healthy living skills

Healthy Living Skills: How They Can Facilitate Drug Prevention

In most of the countries across the globe, drug abuse is considered as a critical health problem. It impacts the social, economic, and personal health of the individual. This impact is worst in teenagers and younger adults because addiction to drugs and alcohol influences their ability to study, public behavior, and mental health.

Due to the effect of drugs and alcohol on teenagers, it is necessary to promote drug prevention. A feasible drug prevention strategy for school authorities and parents is to encourage and teach healthy living skills.

Healthy living skills are basic life abilities which assist the individual manage stressful and unfavorable events and situation of life. The healthy living skills training help in promoting positive behavior in teenagers which improves decisions, communication, strategic thinking, environmental interaction, etc.

This article will discuss how drug prevention can be achieved by promoting healthy living skills in young adults. Read more to understand the aspects related to it.

Reasons For Drug Abuse

Teenagers and young adults are susceptible to drug and alcohol use due to multiple reasons. All these reasons can also trigger addiction to illicit drugs, smoking, and alcohol, which can cause long-term cognitive and behavioral impairment.

The following are the reasons which can promote drug abuse in young adults.

  1. Curiosity

Adolescents and teenagers are more curious because of the changing environment. As they move from middle school to high school and then college, there are so many different elements involved in these three stages. Due to the changing verticals, curiosity also increases which increases the susceptibility to drugs and alcohol.

Further, since these young adults have no clue about the consequences, they try alcohol and illicit drugs for enjoyment and recreation. Later, it becomes a habit that leads to grave consequences.

  1. Stress

In high school and college, the responsibility of studies, relationships, exams, and school amplifies stress. Due to this heightened stress, adolescents or young adults seek relief in drugs, alcohol, and smoking. This leads to a decrease in productivity and performance.

  1. Peer Pressure

Every adolescent and young adult crave acceptance from their peers, friends, and teachers. To avoid receiving a rejection, teenagers try drugs and alcohol which help them impress their peers.

After a while, this act becomes a habit and recreational consumption of drugs and alcohol becomes an addiction.

Healthy Living Skills for Drug Prevention

The above reasons explain why drug prevention programs through healthy living skills are necessary. These skills can encourage and motivate young adults, children, and teenagers to deal with health-related life issues without using drugs, alcohol, and smoking.

Below we have explained some skills that can be used in school education to reduce drug abuse in adolescents and teenagers.

  1. Resistance

When resistance skills are taught to adolescents and young adults, they can learn to resist pressure arising from adults. They can learn to avoid unfortunate and pressurized scenarios when they are caught in a situation where they are being pressurized or asked to consume alcohol and drugs.

  1. Self-Management

The major reason for drug abuse is stress, depression, anxiety, and loneliness. All these negative and low emotions encourage teenagers to try illicit drugs, smoking, and alcohol. With self-management skills, adolescents can manage their emotions and channels their energy in the right direction, which can help them skip and avoid drug overuse.

  1. Decision-Making

Learning decision-making is a healthy living skill for not only drug prevention but also for other life situations. Knowing when to say no, how to react in a particular situation, and how to make the right choice is a skill that is developed and nurtured over time. If thishealthy living skill is delivered in high school and college, adolescents can learn to positively avoid drug abuse.

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Drug Prevention

How to Choose the Right Programs for Drug Prevention?

Ever since the 1980s, we have had different types of programs and campaigns whose primary objective was to warn people about the dangers associated with substance abuse. Creating awareness about the effects of substance abuse, the consequences of addiction, and the ways to avoid drug consumption is extremely important, and such programs for drug prevention can help save lives.

The need for drug prevention programs is greatest in communities that have a high incidence of addiction and substance abuse. For children growing up communities or families that have a history of substance abuse and addiction, the consumption of legal as well as illicit drugs can become normalized, even expected. Such kids often face peer pressure and other types of social compulsions that push them down the road of addiction, alcoholism, and drug abuse.

Choosing the Best Programs for Drug Prevention

It can be very difficult, for children and adolescents growing up in these circumstances, to say no to drugs and alcohol. This is because they are surrounded by peers and adults who might turn a blind eye to their substance abuse or even encourage it. In such circumstances, external intervention is required to help such adolescents transition into adulthood without the burden of addiction weighing them down.

This is why choosing the right programs for drug prevention is so important, especially for schools catering to vulnerable communities and at-risk students. Some factors that should be taken into account when making the selection have been listed below.

  1. Length and Flexibility

The length and flexibility of the program and its sections will affect the level of engagement from students that it receives. The best programs for drug prevention are divided into small, easy-to-understand sections that will ease teenagers and adolescents into the realm of drug-prevention without boring them or overwhelming them with information.

Moreover, the program should be self-directed and reasonably flexible for maximum impact. This will allow teenagers to become independent agents in their own lives and enable them to take responsibility for their actions. In turn, this approach will result in greater engagement as students become personally invested in their future development, rather than being passive participants in someone else’s plans.

  1. Presentation Format

The way in which the program is presented to teenagers and adolescents may also make a huge difference in the level of interest, engagement, and follow-through. Handing students a few pamphlets or booklets with the relevant information will result in the message being ignored and forgotten by the target audience.

On the other hand, if the programs for drug prevention are presented in the form of a series of well-made videos, power-point presentations, or even live skits, the impact on the minds of the students will be far greater. Once the adolescents are invested in the narrative or story, they will remember the lessons being imparted for years to come and try to implement them in their own lives.

