If you examine the trends of illicit drug abuse in the US, it’s usual to find that the peaks show up in young adulthood and then gradually drop off as the population ages. In the last several years, however, statistics show that more and more older adults are abusing illicit drugs or prescription drugs. Since detection of illicit drug use and rehabilitation efforts are generally more geared around younger citizens, the older drug-abusing population can be overlooked.
Health services in Europe are facing the same substance abuse problems as their population ages. In the twentieth century, the number of Europeans 65 and older tripled. It’s estimated that by 2028, more than 25% of Europe’s population will be 65 or older.
A significant factor in the use of illicit drugs or abuse of prescription drugs among this age group is that this is the generation that saw large increases in substance abuse in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As this generation ages, they may lack the compunctions of earlier generations toward drug abuse.
Comparison of Recent Reports Shows the Increases
A recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that 4.8 million older Americans (or 5.2 percent of those 50 and above) abused an illicit or prescription drug. This number was derived by combining statistics from 2007 to 2009. This breaks down further to 6.9% of men over 50 and 3.8% of women.
Perhaps the best understanding of how this problem is increasing is to examine the increase in the percentage of older adults abusing drugs. To look at this statistic, one just needs to compare the recent SAMSHA report with an earlier one that uses 2002-2003 statistics.
2007-2009: 6.9 % of older American men abused drugs; 3.8% of women
2002-2003: 2.3% of older American men abused drugs; 1.4% of women
Thus this drug abuse statistic is well on its way to tripling in just a few years.
Another report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health estimated that when you add in alcohol abuse, the percentage of older Americans struggling with substance abuse increases to 17%. Older citizens are challenged with some unique problems and some common to many age groups, such as isolation, loss of friends and family members, reduction in professional or social status, loneliness and boredom.
Adding to the danger is that older adults may not be able to process drugs and alcohol as quickly as a younger person. They may build up an overdose of a drug through repeated doses that are too close together, even though at a younger age, they could have tolerated those dosages.
Older Family Members Need the Same Solution as Young
Drug or alcohol abuse by an older adult may be a little more subtle than abuse by a younger person. They may not be losing jobs, fencing stolen goods and getting arrested, like a younger person might be. Family members may need to monitor alcohol supplies and pill counts to detect abuse, and consider substance abuse if mental or physical conditions deteriorate.
But there’s no age limit on improving quality of life. At Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, older adults who found themselves addicted to alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana or other substances have come to find recovery. Sometimes the problem was long-standing and sometimes it was of recent origin. The Narconon program provides sobriety no matter how the problem arose.
In this long-term residential drug rehab program, a thorough detoxification program enables each person to flush out the drug toxins that remain after substance abuse, lodged in fatty tissues, and that have been found to contribute to foggy, slow thinking. This service routinely helps reduce cravings and generally brightens one’s outlook.
After that, the life skills component enables each person to learn how to improve his (or her) condition in life and make all-important drug-free decisions in the future.
The result is that seven out of ten graduates go on to live lives free from substance abuse. It does not matter how old or young the addicted person is, Narconon can help provide a drug-free future. To find out how the Narconon drug rehab program can help your family, call today: 1-800-775-8750.
It’s one of the newest drugs of abuse on the market: a combination of cannabis-like synthetic chemicals sprayed on herbs and referred to generically as Spice. It may be sold with the names Spice or it may be called K2 or Red Devil Nugz. It’s often sold in convenience stores, sometimes near military bases. Maybe for some people the drug results in a pleasant experience but for others, it results in a psychotic episode that can last hours or days.
Like many club drugs, Spice is the result of chemists and drug dealers trying to stay ahead of law enforcement. By just changing a chemical formula a little bit, a substance can be sold to those looking to get high but be legal simply because it does not exactly meet the technical description of the drugs defined in state and federal law. Until legislation can catch up by outlawing a particular formula that gains popularity, some states can prosecute sellers and users with the Federal Analog Act. In other words, drugs that are essentially the same as illegal drugs can still be prosecuted under the same laws.
The military has long had a zero-tolerance to illicit drug use. It is generally the procedure to dismiss any airman, soldier or sailor that is caught using any illicit drug. In the case of Spice, it was a little more difficult at first, because there was no drug test for a long time after the product began to be found on ships and bases. But there is now. Still, most dismissals result from the drug being found in the possession of personnel.
The chemicals that have been banned don’t have names that would make sense to anyone but a chemist. For example, in March 2011, the following substances and several others were specifically made illegal in the US:
5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-[(1ÊR,Ê3ÊS)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (cannabicyclohexanol; CP-47,497 C8 homologue).
