Tag Archives: Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Testing in Schools

American Academy of Pediatrics opposes drug testing in schools

5 Apr

Substance abuse is often a manifestation of other problems that child has either at home or poor social relations including low self esteem. Dr. Alan Leshner summarizes the reasons children use drugs in why do Sally and Johnny use drugs? http://archives.drugabuse.gov/Published_Articles/Sally.html The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence lists Signs and Symptoms:

1. Physical and health warning signs of drug abuse
• Eyes that are bloodshot or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal.
• Frequent nosebleeds–could be related to snorted drugs (meth or cocaine).
• Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
• Seizures without a history of epilepsy.
• Deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance.
• Injuries/accidents and person won’t or can’t tell you how they got hurt.
• Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
• Shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination.

2. Behavioral signs of drug abuse
• Drop in attendance and performance at work or school; loss of interest in extracurricular activities, hobbies, sports or exercise; decreased motivation.
• Complaints from co-workers, supervisors, teachers or classmates.
• Unusual or unexplained need for money or financial problems; borrowing or stealing; missing money or valuables.
• Silent, withdrawn, engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
• Sudden change in relationships, friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies.
• Frequently getting into trouble (arguments, fights, accidents, illegal activities).

3. Psychological warning signs of drug abuse
• Unexplained change in personality or attitude.
• Sudden mood changes, irritability, angry outbursts or laughing at nothing.
• Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation.
• Lack of motivation; inability to focus, appearing lethargic or “spaced out.”
• Appearing fearful, withdrawn, anxious, or paranoid, with no apparent reason.
Signs and symptoms of Drug Dependence:
Drug dependence involves all the symptoms of drug abuse, but also involves another element: physical dependence.
1. Tolerance: Tolerance means that, over time, you need more drugs to feel the same effects. Do they use more drugs now than they used before? Do they use more drugs than other people without showing obvious signs of intoxication?
2. Withdrawal: As the effect of the drugs wear off, the person may experience withdrawal symptoms: anxiety or jumpiness; shakiness or trembling; sweating, nausea and vomiting; insomnia; depression; irritability; fatigue or loss of appetite and headaches. Do they use drugs to steady the nerves, stop the shakes in the morning? Drug use to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms is a sign of addiction.
In severe cases, withdrawal from drugs can be life-threatening and involve hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and agitation. These symptoms can be dangerous and should be managed by a physician specifically trained and experienced in dealing with addiction.
3. Loss of Control: Using more drugs than they wanted to, for longer than they intended, or despite telling themselves that they wouldn’t do it this time.
4. Desire to Stop, But Can’t: They have a persistent desire to cut down or stop their drug use, but all efforts to stop and stay stopped, have been unsuccessful.
5. Neglecting Other Activities: They are spending less time on activities that used to be important to them (hanging out with family and friends, exercising or going to the gym, pursuing hobbies or other interests) because of the use of drugs.
6. Drugs Take Up Greater Time, Energy and Focus: They spend a lot of time using drugs, thinking about it, or recovering from its effects. They have few, if any, interests, social or community involvements that don’t revolve around the use of drugs.
7. Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences: They continue to use drugs even though they know it’s causing problems. As an example, person may realize that their drug use is interfering with ability to do their job, is damaging their marriage, making problems worse, or causing health problems, but they continue to use…. https://ncadd.org/learn-about-drugs/signs-and-symptoms

Remember, these are very general signs, specific drugs, narcotics, and other substances may have different signs, it is important to know the specific signs.

Kathryn Doyle of Reuters wrote in Experts caution against random drug testing in schools:

Schools should not be using random drug tests to catch or deter drug abusers, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises in an updated policy statement.

The Academy recommends against school-based “suspicionless” drug testing in the new issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Identifying kids who use drugs and entering them into treatment programs should be a top priority, but there is little evidence that random drug testing helps accomplish this, said Dr. Sharon Levy, director of the adolescent substance abuse program at Boston Children’s Hospital and lead author of the new policy statement…

Scientifically, the best way to test the value of random drug tests would be to put some kids into a drug testing program and others not, in a single school, but practically, that is difficult to accomplish. Instead, researchers have compared schools with drug testing programs to similar schools without them – and found mixed results.

One study did find a short-term reduction in kids’ self-reported drug use at a school with random testing, but the kids were followed for a relatively short period and reductions in use applied only to the drugs included in the testing. This is a problem since most drug testing panels do not include alcohol, Levy said.
“It’s possible that you do get some prevention out of these programs, but on the other hand it seems very expensive, very invasive, and has pretty limited results,” she said.

Adolescent drug use is usually sporadic, so even a kid who does use illegal substances may easily pass a random annual test and then feel comfortable to use freely for the rest of the year, she said.

Drug tests can result in false positives, and even a true positive says nothing about frequency or quantity of drug use, according to Ken C. Winters of the psychiatry department at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, who is not in the AAP.
http://newsdaily.com/2015/03/experts-caution-against-random-drug-testing-in-schools/#eI8U6EOrbeuGbOZZ.99

Citation:

• From the American Academy of Pediatrics
Adolescent Drug Testing Policies in Schools
1. Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, FAAP,
2. Miriam Schizer, MD, MPH, FAAP,
3. COMMITTEE ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Abstract
More than a decade after the US Supreme Court established the legality of school-based drug testing, these programs remain controversial, and the evidence evaluating efficacy and risks is inconclusive. The objective of this technical report is to review the relevant literature that explores the benefits, risks, and costs of these programs.

