So You Found Out Your Teen’s Tried Drugs…

…What do you do now?

Most parents of teens have to ask this question at some point.  Drugs are ubiquitous, especially as your teen grows older.  For example, as shown in our teen drug use infographic, 82.1% of high school seniors think marijuana is “easy or fairly easy” to get.  That’s more than 4 out of 5 teenagers, so it’s likely that at least one person in your teen’s social circle feels confident they could obtain marijuana.  About 90% of 12th graders think alcohol is easy or fairly easy to get.  The breakdown for 8th graders is just over 40% think marijuana is easy to get, and just over 60% think alcohol is, while for 10th graders 70% think marijuana is easy to get and 80% think alcohol is (if you’d like to check the statistics drug by drug you can check out the Monitoring the Future study for 2010 here.  Scroll down to Tables 15, 16, and 17 for availability info).  With prom either here or around the corner, these are statistics to keep in mind.

We have an article coming up tomorrow about being aware as a parent about the potential issues surrounding prom and graduation parties, etc. but today we leave you with a video by Licensed Family Psychotherapist Susan Stiffelman, MFT on  Watch below or check out her extended advice at the article link, “My Son Confessed That He’s Tried Pot!  Should I Punish Him?” And if you are interested in testing your teen, you can also check out our urine drug test kits page for more information and/or to purchase.

Music & Love: Just Like Drugs

As it turns out, you really don’t need drugs to get high – in fact both music and a feeling of love can create reactions in the brain similar to the highs of cocaine. Two separate studies over the past few months have produced interesting insights into our emotional brain.

The older study, from October, involved showing pictures of someone that the subjects described themselves as being passionately in love with (see the study at the Guardian) to the subject while the subject was administered a dose of pain.  The effect of seeing the pictures dulled the pain, and not only that, it did so in a manner similar to morphine and cocaine.  The pictures hit the nucleus accumbens, which the article describes as “key reward addiction centre” and a “region [that] tells the brain that you really need to keep doing this.”  The same study suggests that distractions also work at reducing pain, but they do so differently and in other regions of the brain, regions not associated with opioid drugs.

The most recent study suggests that music has drug-like effects on the brain as well.  This study, conducted by scientists at McGill University, measured increases of the chemical dopamine in the brain while music was played.  It reminds me of reports from the summer of last year (see Wired) about a new phenomenon known as “i-dosing,” in which ambienbuy kids were listening to droning music through headphones to get “high.”  As it turns out, they very well may have been getting high – scientists found that when subjects were listening to music that they said “gave them goosebumps” their dopamine levels rose by 6-9%, with one subject’s dopamine levels rising 21%.  By comparison, cocaine takes dopamine levels up by 22% or more.  A favorite piece was Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.”

It would be great to see some of these results duplicated in further studies – the study about love was fairly small. Understanding more about how the human brain works and processes stimuli is a great goal – imagine the doors such research could open into better substance abuse treatment techniques, into happier people in general, and so on. Some may wonder if this will lead to some kind of music urine drug test or so on – but I doubt it. Try to think of one bad side-effect that music produces…

The techno version of the song was also popular.

Perhaps listening to “Love is the Drug” by Roxy Music is the one thing that can really tie all these findings together.

Got any other news stories for us to look at? Drop a comment or send us an email!

(Image above is a 3D sound spectrum analysis of a violin string).

How The US Government Recommends Drug Testing To Get An Addict’s Life Back On Track

Fighting substance abuse is hard. For those with serious drug problems with methamphetamine, cocaine, and other stimulants, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has created a treatment program called the “Matrix Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People With Stimulant Use Disorders (IOP)”.

Part of this program is regular drug testing. It’s an important way for a counselor to understand and keep track of a client’s progress in treatment. We highlight it here because it is such a well constructed drug testing program.

The Philosophy

Urine drug testing is used in the Matrix Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorders among other drug testing methods like the blood test and the breathalyzer for alcohol testing as a tool that can be used to help clients abstain. These tests are used to record and later study valuable clinical data that can help in studying the patterns.

Urine drug testing is necessary to test for the presence of substances like crack.

Crack cocaine - a drug commonly tested for by rehab counselors.

Drug testing helps in recovery by
– Discouraging the client from resuming substance use
– Providing information and data
– Providing the client with objective data, especially in case of denial
– Giving indications when the therapy needs to be modified and changed to get better results

Management of Urine Drug Testing

There are specific protocols that should be followed to ensure that urine drug testing used for drug recovery is not based on mistrust between the client and the counselor. Here are some of the details.

Schedule – While urine drug testing may’ve been conducted in a random manner earlier, the practice has been replaced by regular and periodic tests that ensure that it becomes a matter of routine. However surprise tests should also be done after high risk days buy phentermine online like payday and weekends or missed appointments and unexplained behavior.

Sample tampering – It is not uncommon for clients to tamper urine samples. It is important to inform the client about the process that is followed when a tampered sample is suspected. The fact is that a tampered sample most likely indicates drug abuse and therefore the issue needs to be handled with care. The topic should be discussed in private and no jokes should be made about the event to relieve tension. In extreme cases, the sample collection will need to be observed, something that is uncomfortable for the staff and embarrassing for the client too.

Positive drug test results – If a positive result is obtained in urine drug testing, there is a need to reevaluate what happened around the few days before the positive results. The client should be given a chance to explain and it should be noted that acceptance of a slip is a positive indication that aids therapy. Discussing the validity of the urine drug testing should be avoided completely. A counselor might need to increase the frequency of testing or change the course of the therapy depending on the situation. Complete denial and aggressive behavior should be handled with care too.