These ingredients are five to 200 times stronger than marijuana. The idea was to create a synthetic cannabis, one that would not show up on a drug test.
Drug Makes Some Users Dangerously Psychotic
Adverse effects of using Spice can include seizures, vomiting, extreme agitation and delusions resulting in irrational and dangerous behavior such as running down the middle of the street tearing one’s clothes off. Some people babble incoherently.
Delusional behavior resembles that of people on the drug PCP and in some cases, comes and goes from one minute to the next. It can last as long as eight days and in a few cases, seems to trigger a lasting schizophrenia.
More Than 1,100 Military Personnel Investigated in 2011
ust two years ago, there was little heard about this drug, but that all changed as negative effects of the drug began to be observed in military personnel. A story published on December 30, 2011 on the site www.navytimes.com reported that more than 1,100 troops and sailors had been investigated for Spice use in the prior year.
This report stated that 700 Marines were investigated and those found guilty were kicked out. The Air Force has punished 497 airmen in 2011, an increase over the 380 who were disciplined in 2010. It was not stated whether these personnel were dismissed or not. The Army stated that it had treated 119 soldiers for use of this drug but did not publish investigation or dismissal numbers.
Navy Has Been Most Aggressive in Fighting this Problem
Investigations on some of the Navy’s ships have resulted in scores of sailors being dismissed. Late in 2011, it was announced that twenty-eight sailors would be dismissed from the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and that 49 more from the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson were involved in a Spice supply ring and would also be dismissed. Other sailors on an attack submarine and floating dry dock were busted for use or possession of the drug.
The Air Force has begun screening for Spice along with screening for other illicit drugs. The Air Force, Navy and Marines have initiated anti-Spice campaigns to let personnel know that it is now an illegal drug and they can be dismissed if they are found possessing or using it.
Like other illicit drugs, Spice is addictive. Many people will require drug rehab to get free of the drug and return to a sober, responsible lifestyle again. At the Narconon drug rehabilitation centers around the world, individuals recover from addiction to new synthetics like Spice or the drugs that have been around for hundreds of years, like opium and alcohol. Once the problem is addiction, no matter what the substance is, Narconon has the answer with its long-term, residential program.
By helping each person detoxify the residual toxins left behind after drug abuse and by teaching each person drug-free decision-making skills, the Narconon program enables 70% of its graduates to achieve a lasting, sober life. If you care for someone who is struggling with addiction, find out how Narconon can help. Call 1-800-775-8750 today.
Innovative sauna detox restoring health for Utah police exposed to methamphetamine, also used by Narconon.
Law enforcement officers and first responders who protect us from drug dangers are themselves prone to toxic exposures and suffer health conditions all the way up to seemingly permanent disability. A recently published paper highlights the impressive results obtained by scores of Utah police officers who participated in a unique sauna detoxification protocol developed by L. Ron Hubbard.
As dangerous as methamphetamine is to the addict or the manufacturer, it is just as perilous to the community in which it is brewed and sold. Illicit meth labs have been making innocent people sick for decades, including children of meth cooks, police, firemen and other emergency personnel.
For decades, officers entered illicit labs dressed in regular clothing, picking up drug-making equipment with their bare hands and putting it in their vehicles. In the late 1990s, as concerns about the hazards of exposure to meth and the highly toxic chemicals that are used to manufacture it grew, procedures and equipment to protect personnel were vastly improved. However, it became apparent that officers involved in raids were developing health problems that were not experienced by their colleagues.
Humanitarian project in Utah offered help to disabled or injured Utah police
After the first lab was discovered in 1985, the State of Utah suffered skyrocketing meth lab seizures (that is, raiding drug laboratories in-operation.) Lab seizures hit 97 by 1992 and then rose to 242 by 1999, as reported by the Utah Department of Public Safety. Legislators finally changed the laws to make precursor chemicals less available and seizures dropped to 15 by 2006. But by then, hundreds of officers were already suffering a long list of symptoms related to their exposure to methamphetamine in the line of duty.
Health symptoms most commonly experienced by the officers included fatigue, insomnia, headaches, personality changes and memory loss. For years, there was little that could be done for these officers other than alleviating the symptoms with medications. But starting in 2007, an innovative sauna-based detoxification program was implemented in an effort to flush toxic contaminants out of the officers’ bodies and bring about improvements in health.
Paper on sauna detox program for police published in Toxicology and Industrial Health.
