Intervene

A blog for parents concerned about their teens alcohol and drug use




Help Stop Urban Outfitters From Selling Products That Promote Medicine Abuse
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Earlier this month, The Partnership at Drugfree.org was alerted that Urban Outfitters, the national retail store popular with teens, is selling pint glasses, flasks and shot glasses made to look like prescription pill bottles. These products make light of prescription drug misuse and abuse, a dangerous behavior that is responsible for more deaths in the United States each year than heroin and cocaine combined.

In fact, medicine abuse has increased 33 percent over the past five years with one in four teens having misused or abused a prescription drug in their lifetime. Combined with alcohol, the misuse and abuse of prescription medications can be especially risky, making the Urban Outfitter merchandise even more disturbing.

Prescription drug abuse is no joke- it affects real people like Aaron, Mark, Chelsea, and their family and friends. Please join our fight in having Urban Outfitters remove these products from their shelves and website immediately.

Over the course of this past month, we have been working tirelessly to bring attention to this effort and have received an overwhelming amount of support from families, friends, government officials, strategic partners and the media. In fact,  we have collected nearly 4,000 signatures on our petition to stop Urban Outfitters from selling these items, surpassing our original goal of 500.

Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Congressman Hal Rogers (KY); Attorney General Jack Conway (KY); David Sheff, New York Times bestselling author; and Melissa Gilbert, The Partnership at Drugfree.org Celebrity Champion and actress, have joined our effort and sent letters or social media posts to the Urban Outfitters CEO to demand the items be removed. Hundreds of tweets have been sent to @UrbanOutfitters with similar demands. The culmination of these actions has generated significant media coverage from news outlets including ABC News, Associated Press, The Huffington Post, UPI and more. Together, we are making a real difference.

Despite all these actions, however, we still haven’t received a response from Urban Outfitters.

Tongue-in-cheek products that normalize and promote prescription drug abuse only serve to reinforce the misperception about the dangers associated with abusing medicine and put more teens at risk.

Please ask Urban Outfitters to remove these tasteless products from their stores now. Feel free to use the information above to help make your point.

Sign this Facebook Causes petition:
http://www.causes.com/drugfreeurbanoutfitters

You can also send an e-mail to:
Richard A. Hayne; CEO & Chairman
richard.hayne@urbanout.com

Write a letter:
Urban Outfitters, Inc.
5000 South Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19112-1495

Join me and take action today!

What do you think about Urban Outfitter’s sale of these items? I’d love to hear from you, the Intervene community.

Posted by Candice  /  Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, Drugs, Medicine Abuse, Substance Abuse  /  Comments: 0



3 Ways to Address Teenage Motivation to Drink that Don’t Involve Scare Tactics
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

=Ways to Address Teen Motivation to Drink without Scare TacticsWhen someone – including a teenager – gets treatment for alcohol and substance abuse, it is standard practice to identify some of the reasons why they started using and the benefits they feel they get from these substances.   This helps them reduce shame and best identify their triggers and areas to focus on. Among the research, most reasons for using alcohol fall into a few broad categories such as mood or personality enhancement, social reasons, and coping reasons. Reviewing personal motivations for using alcohol is often an “ah-ha” experience for the person seeking help but it needs to be handled with care as there is the potential in such a discussion to make alcohol use seem more appealing.

Nowhere is this concern greater than when attempting to prevent alcohol use in teens as many parents have a justified fear that such a discussion will promote alcohol use in kids who may not have otherwise been aware of the potential short-term “benefits” of alcohol. This fear has often caused parents and caregivers to avoid the topic, focus only on the consequences of drinking or minimize the reasons why people drink – especially with younger children. While reinforcing the consequences of underage drinking is always recommended, understanding teen’s motivations can also be useful to parents as a point for both prevention and early intervention of teenage drinking. Below are a few tips on using teen motivations to intervene and connect with your children.

A useful strategy is to ask teens about what they “expect” to get from drinking. Along with perceived risk, your teen’s alcohol use can be predicted by the expectation that one will feel a certain way when they drink. These expectations are reinforced by the media and by your teen’s peers. Expectations are essentially motivating (I want to relax and I will drink because I expect that it will help me relax). The first step is to identify what your teens think about drinking’s benefits or what drinking may give them. If you can identify the reasons they think people drink (or they drink), it is a point of intervention.

Tailor Your Strategy: Based on the motivations or expectations your teen mentions reports there are several options to continue the conversation.

