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TeenInWinterWinter break is a great time for relaxing and enjoying family… for a little while. If you have teenagers at home, you’re probably wondering how to keep them engaged in healthy activities during all of Winter Break.

Teenagers are comprised of 13-19 year olds. Teenagers are the age group that has equally (if not more) drastic changes happening inside their bodies than outside. They are learning how to deal with new emotions, life changes and social belonging. And now, more than ever, teenagers are experiencing all-time-high levels of anxiety and depression.

This age group is known for making poor decisions.

You’ve heard the saying, “They’re just at that age… that’s what teenagers do [in reference to drinking and partying].”

Throughout this article, I’d like to share with you how the above statement is enabling youth to make poor decisions. I also hope to equip you with some tools to keep you teens safe and yourself sane during this Winter Break.

In a recent New York Times article titled, Why Are More American Teenagers Than Every Suffering From Severe Anxiety, Benoit Denizet-Lewis shares several real-life situations where the teenager in the story seems to be enjoying a successful life whilst inside they are in a constant battle against anxiety.

The article states that that the American College Health Association found that anxiety rates rose from 50% in 2011 to 62% in 2016. Anxiety has overtaken depression.

Many teenagers are taking a variety of depression or anxiety medications like Prozac Xanax.

What group of teenagers, you may wonder, is at greatest risk here?

Suniya Luthar, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University explains, “Teenagers raised in more affluent communities might seemingly have less to feel anxious about…but privileged youths are among the most emotionally distressed young people in America.”

These youths are constantly striving to do more, be better and strive to get into an Ivy League University.

To receive satisfaction and comfort, teenagers have come to rely on the quick reward of social media. The brain’s reward system is triggered when they receive a “like” or “love” on one of their posts or photos. For a moment, the individual feels accomplished. The problem, is that, social media is a façade of reality. It’s stuck inside of a cold, wired box that displays colors and actions that our brains respond to. It’s a trick.

And the worst part is that it’s working.

The rise in anxiety and smartphone adoption are two trend lines that seem to be directly related, Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego University states.

With all of this information, how can you keep your teenager safe?

  1. Let them handle it. When parents are stepping in and making life “easier” for their child, it’s actually making them incapable of being independent. Teenagers are going to experiment and experience conflicts within themselves and the world around them. This is natural. Do not take rob your child of their ability to struggle and solve problems.
  2. Validate, validate, validate. Teenagers need to know that you, their parents, are proud of them.
  3. Be there. Time is the most valuable thing you can give to your teenager. They need your interaction, touch, understanding and attention. Even if they push you away and spend ridiculous amounts of time in their bedroom or on their smartphone… they just need your support.
  4. Don’t assume. Let’s say it’s Friday night and your teenager says, “Mom, I’m going to Jesse’s house!” What is your first thought? Is it that your teenage is going to be drinking at Jesse’s house? Experimenting with drugs? You don’t know what will happen, but what you can say to your teenager is that you trust them to make the correct choices.
  5. Create boundaries. They are still living under your roof. Parents want to be cool too! Sometimes parents will allow their teenagers to drink and have parties in their own home because, “They will just do it elsewhere, I’d rather they drink here and be safe.” That is enabling them to engage in underage drinking. No way around it. Let your teenager know what is okay and what is not okay – then stick with it.
  6. Follow through. If your discover that your teenager struggles to make good choices when hanging out with specific friends, you still have say over when they can come and go in your house. Set firm, reasonable house rules.
  7. Lastly, separate your desires from your childs desires. This one is extremely difficult for some parents. Parents have high hopes for their children, as they should, but it should not force them to go in a specific path. Maybe you were an Olympic skier and you just want your child to experience the same victories. Your child may not want to ski. And you have no option but to be okay with that and support them in what they do like. Help your child find their passion.

Enjoy this winter beak with your teenager. As you know, the first couple stages went by fast. This one will fly by too.