The results of the sauna sweat-out program were gratifying. According to a paper published and now on-line, sixty-six male officers and three females were recruited into a Utah sauna detoxification program that ran from 2007 to 2010. Based on information collected at the start of their participation, the health problems they were suffering were, among others:
- Fatigue 96%
- Insomnia: 91%
- Headaches: 90%
- Personality changes: 78%
- Numbness in hands and/or feet: 77%
- Memory loss: 77%
- Allergies: 75%
- Poor concentration: 75%
- Back pain: 71%
- Skin irritation: 68%
- Anxiety/depression, 65%
Each person then went through a carefully supervised period of detoxification and then was interviewed to determine changes. By the time the officers completed the detoxification program, they reported large improvements across the board.
Detoxification program combines exercise, nutritional supplements and sauna – also used by Narconon centers for drug rehabilitation
The detoxification protocol used in Utah was developed by L. Ron Hubbard, American humanitarian and author also known for his development of Dianetics and Scientology. In one secular use, this detoxification protocol has been used to help over 1,100 rescue workers at the World Trade Center recover from exposure to the toxic chemicals released in that disaster. The protocol has also been used secularly in Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers around the world where it helps flush out stored toxic drug residues.
To take part in this protocol, each participant exercises at a moderate level, consumes a strict regimen of vitamins and minerals, and spends repeated periods in a moderate-heat sauna, while drinking adequate amounts of water and replacing lost salts and minerals. Daily changes and manifestations are carefully recorded and monitored by experienced personnel. In the Utah test, after about a month’s time, the officers experienced significant changes in health, personality and energy that indicated that they had achieved the maximum gains from this program. When the officers’ evaluations of emotional well-being, energy, lack of pain and general health were compared to US norms for those categories, they went from far below normal (before)to above normal (after sauna) in every category – sometimes far above normal.
“This study provides more evidence of the precise reason that the Hubbard detoxification protocol is invaluable for use in drug rehabilitation,” stated Clark Carr, president of Narconon International, a non-profit organization with drug rehabilitation and prevention centers across the world. “Those in recovery at our centers routinely report that this detoxification process provides improvements in energy, outlook on life, and that they can think more clearly. They often tell us that their cravings reduce or even disappear. That’s what happens when you help toxic addicts flush out drug residues persisting in fatty or other tissue.”
The Hubbard detoxification protocol has been used secularly in Narconon centers for decades and is also used for relief of industrial and emergency worker contamination. Lab tests and individual reports may be used to monitor improvements. When the procedure is applied precisely, it routinely results in outcomes similar to those found in the Utah test.
“Unfortunately, we are hardly done with methamphetamine production and use,” commented Mr. Carr. “With the popularization of the ‘Shake and Bake’ method of production in small, do-it-yourself, portable ‘labs’, we are again seeing escalating meth lab seizures. By employing the Hubbard detoxification method, we have, however, a sure way of helping addicts and emergency responders alike find improved health again.”
For more information on the Narconon drug and alcohol program, call the international offices of Narconon at 1-800-775-8750 or visit http://www.narconon.org.
For the text of the Utah police officers” detoxification project report:
Other references on meth use and meth labs:
Narconon Addiction Treatment Admissions for Prescription Drugs Reflect Rising Abuse and Overdose Problems in America
Across the country, the number of people entering Narconon drug rehab centers shows increases in prescription drug addiction, matching the national pattern of growth in this category of abuse, treatment and overdose deaths.
According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overprescribing and abuse of prescription drugs have been climbing. Following right behind those statistics are addiction and overdose death statistics. While a decade or so ago, the main drugs killing people through overdoses were drugs like heroin and cocaine, these days far more people are being killed by prescription drugs – drugs that were intended to make life bearable for people with chronic pain or other serious conditions.
Mirroring this shift is the pattern of admissions to addiction treatment at Narconon drug recovery centers across the country. In the thirteen rehabs in the US that use the standardized Narconon addiction treatment protocol, the common pattern is an increase in the number of prescription drug addicts, as many as half of all admissions at some centers.
“The number of people needing to recover from prescription drug addiction – especially painkillers – has reached epidemic levels,” warned Bobby Wiggins, drug education specialist for the international headquarters of Narconon, located in Los Angeles. “More young people are abusing these drugs as well, so much so that abuse of prescription drugs threatens to overtake the use of marijuana by teens.” Mr. Wiggins cited the National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which reported in that in 2009, nearly a million 14 and 15 year olds had abused a prescription drug at some point in their young lives. This is nearly eleven percent of all children of this age.