Here is the AAP statement:

AAP Opposes In School Drug Testing Due to Lack of Evidence
3/30/2015
Drug testing can be useful for pediatricians and other health care providers to assess substance use or mental health disorders in adolescents, but random drug testing in schools is a controversial approach not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

In an updated policy statement and technical report, “Adolescent Drug Testing Policies in Schools,” in the April 2015 Pediatrics (published online March 30), the AAP encourages and supports the efforts of schools to identify and address student substance abuse, but recommends against the use of school-based drug testing programs, often called suspicionless or random drug testing.

Proponents of random drug testing refer to potential advantages such as students avoiding drug use because of the negative consequences associated with having a positive drug test results, while opponents of random drug testing agree that the disadvantages are much greater, and can include deterioration in the student-school relationship, confidentiality of students’ medical records, and mistakes in interpreting drug tests that can result in false-positive results.

The AAP recommends against the use of school-based drug testing programs because of limited evidence of efficacy and potential risks associated with this procedure. Pediatricians support the development of effective substance abuse services in schools, along with appropriate referral policies in place for adolescents struggling with substance abuse disorders.
# # #

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.
https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Opposes-In-school-Drug-Testing-Due-to-Lack-of-Evidence.aspx

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (Institute) has some great information about drug testing. In Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Testing in Schools, the Institute discusses drug testing.

Why test teenagers at all?

Teens are especially vulnerable to drug abuse, when the brain and body are still developing. Most teens do not use drugs, but for those who do, it can lead to a wide range of adverse effects on the brain, the body, behavior and health.
Short term: Even a single use of an intoxicating drug can affect a person’s judgment and decisonmaking—resulting in accidents, poor performance in a school or sports activity, unplanned risky behavior, and the risk of overdosing.
Long term: Repeated drug abuse can lead to serious problems, such as poor academic outcomes, mood changes (depending on the drug: depression, anxiety, paranoia, psychosis), and social or family problems caused or worsened by drugs.
Repeated drug use can also lead to the disease of addiction. Studies show that the earlier a teen begins using drugs, the more likely he or she will develop a substance abuse problem or addiction. Conversely, if teens stay away from drugs while in high school, they are less likely to develop a substance abuse problem later in life….
Is random drug testing of students legal?
In June 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court broadened the authority of public schools to test students for illegal drugs. Voting 5 to 4 in Pottawatomie County v. Earls, the court ruled to allow random drug tests for all middle and high school students participating in competitive extracurricular activities. The ruling greatly expanded the scope of school drug testing, which previously had been allowed only for student athletes.
Just because the U.S. Supreme Court said student drug testing for adolescents in competitive extracurricular activities is constitutional, does that mean it is legal in my city or state?
A school or school district that is interested in adopting a student drug testing program should seek legal expertise so that it complies with all federal, state, and local laws. Individual state constitutions may dictate different legal thresholds for allowing student drug testing. Communities interested in starting student drug testing programs should become familiar with the law in their respective states to ensure proper compliance. http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/drug-testing/faq-drug-testing-in-schools

The primary issue is whether students have privacy rights.

Your Debate.com summarizes the pros and cons of School Drug Testing:

PRO 1
The main purpose of random school drug testing is not to catch kids using drugs, it to keep them from ever using them. Once their using drugs its harder for them to break their addiction. With many employers drug testing its very important for a kid’s future not to use drugs. Drug use is responsible for many crimes. Its worth the inconvenience for all our future.
CON 2
One of the fundamental features of our legal system is that we are presumed innocent of any wrongdoing unless and until the government proves otherwise. Random drug testing of student athletes turns this presumption on its head, telling students that we assume they are using drugs until they prove to the contrary with a urine sample.
CON 3
“If school officials have reason to believe that a particular student is using drugs, they already have the power to require that student to submit to a drug test,” said ACLU-NJ Staff Attorney David Rocah.
CON 4
The constitutional prohibition against “unreasonable” searches also embodies the principle that merely belonging to a certain group is not a sufficient reason for a search, even if many members of that group are suspected of illegal activity. Thus, for example, even if it were true that most men with long hair were drug users, the police would not be free to stop all long haired men and search them for drugs.
PRO 5
Peer pressure is the greatest cause of kids trying drugs. If by testing the athletes or other school leaders, we can get them to say no to drugs, it will be easier for other kids to say no.
CON 6
Some also argue that students who aren’t doing anything wrong have nothing to fear. This ignores the fact that what they fear is not getting caught, but the loss of dignity and trust that the drug test represents. And we should all be afraid of government officials who believe that a righteous cause warrants setting aside bedrock constitutional protections. The lesson that our schools should be teaching is respect for the Constitution and for students’ dignity and privacy, not a willingness to treat cherished constitutional principles as mere platitudes. http://www.youdebate.com/DEBATES/school_drug_testing.HTM

See, What Are the Benefits of Drug Testing?http://www.livestrong.com/article/179407-what-are-the-benefits-of-drug-testing/

Substance abuse is often a manifestation of other problems that child has either at home or poor social relations including low self-esteem.

