Stories about: Adolescent Substance Abuse Program

Vaping, JUULing and e-cigarettes: What teens and parents need to know

A guide for parents and teens on e-cigarettes“Which flavor is this? Cherry cheese cake? French vanilla? Crème brûlée?” If you are a teen in high school these days, chances are that you’ve already asked yourself this question and have inhaled at least a few breaths of some of the powerful scents coming from a JUUL or other type of e-cigarette.

The popularity of electronic cigarettes has increased exponentially in the past five years: nearly one in three seniors in high school say that they have used an e-cigarette in the past year. The FDA has recently released a statement warning about the risks of vaping and supporting strict regulations to avoid exposure to e-cigarettes for children and teens. But are e-cigarettes all that bad?

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Celebration = intoxication is a dangerous message for kids

For kids, celebrating should not go hand-in-hand with substance use

On New Year’s Eve, CNN fielded reporters all over the country to cover and arguably, to define how Americans celebrate. A report from a “puff, pass and paint” party in Denver, in which revelers flaunted their marijuana use, caught the attention of millions of viewers and became a subject of discussion nationally.

The arrival of marijuana in the realm of legal and now socially-accepted substances, strengthens the message that substance use is required for having a good time.Showcasing marijuana use on national television is relatively new following the recent liberalization of marijuana policy in several states and the novelty incited significant coverage. But the underlying message that strives to define substance use as a necessary (and perhaps sufficient) component of celebration is anything but new.

In fact, incessant references to drinking and being drunk have been part of popular film and television culture for decades and now usually goes largely unnoticed. We seem to have accepted that being drunk is synonymous to having a good time, though this message which has its roots in the alcohol industry is more the work of years of successful advertising campaigns than a biologically based truth.

The arrival of marijuana in the realm of legal and now socially-accepted substances, further strengthens the message that substance use is required for having a good time which is already implicitly accepted. This notion risks causing significant harms to our kids and deserves closer scrutiny.

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Teens and opioids: Time for an open conversation

woman shooting heroin

National surveys have found that teens today are much less likely to use alcohol and drugs compared to their parents’ generation. In fact, the proportion of high school seniors who chose not to use alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or other drugs has increased from 3 percent to 25 percent in the last thirty years. This remarkable good news is overshadowed by the growing number of teens who are daily marijuana users and the recent increase in opioid-related deaths among young people. It is important to understand the roots of this discrepancy in order to address it.

Statistics show that between 2014 and 2015, the rates of drug overdoses — mainly due to opioids — increased by 19 percent in teens, and are now double what they were in 1999, proving that young people are an important part of the equation. We know that most adults with addiction problems started using when they were teens and those with opioid use disorders are no exception. As a pediatrician and adolescent health specialist, I see this as both a challenge and an opportunity.

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4 things you and your teen may not know about marijuana — but should

4 things to know about marijuana

Massachusetts is now among eight U.S. states to legalize marijuana for adult (21+) recreational use, a decision that’s created a relaxed stance on use of the drug and left many parents worried. The simple, clear and empowering message we suggest parents share with teens is that avoidance of marijuana is best and here’s why.

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