“Young people see their parents using these medications and then may see the drugs being abused in television shows and movies. Young people who feel they are stressed or anxious or are just curious or bored may take a few pills for their own use,” Mr. Wiggins explained. “But as the young people get older and have more means and freedom, this occasional use can become abuse and addiction very easily.”
The CDC report reviewed the number of drug overdose deaths in the US between 1999 and 2008 that were related to prescription drugs and then noted that opiate pain reliever use contributed to the largest number of drug deaths. Out of 36,450 drug overdose deaths in 2008, a specific drug or drugs were named in 27,153 deaths. Opiate pain relievers were responsible for nearly 74% of these deaths. Non-Hispanic whites and American Indian/Alaska Natives were the hardest hit, with three times the deaths of Hispanic whites or African Americans.
According to SAMHSA, there were 142,000 people admitted to addiction treatment facilities for problems with pain reliever addiction in 2009. But of all those who need treatment for addiction, fewer than 10% actually get treatment. Of those who did not receive treatment, only about one in twenty felt that they needed help with addiction. The remainder did not see the problem even though they fit the criteria for dependence or addiction. This means that there are probably around a million and a half Americans struggling with addiction to OxyContin, Roxicodone, hydrocodone (sold as Lortab, Lorcet or Vicodin), morphine, methadone, or the many other drugs on this list.
“The solution to this problem is multi-faceted,” reported Mr. Wiggins. “The CDC encourages the states to implement greater controls over opiate prescribing. The public must be better educated on the dangers of prescription drug abuse and there must be effective drug rehabilitation available.”
SAMSHA data gathering also found that in 2008, nearly four times as many of those people entering treatment for the second, third or more times reported pain reliever abuse as repeat admissions did in 1999. This follows the trend of broader prescribing and abuse followed by higher numbers of those addicted.
Mr. Wiggins concluded, “The cycle of addiction is broken when treatment eliminates the key factors that have been discovered at Narconon: guilt, cravings and depression.” At Narconon rehab centers around the world, seven out of ten graduates remain drug-free after they go home, whether they are getting help for alcohol, heroin, cocaine or prescription pain relievers.
Holidays, birthday parties and other celebrations that often include use of alcohol can present special dangers to young people who are inexperienced in drinking. They may not have developed good judgment on when to stop drinking and thus may consume such an overdose that they never wake up from that alcohol-induced stupor.
There may be no death in the world that is more preventable than an alcohol poisoning death. But media records show that the alcohol poisoning deaths keep occurring.
Young people, in particular students on college campuses where the local culture seems to demand drinking, kill themselves every year just from overdoses of alcohol. But if you add those killed in alcohol-related accidents or injuries, the numbers get even higher.
Like Jason Wren of the University of Kansas. In March, 2009, Jason went to dinner with friends and consumed several pitchers of margaritas, then went to his fraternity house where he drank as many as 12 beers. His fraternity brothers put him in bed to sleep off the drunk but he never woke up.
And there was Samantha Spady of Colorado State University. She started drinking before a big football game and then continued drinking at a fraternity house. After her death, her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tested at .436 percent. (The legal driving limit is .08 percent.)
As for alcohol-fueled accidents, there’s almost too many to choose from. The accident can be as simple as Jeremy Stoltzfus’s fall after attending the Gator Bowl in 2010. After drinking heavily during the game, his life ended when he hit his head after a fall in the street. And there’s Devon Arnold who went to a Denver Nuggets game in 2010 and apparently decided to hop aboard a train afterwards. He died next to the railroad tracks.
Birthdays and holidays can be prime time for alcohol overdoses. Steve Saucedo lost his life after a drinking contest during Spring Break. And Adam Boncela of Ohio State died on his twenty-first birthday, due to a .37 percent BAC. According to a guide from the State of California, death can occur anywhere between .35 percent and .5 percent.
Young people around the drinker may not know about alcohol poisoning and may just think that the person is drunk. “Sleeping it off” can lead to an alcoholic coma and death, either death from the suppression of breathing or death because the person vomits while unconscious and inhales the material.
The best way to avoid death or injury from alcohol poisoning is to not drink too much. The amount of alcohol the average body can handle of course depends on a number of factors including how much food was eaten and the person’s overall health. But generally, four standard sized drinks will bring a 150-lb. male to the legal driving limit. (A standard sized drink is one shot of liquor, one beer, one glass of wine, etc.)
A person begins to lose driving skills even before the legal limit is reached, especially an underage person who may not have a lot of experience driving. Please note that in many states, the tolerated BAC for an underage driver is NONE.