  1. Research Based Program

All the information imparted within the drug prevention program must be research derived and evidence-based. This will help build trust and credibility, making sure that the teenagers will take the lessons seriously. If such credibility is not there or if the kids can spot any loopholes in the information being provided, they will lose faith in the program and begin questioning all aspects of what they have been taught.

An evidence-based program designed to prevent drug consumption among students will have a much greater and more long-lasting impact, although it might require a greater investment of time and resources upfront. Moreover, it will also provide the students with the resources and materials they need in order to pass on their knowledge to their friends and peers.

  1. Life Skills

Of all the programs for drug prevention available in the market, it is best to choose the one which focuses on the development of life skills in teenagers and adolescents. This is because life skills enable the students to become critical thinkers and savvy decision-makers in their own right. They no longer have to depend on other people to help them differentiate between right and wrong.

Students who have received life-skills training are therefore much more adept at dealing with personal and interpersonal crises and handling peer pressure. They have superior emotional management skills and can make better decisions, even in stressful and potentially dangerous situations. Life-skills training not only helps adolescents avoid substance abuse, it also enables them to handle life and its many problems more skillfully.

In Conclusion

Teachers and school administrators looking for the best programs for drug prevention should check out the websites of some of the most reputed drug prevention institutions in the country, such as Real Prevention. Such organizations have years of experience in the realm of substance abuse prevention, and can therefore design programs that are both effective and easy to administer. Finding the right product may not be easy, but we mustn’t forget that just one great drug prevention program can save hundreds of young lives!

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life skill training

7 Essential Life Skills Training for Middle and High School Students

Here are 7 life skills that can be utilized by students to maneuver the complications of adult life. Read below to understand each life skills in detail.

  1. Money Management

Money talk is always the hardest but the most important. College students suddenly have to start paying bills, prepare a budget, and manage expenses with the little money they have. If they never receive this life skills training during school, it is highly likely that they will end up with huge debt, drop out of college, or turn to parents for financial help.

Money management can be taught by openly discussing the pros of operating within a budget, tips about savings, and tracking the expenditure. Parents and teachers have a huge role to play here as they can offer fixed pocket money and assign class projects with fake currency to students and ask them to survive the month without asking for more money. When this is combined with the knowledge delivered at school, students can learn to manage money effectively.

  1. Time Management

When in college, there is just too much to handle. Studies, part-time job, co-curricular activities, leisure time, and more. The sad part is there is no one to remind to follow a schedule and complete everything when there is still time. Hence, this awakening comes hitting the student after everything has been already spoiled.

School teachers and parents can encourage the use of time management apps to help manage time better. You don’t literally have to ask students to download a software-based application. But, you can teach to manage activities with a simple to-do list or Kanban method. Later, when they have an option, they can utilize different mobile-based applications to achieve the purpose.

  1. Shopping for Essentials

Unless you are expecting students to live off pizza and fast food for a very long time, teachers and parents need to include this important life skill training in the schedule. Every student should understand how to buy basic grocery, compare different products, and check the expiry of the products. Further, they should understand how to do it within a specific budget. So first, they need to know how to have a budget which can be achieved with money management life skills training in middle school. Then, they should move to essentials shopping.

School authorities can create intuitive sessions and use case scenarios to help students understand the basics of shopping. For instance, a case question where you offer two same products to students having a slight difference in expiry date or ingredients. Then, you can ask them to choose the product which they would buy and why.

  1. Vehicle Management

Vehicle management may seem irrelevant but it is a huge responsibility. However, it is simple to deliver this life skill training in middle schoolwithout any hassle. There is no need to go the extra mile to discover new learning methods. Teachers and parents can deliver the knowledge of how to maintain a vehicle. For instance, teachers can teach about the oil and cleaning requirements of a car. Parents, on the other hand, can ask their children to assist whenever they go for car repair so that they practically learn about vehicle management.

  1. Apartment Management

Not every student would want to live in the dorm room. Many may prefer taking a separate house on rent. To help them search for the right apartment, which is also safe, is a necessity.

Hence, it won’t hurt to have a little heads up in school about the lease, rent management, repair, and other similar aspects of taking an apartment on rent. Further, it would be beneficial to prepare some red flags that can indicate that a particular apartment is not the right place. This can be in terms of overall safety, building safety, neighborhood, etc.

  1. Professional Requirements

In college, students already reach halfway of becoming a professional. It won’t hurt to teach some of the skills before they even enter college.

This life skills trainingis also hassle-free and simple for teachers. Sometimes, teachers can send weekly assignments through email. During this activity, the teacher should reserve the right to reject assignments that have come in physically in the form of hard copy. The assignment can also be rejected if the student has not properly added a description in the mail itself.

Practical learning will help students remember these small things when they enter college or professional world.

  1. Mental Health Management

Mental health is the most neglected aspect of life skills training in middle school. This neglect later leads to grave consequences. A study (the United States specific) revealed that 18.2% of the population suffers from some type of mental illness. This is like every 1 in 5 adults are suffering from mental issues and sadly, many never talk about it. For most of these adults, the issue is not too complicated to handle.

To deliver mental health life skills training to middle school and high school children, you can ask a counselor to take regular sessions. Also, allow students to individually meet the counselor to discuss issues. This will encourage a sense of understanding and responsibility in difficult times, which will help students overcome short-term stress, anxiety, and depressed feeling.