Resources:

Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base

http://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/teenage-substance-abuse/adolescent-substance-abuse/signs-drug-use/

Warning Signs of Teen Drug Abuse

http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/drugsofabuse/a/driug_abuse20.htm?r=et

Al-Anon and Alateen

http://al-anon.alateen.org/

National Clearinghouse for Drug and Alcohol Information

http://www.samhsa.gov/

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a very good booklet for families What is Substance Abuse Treatment?

http://www.samhsa.gov/kap

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a web site for teens and parents that teaches about drug abuse NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse

http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center study: Drug testing high school students might not be effective

14 Jan

Moi wrote in Missouri high school to drug test students:
Fox News reported in the story, Missouri high school reportedly to use hair samples for random drug tests:
Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, students at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City will be mandated to undergo random drug testing by submitting roughly 60 strands of hair to a staff member at the 1,000-student school, KSHB.com reports….
If a student tests positive for any substance, according to the new policy, a guidance counselor will be notified. The counselor will then notify the student’s parents to determine how to best help the child.
The student would then be given 90 days to be drug-free, with no notification sent to administrative personnel. The incident would only be noted in the student’s guidance file, which would later be destroyed upon graduation and will not be sent to colleges or universities. The document would only become public if subpoenaed, the website reports. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/01/31/missouri-high-school-reportedly-to-use-hair-samples-for-random-drug-tests/#ixzz2KXRqmSpX
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (Institute) has some great information about drug testing.
In Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Testing in Schools, the Institute discusses drug testing.
Why test teenagers at all?
Teens are especially vulnerable to drug abuse, when the brain and body are still developing. Most teens do not use drugs, but for those who do, it can lead to a wide range of adverse effects on the brain, the body, behavior and health.
Short term: Even a single use of an intoxicating drug can affect a person’s judgment and decisonmaking—resulting in accidents, poor performance in a school or sports activity, unplanned risky behavior, and the risk of overdosing.
Long term: Repeated drug abuse can lead to serious problems, such as poor academic outcomes, mood changes (depending on the drug: depression, anxiety, paranoia, psychosis), and social or family problems caused or worsened by drugs.
Repeated drug use can also lead to the disease of addiction. Studies show that the earlier a teen begins using drugs, the more likely he or she will develop a substance abuse problem or addiction. Conversely, if teens stay away from drugs while in high school, they are less likely to develop a substance abuse problem later in life….
Is random drug testing of students legal?
In June 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court broadened the authority of public schools to test students for illegal drugs. Voting 5 to 4 in Pottawatomie County v. Earls, the court ruled to allow random drug tests for all middle and high school students participating in competitive extracurricular activities. The ruling greatly expanded the scope of school drug testing, which previously had been allowed only for student athletes.
Just because the U.S. Supreme Court said student drug testing for adolescents in competitive extracurricular activities is constitutional, does that mean it is legal in my city or state?
A school or school district that is interested in adopting a student drug testing program should seek legal expertise so that it complies with all federal, state, and local laws. Individual state constitutions may dictate different legal thresholds for allowing student drug testing. Communities interested in starting student drug testing programs should become familiar with the law in their respective states to ensure proper compliance. http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/drug-testing/faq-drug-testing-in-schools
The primary issue is whether students have privacy rights.
Your Debate.com summarizes the pros and cons of School Drug Testing:
PRO 1
The main purpose of random school drug testing is not to catch kids using drugs, it to keep them from ever using them. Once their using drugs its harder for them to break their addiction. With many employers drug testing its very important for a kid’s future not to use drugs. Drug use is responsible for many crimes. Its worth the inconvenience for all our future.
CON 2
One of the fundamental features of our legal system is that we are presumed innocent of any wrongdoing unless and until the government proves otherwise. Random drug testing of student athletes turns this presumption on its head, telling students that we assume they are using drugs until they prove to the contrary with a urine sample.
CON 3
“If school officials have reason to believe that a particular student is using drugs, they already have the power to require that student to submit to a drug test,” said ACLU-NJ Staff Attorney David Rocah.
CON 4
The constitutional prohibition against “unreasonable” searches also embodies the principle that merely belonging to a certain group is not a sufficient reason for a search, even if many members of that group are suspected of illegal activity. Thus, for example, even if it were true that most men with long hair were drug users, the police would not be free to stop all long haired men and search them for drugs.
PRO 5
Peer pressure is the greatest cause of kids trying drugs. If by testing the athletes or other school leaders, we can get them to say no to drugs, it will be easier for other kids to say no.
CON 6
Some also argue that students who aren’t doing anything wrong have nothing to fear. This ignores the fact that what they fear is not getting caught, but the loss of dignity and trust that the drug test represents. And we should all be afraid of government officials who believe that a righteous cause warrants setting aside bedrock constitutional protections. The lesson that our schools should be teaching is respect for the Constitution and for students’ dignity and privacy, not a willingness to treat cherished constitutional principles as mere platitudes. http://www.youdebate.com/DEBATES/school_drug_testing.HTM
See, What Are the Benefits of Drug Testing? http://www.livestrong.com/article/179407-what-are-the-benefits-of-drug-testing/ https://drwilda.com/2013/02/11/missouri-high-school-to-drug-test-students/
Maanvi Singh of NPR reported in the study, Drug Tests Don’t Deter Drug Use, But School Environment Might:
Schools that do random drug testing say it helps students say no to illegal drugs, while critics say it’s an invasion of privacy. But feeling good about school may affect students’ drug use more than the threat of testing.
A survey of high school students found that the possibility that they might face drug testing didn’t really discourage students from alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana. But students who thought their school had a positive environment were less apt to try cigarettes and pot.
Those students were about 20 percent less likely to try smoke pot and 15 percent less likely to light up a cigarette than students who didn’t feel that their school was a positive place, the survey found. And the trend held true, more or less, regardless of demographic or geographic factors.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center looked at 361 high school students across the country. The students were initially interviewed in 2008 as part of the more general National Annenberg Survey of Youth. A year later, researchers followed up and asked participants whether they had tried alcohol, or smoked cigarettes or marijuana.
The research was published Monday in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Dan Romer, an author of the study who directs Annenberg’s Adolescent Communication Institute, says he wasn’t surprised by the results. “In a school with a good climate, the kids will respect what the teachers say more,” he tells Shots.