When alcohol is drunk rapidly, as may happen is a party atmosphere or when pledging a fraternity or on a dare perhaps, a person can drink far more than they can handle without realizing it. It takes a while for the alcohol to hit a person’s bloodstream so a young person could down a few shots and then decide to down a few more because they feel no effects. When all the alcohol makes its way to the bloodstream, that person could get very ill.
Anyone who is going to a place where drinking will occur should know what to look for and what to do when those signs are observed. Watch for these signs:
- Stupor, coma, unresponsiveness.
- Slow (fewer than eight per minute) or irregular breathing.
- Low body temperature, cold or blue skin, lips or nails.
- Person can’t walk or can barely move.
These can be signs of alcohol poisoning.The person must be rushed to the hospital or emergency medical services should be called. Don’t ever leave them alone. This can be a matter of life or death. Simply putting the person to bed or arranging them in some “safe” position is completely inadequate.
A person who drinks to excess and can’t control the habit has crossed the line to alcoholism. The key factor is this: Are they experiencing damage to relationships, goals, health, life or in other areas but they keep on drinking? This defines dependence on alcohol. To break this destructive habit, an effective rehab is needed.
At the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers around the world, people of all ages learn how to enjoy themselves and achieve goals without the use of alcohol. It’s not Narconon offers a complete course of detoxification to assist in healing the body and life skills training to help the person build a new, sober life.
Call a drug rehab counselor today.
When someone you care about needs help recovering from alcohol dependence or addiction, contact the international offices of Narconon at 800-775-8750 to find out how lasting sobriety can be achieved.
Seizures of Amphetamine -Type Drugs Rocket around the World, Revealing Proliferation of Production, Sales and Abuse, According to UN
Narconon International President reports that the Narconon drug rehabilitation program helps offset growth in amphetamine-type stimulant abuse by providing addicts a way to recover effectively.
Around the world, it’s cocaine, heroin, marijuana and prescription drug abuse that normally grab the headlines. It appears that more attention should be paid to amphetamine-type stimulants. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) are the up-and-coming drugs across the world, attracting users faster than any other type of drug.
Clark Carr, President of Narconon International, commented, “Addictive and damaging amphetamine-type drugs have long been the scourge of the Western United States, and now they have picked up speed in their distribution to new regions of the world. The only good news to this situation is that Narconon® has been successful rehabilitating such stimulant addicts.”
The new UN report, the 2011 Global ATS Assessment, observed that ATS drugs such as ecstasy, amphetamines and methamphetamine are now the second most widely used drug after cannabis. What makes the fight against these drugs harder is that they are completely synthetic, so they don’t need proximity to growing fields of opium poppies or cannabis. A drug manufacturer just needs a supply of precursor chemicals, plentifully manufactured in China, India and other areas. Even if a precursor chemical is not available, it’s possible to get other chemicals that are more readily available and synthesize the precursor.
ATS have been typically manufactured close to consumer markets, meaning that little transport is involved. This makes it harder to track and seize the drugs. As international organized crime groups seize this growing opportunity to reap profits from the addiction and destruction of others, the patterns of production and trafficking have begun to shift. With the involvement of organized crime groups, international manufacturing and distribution networks are being developed that share suppliers, resources and personnel.
The UN report notes increases in ATS manufacture and use in Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia, countries that were previously transit countries for this type of drug. Countries with criminal drug manufacturing groups that seem to be jumping on the bandwagon include Japan, Republic of Korea and Thailand plus several countries in West Africa.
In Southeast Asia, seizures of pills made of ATS rocketed up from 32 million in 2008 to 93 million in 2009 and 133 million in 2010. The fact that ATS can be ingested and doesn’t need to be injected makes it more popular with people who associate the drugs with a modern and dynamic lifestyle, or for people who feel like they need these drugs to cope with long hours or extended physical labor, such as truck drivers.
“Many people see little hazard in using these drugs as part of a club or music scene,” said Mr. Carr. “They underestimate the dangers and addictiveness of the drugs. ATS can be very quickly addictive for many people. Indeed, methamphetamine and ecstasy use can in some cases create severe cravings after just one use. It is possible to need drug rehabilitation services after just a short period of use of ATS”.
Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers located on six continents offer a long-term program that has good success with those addicted to ATS. One of the key features of this program is a sauna sweat-out detoxification procedure that enables the recovering addict to flush out drug toxins that remain behind after drug use. These residual toxins have been found to have multiple negative effects in body and mind.
