem. So pay attention. Monitor your child’s welfare with particular care at times of transition – moving to a new school, onset of puberty, breakups with boyfriends or girlfriends, etc.

  1. Putting off getting help

Two million children between the ages of 12 and 17 need treatment for a substance abuse problem, according to a recent survey. But only about 150,000 get the help they need. If you think your teen may have a problem,have him/her assessed by a child psychiatrist, pediatrician, or another expert. Remember, prevention and early intervention are key.

  1. Not talking about driving

The top three causes of teen death in the U.S. are accidents, homicides, and suicides. Each of these problems is linked to substance abuse. Make sure your teen knows about the dangers of driving under the influence and pay attention to his/her whereabouts.

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-204_162-10007444.html?tag=page

For further information on the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.


Adolescent Depression and Substance Abuse

imagesAdolescent Depression and Substance Abuse

In light of the recent tragic death of Robin Williams we need to be more aware of our children’s mental health and substance use.  According to Suicide Prevention Education Alliance (SPEA) for most teens, the transition from child to adult is exciting, rocky and awkward.  Risk taking is a natural part of youth development.  And, while most of our children survive the teen years relatively unscathed, there are some who make negative choices that permanently affect their future.

The report goes on to say it is difficult to recognize if your child is suffering from depression and using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that one out of every five children suffers from some form of mental illness, most often depression. When our children hurt, they want something to make them feel better and their search could lead to drugs and alcohol.

But, use of alcohol and drugs will not end the pain of depression and left untreated, your child’s illness can worsen. Studies show the earlier our children use substances to medicate themselves, the more likely they are to become addicted. This combination of chemical dependency and major depression is referred to as “co-occurring disorders.”


Parents need to protect their child’s mental health as vigorously as they do their physicalhealth. While depression can occur at any time, it happens most commonly during adolescence.  And although half of all lifetime mental illness cases begin by age 14, only 20 percent of depressed children are treated by a professional.  Left untreated, depression is likely to reoccur and become progressively more severe.

Use of chemicals may be linked to your child’s depression. To distinguish between normal teenage angst and behaviors alerting you to a more serious problem, watch for the following symptoms of depression—

• Persistent sadness or anxiety

• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities

• Decline in school performance

• Feelings of hopelessness or desperation

• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or shame

• Change in sleeping patterns

• Changes in appetite or weight

• Decreased energy and fatigue

• Restlessness and irritability or increased anger

• Inability to concentrate or make decisions

• Increased alcohol and/or drug use

• Thoughts of suicide or wishing to be dead

Parents whose children have five or more of these symptoms lasting at least two weeks should have them assessed by a mental health professional to determine if they have a depressive illness.

Contact SPEA at 216-464-3471 or visit their website

For further information on the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.


Youth Substance Abuse Rates Increase During the Summer Months


imagesYouth Substance Abuse Rates Increase During the Summer Months

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), youth between the ages of 12 and 17 are far more likely to start using most substances during the summer than during other parts of the year.

On an average day in June and July, more than 11,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 use alcohol for the first time – December is the only other month with comparable levels. Throughout the rest of the year the daily average for first-time alcohol use ranges from 5,000 to 8,000 adolescents. In terms of first-time use of marijuana, more than 4,500 youth start using it on an average day in June and July, as opposed to about 3,000 to 4,000 youths during the other months.

“More free time and less adult supervision can make the summertime an exciting time for many young people, but it can also increase the likelihood of exposure to the dangers of substance abuse,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde.  “That is why it is critically important to take every opportunity we can throughout the year to talk to our young people about the real risks of substance abuse and effective measures for avoiding it, so they will be informed and capable of making the right decisions on their own.”

The tips below can assist parents to set the community-wide tone that underage drinking and drug use  are unsafe, unhealthy, and unacceptable.