Happy Holidays from The Drug Coalition!

Article written by Program Director Emilee Struss

CADCA Graduation photoFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 21, 2017

BLAINE COUNTY DRUG COALITION HONORED AT CADCA’S NATIONAL LEADERSHIP FORUM

Hailey, Idaho – On Feb. 7, the Blaine County Drug Coalition was one of 171 community coalitions honored during a graduation ceremony at CADCA’s (Community Anti-­‐Drug Coalitions of America) National Leadership Forum, just outside of Washington, D.C. The coalitions received a graduation certificate for completing CADCA’s National Coalition Academy, a rigorous training program designed to increase the effectiveness of community drug prevention leaders.

“We are so proud of our coalition for investing the time and resources to take advantage of the best community coalition training in the world. To graduate from this year-­‐long intensive course is no small feat and The Drug Coalition is more prepared today to be an effective, sustainable coalition because of this training,” said Amber Larna, Executive Director. “We look forward to applying our knowledge and strategies to ensure the youth in our community live drug free.”

CADCA’s National Coalition Academy (NCA) is a comprehensive, year-­‐long training program developed by CADCA’s National Coalition Institute. The NCA incorporates three, week-­‐long classroom sessions, a web-­‐based distance learning component, an online workstation where participants network and share planning products and free ongoing technical assistance. To graduate, coalitions must complete a rigorous curriculum. They must participate in all components of the NCA and complete five essential planning products that serve as the foundation of their comprehensive plan for community change.

CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is a four-­‐day event packed with opportunities to learn the latest strategies to address substance abuse and hear from nationally-­‐known prevention experts, federal administrators, and concerned policymakers. The Forum brings together approximately 3,000 attendees representing coalitions from all regions of the country and internationally, government leaders, youth, prevention specialists, addiction treatment professionals, addiction recovery advocates, researchers, educators, law enforcement professionals, and faith-­‐based leaders. It is the largest training event for the prevention field.

The mission of The Drug Coalition is to promote healthy lives by decreasing substance use by youth in Blaine County through innovative programming, community education, and positive policy change.

For more information email alarna@thedrugcoalition.org

logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2017

 

 

 

During the last year, the Wood River Valley community disposed of a record breaking 335.67 pounds of prescription medications. This statistic is significant because teen abuse of prescription medications is a serious problem in Blaine County. One in 5 Idaho teens admits to taking a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription.

“By properly disposing prescription medications, our community is actively helping to decrease prescription medication abuse,” said Amber Larna, Executive Director of The Drug Coalition.

Because prescription drugs are prescribed by a physician they are perceived as being safe—but in the wrong hands prescription drugs can be lethal. The proper use, storage, and disposal of medications can correct this problem.

16265383_1182249618489887_9030796597561882440_nTo help end prescription medicine abuse, The Drug Coalition partnered with the Blaine County Sheriff Department, Hailey Police, and BCSD Ketchum Division as well as Luke’s Pharmacy, Apothecary, Atkinson’s Drug Store, Albertsons Pharmacy and St. Luke’s Wood River to establish permanent receptacles for citizens to safely discard unwanted prescription medications. These receptacles are available to the public at the Ketchum Police Department, Hailey Police Department, the Blaine County Sheriff, Luke’s Family Pharmacy, Valley Apothecary, St. Luke’s Wood River, Atkinsons’ Drug Store and Albertsons Pharmacy.

To learn more about how you can safely lock up and dispose of your prescription drugs visit thedrugcoaltion.org or email alarna@thedrugcoalition.org

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The mission of The Drug Coalition is to promote healthy lives by decreasing substance use by youth in Blaine County through innovative programming, community education, and positive policy change.

Photo:
Amber Larna, Executive Director, The Drug Coalitionwith the Blaine County Sheriff Dept. & Hailey Police Dept.

