Saturday, January 31, 2015

Super Bowl - The Perfect Time toTalk with your Child about Alcohol

This weekend millions of viewers will tune in to the Super Bowl, not only for the excitement of the game, but also to watch the famous commercials. 
Let’s face it!  Many of us enjoy the commercials just as much as the game. If your child will be one of these viewers, then he or she will be undoubtedly be exposed to alcohol advertising.  Each year companies around the globe spend millions of dollars on advertising during the Super Bowl, with the alcohol industry often purchasing more ad space than any other company.  If you have ever wondered if exposure to these commercials might influence your child's decision about underage drinking, the latest research shows that it does. 

Science World Report released information about a new study  that looks at how viewing TV alcohol ads can increase the risk of both underage drinking and binge drinking. This study involved showing alcohol ads to participants ages 15-23.  The study revealed that participants between the ages of 15 - 17 who had a greater ability to recall the commercials and identify the brand were more likely to drink sooner.  According to the authors, "Our study found that familiarity with and response to the images of television alcohol marketing was associated with the subsequent onset of drinking, adding to studies suggesting that alcohol advertising is one cause of youth drinking."

Research shows that parents are the #1 reason

 that young people chose not to drink.

Even though alcohol advertising is linked to underage drinking, parents are an even greater influence in your children's lives. Take this opportunity to talk with your child about alcohol.  It may be easier than you think. You do not have to get everything across in one conversation.  The best approach is to keep it low key, and to have many small talks verses one big talk. To read thoughts from one our staff members about how she'll talk with her child about alcohol advertising, click here.
Please keep these 5 goals in mind when you do talk with your child about alcohol: 
  1. Show that you disapprove of underage drinking.
  2. Show that you care about your child's happiness and well-being.
  3. Show that they can come to you for information about alcohol.
  4. Show that you are paying attention and will notice if your child drinks.
  5. Build your child's skills and strategies to prevent underage drinking. 
For more information about these 5 goals, alcohol facts, and tools to help you talk with your child, please go to:
Talk. They Hear You.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Keeping Friends and Family Safe from Prescription Drug Abuse

What steps can you take to ensure your medications are secure over the holidays when people may be in and out of your home more than usual? Often we keep medications in our bathroom cabinets or purses; the first two places anyone seeking to abuse prescription or over-the-counter medications will look. Being aware of the prevalence of substance abuse may just help you avoid losing medication prescribed to you for your particular need, or from seeing a loved one fall to the grip of addiction. It is not uncommon for numerous anxieties to emerge during the holidays causing individuals to seek relief or escape through pills. Ease of access is something that often draws people to pills when thinking about how to relieve stress. Limiting the easy access to medications in your home can help prevent individuals from starting down a dangerous path toward addiction, where often the  risks are not fully realized at the start.

Know the Prevalence of Prescription Drug Abuse:
Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem and most particularly among teens. First, teens often don't realize the dangers, believing that since they were prescribed by a doctor they must be safe. Second, they are easy to get as most homes contain medications in their cabinets. FACE, the Prevention Resource Group states that "Every day 2,500 youth from ages 12 to 17 abuse prescription pain killers for the first time." This isn't just happening among older teens, but FACE also comments that "Prescription drugs are now the drug of choice among 12 and 13 year-olds." 

Keep Your Drugs and Your Family Safe:
While parents should be working to communicate the dangers of prescription drug abuse to their kids and teenagers, there are things everyone can do to help keep teens safe from abusing medication.

Monitor your own medications:
  • Keep track of the number of pills in each of your prescription bottles.
  • Keep track of your medication refills.
  • Encourage your friends and relatives to monitor their medications.                                             
Secure your medications: 
  • Put your medications in a place only you know about.
  • Lock up your medications in a lock box or locked cabinet.
  • Encourage your friends and relatives to do the same.
Dispose of your unused and expired medications:
  • Do not flush medications down the toilet! 
  • Put in plastic zip-lock back, add water and coffee grounds or kitty litter and throw away, OR
  • Drop off at the West Lafayette Police Department (711 W. Navajo Street, West Lafayette) every second Thursday of the month between 11:30am and 1:30pm. 

"In 2010, enough painkillers were prescribed to medicate every American adult 
around the clock for a month." (FACE) 

Don't consider these precautions as acts of suspicion or judgement, but know that acting responsibly with your medications is an act of love toward your family and friends. Please do not hesitate to contact us for a free medication lock box at 765-471-9916.

The Drug-Free Coalition of Tippecanoe County wishes you a happy and safe holiday season!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Not only are more people on the roads over the holidays, but there are more parties and more drinking going on. So it's especially good to make a plan when approaching parties where alcohol will be served. Know before-hand how you will handle getting home if you have consumed any amount of alcohol. Even if you don't feel you have consumed much, it's difficult to know when you have exceeded the legal limit for driving and it's important to know that "buzzed driving is drunk driving." Consider a taxi, a designated driver, or offer to be the designated driver for your friends and plan not to drink. Driving buzzed can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. 

Impaired Driving Prevention Month reminds us that drunk and buzzed drivers are not the only dangerous drivers to look out for on the road or to be aware of in our own behavior.

Driving under the influence of any type of psychoactive (mind-altering) drug poses a danger not only to you but to everyone on the road.

In 2010, 1 in 3 drivers who were killed in motor vehicle accidents tested positive for drugs (illicit and over-the-counter). With the increase in illicit drug use and over-the-counter substance abuse, as well as texting while driving, there are many conditions that create driving impairment. Any circumstance or substance that alters the mind and affects the motor skills, balance and coordination, perception, attention, reaction time, and judgment creates a deadly risk to anyone on the road.