  • Set Summertime Rules: Make clear your rules regarding unsupervised time spent with friends, as well as your expectations surrounding drinking, smoking and other risky behaviors.
  • Supervise: This can be challenging for parents of high school students; however, be physically present when you can. And when you can’t, try asking a neighbor to randomly check in.
  • Monitor: Know with whom and where your child is at all times. Randomly call and text your teen to check in, and don’t be afraid to check up on your child by calling another parent.
  • Engage: Provide some structure to your teen’s summer by helping him/her find a summer job or engaging him/her in a supervised activity (sports, camps, classes, etc.).
  • Team Up: Get to know the parents of your teen’s friends. Speak with them to ensure you have a unified and consistent no-use stance.
  • Stay Involved: Show your teen you care by taking time out of your busy schedule to do something fun and interactive together this summer (head to the movies, volunteer together, take a bike ride, etc.).
  • Communicate: Regardless of season, it is always a good time to talk to your teen about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Open (or maintain) the lines of communication and be your child’s trusted source of information.

Talbot Partnership advises that it is important to discourage children and teens from  alcohol and other drugs because it damages brains, increases their risk of addiction and can cause accidents that lead to an early death.

The younger people are when they start drinking, the more likely they are to have significant alcohol problems in their lifetime, including abuse and addiction, according to pediatrician Janet Williams, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

For further information on the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.


Parents – Talk With Your Kids About Beach Week

imagesParents – Talk With Your Kids About Beach Week

With Senior Week approaching for high school students, Talbot Partnership is looking to educate parents of high school juniors and seniors concerned about the dangers of underage drinking and the safety of their teenage children during Beach Week.

For many years, Beach Week has been the traditional celebratory trip for graduating seniors in the area. Students rent houses; stay in hotels or at family vacation homes in nearby Delaware and Maryland beach towns. Every June, thousands of recent high school graduates from Talbot County as well as Baltimore and Washington suburbs flock to the shore for a week of sand, sun, and new freedom.

But celebratory fun is not all that awaits the teens during the much anticipated Beach Week. Alcohol poisoning, sexual assault, robberies, and criminal records are among the pitfalls. According to Gary Pearce, Executive Director of Talbot Partnership, parents may think, “What’s the big deal? We’re sending them to college soon anyway,” But a beach town is nothing like a school campus where there are resident assistants, campus security, and class schedules to keep teens in check.

The beach is an “uncontrolled environment” with a large concentration of kids. Each year, hundreds of students make bad choices or are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Given the risks, if you are a parent with a child planning to attend Beach Week, it is imperative that you sit down and have an honest talk about it. Follow these tips to ensure that the trip can be both safe AND fun for your teen.

Let Your Child Known You Trust Them – Refrain from lecturing your teen. Instead, try to begin by asking what risks they expect to encounter on the trip and finding out how they plan to manage those situations.

Be clear on your expectations – Parents, you have a strong influence on your children’s behavior. Young people who believe their parents disapprove of substance use are less likely to use alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.

Demand to Know the Details – Often, graduating seniors rent large houses with even larger groups of kids. Make it a priority to know with whom your child will be travelling and with whom he/she will be staying. Make sure they will be spending their time with young men and women you trust, and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns about any particular individuals about whom you have concerns.

Set Check-In Times – Teens are notorious for not checking in with parents. Let your child know that doing so on this trip is unacceptable. Instead, work with them to come up with a check-in schedule that works best for both of you.

Offer to Pick Them Up, No Questions Asked – It happens way too often – something goes wrong, and teens don’t know what to do. The only thing they WON’T do is call their parents to ask for help, fearing that they will get in trouble. Invariably, the situation only gets worse. Let your child know that if they ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable that they can call you, and you will be there to pick them up.

Suggest a Parent Driver – Volunteer to drive your son or daughter to the beach along with their friends. Let them know that you have no intention of ruining their trip – instead, you just want to be their personal chauffeur for the trip down and back.

For additional information on what parents can do to help their children avoid the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.

