Thursday, July 03, 2008

Young people die using/abusing drugs

Young people use/abuse drugs. Young people die from using/abusing drugs. We need to stop young people from dying from drug use/abuse. (The same goes for older people, but it always seems more shocking when it is young people who die. Is more potential lost?)

I was reading an interview with Dr Drew Pinsky (currently rehab doctor to the stars) recently and he sure makes it sound tough. Although he wasn’t talking about young people in particular, he laid out the 3 events that motivate change in his experience, i.e. motivate folks to quit abusing drugs:
Near death experience (i.e. the drug abuser nearly dying)
Looking in the mirror and feeling genuine disgust
Loss of your children, having them taken away (particularly true of women)

I feel there must be other ways to motivate the desire to make the life change involved in quitting the abuse of the drugs, particularly in young people. Or do we work at instilling self-disgust, if his motivating events are all-inclusive. The younger the person is when we begin to intervene the less entrenched the drug abuse behavior is. That should make available more intervention options. Of course, prevention is an even better goal to drug abuse prevention.

“Just say no” isn’t working, as evidenced by multiple studies. We need real, evidence-based intervention strategies. Scaring them straight doesn’t work. Their minds are still developing, but their intellect is there. Interventions need to use that fact.

There has to be something that we can do. The 24 year-old young lady didn’t need to die today.


Anonymous said...

Why does it take sometimes six weeks to get the results of toxicology tests?

Dr. Richard Keller said...

Our turn around time is much shorter because we have our own in-house Tox lab (although right now our GCMS is waiting for a part to get back into service). We can test for the usual drugs of abuse, others are sent out.

Tox samples are sent out to a national reference lab for testing, so the time to results includes transit time for the specimen, testing (somewhat dependent on "how long the line is"), result review and verification at the lab, and return of results to the office with review and interpretation (with comparison to published data on therapeutic levels vs. toxic levels) there.