The key, Romer says, is that students need to understand why a school has certain disciplinary policies. “It basically boils down to how much respect everybody feels toward each other,” he says.
Proponents of random drug testing say it can act as a deterrent, or as a way to identify students in need of help. The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the practice twice, in 1995 and 2002. But the court limited its use to students participating in competitive extracurricular activities.
A school that has a positive climate might also practice drug testing, Romer said – the two aren’t mutually exclusive. But this study suggests that administrators concerned about substance abuse might want to try programs that encourage a more respectful school climate before turning to drug testing.
This study is by no means conclusive. It doesn’t distinguish between schools that implement randomized drug testing and those that only test students suspected of drug use. And it doesn’t look at whether other drug education programs might have influenced the results.
These findings reinforce previous research that casts doubt on the effectiveness of drug testing as a deterrent. A 2010 study from the University of Michigan found that in schools with drug testing, students were more likely to turn from marijuana to other illicit drugs.
One thing that neither a drug policy nor a positive environment seemed to affect was underage drinking. “It suggests to us that alcohol may be so accepted now in high school culture,” Romer says, “that kids think if you’re at a party you should be able to drink.” http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/01/14/262466903/drug-tests-dont-deter-drug-use-but-school-environment-might?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=
See, School drug tests don’t work, but ‘positive climate’ might http://www.health.am/psy/more/school-drug-tests-dont-work/#ixzz2qQ58LUDr
Here is the press release from University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center:
School drug tests ineffective but a ‘positive climate’ might work
Monday, January 13th, 2014
A national study of teenagers suggests that school drug testing did not deter them from starting to smoke tobacco or marijuana or drink alcohol. But in high schools that had a “positive school climate,” teens were less likely to start smoke cigarettes or marijuana.
Research published in the January issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs compared the effectiveness over one year of school policies of student drug testing, which are in place in an estimated 20 percent of U.S. high schools, with a positive school climate.
“The bad news is that a policy of drug testing has no effect on students starting to use alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana,” said study co-author Dan Romer, associate director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) at the University of Pennsylvania. “There’s also no effect on escalating the use of those substances.”
The study found, however, that students in schools with a positive school climate reported a lower rate of starting to use cigarettes and marijuana, and a slower escalation of smoking at the one-year follow-up interview. Students in schools with positive climates were 15 percent less likely to start smoking cigarettes and 20 percent less likely to start using marijuana than students at schools without positive climates, the study shows.
Student drug testing “is a relatively ineffective drug-prevention policy,” wrote the researchers, Dan Romer and Sharon R. Sznitman, an APPC Distinguished Research Fellow and a lecturer at the School of Public Health, University of Haifa, Israel. “On the other hand, interventions that improve school climate may have greater efficacy.” The study added that “whole school” health efforts that engage students, faculty and parents, and promote a sense of security and well-being have been found to reduce substance abuse.
Neither drug testing nor school climate affected the start of drinking alcohol.
For the complete news release click here. http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/Student-drug-tests-01-13-14.pdf
To read the study click here. http://www.jsad.com/jsad/article/Student_Drug_Testing_and_Positive_School_Climates_Testing_the_Relation_Bet/4893.html
And for APPC’s issue brief on student drug testing, click here. http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/issue-brief-drug-prevention-in-schools/
Citation:
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Volume 75, 2014 > Issue 1: January 2014
Download PDF Document
http://www.jsad.com/jsad/downloadarticle/Student_Drug_Testing_and_Positive_School_Climates_Testing_the_Relation_Bet/5232.pdf
Student Drug Testing and Positive School Climates: Testing the Relation Between Two School Characteristics and Drug Use Behavior in a Longitudinal Study [OPEN ACCESS]
Sharon R. Sznitman, Daniel Romer
Objective: Fostering positive school climates and student drug testing have been separately proposed as strategies to reduce student drug use in high schools. To assess the promise of these strategies, the present research examined whether positive school climates and/or student drug testing successfully predicted changes in youth substance use over a 1-year follow-up. Method: Two waves of panel data from a sample of 361 high school students, assessed 1 year apart, were analyzed. Changes in reported initiation and escalation in frequency of alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use as a function of perceived student drug testing and positive school climates were analyzed, while we held constant prior substance use. Results: Perceived student drug testing was not associated with changes in substance use, whereas perceived positive school climates were associated with a reduction in cigarette and marijuana initiation and a reduction in escalation of frequency of cigarette use at 1-year follow-up. However, perceived positive school climates were not associated with a reduction in alcohol use. Conclusions: Student drug testing appears to be less associated with substance use than positive school climates. Nevertheless, even favorable school climates may not be able to influence the use of alcohol, which appears to be quite normative in this age group. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 75, 65–73, 2014)
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If your child has a substance abuse problem, both you and your child will need help. “One day at a time” is a famous recovery affirmation which you and your child will live the meaning. The road to recovery may be long or short, it will have twists and turns with one step forward and two steps back. In order to reach the goal of recovery, both parent and child must persevere.
Related:
University of Washington study: Heroin use among young suburban and rural non-traditional users on the increase https://drwilda.com/2013/10/13/university-of-washington-study-heroin-use-among-young-suburban-and-rural-non-traditional-users-on-the-increase/
Northwestern University study: Young adolescent use of marijuana results in changes to the brain structure https://drwilda.com/2013/12/23/northwestern-university-study-young-adolescent-use-of-marijuana-results-in-changes-to-the-brain-structure/
Resources
Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base http://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/teenage-substance-abuse/adolescent-substance-abuse/signs-drug-use/
Warning Signs of Teen Drug Abuse http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/drugsofabuse/a/driug_abuse20.htm?r=et
Is Your Teen Using? http://www.drugfree.org/intervene
Al-Anon and Alateen
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/
WEBMD: Parenting and Teen Substance Abuse http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/teen-substance-abuse-choosing-a-treatment-program-topic-overview
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a very good booklet for families What is Substance Abuse Treatment? http://store.samhsa.gov/home
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a web site for teens and parents that teaches about drug abuse NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse http://teens.drugabuse.gov/
Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com
Dr. Wilda says this about that ©
Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