Sun Valley Road Rally returns on July 21-22, 2017. Participants travel from all over the world to enjoy this unique experience of driving at top speed on 4 miles of public road. Spectators watch the fastest cars in the world soar at speeds over 230 mph. The weekend kicks off on Friday with the Sun Valley Cruise and Block Party when up to 200 cars take a 5- mile scenic route around Sun Valley to end up at the Festival Meadow on Sun Valley Road. Porsches, Ferraris, Bugattis, Bentleys – every car will show off its best side as the masses cast their ballots and award ‘Best in Show’. On Saturday, qualified drivers get ready for an experience of a lifetime as they push their cars to the limit on a 4-mile stretch of scenic countryside down Gannett Road. The best part? There’s no speed limit! Spectators share the rush from the sidelines where they watch the cars flying by as they picnic and enjoy the view. Everyone can feel great about their involvement as the event supports The Drug Coalition, which works to raise awareness about drug free and healthy lifestyle choices for youth. What a great reason to start your engines!

Click here for more Road Rally Info

If you would like to become a sponsor or volunteer for the 2016 Sun Valley Road Rally, please contact info@thedrugcoalition.org Or call 208-578-5466

For more information or to be added to our email list please contact:

AMBER LARNA| Executive Director

1050 Fox Acres Road Rm 106 | Hailey, ID 83333

o: 208.578.5466 | c: 208.721.0475

alarna@thedrugcoalition.org | www.thedrugcoalition.org

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 21, 2017

BLAINE COUNTY DRUG COALITION HONORED AT CADCA’S NATIONAL LEADERSHIP FORUM

Hailey, Idaho – On Feb. 7, the Blaine County Drug Coalition was one of 171 community coalitions honored during a graduation ceremony at CADCA’s (Community Anti-­‐Drug Coalitions of America) National Leadership Forum, just outside of Washington, D.C. The coalitions received a graduation certificate for completing CADCA’s National Coalition Academy, a rigorous training program designed to increase the effectiveness of community drug prevention leaders.

“We are so proud of our coalition for investing the time and resources to take advantage of the best community coalition training in the world. To graduate from this year-­‐long intensive course is no small feat and The Drug Coalition is more prepared today to be an effective, sustainable coalition because of this training,” said Amber Larna, Executive Director. “We look forward to applying our knowledge and strategies to ensure the youth in our community live drug free.”

CADCA’s National Coalition Academy (NCA) is a comprehensive, year-­‐long training program developed by CADCA’s National Coalition Institute. The NCA incorporates three, week-­‐long classroom sessions, a web-­‐based distance learning component, an online workstation where participants network and share planning products and free ongoing technical assistance. To graduate, coalitions must complete a rigorous curriculum. They must participate in all components of the NCA and complete five essential planning products that serve as the foundation of their comprehensive plan for community change.

CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is a four-­‐day event packed with opportunities to learn the latest strategies to address substance abuse and hear from nationally-­‐known prevention experts, federal administrators, and concerned policymakers. The Forum brings together approximately 3,000 attendees representing coalitions from all regions of the country and internationally, government leaders, youth, prevention specialists, addiction treatment professionals, addiction recovery advocates, researchers,  educators, law enforcement professionals, and faith-­‐based leaders. It is the largest training event for the prevention field.

The mission of The Drug Coalition is to promote healthy lives by decreasing substance use by youth in Blaine County through innovative programming, community education, and positive policy change.

For more information email alarna@thedrugcoalition.org

What causes drug addiction? One Canadian physician argues that the problem isn’t the drugs themselves.

Dr. Gabor Maté believes — based on research and his own experience working at harm reduction clinics in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a poor area that has one of the worst drug problems in North America — that the root of addictive behaviors can be traced all the way back to childhood.

“Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience,” Maté wrote in his 2010 bestseller, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. “A hurt is at the center of all addictive behaviors. It is present in the gambler, the Internet addict, the compulsive shopper and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden — but it’s there.”

