Keeping up with current substance use trends is very much a cat and mouse game between adults and youth. Just when we think we’ve heard about it all, a new device comes out on the market. The JUUL has been getting more attention in the news as a new vaping device. JUUL devices are flat and rectangular and resemble a USB flash drive. They are thinner than an iPhone and weigh even less. Users snap on a cartridge filled with liquid nicotine (nicotine extracted from tobacco) and inhale from the device. The nicotine in one cartridge (also referenced as pods) is approximately equivalent to a whole pack of cigarettes, or 200 puffs. Some e-cigarette critics are calling the JUUL the “iPhone of vaping”. One puff of the powerful liquid nicotine can produce a quick head rush that is appealing to some teens. (Reminder of the article)
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 33,000 people died of an opioid overdose in 2015. That number is likely much higher today. Opioid abuse is also causing negative financial consequences in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that opioid abuse costs the U.S. an estimated $78.5 billion per year. The opioid crisis has had devastating consequences. Prevention and early intervention is key to reducing the devastation. Being informed and aware is the first step in preventing opioid abuse.
There are different types of opioids including prescription opioids (pain relievers), heroin and synthetic opioids, like Fentanyl. Prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic opioids all bind to opioid receptors in the brain and other organs causing a reduction in pain sensations.
Long term effects may include constipation, kidney disease, insomnia, infections or other complications. Repeated opioid use causes a reduction in the body’s natural pain relieving chemicals (endorphins) and can cause the body to develop a tolerance. The user then must use additional opioids to achieve the same pain reducing effect. (Remainder of the article)
High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten us all, especially those attending school. They may feel in danger or worry that their friends, siblings and/or themselves are at risk. They may look to school staff and parents for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help kids feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and by talking with them about their fears, rational or not.
Overall, schools are safe places. School districts and school staff work diligently with parents, law enforcement, fire departments and other emergency responders to keep those
in the school safe. Schools work very hard to prevent school violence of any kind whether that be verbal and physical fights, bullying incidents or school shooter occurrences.
Students, staff, and parents all have an important role in promoting school safety. Adults can provide leadership by reassuring students that schools are generally very safe places for kids and reiterating what safety measures and student supports are already in place in their schools. (Remainder of the article)