 Conclusion

Life skills trainingis part and parcel of effective school learning. It is necessary to learn subjects such as mathematics, science, etc. but it is also necessary to get acquainted with life skills training in middleschool. Learning life skills early in life help in avoiding unnecessary stress, anxiety, and risks of adult life. Hence, read the above tips and implement these life skills training programsin the school curriculum.

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drug prevention

How can Drug Prevention Programs Help Counter Substance Abuse in Young Adults?

Substance abuse is a growing menace that has enveloped our younger generation today!

Young adults tend to have a fearless attitude during their transitional years between teenage and adulthood. These formative years are part of a phase wherein they are highly susceptible to drug addiction. Children coping with extreme mental trauma due to circumstances that are beyond their control, such as parents’ divorce, shifting of residence or schools with varied educational patterns, often display signs of increased frustration levels.

Initially, adolescents exposed to this scenario begin to occasionally indulge in minor vices such as smoking and drinking as a sense of rebellion and blame it on the difficulties or depression associated with their inconsistent lifestyles.

Gradually, peer pressure and the need to escape from reality tempts these young adults to attend parties wherein harmful drugs are easily accessible, thereby turning them into full-blown addicts in a short period.

Medical research has proven that the human brain is in a continuous state of cognitive development until we reach our mid-twenties. Therefore, maintaining a healthy mental balance during that period must be considered as a priority by every individual. Regular use of drugs can hurt on the human brain and cause major health setbacks in the long run. In most cases, the general lack of awareness in young adults about adequate drug prevention programs increases their possibility of feeling trapped in a vortex of substance abuse.

Presently, there is an urgent need for us to focus on creating effective drug prevention programs such as Keepin It Realto help the younger generation overcome their addiction to harmful drugs.

How Can Drug Prevention Programs At ‘Keepin It Real’ Help Counter Substance Abuse In Young Adults?

Young adults of our generation play an integral part in building a firm foundation for our society. If you let substance abuse affect our youngsters, then the dream of a bright future for the entire nation comes to an absolute stand-still.

‘Keepin It Real’ is an innovative drug prevention program that is investing a lot of efforts in guiding young addicts recover from the pitfalls of substance abuse.

This landmark initiative believes in educating the addicts about the multiple risks that can affect their health due to early drug use. A few of these hazards associated with early drug use have been listed herewith:

  • Memory loss.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Poor social skills.
  • Violent behavior.
  • Deterioration in physical health.
  • Erratic emotional outbursts.

All these above-mentioned disabilities are known to affect the academic performance of drug users. Many of these juvenile addicts join street gangs to support their drug habit and eventually face run-ins with the local law enforcement agencies due to violent crimes committed under the influence of drugs. These incidents can ruin the career prospects of the youngsters and leave them emotionally scarred for life.

At ‘Keepin It Real’, a lot of effort is invested by the program managers to understand the background of the young addicts. This is done to ascertain the root cause of the problems that have adversely impacted their mental health. Thereon, the adolescents go through intensive therapy sessions that are conducted through group meetings or on an individual basis at schools, churches, community halls or at their homes.

These programs are conducted in a phased manner by experienced mentors and are usually planned for specific age-groups or schools after evaluating the extent of substance abuse in that particular area or community.

In depth, studies are conducted regularly by scientists across the nation to determine the extent of brain damage occurring due to substance abuse. These observations enable the program coordinators at ‘Keepin It Real’ to provide valuable insights to young addicts on the ill-effects of long-term drug use.

Drug prevention programs need to be encouraged by one and all as research conducted by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) in 2014 revealed statistics that alarmed the nation.

An estimated 1.7 million individuals between the ages of 18 to 25 were reported to be impacted by mental health disorders due to substance abuse in that year alone. Further research in 2016 indicated that this figure had risen considerably and these numbers are expected to grow manifold by 2020 if effective preventive measures are not initiated at the earliest.

What Are The Essential Factors That Improve The Efficacy Of A Drug Prevention Program?

The government has identified the following measures in drug prevention research that need to be implemented to improve the efficacy of these programs:

Young adults need to be encouraged to openly discuss their fears and insecurities.

  • Family bonds between adolescents and their parents need to be stronger.
  • Drug prevention agendas need to be publicized with utmost clarity through interactive community forums.
  • Spreading the anti-drugs stance through multiple modes of communication as well as social media platforms.
  • Emphasis on confidence-building measures in the younger generation through counseling at educational institutions.

Drug prevention programs such as ‘Keepin It Real’ are helping young adults to effectively counter substance abuse and re-discover the joys of living a healthy, drug-free life!

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life-skills training programs

How Can Life Skills Training Programs Can Help Prevent Drug Addiction?

Drug and alcohol addiction among teens and adolescents is one of the major problems affecting communities and countries around the world. The drug problem has been growing since the sixties and has now come to a head with the invention and promulgation of life-threatening products such as fentanyl, which are many times as addictive (and potentially lethal) as heroin.

However, keeping youngsters away from drugs is no easy task. Communities, government agencies, and educational institutions have been trying to do so for decades, with varying degrees of success. While the overall rates of drug intake and alcohol consumption have gone down over the years in most parts of the country, individual communities are still plagued by the problem of substance abuse, particularly among the youth.