When residues are flushed out using a combination of nutritional supplements, moderate exercise and time spent in a low-heat sauna, life can recover the brightness that was lost during drug use. This process is called the Narconon New Life Detoxification Program and is part of every person’s drug recovery at a Narconon center.
“One of the most damaging and dangerous effects of ATS addiction is that the person trying to achieve sobriety is hounded by long-term drug cravings,” added Mr. Carr. “The crushing fatigue and depression that follow stopping these stimulants are also deterrents to long lasting sobriety”.
“Fortunately, cravings, fatigue and depression are no match for the Narconon drug rehabilitation program. As residues from these drugs are flushed out, recovering addicts report restored ability to think clearly and improved mood and greatly reduced cravings. Around the world, seven out of ten Narconon graduates remain sober after they go home, even those recovering from ATS addiction.”
Internationally, the problem will be solved by putting international crime organizations out of business, by educating young people on why they should avoid drug use and by rehabilitating those who get trapped in addiction. Narconon centers provide education as well as rehabilitation to prevent young people from becoming drug users as the United Nations continues to bring international attention to this growing problem.
For more information on the Narconon Rehab and Detox Program, please visit www.narconon.org
For immediate assistance call 1800-775-8750
Narconon Rehab Facilities and Education Centers joined with millions in the longest running anti-drug effort of parents and youth in the US
The Partnership at Drug Free Org reports that 85 million people in the United States are impacted by drug abuse. Knowing that far too many young people are poised to push those numbers higher, drug addiction specialists at Narconon Vista Bay are all too aware that cutting the demand for drugs is crucial. They have risen to the occasion by running an aggressive drug prevention program that reaches deep into their surrounding community.
At a special ceremony during the annual observance of Red Ribbon Week 2011, their work was recognized by a mayoral proclamation presented by Daniel Dodge, Mayor of the City of Watsonville. The proclamation described their continued contribution and efforts to educate Santa Cruz County youth in the dangers of using drugs and alcohol through a program reported to be reducing drug use by adolescents by 30% to 50%. The proclamation was received by the President of Narconon Vista Bay, Daniel Manson, on behalf of staff and executives.
Red Ribbon week with its powerful message urging youth to stay drug free has captured the imagination and dedication of the entire United States. With its roots in the state of California, it is not surprising that a long-established California drug prevention organization based in Los Angeles County has been a powerful force in carrying it forward. Tony Bylsma, lead drug prevention instructor at Narconon Drug Prevention and Education (NNDPE), was honored by San Fernando Valley Los Angeles Councilmember Tony Alarcon in recognition of “dedication and outstanding contribution.” Bylsma has personally helped over ten thousand Los Angeles area students to decide to keep drugs out of their lives.
Another place where Red Ribbon Week took on special meaning was at the Narconon facility in South Texas. Here Red Ribbon Week extended throughout the entire month of October. 4,411 students and 400 parents received drug prevention training by center staff reaching parents and youth in Harlingen, San Benito, Brownsville, La Feria, and Los Fresnos, including the Amador Rodriquez Juvenile Boot Camp, the Harlingen Boys & Girls Club, Cameron County Juvenile Justice Intense Supervision Probation, as well as several elementary and middle schools, a total of 18 locations.
For more than two and a half decades the last week in October has been set aside for American youth and adults coast to coast to renew their resolve to keep drugs out of their lives. To show their commitment they display red satin ribbons on clothing, buildings, vehicles and more to forward a tradition of acknowledging those who have sacrificed their lives to keep drugs from flowing into the country and compromising neighborhoods. It is a tradition that dates back to 1985 when “Kiki Clubs” were first formed in Calexico by current Director of Teen Challenge in Los Angeles County, Henry Lozano, after the brutal torture and execution of his high school friend, Agent Enriqué “Kik” Camarena (Drug Enforcement Administration). Camarena was on the verge of busting a multi-billion dollar drug pipeline when he was kidnapped outside his office by Cartel thugs in Guadalajara Mexico.
Bobby Wiggins, senior Drug Prevention Specialist at Narconon International says, “Camarena’s tragic death and the campaign launched in his memory by Mr. Lozano has been a key strategy to cut the impact of drugs on neighborhoods for more than 25 years. “We can’t stop ruthless cartels. That is the domain of law enforcement, but we charge all of our centers in every state to take effective actions to cut off the demand for drugs effective actions to cut off thedemand for drugs. By reaching out to youth before they are introduced to drugs we work to build their resolve to keep drugs out of their lives and the lives of their friends.”