There is increasing interest in the medical field around the potential lifelong health outcomes of adverse childhood experiences. At least one critic of Mate’s work has suggested that an exclusive focus on childhood harms is too limiting, and precludes “a more comprehensive and practicable view of addiction.” A great deal of research supports the link between childhood trauma and substance abuse risk. However, it’s important to remember there are many risk factors for addiction, including family history of addiction, mental illness and the use of habit-forming pharmaceuticals.

A long-outspoken proponent of mind-body approaches to health and disease, Maté has begun treating patients using ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic brew made from the bark of an Amazonian rainforest tree, which early research has shown could hold promise for treating addiction, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Because ayahuasca is a controlled substance, Health Canada has ordered that Maté refrain from using the substance in his work with addicts. The U.S. and other countries are continuing to examine its effects in observational studies, and while the findings are promising so far, the research is still young.

HuffPost Science caught up with Maté to learn more about his trauma-informed approach to understanding and treating addiction, and his optimism about the potential of ayahuasca and other psychedelics in therapeutic settings.

How do you define addiction?

It’s a complex process that involves brain, body, emotions, psychology and social relationships. The expression of addiction is any behavior where a person craves and finds temporary pleasure or relief in something, but suffers negative consequences as a result of and is unable to give up despite those negative consequences.

Addiction could be substance-related — alcohol, cigarettes, heroin or cocaine — but it could also be sex, gambling, eating, shopping, work, extreme sports, relationships, the Internet. It could be anything. So it’s not so much the activity per se but the question of, does it provide temporary relief or pleasure? Does it create craving when you don’t have it? Does it create negative consequences, and is it difficult to give up despite those consequences? If those are the case, it’s an addiction.

Does that mean that even something like heroin or cocaine isn’t inherently addictive?

I’m saying that the substances are not in themselves addictive. It has to do with the availability of the target of the behavior and the susceptibility of the individual. So the real question is, what creates the susceptibility?

In your view, what are some of the social or environmental factors that might make an individual susceptible to addiction?

The single factor that’s at the core of all addictions is trauma. By trauma I mean emotional loss in childhood, and in the case of severe addicts, you can see — and large-scale population studies show — that there is significant childhood trauma such as family violence, addiction in the family, sexual and emotional abuse, physical abuse, a parent being mentally ill or in jail. These adverse childhood experiences have been shown to exponentially increase the risk of addiction later on in life. That’s one set of difficult experiences.

There’s another set of difficult experiences that’s a bit harder to distinguish, and that’s not when bad things happen but when good things don’t happen. A child has certain fundamental needs for emotional development and also for brain development. If you look at the human brain, it develops under the impact of the environment. The potentials are genetically set, but which genes are turned on and off depends very much on the environment. So for example, in the case of addiction, the brain’s reward circuitry is impaired… the person’s circuits, which have to do with the chemical dopamine and which give you a sense of reward incentive and motivation, are not well-developed. Those circuits need the support of the environment to help them in their development, and the essential quality of the environment is a mutually responsive relationship with the parent or caregiver.

So in families where the parents are overly stressed or aren’t able to be emotionally present with the children, in the case of sensitive children, that can interfere with their brain development. The children will look for reward elsewhere. When we’re looking at psychological pain at the heart of all addictions and addictive behaviors, they have one intended purpose: to soothe pain or to escape from pain or stress. So whether we’re looking at the psychological side of addiction, which is needing to escape from pain or stress, or the brain physiology side, which is the underdeveloped reward circuits in the brain, we’re looking at the impact of childhood.

Would you say that addiction is a disease then, or is it just a coping mechanism?

That’s a complex question. Addiction has the features of a disease, if you look at it. Does it have dysfunctional physiological brain circuits? Yes, it does. Does it result in pathological effects? Yes, it does. Is it characterized by relapse? Yes, it is. But that doesn’t mean that it is only a disease. You can’t reduce it to a narrow medical model.

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