Thursday, December 17, 2009

Driven to Distraction

Subject: Driven to Distraction video goes live; please share!

Good morning task force supporters,

Please take a few moments to watch our fantastic new YouTube video featuring Dr. Brian Johnston of Harborview.

Call to action: Watch this video and share it with as many friends, colleagues and groups as possible. To watch, please click on the front page of our web site," or go directly to the YouTube link which can be copied and pasted into your own e-mails:

Many wonderful people helped make this video possible, and we will be acknowledging each of them on our web site soon.

Thanks for spreading the word!

Lindsay Pease
Driven to Distraction Task Force of Washington State

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Teen abuse of OTC and Rx meds

In the rush to worry about teen use of illicit drugs (not to belittle that action) we often lose sight of the fact that OTC and prescription drugs are used “nonmedically” more often than cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and methamphetamines combined (SAMHSA data). Why?

Many teens think that these drugs are safe because they have legitimate uses and are often found at home in the medicine cabinet… Teenagers generally lack a sense that OTC and prescription medications can be dangerous or addictive… Some teenagers who abuse prescription medications and OTC preparations are sensation seekers, they "use" to get high, or are seeking to self-medicate. [from an article on Medscape, sorry no link]

Remember “Parents are the anti-drug”, but:

Parents may simply not be aware of the consequences of this type of abuse. Despite the increase in parent-teen discussions about the risks for drugs, many parents may not be discussing the risks of abusing prescription and OTC medicines with their children. Only 24% of teens have reported that their parents had talked with them about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs or the use of medications outside of a clinician's supervision, and just 18% of teens have indicated that their parents had discussed the risks of abusing OTC cough medicine [from an article on Medscape, sorry no link]

The key for parents:

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America recommends a 3-step approach: (1) educate [themselves about these and other teen “dangers”]; (2) communicate [with your preteen and teen, factually and repeatedly]; and (3) safeguard [limit access to what you must have in your home and get rid of the rest].

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shine a light on mental health needs

A while back I ran across an "article" by Glenn Close (sorry, lost the link) in which she wrote:
Even as the medicine and therapy for mental health disorders have made remarkable progress, the ancient social stigma of psychological illness remains largely intact. Families are loath to talk about it and, in movies and the media, stereotypes about the mentally ill still reign.

What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation about illnesses that affect not only individuals, but their families as well…

She wrote this in support of a new website: Every effort in this regard deserves support.

Mental illness does indeed not only affect the individual, but in so many ways affects all those around them. It is not something to be feared or ignored, but something to be treated and cared for.