Northwestern University study: Young adolescent use of marijuana results in changes to the brain structure

23 Dec

Often children who evidence signs of a substance abuse problem come from homes where there is a substance abuse problem. That problem may be generational. eMedicineHealth lists some of the causes of substance abuse:

Substance Abuse Causes
Use and abuse of substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs may begin in childhood or the teen years. Certain risk factors may increase someone’s likelihood to abuse substances.
Factors within a family that influence a child’s early development have been shown to be related to increased risk of drug abuse.
o Chaotic home environment
o Ineffective parenting
o Lack of nurturing and parental attachment
Factors related to a child’s socialization outside the family may also increase risk of drug abuse.
o Inappropriately aggressive or shy behavior in the classroom
o Poor social coping skills
o Poor school performance
o Association with a deviant peer group
o Perception of approval of drug use behavior
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/substance_abuse/article_em.htm

Substance abuse is often a manifestation of other problems that child has either at home or poor social relations including low self-esteem. Dr. Alan Leshner summarizes the reasons children use drugs in why do Sally and Johnny use drugs? http://archives.drugabuse.gov/Published_Articles/Sally.html

Anahad O’Connor reported in the New York Times article, Increasing Marijuana Use in High School Is Reported:

A new federal report shows that the percentage of American high school students who smoke marijuana is slowly rising, while the use of alcohol and almost every other drug is falling.
The report raises concerns that the relaxation of restrictions on marijuana, which can now be sold legally in 20 states and the District of Columbia, has been influencing use of the drug among teenagers. Health officials are concerned by the steady increase and point to what they say is a growing body of evidence that adolescent brains, which are still developing, are susceptible to subtle changes caused by marijuana.
“The acceptance of medical marijuana in multiple states leads to the sense that if it’s used for medicinal purposes, then it can’t be harmful,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which issued the report. “This survey has shown very consistently that the greater the number of kids that perceive marijuana as risky, the less that smoke it.” Starting early next year, recreational marijuana use will also be legal in Colorado and Washington.
Experts debate the extent to which heavy marijuana use may cause lasting detriment to the brain. But Dr. Volkow said that one way marijuana might affect cognitive function in adolescents was by disrupting the normal development of white matter through which cells in the brain communicate.
According to the latest federal figures, which were part of an annual survey, Monitoring the Future, more than 12 percent of eighth graders and 36 percent of seniors at public and private schools around the country said they had smoked marijuana in the past year. About 60 percent of high school seniors said they did not view regular marijuana use as harmful, up from about 55 percent last year.
The report looked at a wide variety of drugs and substances. It found, for example, that drinking was steadily declining, with roughly 40 percent of high school seniors reporting having used alcohol in the past month, down from a peak of 53 percent in 1997. Abuse of the prescription painkiller Vicodin is half what it was a decade ago among seniors; cocaine and heroin use are at historic lows in almost every grade.
Cigarette smoking has also fallen precipitously in recent years. For the first time since the survey began, the percentage of students who smoked a cigarette in the past month dropped below 10 percent. Roughly 8.5 percent of seniors smoke cigarettes on a daily basis, compared with 6.5 percent who smoke marijuana daily, a slight increase from 2010.
Studies show that the concentration of THC in marijuana, its psychoactive ingredient, has tripled since the early 1990s, and Dr. Volkow said there was concern that the rising use and increased potency could affect the likelihood of car accidents and could lower school performance.
“What is most worrisome is that we’re seeing high levels of everyday use of marijuana among teenagers,” Dr. Volkow said. “That is the type that’s most likely to have negative effects on brain function and performance.”
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/growing-marijuana-use-among-teenagers-spurs-concerns/?_r=1
Northwestern University researchers studied the effect of early marijuana use on adolescent brains.

