Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don't be a Party to Teenage Drinking!
Posted by:Jenn--Sunday, December 29, 2013

TEENAGERS LOVE TO PARTY – especially during the holidays. Often alcohol is involved. Some parents think that hosting their teenager’s party in the home will keep the kids out of trouble. You may not understand that it’s illegal, unsafe and unhealthy for anyone under age 21 to drink alcohol in Pennsylvania?

See this recent article about a father facing charges after his son's party leads to a drunk driving death. 

Here are the facts: If you make alcohol available at teenager parties, you can be prosecuted. If you allow teen drinking parties in your home, you can be prosecuted. So parents, please protect yourselves and your kids — don’t be a party to teenage drinking. Do your part to help make this holiday season safe for everybody.

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Twas the Night Before Christmas...
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

We thought our teenager was snug in his bed,
Or listening to his music, ear phones stuck on his head.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But my teenage son and some friends he holds dear.

From experience I knew what was happening quick,
I knew in a moment stealing our car was his trick.
More rapid than than eagles I ran outside to our lane.
I cursed him, yelled and called my son a bad name!

“Now Son, what the hell! You have no permission
To drive our car with your friends or with this vixen!
For I could see that his new girlfriend was tall,
And very cute to my eyes, then my son cried, “run-a-way all!”

The car had been wrecked for my eyes did not lie
When I saw that the windshield was crushed and my son was all high!
So I rang 911, the emergency number I knew,
And soon there were police cars with blinking lights too.

And then, in a twinkling, I looked for the proof
Inside I saw beer bottles (and a bag of weed left on the roof.)
My son looked awful loaded and as he was turning around,
He saw that I was the one who had called the cops down.

His anger was plain from his head to his foot
as he gave me his most threatening look.
But I didn't care about any of his threats
because I knew that he had just bet his last bet.

His eyes – how red and blood shot they looked,
His cheeks were flushed and his red nose looked cooked!
His droll little mouth stunk with alcohol
yet still, he looked over at me and he called…

“Hey Dad, please tell the cops to go away,
You know I’ll be good - tomorrow’s Christmas Day!”
But the stump of a weed pipe he held tight in his teeth,
The cop noticed it and said, "I’ll take that please!"

“You’re under arrest- and your rights I will tell,
But you are on your way straight to Shuman, the teenager-Jail."
He spoke lots more words as he went about his work.
He cuffed my son and his friends and then he called them all jerks.

He confiscated the weed, the beer, and the blow-
Giving a nod, the cop said “It’s time to go.”
The police lights were flashing, the teenagers crying;
I knew my son was safer in jail than outside of jail dying.

My son put his head out the window and pleaded,
“Just one more chance, Dad, I know I can beat this
addiction and This time I won’t let you down.
Please, don’t let the cops take me downtown!

I sprang to my senses and searched for the words that were best,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all -NEVERTHELESS!”

(Happy Christmas to all PSST parents both near and far and thanks for your support all year long. Without you all there is no PSST ;-)

(Written by Clement C. Moore and Lloyd Woodward and reprinted from 2009 PSST BLOG)


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Treating Drug Addiction
Posted by:Jenn--Friday, December 20, 2013

Thanks to Mary Canary for sharing the following information.

 The following principles of effective drug addiction treatment were issued by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (part of the National Institutes of Health, which is under the US Dept of Health and Human Services).  Although many PSST parents are already aware of many of these principles, there are some good reminders here about the complexities of drug addiction and its treatment. 

Principles of Effective Drug Addiction Treatment
1.      Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.   Drugs of abuse alter the brain’s structure and function, resulting in changes that persist long after drug use has ceased. This may explain why drug abusers are at risk for relapse even after long periods of abstinence and despite the potentially devastating consequences.

2.      No single treatment is appropriate for everyone.  Treatment varies depending on the type of drug and the characteristics of the patients. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s particular problems and needs is critical to his or her ultimate success in returning to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and society.

3.      Treatment needs to be readily available.   Because drug-addicted individuals may be uncertain about entering treatment, taking advantage of available services the moment people are ready for treatment is critical. Potential patients can be lost if treatment is not immediately available or readily accessible. As with other chronic diseases, the earlier treatment is offered in the disease process, the greater the likelihood of positive outcomes.