1.  Identify myths about the effects of alcohol: Teens may think that alcohol will help them achieve a particular outcome when in fact the opposite is true in the research. For example, if a teen says he drinks to relax, you can counter that alcohol only has temporary relaxing qualities (and only in moderation) and drinking actually reduces sleep quality which then causes stress. When teens understand that alcohol in fact may not actually give them what they want – they might think twice about drinking for a specific reason.

2. Once you have identified your child’s reason for drinking, encourage him or her to find other activities that will achieve the same outcome without alcohol. This is called “counter conditioning.” So using the above example you can identify other ways that are significantly more effective than alcohol in helping them relax (e.g. exercise, music, yoga). This is important because you will be teaching your teen a valuable coping skill that might prevent them from developing problems later on in life.

3. Lastly, point out that much of the “effect” they get from alcohol is simply based on what they expect they will get when they drink. This is especially effective for the “I want to have fun” motivation. My favorite way to talk about this is to discuss the numerous experiments done on placebo alcohol – yes – that’s right, studies where there was fake beer or tonic water alone and people thought it was actual alcohol. Individuals in these studies reported everything from being more social/sexual to being more confident to even having memory loss. In other words – you get what you expect. So simply being primed and thinking positively will give you what you need without the alcohol. These results are not unique to alcohol either – the placebo effect whether it be through fake surgery or a pill is extremely powerful. Studies even show that people who receive placebos have actual changes in their brain chemistry based simply on the expectation that they are getting what they need to achieve their goals. More importantly, some studies also reveal that people taking a placebo attribute their changes to themselves and not an external substance.

What I have found when I discuss alcohol motivations with teens is that they appreciate hearing a more rounded view of drinking. Teens are smart – they understand that people drink for a reason and if we ignore the reasons for drinking we are going to lose credibility with our teens. Discussions about expectancies and motivation typically also bring up much broader discussions of internal vs. external control. When I was working with college students who were referred to me for binge or excessive drinking – I would ask them to “pretend” they were drunk the next time they went to a party. It was a powerful experience for them to just hold a tonic water and pretend that it was a real drink. It helped them recognize the internal power they have over their actions and to feel more confident and secure. When teens begin to realize that they are in control of their actions they can begin to master the world around them to achieve their goals without a pill or drink.

Related Links:
What Got Me into Treatment? Drug Intervention
Teens Only Listen to One Person…Themselves:  How a Child’s Own Reasons for Change Lead to the Most Success
How to Prepare for a Drug Intervention with Your Teenager

Posted by Frederick Muench, PhD  /  Filed under Addiction, Confronting Teens, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Finding Treatment, getting help, parenting, Scare tactics, Substance Abuse  /  Comments: more



A Welcomed Trend: Sober Campus Living
Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Sober Campus LivingThere are a growing number of services aimed at helping college students who are in recovery or struggling with a drug or alcohol problem. It’s no surprise since the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that Americans aged 18-24 are the fastest growing demographic group seeking treatment for substance abuse. SAMSHA data also indicates that the rate of heavy alcohol use is highest among Americans aged 20-22 and of that group, college student consumption is heaviest.

In an effort to accommodate the college student subset seeking treatment, we’re beginning to see more campuses support alcohol-free lifestyles.  As of today, 20 colleges have collaborated to form the Association for Recovery in Higher Education and welcome sober students.  Some of the participating schools include:

  • Texas Tech University boasts a Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery with about 80 members in its “collegiate recovery community” which provides study-pods, recreational activities and campus 12-step meetings.
  • The University of Michigan’s Collegiate Recovery Program offers recovery courses, counseling and drug- and alcohol-free activities.
  • Penn State has allotted campus space and staff to its new student recovery program.
  • Kennesaw State University in Georgia — one of the Association’s founding members — has a community of 50 members, up from just three students in 2008.

Students at Texas Tech, for example, are proof that sober programs work.  Tech’s Center students have a 10-year graduation rate of 80% and a cumulative GPA of 3.34.

Campus sobriety is a privilege granted to those students willing to do the hard work of earning their degrees AND taking care of the precious commodity of living sober.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Does your son or daughter attend a school that supports an alcohol-free lifestyle?  Please add to our list of schools and share which sober living aspects you like most.