For more information on the Narconon Drug Prevention and Education Programs visit:
Narconon® staff regularly encounter teenage enrollees whose lives have gone awry due to addiction. Enrollments include a steady flow of young people who have fallen into unhealthy patterns of using and abusing drugs and alcohol according to Bobby Wiggins, director of Drug Prevention at Narconon International.
When looking for causes, a significant contributor to increased addiction amongst adolescents turns out to be parents who are not paying enough attention. “Assuming that sons and daughters are not at risk of succumbing to the drug culture when they are actively engaged in social media is not a safe assumption,” says Wiggins.
The latest CASA (National Center on Addiction and Drug Abuse) at Columbia University study concludes that parents bear the burden of “preventing drug and alcohol abuse among their children and teens” – including staying on top of social media activity of their teen age children.
The 16th annual National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse: Teens and Parents reports on yet another source of peer pressure that pushes young people toward drug and alcohol use. Findings state, “American teenagers who spend time on social networking sites are more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs. Compared to teens that spend no time on social networking sites in a typical day, those who do are five times more likely to use tobacco; three times more likely to use alcohol; and twice as likely to use marijuana.”
The CASA report further reveals, “Seventy percent of teens report spending time on social networking sites in a typical day compared to 30 percent of teens who say they do not.” The study of 12 to 17 year olds shows that by far the largest majority are engaging in a freewheeling exchange of opinions, ideas and trends. “40 percent of all teens surveyed have seen pictures on social networking sites of their peers “getting drunk, passed out, or using drugs.” Half of teens who have seen these images on social networking sites first saw such pictures when they were 13 years of age or younger; more than 90 percent first saw such pictures when they were 15 or younger.
The CASA survey underscores the importance for any parents or caregivers of children to not only be alert to what is transpiring on the computer screen or hand held devices, but also that they must be on the same page about the messages they send to teens. One of the findings states: “Teens whose parents don’t agree completely with each other on what to say to their teen about drug use are more than three times likelier to use marijuana, and three-and-a-half times likelier to expect to try drugs in the future, than teens whose parents agree completely on what to say about drug use. Teens whose parents do not agree completely with each other on what to say to their teen about drinking alcohol are twice as likely to use alcohol as teens whose parents agree completely on what to say about drinking.”
“The loss to the nation’s bright, young people who get caught up in drugs is one of the biggest tragedies we allow”, says Wiggins. “In our centers, we see that these same teens caught up in adolescent use of marijuana and other drugs once they complete the Narconon Drug Rehab Program exhibit qualities of leadership and high creativity any parent would be proud of. We see that parental pride when their sons or daughters graduate.”
Adolescent drug abuse is a growing problem. It can be handled.
For more information on the Narconon programs, please visit http://www.narconon.org/.
Narconon President Urges that Reducing Drug Abuse and Addiction is a Matter of Life and Death for Millions
The latest news from the Mexican drug cartel battles makes it all too clear. Where the trafficking, sales and abuse of drugs go, death follows. On August 25, 2011, drug trafficking cartel gunmen splashed gasoline around a casino in Monterrey, Mexico, not far from the Mexico-Texas border. Visitors to the casino were told to leave but some ran upstairs or down hallways where the exit doors had been blocked. When the casino was set afire, the gunmen fled and 52 people died.
This incident of arson and homicide follows five years of turmoil and turf wars between the cartels in Mexico. Since 2006, 40,000 people have died, many of them guilty of nothing other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The war between the cartels results from the immense drive to get drugs into the US where there are hundreds of millions of dollars to be made in the illicit drug trade or in the illicit distribution of prescription drugs. As drugs cross the border, then the problems start showing up in American statistics.
Narconon Helping Twelve Step Centers in Mexico to Combat the Escalating Drug Crisis
“At Narconon, we will fight addiction worldwide until we win,” stated Clark Carr, president of Narconon International. Narconon is a non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of substance abuse and addiction through effective drug rehabilitation and prevention. “We have been effectively fighting back since the day Narconon was founded in 1966. We not only have more than 120 rehabilitation and drug prevention centers around the world, we are right now working with over 100 Catholic and Protestant Twelve-Step rehabilitation programs across Mexico, providing them workshops in our First Step technology.”
The Narconon First Step program offers simple but effective techniques to ease addicts off their addictive substances in a tolerable manner. In addition to vitamin and mineral drinks, the recovering addict receives re-orienting and calming exercises and practices simple communication skills. The result is a calm, oriented recovering addict – a far cry from agonizing “cold turkey” withdrawals (that sometimes use restraints to keep a person from hurting himself.)