Shortly behind alcohol, THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) has been found as the most common substance in impaired drivers.

"Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among young people aged 16 to 19. When teens' relative lack of driving experience is combined with the use of marijuana or other substances that affect cognitive and motor abilities, the results can be tragic." -National Institute on Drug Abuse

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Meth Awareness

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine, more commonly known as meth, is a synthetic stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Meth is one of the most addictive illicit drugs out there. The first high experienced in meth use is unlike any other high following first use, as it floods the brain with dopamine causing an intense rush. A rebound low follows the intense high sending users into a spiraling search for relief from the lows and to replay the highs. This repetitive search is called “chasing the high.” With each use of meth a greater tolerance is built causing the user to need more of the drug to achieve the desired high, and in return creating stronger addiction to where they are continuing to take the drug even after it has stopped giving them pleasure and its consequences have become quite apparent.  

What are the short-term effects?

There are many significant, short-term effects as a result of meth use including:
  • sensory hallucinations
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • sickness
  • stroke
  • palpitations
  • seizures
  • paranoia
  • hypothermia
  • insomnia

The added danger of meth is that the user never really knows what they’re getting as ingredients and consistencies vary.

What’s in it?

Meth is composed of pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) and a number of toxic ingredients. Some of the most commonly used ingredients in meth are toxic and highly flammable including acetone, lithium, toluene, hydrochloride acid, pseudoephedrine, red phosphorus, sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, and anhydrous ammonia.

What are the long-term effects?

In addition to the short-term effects of meth there are numerous long-term effects on the body. You may have seen the “faces of meth”, the popular billboard advertising how meth changes a person’s appearance even just over a matter of months. 
  • Meth can devastate people’s faces and bodies to the point where they become almost unrecognizable. 
  • A common physical impact of meth on the body is open sores. Because meth causes hallucinations, users often believe there are bugs crawling on or under their skin. In their psychotic state they pick vigorously at their skin trying to get them out, creating sores. 
  • The drug also cuts off healthy blood flow to the skin causing sores a longer period of time to heal, in the mean time giving more room for infection to set in. 
  • Meth suppresses white blood cells, the ones created to fight off germs, viruses, and bacteria. As you can see, meth users are more susceptible to getting infections, viruses, and fungi, which is made visible by sores on the skin. 
  • As this drug speeds up the heart rate, with extended use it can cause heart palpitations, heart and organ failure.

The effects of meth on the body do not end with physical implications, but also, and perhaps more seriously, they are demonstrated through impacts on the brain and mental health of the individual. Meth impacts the brain causing the user to have delusions and hallucinations, depression, obsessive behavior, uncontrollable movement, long-lasting cognitive impairment including damage to long-term and short-term memory, aggression, a quick tolerance builds up causing an inability to experience pleasure, and not surprisingly, addiction. 

This is Meth Awareness Week and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is running the Meth Project, a campaign to raise awareness of the growing problem of meth abuse in the United States. To learn more visit or

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Preparing for the Holidays While Recovering from Addiction: Know Your Triggers

While the holidays are about celebration and thanksgiving, it can be a stressful season and one full of triggers for a recovering addict. There are many factors that cause the holidays to be a difficult time for someone in recovery. Unfortunately, there is a higher acceptance of drinking and intoxication during this time of year, which creates an easy environment for someone in recovery to justify “slip-ups.” Being aware and being prepared can make all the difference! 

If you are a recovering addict or the friend or family member of someone in recovery, it is important to be aware of what may be a trigger that could lead to relapse. The holidays in the past may have been a time where the addiction was enhanced and celebrated. If so, they will hold all kinds of reminders and temptations to return to those old ways of celebrating. Attending parties with drugs or alcohol can add to the stress of the holiday for a person in recovery. There are often family tensions that arise, stress in preparing for celebrations, and loneliness is also a common struggle for individuals and particularly for those in recovery. All these things are stresses that can make remaining strong in the fight for recovery a challenge.
Ways to lessen the holiday stress:
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Keep a positive attitude (focus on the benefits of being clean and sober)
  • Get exercise (exercise produces natural dopamine which causes an individual to feel happier)
  • Keep yourself around people who will help you stay strong
Tips for Recovering Addicts in Facing the Holidays:

      1.  Begin new traditions (ones not centered around drugs and alcohol): Have substance-free parties and plan games and activities as the center of the party as opposed to drugs and alcohol.

      2.  If you go to a party where alcohol will be served, take a friend with you who will help you stay strong.
3.  If you find being at parties with alcohol sets off triggers for you to relapse, tell the host you are in recovery and you need to leave.

4.  Look for alcohol-free activities in the community (often put on for those in recovery).

5.  Help others. Focusing on other's needs can be a great way to take focus off your own problems and create motivation to continue fighting as you find yourself doing something useful for others. There is also joy that can be found in serving others.

6.  If the stress of the holidays seem too hard to remain clean and sober, call a helpline. Lafayette Crisis Center is a 24/7 helpline. Simply call 211. A listening ear can be a great help!
When Triggers Go Off:
Being aware of what things will trigger a desire for you to relapse during the holidays will help you be prepared when those triggers arise. Have an action plan ready so instead of letting the holidays take control of you, you take back the holidays and find a real reason to celebrate by remaining clean and sober!

In addition to the tips already listed above, it may help you to attend extra sobriety meetings over the holidays. Having someone to talk to is a huge help as this is a way of relieving stress. Know who you can go to, whether it be a counselor, sponsor, support group, a family member or friend ready and able to help you stay clean and sober.
Know that you don’t need drugs or alcohol to have a good time during the holidays!
Other helpful resources on facing relapse triggers around the holidays can be found at and