Related Links:
10 Important Questions to Ask Sober High Schools
How to Help Your Teen Cope with New-School-Year Stress
Celebrating with Alcohol: A Reward for a Job Well Done?
My Thoughts on “How NOT to Raise a College Binge Drinker”

Posted by Beth Wilson  /  Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, getting help, Recovery, Sober High Schools, Treatment  /  Comments: 1



Been There, Done That: How Personal Stories Can Help Fight Teen Pressure to Use Drugs
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Over the last year I have been making an effort to speak with parent and student groups about the effects of addiction on a person and all of those associated with a person who is suffering from addiction.

While my son was actively using drugs, my activity concerning this subject irritated him. It made him uncomfortable and angry.  For some reason he did not want me speaking to groups. Maybe it made him feel embarrassed or ashamed.

For nearly six months my son has been working on his recovery and is not using. For me this is quite an accomplishment to see a heroin addict make such a huge turnaround in his life. It’s hard to believe that only six months ago he was speedballing and his mother and I were discussing the fatal outcome of those engaged in this activity. Hope springs eternal.

Recently I was asked to speak to students at our local high school about the effects of drugs on young people. When I told my son I was going to speak he asked if he could go with me and speak to them first-hand about what drugs have done to him. This is a HUGE step for anyone in recovery. Facing their addiction head on and in front of a group takes courage.

We spoke to about 50 students that were in the age group of 14-15 years old.  My son is only 22. When he began to talk and answer questions about drugs and his addiction those students were riveted by him. You could almost feel an electric connection between him and those students. His message was direct and in a language they understood. He showed them scars on his arms caused by infections from dirty needles. He talked about what it is like in jail, going through detox in a cell. He spoke of all his lost opportunities with college, jobs and relationships. Maybe his most powerful statement in response to a question about why he started using was, “I started because I wanted to be cool, this is not cool, this is the worst thing you could ever do in your life. Using leads to becoming addicted and I can’t even describe how horrible that is.”

This format of an experienced young adult speaking to a group of teens is the most powerful weapon I have seen in waking up young people to the risks of drugs and alcohol. Let’s face it, I’m just another old guy telling these kids not to use drugs, but when someone in their age group stands there and tells a personal story with all the graphic details — that is called bringing out the heavy artillery.

By sharing his personal story he helped the kids connect the hazards of drug usage.  Being close to their age and someone who has “been there done that” I believe deeply resonated with them, inspiring them to  think differently about the consequences of the choices they make.

Education about the dangers of drug and alcohol use is all about being relatable. No matter if it is parents, relatives, friends, professionals or peers, the key to helping your child fight the pressure to use drugs is education. Give them a way out of those pressure situations. Do not be naive and believe that your child will not be exposed to the opportunity to use drugs. Every single young person out there has to make a decision about whether or not to try using drugs or drinking. Parents, take the offensive; do not wait until the monster has entered your home. Slaying this monster is about educating its prey, before he has a chance to attack.

By the way, I want every person that reads this to know; I cannot remember a time when I was more proud of my son. I stood up at the end of the presentation in front of all of those kids and told them with my voice cracking how proud I was of him to come speak with me.

Editor’s Note: Like any relationship, your relationship with your child changes over time.  For ways to talk to your child about drugs at every age, please visit our Parent Tool Kit.

Posted by Ron Grover  /  Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Heroin, Recovery, Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: more



Peer Pressure is What Made Me Use Drugs and Alcohol
Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

As a young girl, two of the more traumatic things I went through were growing up with an alcoholic parent and my parents’ divorce. I tried to stuff the void I experienced with drugs and alcohol.  I never even considered the idea that I might become an alcoholic or drug addict, and I swore to myself that I would never end up like my father.  However, as I would later find out, the cards were stacked against me.  My family’s long history of drug and alcohol addictions played a huge role in where I ultimately ended up. The lifestyle itself was so familiar to me that it didn’t even register that I wouldn’t be able to stand up to the pressure to succumb to it.

I was starved for attention as a kid, and I didn’t have the coping skills I needed to go through the kinds of things the adults around me were putting me through. I became a great actress, with the ability to mold myself into what others wanted me to be, a trait that came in handy once I started using full time. The fact that I gave into peer pressure

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Lauren King  /  Filed under Alcohol, Family History, Recovery  /  Comments: more






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Welcome to Intervene. We are a community of experts, parents and caring adults concerned about our teens’ alcohol and drug use and have come together to share our insights, inspiration, guidance and help.









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