Drug testing is a tool for both the addict and counselor alike in their quest for treatment. The “Matrix Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People With Stimulant Use Disorders (IOP)” is a great example of a drug testing program. For more information, please check out SAMHSA’s website, or download the Counselor’s Treatment Manual (warning: PDF), which expands on the general points made here about the drug testing regimen they suggest.

Article by Anne Hamilton

The Dangers of Improper Adderall Use

The Dangers of Improper Adderall Use

Adderall and Ritalin are among the most common drugs that are used for treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder in children. This is a disorder that has been seen in children when dopamine is deficient in the frontal lobe. Aspects such as reasoning, planning, focusing and problem solving are affected.

The brain of someone without ADHD compared to someone with ADHD.

The brain of someone without ADHD compared to someone with ADHD. Note the different sizes of the yellow sections of the brain highlighted here. These sections refer to the differing amounts of dopamine.

However, it has been seen that one in every five college students actually uses Adderall even though they do not have any issues with ADHD. And this figure is what has been claimed by college students themselves and the real figure is likely to be much higher.

Those who have normal functioning of the brain and adequate dopamine levels are likely to experience an enhanced sense of motivation, enthusiasm and focus and concentration. This is something that helps, temporarily, when you are spending full nights studying and reading hundreds of pages to prepare for an exam.

Adderall Dependency

A large part of the Adderall dependency problem comes from the fact that it is a performance enhancer. Those who do take this drug feel that they are just being helped in becoming more focused and less distracted. The lure of a better GPA can make many students go to great lengths to get hold of Adderall. There are some that actually go to doctors and pose as if they have ADHD to be able to get hold of a prescription. Then there are others who steal or smuggle money from their parents to be able to get a pill from their pals.

Most of these college students claim that they are not addicted to Adderall and that they only pop in a pill when they have a large amount of work to do in a short period of time. But it is known that amphetamines taken in large quantities by snorting can become an addiction that can cause a large number of issues, especially when there are pre-existing medical conditions.  Thus it may not be a bad idea for worried parents to consider a urine drug test for Adderall/Ritalin, or amphetamines in general.

Ritalin, the abuse of which can be tested for with a simple urine drug test.

Prescription Ritalin, a drug commonly abused by college students.

Adderall – Not a Great Idea After all

While there are a fair number of side effects of the drug, Adderall also results in killing creativity. Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin make the user more structured and rigid, thereby lessening the means of creative thought. So while some may still be willing to give up creativity and original thought out of a desire to get an “A” in chemistry or physics, one should keep in mind the price that one is paying for the same. In addition to that there are also side effects that can create additional problems.

Signs to Watch Out For

Those who do not suffer from ADHD and have no deficiency of dopamine in the frontal lobe start to show certain signs if they are on Adderall or Ritalin. These signs can let you know that something is amiss and needs to be investigated. Some of the common signs that can let you know if someone is taking performance enhancers include lack of appetite, decreased sleep, anxiety, nervousness and irritability. There are some who experience mild stomach ache or headaches too.

Some other side effects are high blood pressure and issues in resolution of other medical issues. Those who have a heart abnormality may also have grave and/or fatal issues if they take Adderall or Ritalin without a prescription.

Article by Anne Hamilton

Drug Testing the Center of Debate in Kansas

Republican lawmakers in Kansas have come up with a proposal to screen welfare recipients for drug use.  There are a few proposals on the table, and they are not exactly new.  The Kansas House of Representatives passed a similar bill last year but the Senate of the state did not.  The lawmakers in charge of reviving such proposals are in the Senate.

One proposal would require drug testing all welfare recipients – around 44,000 people.  Another bill suggests people would only be tested if there was “reasonable cause” to believe they were using drugs.

It is perhaps a controversial issue, and the Springfield News Leader presents various perspectives in their article.  Do you agree that it would help people get jobs?  Is it an effective way of improving the quality of life among those on welfare?

A home drug test, administered by yourself or someone close to you, can be an effective way of ending drug abuse.  But is what is done at home necessarily appropriate on a federal scale?

There are lots of questions about drug testing, but no question that when used correctly it can even save lives – in situations like catching someone who has stumbled back into addiction with a hair drug test, or finding that someone is high on the job with a saliva drug test.  And these are just a few examples.

Why Can’t Hair Drug Tests Be Cheated? Find Out Here…

Home Health Testing strives to provide the most information about the tests we sell and what they test for.  On our main site we took a look at why hair drug tests can’t be cheated (you can read the full article at the link).  Basically we want everyone to know that our hair drug tests test what’s inside the hair – what you can’t get to with advertised shampoos and conditioners.  Sometimes the problem with drug tests is not that they aren’t accurate (they are) but that they can be faked.  With urine drug testing, people spike samples (or try to anyway) all the time.  It’s silly, but there you go.  Urine tests are certainly worth it for the range of drugs they can test (up to 12 at one time!), their value (the cheapest of all tests), and their decent detection time (a link to our chart).  Saliva drug testing is also a useful tool, because someone can take the test standing in front of you – it doesn’t have the same privacy issues as a urine-based test.

So don’t be daunted by all the “pass a drug test” sites that are out there!  Check out our article on hair follicle testing and learn more!