Citation:

Cannabis-Related Working Memory Deficits and Associated Subcortical Morphological Differences in Healthy Individuals and Schizophrenia Subjects
Matthew J. Smith*,1,
Derin J. Cobia1,
Lei Wang1,2,
Kathryn I. Alpert1,
Will J. Cronenwett1,
Morris B. Goldman1,
Daniel Mamah3,
Deanna M. Barch3–5,7,
Hans C. Breiter1,6,7 and
John G. Csernansky1,7
+
Author Affiliations
1 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL;
2 Department of Radiology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL;
3 Department of Psychiatry, Washington University, St Louis, MO;
4 Department of Psychology, Washington University, St Louis, MO;
5 Department of Radiology, Washington University, St Louis, MO;
6 Warren Wright Adolescent Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
7Denotes shared senior authorship on this article.
↵*To whom correspondence should be addressed; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 710 N. Lake Shore Drive, 13th Floor, Abbott Hall, Chicago, IL 60611, US; tel: 1-312-503-2542, fax: 1-312-503-0527, e-mail: matthewsmith@northwestern.edu
Abstract
Cannabis use is associated with working memory (WM) impairments; however, the relationship between cannabis use and WM neural circuitry is unclear. We examined whether a cannabis use disorder (CUD) was associated with differences in brain morphology between control subjects with and without a CUD and between schizophrenia subjects with and without a CUD, and whether these differences related to WM and CUD history. Subjects group-matched on demographics included 44 healthy controls, 10 subjects with a CUD history, 28 schizophrenia subjects with no history of substance use disorders, and 15 schizophrenia subjects with a CUD history. Large-deformation high-dimensional brain mapping with magnetic resonance imaging was used to obtain surface-based representations of the striatum, globus pallidus, and thalamus, compared across groups, and correlated with WM and CUD history. Surface maps were generated to visualize morphological differences. There were significant cannabis-related parametric decreases in WM across groups. Similar cannabis-related shape differences were observed in the striatum, globus pallidus, and thalamus in controls and schizophrenia subjects. Cannabis-related striatal and thalamic shape differences correlated with poorer WM and younger age of CUD onset in both groups. Schizophrenia subjects demonstrated cannabis-related neuroanatomical differences that were consistent and exaggerated compared with cannabis-related differences found in controls. The cross-sectional results suggest that both CUD groups were characterized by WM deficits and subcortical neuroanatomical differences. Future longitudinal studies could help determine whether cannabis use contributes to these observed shape differences or whether they are biomarkers of a vulnerability to the effects of cannabis that predate its misuse.
http://schizophreniabulletin.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/12/10/schbul.sbt176.abstract

Here is the press release from Northwestern University:

Marijuana Users Have Abnormal Brain Structure and Poor Memory
Drug abuse appears to foster brain changes that resemble schizophrenia
December 16, 2013 | by Marla Paul
• The younger drug abuse starts, the more abnormal the brain
CHICAGO — Teens who were heavy marijuana users — smoking it daily for about three years — had abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory and performed poorly on memory tasks, reports a new Northwestern Medicine® study.
A poor working memory predicts poor academic performance and everyday functioning.
The brain abnormalities and memory problems were observed during the individuals’ early twenties, two years after they stopped smoking marijuana, which could indicate the long-term effects of chronic use. Memory-related structures in their brains appeared to shrink and collapse inward, possibly reflecting a decrease in neurons.
The study also shows the marijuana-related brain abnormalities are correlated with a poor working memory performance and look similar to schizophrenia-related brain abnormalities. Over the past decade, Northwestern scientists, along with scientists at other institutions, have shown that changes in brain structure may lead to changes in the way the brain functions.
This is the first study to target key brain regions in the deep subcortical gray matter of chronic marijuana users with structural MRI and to correlate abnormalities in these regions with an impaired working memory. Working memory is the ability to remember and process information in the moment and — if needed — transfer it to long-term memory. Previous studies have evaluated the effects of marijuana on the cortex, and few have directly compared chronic marijuana use in otherwise healthy individuals and individuals with schizophrenia.
The younger the individuals were when they started chronically using marijuana, the more abnormally their brain regions were shaped, the study reports. The findings suggest that these regions related to memory may be more susceptible to the effects of the drug if abuse starts at an earlier age.
“The study links the chronic use of marijuana to these concerning brain abnormalities that appear to last for at least a few years after people stop using it,” said lead study author Matthew Smith, an assistant research professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “With the movement to decriminalize marijuana, we need more research to understand its effect on the brain.”
The paper was published Dec. 16 in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.
In the U.S., marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug and young adults have the highest — and growing — prevalence of use. Decriminalization of the drug may lead to greater use.
Because the study results examined one point in time, a longitudinal study is needed to definitively show if marijuana is responsible for the brain changes and memory impairment. It is possible that the abnormal brain structures reveal a pre-existing vulnerability to marijuana abuse. But evidence that the younger a subject started using the drug the greater his brain abnormality indicates marijuana may be the cause, Smith said.
The groups in the study started using marijuana daily between 16 to 17 years of age for about three years. At the time of the study, they had been marijuana free for about two years. A total of 97 subjects participated, including matched groups of healthy controls, subjects with a marijuana use disorder, schizophrenia subjects with no history of substance use disorders, and schizophrenia subjects with a marijuana use disorder. The subjects who used marijuana did not abuse any other drugs.
Few studies have examined marijuana’s effect on the deep regions in the brain — the ‘subcortical gray matter’ below the noodle-shaped cortex. The study also is unique in that it looked at the shapes of the striatum, globus pallidus and thalamus, structures in the subcortex that are critical for motivation and working memory.
The Marijuana and Schizophrenia Connection
Chronic use of marijuana may contribute to changes in brain structure that are associated with having schizophrenia, the Northwestern research shows. Of the 15 marijuana smokers who had schizophrenia in the study, 90 percent started heavily using the drug before they developed the mental disorder. Marijuana abuse has been linked to developing schizophrenia in prior research.
“The abuse of popular street drugs, such as marijuana, may have dangerous implications for young people who are developing or have developed mental disorders,” said co-senior study author John Csernansky, M.D., chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “This paper is among the first to reveal that the use of marijuana may contribute to the changes in brain structure that have been associated with having schizophrenia.”
Chronic marijuana use could augment the underlying disease process associated with schizophrenia, Smith noted. “If someone has a family history of schizophrenia, they are increasing their risk of developing schizophrenia if they abuse marijuana,” he said.
While chronic marijuana smokers and chronic marijuana smokers with schizophrenia both had brain changes related to the drug, subjects with the mental disorder had greater deterioration in the thalamus. That structure is the communication hub of the brain and is critical for learning, memory and communications between brain regions. The brain regions examined in this study also affect motivation, which is already notably impaired in people with schizophrenia.
“A tremendous amount of addiction research has focused on brain regions traditionally connected with reward/aversion function, and thus motivation,” noted co-senior study author Hans Breiter, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Warren Wright Adolescent Center at Feinberg and Northwestern Memorial. “This study very nicely extends the set of regions of concern to include those involved with working memory and higher level cognitive functions necessary for how well you organize your life and can work in society.”
“If you have schizophrenia and you frequently smoke marijuana, you may be at an increased risk for poor working memory, which predicts your everyday functioning,” Smith said.
The research was supported by grants R01 MH056584 and P50 MH071616 from the National Institute of Mental Health and grants P20 DA026002 and RO1 DA027804 from National Institute of Drug Abuse, all of the National Institutes of Health.
– See more at: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2013/12/marijuana-users-have-abnormal-brain-structure–poor-memory.html#sthash.coRZr6cm.dpuf

What Steps Should a Parent Take?

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has a series of questions parents should ask http://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com/content/default.aspx?pud=a8bcb6ee-523a-4909-9d76-928d956f3f91
If you suspect that your child has a substance abuse problem, you will have to seek help of some type. You will need a plan of action. The Partnership for a Drug Free America lists 7 Steps to Take and each step is explained at the site. http://www.drugfree.org/intervene
If your child has a substance abuse problem, both you and your child will need help. “One day at a time” is a famous recovery affirmation which you and your child will live the meaning. The road to recovery may be long or short, it will have twists and turns with one step forward and two steps back. In order to reach the goal of recovery, both parent and child must persevere.

Questions to Ask a Treatment Facility

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (Center), lists the questions that should be asked of a treatment center. http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/faq.htm Assuming you are not one of those ill-advised parents who supply their child with alcohol or drugs like marijuana in an attempt to be hip or cool, suspicions that your child may have a substance abuse problem are a concern. Confirmation that your child has a substance abuse problem can be heartbreaking. Even children whose parents have seemingly done everything right can become involved with drugs. The best defense is knowledge about your child, your child’s friends, and your child’s activities

Related:

University of Washington study: Heroin use among young suburban and rural non-traditional users on the increase https://drwilda.com/2013/10/13/university-of-washington-study-heroin-use-among-young-suburban-and-rural-non-traditional-users-on-the-increase/

Resources

Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base
http://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/teenage-substance-abuse/adolescent-substance-abuse/signs-drug-use/

Warning Signs of Teen Drug Abuse http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/drugsofabuse/a/driug_abuse20.htm?r=et

Is Your Teen Using?
http://www.drugfree.org/intervene

Al-Anon and Alateen
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

WEBMD: Parenting and Teen Substance Abuse http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/teen-substance-abuse-choosing-a-treatment-program-topic-overview

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a very good booklet for families What is Substance Abuse Treatment? http://store.samhsa.gov/home

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a web site for teens and parents that teaches about drug abuse NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Missouri high school to drug test students

11 Feb

Fox News reports in the story, Missouri high school reportedly to use hair samples for random drug tests:

Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, students at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City will be mandated to undergo random drug testing by submitting roughly 60 strands of hair to a staff member at the 1,000-student school, KSHB.com reports.