Once the recovering addict is through withdrawal, he is focused and ready to address the causes of his addiction in preparation for leading a drug-free life in the future, and his Twelve Step program kicks into higher gear. Thus Narconon International is offering this free training program not as a “replacement”, but as a complementary service to help existing Twelve Step programs improve their results. “Working together,” says Carr, “We can save tens of thousands more lives. That is our common humanitarian purpose.”
In the US, Tens of Thousands Die from Drug and Alcohol Abuse but Across the World, it’s Millions
And what is the situation in the United States? Every year, more than two million people in the US are rushed to emergency rooms across the country to be treated for problems resulting from illicit drug use, prescription drug abuse or alcohol consumption. In 2007, more than 20,000 people died from their abuse of illegal drugs, another 20,000 because of prescription drug abuse. More than 86,000 people also died because of their use or abuse of alcohol.
“There’s no question that the abuse of prescription drugs, illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine and overindulgence in alcohol can be deadly,” stated Carr. “Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates that 2.2 million people lose their lives each year due these causes. When a person becomes unable to control drug or alcohol use because of addiction, it is a life or death matter to eliminate that addiction before it has a chance to kill them.”
But in the US alone, 22.5 million people are estimated to abuse or be dependent on some substance, whether alcohol, illicit drug, prescription drug or other substance such as inhalants. The “treatment gap” – the number of people who need treatment for addiction but do not receive it – is tremendous. Nearly 21 million people in the US who needed treatment for addiction did not receive it in 2009.
Of these 21 million people, just over a million felt they needed treatment and a third made the effort to get treatment but failed. The remainder of the 1.1. million people who needed treatment made no effort.
But this leaves more than 19 million people addicted to drugs or alcohol, perhaps needing treatment, at risk for overdoses, accidents, illness, assaults or incarceration. This means that one of 16 people you run into every day falls into this category. It could be your bus driver, neighbor, shopkeeper, day care employee or a family member. Without help, some of these people will never recover because addiction has such a strong grip that most people cannot escape without assistance.
Narconon not only offers its successful drug rehabilitation program across the US and the world, it also works with Sheriff’s Offices, community groups, churches and schools to reduce addiction – related problems from a social, education perspective. Mr. Carr summarized, “We’re working for every parent who hopes to see his or her children grow up drug-free, every teacher who sees promise in her students, every law enforcement officer who knows that with less drug abuse, there would be less crime and fewer societal problems.”
For information on how Narconon can help you reduce drug abuse and addiction in your community visit www.narconon.org.
When Americans enjoy extended weekends, such as the recent Labor Day Celebration, the usual mix of news stories across the nation is laced with stories about law enforcement officers moving out in force on the lookout for motorists driving under the influence of alcohol.
Generally such reports also include listings of the locations where their sobriety checkpoints will be set up and the times they will be operational, which would seem to defeat the purpose – or does it?
“Not so,” Wiggins of the international network of Narconon Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers. “Narconon® has been picking up the pieces of lives ruined by alcohol dependence for decades, but heartbreaking alcohol-related deaths that occur when innocent people fall victim to the irresponsible acts of those under the influence, are pieces we can never pick up,” says Wiggins.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found after numerous field studies that the number of DUI arrests made by roving patrols is nearly three times the average number of DUI arrests made by officers at a sobriety checkpoint. However, police officers counter that roadblocks are effective, even if drunk drivers get around them, because they show the public that driving under the influence is not tolerated.
Through sobriety checkpoints authorities say they can make it clear there is “no tolerance” for driving under the influence. Joe Farrow, Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol concurs: “. . . There is no excuse for driving while intoxicated . . . Designate a non-drinking driver before you head out.”
Farrow went on to remind motorists to call 911 if they see a suspected drunk driver any time. An option for California drivers since December 2007, any motorist can use their local 911 emergency dispatch system to report drunk driving and many California highways display electronic signs reminding drivers to make the report. “Clearly, the objective is to keep intoxicated drivers off our highways,” says Wiggins.
Factually, only eleven states do not support sobriety checkpoints, which is no surprise given the information gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes.The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion.
Figures for 2009 went like this. 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. But the target of sobriety checkpoints, 147 million people admitted they drove while alcohol-impaired.
“We have a choice. We can stand by and wait for 147 million people who know they are driving when they should not be to encounter their first irrevocable tragic event, or reduce that number substantially by a simple strategy like sobriety checkpoints that could very well prevent someone from getting behind the wheel of a car when they have engaged in social drinking,” says Wiggins.