Talbot Partnership Launches New Campaign

imgresTalbot Partnership Launches New Campaign

Talbot Partnership for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention has launched a new campaign directed at both parents and students encouraging communication, awareness and action to prevent further alcohol and drug related tragedies in our community. The Campaign is centered around the theme of reminding students to “Don’t stand by and watch your friend make a bad choice in the event of drinking and driving, binge drinking, or overdosing. Think about what your friend means to you and take them home or get them help.” The messages will be e-mailed to 11th and 12th grade students around prom and graduation.

A similar advertising campaign will involve a series of ads directed at parents. These messages will focus on “You taught your children how to swim and keep them safe and alive, have you talked to them about drinking and driving, binge drinking, or experimenting with drugs?”

While the first step in prevention is to try to discourage youth from engaging in dangerous behaviors, we know that this does not always stop kids from experimenting with alcohol and other drugs. The campaign, therefore, is also intended to encourage youth to take action to protect friends and others in the event of ill advised or life threatening situations.

For further information on the dangers of marijuana and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067 or info@talbotpartnership.org. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.


April is Alcohol Awareness Month

images-1April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Each April since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. According to Gary Pearce, Executive Director of Talbot Partnership, alcohol misuse and abuse still have a tremendous impact on our country. As prom and graduation season are beginning to unfold, April is a particularly important month for parents to be aware of the dangers of underage drinking.

Consider these facts:

• In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – one every 51 minutes (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2012).

• Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s young people, more than tobacco or illicit drugs, and underage alcohol use alone costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., 2012).

• More than 14 million people in this country are currently living with what can be defined as an addiction to alcohol.

• Each year, more than 100,000 people die as a result of alcohol-related issues.

• Every year, more than 13,000 people die as a result of liver disease related to alcoholism

Alcohol impairs judgment when consumed and can lead to drinking and driving, unintended sexual activity, violence, or other dangerous behaviors. Alcohol abuse can lead to long-term health issues like cardiovascular disease, cancer of the throat, liver, or mouth, anxiety and depression, dementia, liver disease, and much more.

As indicated by these statistics, alcohol is still creating a widespread problem of serious personal, physical, social and economic consequences. . The younger people are when they start drinking, the more likely they are to have significant alcohol problems in their lifetime, according to Pearce.

For further information on the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.




Substance Abuse affects Family, Schools, and Friends

imagesSubstance Abuse affects Family, Schools, and Friends

Substance abuse can have a wide ranging impact on the family unit as teens may become more hostile, and their decision-making becomes impaired. They set bad examples for younger siblings and often create hostility to the family as a whole.

Studies also show that drug/alcohol user’s academic performance is often impaired, along with his or her level of responsibility – such as skipping class, failing to complete assignments, etc.

Depending on the drug, some might say they feel pleasant or relaxed. However, in many cases, these feelings are often followed by even more powerful sensations, such as depression, anxiety, nausea, confusion, lack of control, paranoia, guilt, embarrassment, hangovers, loneliness, and cravings for more drugs.

In addition to the mental, behavioral, and health-related effects, drugs have social consequences. These can include lying to and losing the trust of friends and family; performing poorly in school; quitting academic, athletic, or social activities; losing self control, making bad decisions like drugged or drunk driving; getting pregnant; becoming violent or placing yourself at risk to be a victim of violence; and abandoning old friendships in order to be around people who also use drugs.

The prospect of drug use frightens many parents and with good reason. But many parents mistakenly believe there is nothing they can do to protect their children. While parents cannot completely prevent their children’s eventual exposure to alcohol and other drugs, there are steps parents can take to reduce the potential risks.

  • Provide guidance and clear rules about not using drugs.
  • Spend time with your child.
  • Do not use tobacco or other drugs yourself.

Drug abuse prevention starts with parents learning how to talk with their children about difficult topics. Parents need to know that they are the strongest influence that their children have.