4.      Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse.     To be effective, treatment must address the individual’s drug abuse and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems. It is also important that treatment be appropriate to the individual’s age, gender, ethnicity, and culture.

5.      Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical.  The appropriate duration for an individual depends on the type and degree of the patient’s problems and needs. Research indicates that most addicted individuals need at least 3 months in treatment to significantly reduce or stop their drug use and that the best outcomes occur with longer durations of treatment. Recovery from drug addiction is a long-term process and frequently requires multiple episodes of treatment. As with other chronic illnesses, relapses to drug abuse can occur and should signal a need for treatment to be reinstated or adjusted. Because individuals often leave treatment prematurely, programs should include strategies to engage and keep patients in treatment.

6.      Behavioral therapies—including individual, family, or group counseling—are the most commonly used forms of drug abuse treatment.   Behavioral therapies vary in their focus and may involve addressing a patient’s motivation to change, providing incentives for abstinence, building skills to resist drug use, replacing drug-using activities with constructive and rewarding activities, improving problem-solving skills, and facilitating better interpersonal relationships. Also, participation in group therapy and other peer support programs during and following treatment can help maintain abstinence.

7.      Medications are an important element of treatment for many patients, especially when combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies.  For example, methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone (including a new long-acting formulation) are effective in helping individuals addicted to heroin or other opioids stabilize their lives and reduce their illicit drug use. Acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone are medications approved for treating alcohol dependence. For persons addicted to nicotine, a nicotine replacement product (available as patches, gum, lozenges, or nasal spray) or an oral medication (such as bupropion or varenicline) can be an effective component of treatment when part of a comprehensive behavioral treatment program.

8.      An individual's treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs.  A patient may require varying combinations of services and treatment components during the course of treatment and recovery. In addition to counseling or psychotherapy, a patient may require medication, medical services, family therapy, parenting instruction, vocational rehabilitation, and/or social and legal services. For many patients, a continuing care approach provides the best results, with the treatment intensity varying according to a person’s changing needs.

9.      Many drug-addicted individuals also have other mental disorders.  Because drug abuse and addiction—both of which are mental disorders—often co-occur with other mental illnesses, patients presenting with one condition should be assessed for the other(s). And when these problems co-occur, treatment should address both (or all), including the use of medications as appropriate.

10.   Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse.  Although medically assisted detoxification can safely manage the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal and can, for some, pave the way for effective long-term addiction treatment, detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicted individuals achieve long-term abstinence. Thus, patients should be encouraged to continue drug treatment following detoxification. Motivational enhancement and incentive strategies, begun at initial patient intake, can improve treatment engagement.

11.   Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective.  Sanctions or enticements from family, employment settings, and/or the criminal justice system can significantly increase treatment entry, retention rates, and the ultimate success of drug treatment interventions.

12.   Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously, as lapses during treatment do occur.  Knowing their drug use is being monitored can be a powerful incentive for patients and can help them withstand urges to use drugs. Monitoring also provides an early indication of a return to drug use, signaling a possible need to adjust an individual’s treatment plan to better meet his or her needs.

13.   Treatment programs should test patients for the presence of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases as well as provide targeted risk-reduction counseling, linking patients to treatment if necessary.   Typically, drug abuse treatment addresses some of the drug-related behaviors that put people at risk of infectious diseases. Targeted counseling focused on reducing infectious disease risk can help patients further reduce or avoid substance-related and other high-risk behaviors. Counseling can also help those who are already infected to manage their illness. Moreover, engaging in substance abuse treatment can facilitate adherence to other medical treatments. Substance abuse treatment facilities should provide onsite, rapid HIV testing rather than referrals to offsite testing—research shows that doing so increases the likelihood that patients will be tested and receive their test results. Treatment providers should also inform patients that highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has proven effective in combating HIV, including among drug-abusing populations, and help link them to HIV treatment if they test positive. 

These principles are included in a publication called “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)”, which is contained in its entirety at http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment.   The guide was released in 1999, with the most recent update in December 2012.