Reasons for Drug Intake and Addiction

In order to effectively curb the phenomenon of drug addiction among the youth, educators and authorities must first understand the reasons for substance abuse, including alcoholism, opioid addiction, and marijuana usage etc. Some of the major reasons why large numbers of teenagers and young adults often feel compelled to use drugs are driven primarily by the fact that they lack the proper life skill training:

  • Peer Pressure

Human beings are tribal by nature and we all want to feel a sense of belonging with our families, friends, and communities. This desire for belonging is especially strong during the teenage years, when kids are yet to fully understand and accept their own individual identities. At this time, they are especially vulnerable to the influence of the peer group, and the fear of rejection can be debilitating.

Many teenagers, therefore, end up taking drugs just because their friends tell them to. They don’t want to feel left out and alone, and in their minds, the only alternative is to succumb to the demands of substance abuse. Drinking and doing drugs is common among certain groups of young adults, and embers of such groups may feel that they cannot say no to drugs without losing their friends.

  • Stress

The teenage years can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. This is because teenagers have to deal with academic pressure, the onslaught of hormones, social responsibilities, love and heartbreak, and the expectations of parents and teachers, all at the same time. This is particularly the case once they enter high-school and are told to start thinking about their career.

All of this can often feel like too much, especially for children who had, until then, lived a relatively stable and sheltered life. When stress and anxiety is overwhelming, the appeal of substance abuse is immense.

Alcohol can help you get rid of your inhibitions for a time and do as you please, while opioids can be used to dull the anxiety and feel a sense of peace for a little while. Many young people succumb to such addictions just to temporarily escape the pain of growing up, and the expectations levied upon them by society.

  • Media Representation

Movies, TV shows, and music can often depict substance abuse as a sign of status and even ‘coolness’. And there are nothing teenagers want more than to be perceived as being ‘cool’ and interesting. Alcohol companies understand this, and promote their product accordingly, a tactic that was also used by tobacco manufacturers a few decades ago.

Growing up under the influence of pop culture, children often internalize these messages (if only on a subconscious level). They are later drawn to the mystique and allure of substance abuse as they reach teenage because for their entire lives they had been receiving the subliminal message from a variety of media outlets, that drinking and doing drugs is ‘cool’. After years of subtle indoctrination via pop culture, this perception can be hard to break.

The Role of Life Skills Training

Life skills training, delivered by trained personnel through well-designed drug-prevention programs, can help youngsters break this self-destructive cycle of substance abuse. Life-skills training helps adolescents understand the dangers of substance abuse and its long-term consequences. Moreover, it also helps them understand how to handle situations effectively and safely without succumbing to the allure of drugs and alcohol.

Some core elements of an effective life skills training program are:

  • Drug Resistance: During a life-skills training program, youngsters are taught how to avoid any social pressure or internal desire for alcohol or drug intake. They are taught how to safely extricate themselves from situations wherein they might be compelled to take drugs or other restricted substances.
  • Decision Making: Under such programs, adolescents are also trained to critically evaluate a situation and make effective decisions in a thoughtful and independent manner, without being influenced by external factors such as the opinions of friends and misleading media representation.
  • Self Management: Life skills training programs help children learn how to manage their own emotions, both positive and negative. They are taught how to deal with stress, anxiety, loneliness, and social rejection in a healthy and productive manner, without resorting to self-destructive behavior of any kind.

In Conclusion

A well-designed and high-quality life skills training program can help teenagers and adolescents avoid the pitfalls of substance abuse and avoid addiction in the long run. Schools, communities, and local governments should come together to ensure that all the children of the area receive this essential training from a young age.

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All You Need to Know About HPV Prevention

5 Drug Prevention Tips for Young Adults

Early exposure to drugs increases the chances of a young adult of getting addicted to substance abuse. Keep in mind, drugs change the brain and this can prompt addiction and other severe health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700,000 Americans died from overdosing on a drug from 1999 to 2017. Moreover, over 21 million Americans suffer from at least one type of addiction, yet only 10 percent of this population receives the necessary treatment. So, before it gets too late, it’s important we thought of drug prevention.

Studies have demonstrated that research-based projects, as described in NIDA’s Principles of Substance Abuse Prevention for Early Childhood: A Research-Based Guide study and Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders study, can essentially decrease addiction to tobacco, liquor, and other drugs in the early years of an individual’s life. Also, while numerous social factors influence drug use patterns when young adults see drug use as destructive, they frequently reduce their degree of usage.

How can Schools and Communities Help Young Adults Fight Drug Addiction?

Here’s how the school authorities can help the students avoid drug use.

  1. Help then Learn How to Handle Everyday Pressure

    The failure to manage ordinary life pressures is one of the significant reasons that drive individuals to use drugs and liquor. For some individuals, drugs and liquor usage works as an escape route to get away from the harsh realities of life. Planning ahead and confiding in people who can help you or just provide a patient ear can be used as a drug prevention approach.

School authorities must, therefore, arrange for special classes that aim at increasing communication between the students as well as the teachers to help them understand that there is someone who can help them handle the pressure they are unable to cope with.