For further information on the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.



Health Risks of Synthetic Drugs

synthetic-drugsHealth Risks of Synthetic Drugs

There’s a good chance that most parents are only familiar with a couple of types of synthetic drugs – Spice (also known as K2) and bath salts. The fact is that the list of dangerous, illicit synthetic drugs on the market continues to grow rapidly. 51 new synthetic cannabinoids were identified in 2012, compared to just two in 2009

Synthetic substances that mimic marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs are making users across the nation seriously ill, causing seizures and hallucinations and even killing some people.

With alcohol and marijuana, parents know what symptoms to look for in their kids. The newest substances — synthetic drugs — can create a wider variety of symptoms that parents sometimes don’t know to look for. Some signs parents can look for to help determine if your child is using synthetic marijuana can include: agitation, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, loss of control, pale skin, and excessive sweating.

Similar to the adverse effects of cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine, synthetic cathinone (an amphetamine-like stimulant ) use is associated with increased heart rate and blood pressure, chest pain, extreme paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, and violent behavior, which causes users to harm themselves or others.

Synthetics drugs are formulated in chemical and pharmaceutical labs around the world. Many substances were originally developed as possible new prescription drugs but were shelved because of bad side effects or because they did not do the job they were intended to do.

These drugs can be purchased from drug dealers who work with smugglers, or they can easily be purchased online. They sound like something you might find on the fragrance aisle at Target, but these are actually dangerous drugs masked as harmless fragrances, sold in convenience stores and online. There are many websites offering to sell these “research chemicals” to anyone with the money to buy them.

For further information on the dangers of Synthetic drugs, contact at 410-819-8067 or info@talbotpartnership.org. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.

Talbot Partnership Sponsored Holiday Breakfast

TP-2013-Holiday---Robinson,-Powell,-NealTalbot Partnership Sponsored Holiday Breakfast

Talbot Partnership Celebrates Community Efforts to Prevent Substance Abuse at Holiday Breakfast

Over 70 people representing a wide range of community organizations, public agencies, and government attended Talbot Partnership’s annual holiday breakfast at William Hill Manor in Easton.  During the meal, guests shared their efforts in preventing substance abuse in Talbot County.

Talbot Partnership, which was founded in 1991 as a community coalition, encourages the community to recognize the problems and implement solutions related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse by implementing policies, promoting early intervention programs and building a community culture that favors drug-free youth. More than 80 individuals, agencies and organizations from all segments of the community are members of the coalition.  For further information about how you can become involved, call 410-819-8067 or visit www.talbotpartnership.org

Pictured left to right are Cardeaner Robinson, MD Energy Assistance Division, Neighborhood Service Center; Pastor Greg Powell, Trinity Cathedral; and Marilyn Neal, Executive Director, Neighborhood Service Center.


Drugs and Alcohol Increase the Risk of Suicide

clip_image002[2] (59 x 72)What’s one of the biggest risk factors for suicide? According to a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration), the answer is substance abuse.

In the U.S. alone, suicide kills more than 34,000 people a year. That’s the equivalent of a death by suicide every 16 minutes. In addition to the tragedy of lives lost, suicide costs the Nation almost $12 billion in lost income.

According to the SAMHSA, a growing body of evidence suggests that alcohol and drug abuse are second only to depression and other mood disorders when it comes to risk factors for suicide. In one study, for example, alcohol and drug abuse disorders were associated with a six-fold increase in the risk of suicide attempts. And substance abuse and mental disorders often go hand-in-hand, the paper emphasizes.

Another study by the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) the vast majority (79%) of substance overdose suicides are related to prescription drugs.

According to Talbot Partnership for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention, the State of Maryland and local mental health and prevention organizations are working much closer to promote connectedness between health, mental health, and substance abuse to build a safety net for substance abuse and suicidal individuals.

For additional information on what parents can do to help their children avoid the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.