Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What about parental responsibility?

A recent national study commissioned by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America reports that fewer parents than ever are talking with their teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

According to the 2006 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study: “Only half of parents, 54 percent, reported thoroughly discussing the use of drugs like heroin, cocaine and crack with their kids. Even more concerning is that a mere 36 percent of parents reported having in-depth conversations about abuse of prescription medications and only 33 percent have thoroughly discussed abuse of OTC cough and cold medicines with their teens.”

Teens today are at high risk to abuse the drugs they find right at home, in the medicine cabinet. And even scarier, parents are aware of the problem!

What is the answer? This isn’t just the schools’ problem. Education about the risks and dangers of abusing alcohol and drugs starts at home and parents need to take that responsibility seriously.

Of course, there are those of us who tried talking with our kids but they chose that road anyway.

So what's the solution? Anyone out there have an opinion on how to reduce the number of teens who start abusing alcohol and drugs they find at home?

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Is the NFL hypocritical about alcohol?

Saw an interesting item this week. Apparently suspended Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Odell Thurman may be sent to jail for violating the National Football League’s substance abuse policy. But the judge who has to decide his fate is accusing the league of hypocrisy in its punishment of Thurman.

Allegedly, Thurman, who had skipped a drug test and was arrested for drunk driving, had alcohol in his system. But Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge John Burlew pointed out that if the NFL wants to crack down on alcohol abuse, they should stop selling beer sponsorships and selling it at the stadiums. Of course, that means millions of dollars a year in revenue to the league.

What do you think? Is the NFL being hypocritical by having a policy against excessively drinking a substance that they sell and promote? Do they even care about alcohol abuse?

It can make for a thought-provoking discussion.

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On being part of the sandwich generation

It’s been an action-packed couple of weeks for me, and I didn’t have time to sit at the computer. A week after being away for a week, I’m still cleaning up hundreds of unopened messages in my work and personal email boxes.

I decided to take a road trip to visit my elderly mother. Thankfully, my sister lives near her and the trip confirmed what I already suspected. It helped to see Mom in her surroundings. We’ve known her memory is slipping very fast, and the changes I’ve observed in just eight months are alarming.

She’ll see a new doctor next month and wants to be tested for dementia, and as far as I’m concerned, it can’t be too soon.

During the first two days of my Florida trip I drove 1,200 miles, while receiving phone calls from my homeless son and daughter-in-law who were detoxing, hungry and having major car problems in Arizona’s 115-degree heat, all with nowhere to go.

A young man who's been in their shoes said if they were going to succeed in staying clean, they needed to be told what to do. They weren't capable of clear, rational thinking in those first days. So as I drove, my friend in Missouri researched family and social service organizations online for them to contact. But did you know homeless agencies are closed on weekends? Yes, at least in Arizona they are.

They survived that week of hunger, exhaustion, loneliness and reliance on the kindness of strangers and family, and are now safely starting over at the Kaiser Family Center. It’s a wonderful program helping homeless families with young children in Phoenix get back on their feet.

How reassuring it is to hear the difference in their voices as they find themselves and regain wholeness once again, attending Crystal Meth Anonymous meetings, working to rebuild a home, becoming productive members of society and responsible parents.

Each day, I still entrust them and the baby to God’s care. And I’ve added Mom to that list too. Yeah, I could definitely be the poster girl for the sandwich generation.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Addiction, recovery and a few good laughs

It sounds like a novel way to share one's story of addiction and recovery. The Comedy Addiction Tour is hitting the road, four men telling one story: "More is never enough."

Their recent debut was in New Orleans, where Mark Lundholm, Kurtis Matthews, Billy Robinson and Jesse Joyce told the audience about their own experiences with addiction and recovery. Their stories are sobering, but they poke fun at themselves.

You can check out a nine-minute YouTube clip at the tour's website.

What do you think? Is their comedy too irreverent? Are addiction and recovery too serious to be treated with humor?

Being able to laugh at yourself is a good thing. And it sounds like these guys have achieved a level of sanity and psychological health that make it possible for them to do just that.

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Making a difference in Yuma

The Yuma Sun reported a heartwarming story this weekend.

A group has been started to help those in the community who have been victimized by meth addicts. They trying to educate the parents, spouses and children of someone addicted to meth about how to tell if they're being victimized - and what to do next. In addition, they also want to serve those who are victims of crimes involving meth.

As I've read in articles from other parts of the country, people are so often reluctant to talk about it. Why is that so??

I applaud the efforts of the Yuma County Meth Nucleus Group and wish them much success in helping their community cope with the effects of this insidious drug.

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