  1. Help Young Adults to Deal with Peer Pressure

    The most compelling driving factor for young adults to start using drugs is because that their friends put pressure on them to try substance to fit in with the group. Everyone wants to be accepted and young adults end up doing things they ordinarily wouldn’t do, just to fit in. In these cases, teaching these adolescents some core life skills and the power of saying “no” will work well as a drug prevention method. Many drug prevention programs have been developed on these lines that help adolescents understand that all the things done under peer pressure is not right and sometimes they have to back off even if it means not be included in the popular group.

  2. Break the Boredom

    Most smokers say that they smoke not because they’re addicted to cigarettes but because they have nothing to do. If this is true for cigarettes, no argument can say that it’s not true for drugs.

    Involvement in creative and challenging tasks can combat the need to rely on drugs and substance for amusement. Therefore, school authorities and communities together and separately can come up with activities to keep the young adults engaged from indulging in drugs.

Sweat it out. Try to find some time for at least 30 minutes of exercising. As per an examination at the Mayo Clinic, exercise decreases stress, reduces depression and tension, improves sleep, and uplifts the mood. Those new to exercise shouldn’t feel scared. The research recommends a basic energetic walk is sufficient to receive these rewards and act on drug prevention.

  1. Eat a Balanced Diet

    Following a good, balanced eating routine and practicing every day is another method for averting drugs and alcohol addiction. Being healthy and dynamic makes it simpler for individuals to manage life stresses. This, thus, lessens the compulsion to depend on drugs to manage pressure. A sound eating routine and normal exercise every day promote the release of happy hormones in the mind and body.

  2. Help Young Adults Seek Help for Mental Illnesses (if any)

    Mental health is still a taboo among many and is still considered as one being mad. Given that there are no physical symptoms of mental health conditions like fever or a rash, people often do not even understand that they are sick and need medical help.

Mental health conditions such as anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorders go hand in hand with substance abuse frequently. It is more likely for teenagers to develop addiction due to mental health issues and the responsibility of guiding them to seek medical help falls on the school authorities and the community as a whole.

Final Thoughts

While these are only a few ideas that can help ensure drug prevention, it’s significant for an individual who has effectively built up a dependence to look for drug and alcohol addiction recovery treatment. Numerous dependable drug prevention programs may come out to be massively valuable in such cases. All one needs to do is to embrace it wholeheartedly.

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opioids

Symptoms and Signs of Opioid Drug Abuse to Look Out for in Adolescents

Drug abuse or addiction inhibits an individual’s ability to control the use or consumption of illicit drugs or high-dose prescription drugs. Due to peer pressure and the environment, school children are more susceptible to opioid overuse or other types of drug abuse. It impacts the ability of the student to perform at school, behave properly, and focus on educational development.

Hence, this article will discuss the signs, symptoms, and impact of drug abuse. Read on to understand opioid overdose prevention techniques.

What is an Opioid?

Opioids are a family of drug compounds that are produced from opium poppy plants. The therapeutic dose of this drug is manufactured to relieve severe surgical pain. It is also used to relax the body of the patient in case of heavy stress. This is the reason why the overdose of prescription opioids is common.

Prescription opioids and illicit opioids such as heroin attach to the receptors in the brain to release endorphins. The release of a large amount of endorphins helps relieve pain and stress, thus, producing a euphoric effect. However, this euphoric impact is short-term, which encourages regular use to sustain a lasting outcome.

Below we have explained the types of opioids that may be misused by students or college goers:

  • Prescription opioids which are prescribed to a patient to relieve excessive pain after an injury, surgery, or accident. Approximately 29% of individuals misuse prescription opioids.
  • Heroin, which is produced from morphine. This is an illicit drug that is available in the form of a whitish powder which is consumed through snorting, sniffing, or injecting.
  • Fentanyl is a counterpart of morphine-produced heroin and it is stronger than heroin. Therapeutically, fentanyl is not prescribed, it is only injected or usually consumed in the presence of medical practitioners. However, when consumed illicitly with heroin, the combination severely harms the body.

Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Overdose

When under the influence of opioids, students and young adults may exhibit various signs and symptoms of intoxication and addiction. Below we have explained some of these symptoms and signs.

  • Poor concentration levels and state of confusion.
  • Watery or drowsy eyes.
  • Slurred or garbled speech.
  • Slow and poor gait.
  • Flu-like physical symptoms.
  • Vomiting and nausea.
  • Mood swings and stress.
  • Irritation and annoyance.
  • Lack of motivation and concentration.
  • Depression or addiction to the feeling of euphoria.
  • Panic bursts or anxiety attacks.
  • Withdrawal from studies, friends, and family.
  • Spending more money than usual.
  • Involving in risky behavior and activities due to the burst of emotions.

How to Identify Opioid Abuse?

Since drug abuse can impact the health and education of youngsters, preventing drug abuse is imperative. For which, it is necessary to first identify the primary symptoms of opioid abuse. Here are some of the methods to identify opioid abuse:

  • Low level of concentration in studies which leads to skipping homework and assignments, frequent absence from the classroom, a drop in academic performance, and overall disinterest in academic tasks.
  • Lack of proper appearance and spiraling anxiety. The student would seem confused all the time and their appearance would decline. This means that the lack of grooming would lead to a poor physical presentation.
  • Changed behavior, which leads to bursts of aggressive, impulsive responses, high-pitched voice, or passive responses.
  • Decline in personal relationships, which may include a lack of communication with friends and family members.
  • Monetary problems as these youngsters would often need to take a loan from friends and family to satisfy their opioids or drug needs.