Using a company called Psychemedics, officials at the Jesuit school said students will be tested for a variety of substances over the previous 90 days, including cocaine, PCP, opiates, methamphetamine, marijuana and binge alcohol.

Our point is, if we do encounter a student who has made some bad decisions with drugs or alcohol, we will be able to intervene, get the parents involved, get him help if necessary, and then help him get back on a path of better decision making, healthier choices for his life,” Rockhurst Principal Greg Harkness told the website.

If a student tests positive for any substance, according to the new policy, a guidance counselor will be notified. The counselor will then notify the student’s parents to determine how to best help the child.

The student would then be given 90 days to be drug-free, with no notification sent to administrative personnel. The incident would only be noted in the student’s guidance file, which would later be destroyed upon graduation and will not be sent to colleges or universities. The document would only become public if subpoenaed, the website reports.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/01/31/missouri-high-school-reportedly-to-use-hair-samples-for-random-drug-tests/#ixzz2KXRqmSpX

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (Institute) has some great information about drug testing.

In Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Testing in Schools, the Institute discusses drug testing.

Why test teenagers at all?

Teens are especially vulnerable to drug abuse, when the brain and body are still developing. Most teens do not use drugs, but for those who do, it can lead to a wide range of adverse effects on the brain, the body, behavior and health.

Short term: Even a single use of an intoxicating drug can affect a person’s judgment and decisonmaking—resulting in accidents, poor performance in a school or sports activity, unplanned risky behavior, and the risk of overdosing.

Long term: Repeated drug abuse can lead to serious problems, such as poor academic outcomes, mood changes (depending on the drug: depression, anxiety, paranoia, psychosis), and social or family problems caused or worsened by drugs.

Repeated drug use can also lead to the disease of addiction. Studies show that the earlier a teen begins using drugs, the more likely he or she will develop a substance abuse problem or addiction. Conversely, if teens stay away from drugs while in high school, they are less likely to develop a substance abuse problem later in life….

Is random drug testing of students legal?

In June 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court broadened the authority of public schools to test students for illegal drugs. Voting 5 to 4 in Pottawatomie County v. Earls, the court ruled to allow random drug tests for all middle and high school students participating in competitive extracurricular activities. The ruling greatly expanded the scope of school drug testing, which previously had been allowed only for student athletes.

Just because the U.S. Supreme Court said student drug testing for adolescents in competitive extracurricular activities is constitutional, does that mean it is legal in my city or state?

A school or school district that is interested in adopting a student drug testing program should seek legal expertise so that it complies with all federal, state, and local laws. Individual state constitutions may dictate different legal thresholds for allowing student drug testing. Communities interested in starting student drug testing programs should become familiar with the law in their respective states to ensure proper compliance. http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/drug-testing/faq-drug-testing-in-schools

The primary issue is whether students have privacy rights.

Your Debate.com summarizes the pros and cons of School Drug Testing:

PRO 1

The main purpose of random school drug testing is not to catch kids using drugs, it to keep them from ever using them. Once their using drugs its harder for them to break their addiction. With many employers drug testing its very important for a kid’s future not to use drugs. Drug use is responsible for many crimes. Its worth the inconvenience for all our future.

CON 2

One of the fundamental features of our legal system is that we are presumed innocent of any wrongdoing unless and until the government proves otherwise. Random drug testing of student athletes turns this presumption on its head, telling students that we assume they are using drugs until they prove to the contrary with a urine sample.

CON 3

“If school officials have reason to believe that a particular student is using drugs, they already have the power to require that student to submit to a drug test,” said ACLU-NJ Staff Attorney David Rocah.

CON 4

The constitutional prohibition against “unreasonable” searches also embodies the principle that merely belonging to a certain group is not a sufficient reason for a search, even if many members of that group are suspected of illegal activity. Thus, for example, even if it were true that most men with long hair were drug users, the police would not be free to stop all long haired men and search them for drugs.

PRO 5

Peer pressure is the greatest cause of kids trying drugs. If by testing the athletes or other school leaders, we can get them  to say no to drugs, it will be easier for other kids to say no.

CON 6

Some also argue that students who aren’t doing anything wrong have nothing to fear. This ignores the fact that what they fear is not getting caught, but the loss of dignity and trust that the drug test represents. And we should all be afraid of government officials who believe that a righteous cause warrants setting aside bedrock constitutional protections. The lesson that our schools should be teaching is respect for the Constitution and for students’ dignity and privacy, not a willingness to treat cherished constitutional principles as mere platitudes. http://www.youdebate.com/DEBATES/school_drug_testing.HTM

See, What Are the Benefits of Drug Testing?http://www.livestrong.com/article/179407-what-are-the-benefits-of-drug-testing/

Substance abuse is often a manifestation of other problems that child has either at home or poor social relations including low self-esteem. Dr. Alan Leshner summarizes the reasons children use drugs in why do Sally and Johnny use drugs?

Resources:

Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base

Warning Signs of Teen Drug Abuse

Is Your Teen Using?

Al-Anon and Alateen

Center for Substance Abuse Publications

National Clearinghouse for Drug and Alcohol Information

WEBMD: Parenting and Teen Substance Abuse

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a very good booklet for families What is Substance Abuse Treatment?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a web site for teens and parents that teaches about drug abuse NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/