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PLEASE: No gifts for staff please!
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, December 07, 2013

I am very sorry I didn't think to post this earlier :-(

However, Valerie, Julie and I are not permitted by County Policy to accept gifts. It's very difficult to say "No" because we do not want to offend and also because we appreciate our thoughtful and appreciative PSST parents. We are in a tight spot here so please be considerate and don't offer us anything. I believe that Wesley Spectrum has a similar policy so don't be offended if none of the fine Wesley Spectrum Family Therapists won't accept gifts either.

All of us want you all to know that the best gift that you can give us is just your presence at our meetings. Also, many of you have your ways of showing us that you appreciate us all year long. That's one of the reasons that we are so lucky! We know that you appreciate us. We appreciate you all as well. :-)

Just be there if and when you can -that's the best gift of all!

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Bright Ideas?!
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, December 05, 2013

Bright Ideas with Deadly Consequences
by Roxie

Lenny and I have a cordial relationship while he decides if and when he should enroll in a halfway house or the military. Both are illusions. He still lives at the house, works part-time at McDonald’s, and I call the police for his drunken behavior when required. I was hesitantly hopeful that he would enter a drug rehab program, until my Lowe’s light bulb pack was tampered with.

I prefer bright light, so I searched stores for 100-watt bulbs to brighten the dark, overcast environment of my home. After using three bulbs out of a 10-pack, I realized there were none remaining in a two-week period. Questioning Lenny brought about numerous defensive answers. I conclude that he involved himself and friends in smoking illegal substances out of the bulbs.

After investigating, I found that broken light bulbs are used for smoking crystal meth and crack. The light bulb serves as the conduit to heat up for inhaling the drugs. What techniques and chemically engineered drugs will they come up with next? Recently Wilma, a PSST parent, shared her discovery that today’s ‘ear-wax’ marijuana can be as potent as 90% THC, a mind-altering / hallucinogenic property that can have a deadly effect on brain receptors (see highly-potent-ear-wax-marijuana-concerns-health-officials for more information).

Back in my day of the 1970’s, other drugs used for colorfully created delusions were mushrooms and mescaline. The mushroom spores can be purchased today online and mescaline (aka peyote) is available on Amazon.com in the Lawn and Garden section.

Pun intended, the availability and strength of the drugs today will knock our kids’ lights out permanently. As parents, we need to stay informed of the creative ways our kids are getting high. We may not be able to stop them, but knowledge gives us power and a slight edge in the awareness of products accessible in the illegal drug market.

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Posted by:Jenn--Monday, December 02, 2013

Transformation - written by Elizabeth

This is the story of a young girl who struggles with addiction.
The mother (Elizabeth) had a strained relationship with her youngest daughter Gwen. As you see, without professional help, addiction tears families apart. Gwen was in placement with hopes of getting her high school diploma. Family visits were allowed every two weeks. During those visits, Elizabeth and Gwen would work on art projects and play games while getting reacquainted. Elizabeth was very thankful to be part of Gwen's recovery.  She feared for her very beautiful – as Gwen's probation officer put it, “movie star beautiful” – daughter's life. Elizabeth prayed for God and Jesus to present themselves to Gwen, Elizabeth knowing this to be very possible.

After one particular Saturday visit, Elizabeth needed time to gather her thoughts. She pulled over along a stream in one of Pennsylvania's National Forests. Elizabeth parked her car, and then looked up.  She couldn't believe she was seeing hundreds of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies pouring from between the trees like a waterfall. The butterflies surrounded her car.  She got out of her car and watched the butterflies fly towards the sun in a beam of sunlight. Forty or more swallowtails remained, while Elizabeth watched them dwindle down to two. Then, Elizabeth "Got It."  Gwen was going to be more than just OK, and as Gwen now knows and accepts, she is on the earth for a great purpose!

Before Elizabeth could tell Gwen of her experience, Gwen had found the same type of swallowtail in the greenhouse and sent it to her Mom.  (A mere coincidence?  Elizabeth doesn’t think so!)

Gwen recently received her high school diploma. As a graduation gift, Elizabeth wrote her this story and presented her daughter with a hand-made pendant with a Tiger Swallowtail wing inside, created by an artist in San Francisco. Just as caterpillars transform into beautiful butterflies, Gwen has transformed into a courageous young woman.   
This is a true story and a testament to the power of God's love.

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This layout (edited by Ken) made by and copyright cmbs.