Opioid Prevention

Since prescription opioids are often given to patients for relieving pain, getting addicted to them is easy. This makes prevention techniques and methods very important. Below we have explained some opioid overdose prevention methods. Through careful and mindful usage, the risk of opioid overdose can be minimized and even prevented.

Consult

Consult a medical practitioner and educate the students about opioid overuse. Explain how the drug impacts brain receptors and the overall health of individuals. This would enable the youngster to think of the consequences before taking prescription medicine without the recommendation of a doctor.

Provide Directions

Encourage students to follow the directions given by the medical practitioner strictly when an opioid is prescribed. Taking an extra dose is not acceptable, as even one extra dose may lead to a desire for more.

Here, parents have an important role to play. Hence, we need to educate parents to keep a keen check on the opioid prescription schedule of their kids.

Improve Understanding

Help students analyze how opioid helps their body and what the side-effects of it are. Make youngsters understand the difference between therapeutic usage and overuse. It is also necessary to deliver the knowledge of side-effects; how opioid harms the functioning of the body.

Avoid

Educate students to never consume the medicine without the prescription of a doctor. It is harmful not only in the case of opioids but also every other type of therapeutic drug.

Further, encourage parents to keep prescription opioids away from the reach of teenagers and students.

Conclusion

The regular consumption of prescription or illicit opioids may alter the functioning of our brain. The brain can adapt to the schedule, which means in the absence of the drug, several psychological and physiological changes will occur. These changes trigger addictive habits or withdrawal.

Hence, opioid overdose prevention is imperative. The correct approach is to closely monitor the behavior of students to detect drug abuse early. The school authorities should additionally educate students on the right usage of prescription medicines. Both these activities combined can reduce the risk of drug abuse and improve educational success in teenagers.

For drug prevention & awareness, REAL Prevention has initiated a program called keepin it REAL (kiR) which is a scientifically proven, effective substance use prevention and social and emotional competency enhancing program designed to focus on the competencies linked to preventing substance use and abuse.

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drug prevention classroom

Drug Prevention for the New School Year: How can Drug Abuse Affect Your Academics?

Did you know that the human brain keeps developing until the age of 25?

Anything that disrupts this development process – including substance and alcohol abuse – will affect the overall capabilities of the brain.

You may have seen seniors or peers use drugs and alcohol and maybe at some point of time even felt tempted to take a swig. But did you ever ask what that one puff of smoke or that one swig of beer will cost you?

Any kind of trauma or substance that affects the brain’s internal wiring will impede normal brain functions. Taking drugs is one of the many ways you can damage the delicate organ that is your brain. How, you may ask.

Well, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), our brain depends on neurotransmitters, which are basically chemicals that transfer message signals from one part of the brain to the other. Each neurotransmitter attaches itself to a similar receptor – as a key fits into a lock – to travel the right path.

When you use drugs, it interferes with and disrupts the normal patterns of the neurotransmitters, resulting in the signals being delivered at the wrong destination. The chemical structure of the drugs is made up in a way that can imitate the composition of a neurotransmitter and behave like it to connect with a receptor, thus altering the activity of the nerve cells. Therefore, the signals emitted by the brain reach the wrong destinations and this can resets the way your brain and body react and act in certain situations.

Long term use of drugs can permanently affect the way your brain retains and processes information. In turn, this will affect the way you think, remember, behave, learn, concentrate, and solve problems.

This is why school districts and individual school authorities are introducing quality drug prevention programs from the new school year, so as to make the students aware of the adverse effects of drugs and alcohol abuse on their mental and physical health and overall life.

Drug Abuse Among Middle and High School Students

Drug and alcohol abuse have emerged as major problems in school environments around the world. This has affected students between the ages of 13 and 18 years. A 2016 survey conducted by the NIDA found that 23 percent of 8th graders have already tasted a few sips of alcohol, 9.4 percent of have used marijuana, and 5 percent have used other kinds of illicit drugs.

The use of various kinds of drugs and alcohol is already present in high schools and colleges and is increasing with each passing day. Due to these risks, it is important for students to be aware of the effects these drugs can have on their academic performance by affecting brain functioning.

Research has found that the extent of drug abuse is inversely proportional to the quality of academic performance among teenagers and young adults.

Common Drugs Used by Students and Their Effects On Their Health

Adolescents and young adults are known to use illicit drugs, alcohol, addictive substances, opioids, and OTC drugs. Due to the different chemical compositions, each of these drugs affects a student’s academic performance in different ways. Here, we will have a look at the most common types of drugs used by students and how they affect their life.

1. Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse has emerged as the most common problem among teen-aged students. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol consumption has resulted in the deaths of more than 4,300 underage youth every year. Moreover, adolescents and young adults between 12 to 20 years of age illegally consume 11 percent of all alcohol in the US, out of which 90 percent of alcohol is consumed during binging drinking sessions.

Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Student’s Academic Performance

A night of drinking will be followed by cognitive deficits that will linger for up to 48 hours, preventing a person from focusing or paying attention to their studies and classes. Moreover, heavy drinking on school nights will lead to high blood alcohol levels the next day, making them too hungover to wake up and get ready for class. Even if they manage to wake up and attend the classes, the quality and quantity of information processed and retained will be quite low.

Apart from this, people tend to sleep longer due to the hangover that can severely disturb the natural REM cycle, leading to increased anxiety, irritability, and jumpiness the next day and immense fatigue the day after.

2. Marijuana

NIDA reported that 0.7 percent of 8th graders, 3.4 percent 10th graders, and 5.8 percent 12th graders used marijuana on a daily basis in 2018 in the US. It has also been reported that 1 in 6 people who use marijuana, took up this habit in their teens and 25 to 50 percent are still addicted in their adult lives.

How does Marijuana Affect Academic Performance?

At some level, marijuana has similar effects on our sleep cycle as alcohol and keeps a person buzzed for a minimum of two days. What marijuana essentially does is that it crushes down the neuronal activity taking place in the hippocampus, thus adversely affecting memory, concentration, and attention spans.

Apart from this, marijuana abuse also increases the heart rate significantly, affects the blood pressure, weakens the heart muscles – all of which can be quite detrimental to those suffering from panic attacks and anxiety. As it takes days for the effects of marijuana to wear off, students using this drug are prone to exhibiting poor academic results and reduced intellectual capabilities.

3. Prescription Drugs

Apart from alcohol and marijuana, opioid abuse and addiction among young adults is another serious problem the US is grappling with. For example, Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta are stimulants that improve energy levels, enhance brain activity, and increase alertness. Due to these effects, students usually resort to these drugs to help them focus while studying. However, the irony is that regular use of such prescription drugs, which are taken to sharpen the mind, will do the exact opposite in the long term.

Effects of Prescription Drug Abuse on Students’ Performance:

While prescription drugs are used by students to improve their academic performance in school, long-term use of these drugs has been associated with academic problems. Opioids have been linked to brain damage, reducing the person’s ability to take appropriate decisions and behave productively in stressful situations.

Why Join Drug Prevention Programs at School?

With the new school year knocking on the door, it is time to join quality drug prevention programs to help yourself and your friends maintain an impeccable academic record as well as good health. Here are some of the reasons why you might consider joining a drug prevention program at school:

  • Drug prevention programs provide a safe environment where people can clearly communicate their fears and addictions to the program leaders. This will enable the program coordinators to communicate with and support the students to stay clear of drug abuse.
  • The drug prevention program will help the school authorities stay aware of the drug incidents taking place inside the premises of the institution, which in turn will allow them to help the students involved in these incidents by providing them with proper counseling and care.
  • These programs also help the students understand that the teachers are there to help them and are not just authority figures whose job it is to discipline them.

In Conclusion

Drug prevention programs not only help students develop core life skills but also establishes an important line of communicate between them and the teachers at school. It is important for the students to see the teachers are a safe place to confide their fears and addictions, if they want to stay clean and build a good academic record.

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Reasons to Not Drink on Prom Night

Celebrate Safely: 5 Reasons to Not Drink on Prom Night

The time of the year is here when thousands of teenagers are preparing to go to the biggest dance of their adolescent years – the prom. Every little thing is being taken care of – from finding the perfect tuxedo and dress to asking out your crush to the dance and deciding where to go for dinner after the event – every little detail is of great importance. So, when so much time and energy is being invested in making this special night perfect, why mar it by consuming alcohol? Here are five reasons why alcohol prevention is ideal for prom night, as it will allow you to enjoy the company of your date and your friends as well as spending the night safely.

Reasons to Not Drink on Prom Night

While Prom night is treated as a very exciting night, there are many real dangers lurking behind all the excitement and glamor. It is one night when the kids are excited and the parents are extremely concerned about their safety, and with good reason. Did you know that the 1/3rd of alcohol-related traffic accidents take place between April and June, which is the prom and graduation season?

So, take some time to read through the five reasons why you should not drink on your prom night.

1. To Remember the Special Night:

Alcohol can mess up your memory. The more you drink, the more are the chances of you forgetting how you spent your prom night. Your memories will be fuzzy and not worth anything. In case you black out, you are more likely to not remember anything from the night before except for the pre-prom picture you took with your date.

Prom night is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and alcohol prevention will help you to enjoy it to the fullest. Do you want to spend the last chance of having pure carefree fun with your high school friends in a daze, just for alcohol – something you can drink occasionally all your adult life? By choosing to refrain from drinking alcohol, you will not only be left with unforgettable moments but will also avoid a terrible hangover that will haunt you the next morning.

2. To Avoid Drunk Driving:

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), 87 percent of teenagers stated that their friends are more likely to drive themselves home after consuming alcohol than call their parents to give them a ride. Apart from this, almost 19 percent of teenagers claimed that they have ridden a car being driven by a drunk person, rather than calling home.

As a matter of fact, 90 percent of the teenagers expect that their friends will drink and drive at prom night. Going by these statistics, it can be said that the kids drinking at their prom night will be more likely to drive themselves back than to call their parents for a ride. Drunk driving increases the risk of road fatalities significantly and will mar the most special night of your life.

3. To Have a Fun Night:

Most teenagers drink alcohol on prom night thinking that it will make their prom experience more exciting and fun. However, this notion is far from the truth. Alcohol works as a stimulant and therefore intensifies the emotions that you are feeling right now. A drunk person will quickly get very angry or sad. So, after a few drinks, you may cry your guts out in the bathroom stall over small things that happened a long time ago or you may get into a fight with your batchmates over the most trivial things. Is this how you want to spend your prom? Let’s spare ourselves that horror and enjoy a healthy prom where you are conscious of the decisions you are making and have a check on your emotions.

4. To Avoid Making a Fool of Yourself:

While you can make a fool of yourself in a number of different ways without touching alcohol, getting wasted is the worst way possible. It not only tarnishes your reputation but also wreaks havoc on your health. You will feel dizzy and extremely hungover the next morning and that too would not be an enjoyable experience. Do you want to be that girl or boy who had to be carried out from prom night? So, stay away from alcohol and enjoy the prom.

5. To Keep Your Future Safe:

Alcohol prevention on prom night will keep you from making poor decisions. While this may sound dramatic, drinking on prom night can affect your future deeply. Drunk driving can earn you a DUI charge just before you are all set to go to college, tarnishing your record. Intoxication can also impair your judgment, making you do things that you would go on to regret later. Drunk driving prevention would not only keep you safe but will also keep the roads safe from possible accidents. Moreover, you will not have to begin your adult life with a DUI charge or worse.

In Conclusion:

You may think that everyone will be drinking on the prom night, and some might indeed do so. However, it does not mean that you have to. Prom night can be enjoyed without drinking alcohol, all you need to do is to get dressed and dance like there is no tomorrow with your date or friends.

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life-skills training programs

4 Ways to Prepare Your Drug Prevention Efforts Before the New School Year Starts

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is one of the major problems affecting young people around the world. For many, the problem starts when they are quite young, as school students are often introduced to addictive substances by their friends and peers. By the time these children reach adulthood, they are already addicts and have been for quite a few years.

Individuals who start substance abuse during their teenage years are also far more at risk of becoming severely addicted to these substances in adulthood. Such an addiction can harm a person’s mental and physical health, relationships, and job performance. Substance abuse can also lead to self-harm, violence, and criminal behavior.

Drug Prevention In School

Mentioned above are some of the most important reasons why this problem needs to be addressed by the school authorities. Teachers and educators can no longer turn a blind eye to the problem of substance abuse among students. One of the best ways to address the issue is by introducing a school-based drug prevention program.

Before the new school year has begun, here are some things you can do to ensure that your drug prevention efforts will be a success. None of the steps mentioned below are easy, and they will require dedicated practice and much willpower. However, it is necessary for educators to adopt these practices if they intend to get their message across to those youngsters who are most at risk of substance abuse.

1. Practice Rigorous Authenticity

If you want students to follow the advice that you dispense, they first need to be able to trust you. Unconditional trust isn’t easy to gain, and it is even harder when one is dealing with teenagers hailing from turbulent families and troubled communities.

Hence, you must practice rigorous authenticity. This means that you have to be completely open and transparent with your students at all times. Rigorous authenticity requires the willingness to be vulnerable, to allow students to see your weaknesses as clearly as you can see theirs.

If you can manage to do that, you will have overcome the greatest hurdle to winning their trust and respect. Before the new school year starts, this is one approach you can practice in order to ensure the success of your drug prevention efforts.

2. Have Uncomfortable Conversations

Talking about alcoholism, addiction, and drug dependence is neither easy nor comfortable. Often, adults have a tendency to try and sanitize the subject matter being discussed, especially when they are talking to children or adolescents.

However, to run a successful drug prevention program, you must be willing to have uncomfortable conversations with your students. You must be willing to talk about the effects of addiction and the consequences of drug abuse, sometimes in vivid detail.

If the student comes from a family that has a history of alcoholism, then you must be willing to talk with them about the challenges of growing up with alcoholic parents and suggest healthy coping mechanisms on a case by case basis.

So, before the new school year starts, you must accept and embrace the idea of having real, honest, and uncomfortable conversations with your students on a regular basis.

3. Provide a Safe Haven

4 Ways to Prepare Your Drug Prevention Efforts Before the New School Year StartsThis ties back to the point about trust-building. Students will not open up about their problems if they sense that the people running the program are judgmental or reactionary. Therefore, you must develop the habit of listening with an open mind, without any judgments or preconceived notions. The children and adolescents must feel safe when confiding in you.

They should be able to talk to you about peer pressure, family issues, and even about their experiences with drugs or alcohol, without having to fear being judged, mocked, or ostracized. Only then will you be able to learn about the individual challenges and struggles of each student, and help them accordingly. And by trying to create a safe haven for your students, you can ensure the success of your drug prevention efforts.

4. Understand Teen Culture:

One way to prepare for the success of your drug prevention efforts is by gaining an understanding of teen culture. Much of adolescent substance abuse is driven by peer pressure, and to be able to counter it effectively, educators must first understand where it comes from and what causes it.

To gain such insight, you must let go of the stereotypical image of teen culture fed to us by mainstream media and immerse yourself in the things that your students enjoy doing and the places where they spend the most time.

By doing so, you will gain valuable knowledge about what types of parties are likely to involve drug use, which hangout areas are frequented by addicts and drug peddlers, and what kind of movies or music glamorizes substance abuse, and which ones discourage it.

It will help you gain a first-hand understanding of which elements of teen culture should be encouraged and which ones need to be strategically phased out through familial and community intervention.

In Conclusion

So if you are trying to design or implement an effective school-based drug prevention program, these are some of the things that you should practice and pay attention to before the start of the new school year. Drug prevention is not an event, it is a process, and in order to be successful, it requires a great deal of patience, determination, and resilience. You can also buy drug prevention programs and materials developed by experienced and reputed agencies or institutions.

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