Kids these days...
Informed Families Blog
Unplug To Connect With Your Children This Summer
Summer offers a sense of freedom for kids. With school out of session, children gain a great deal of free time. As parents you take on more responsibility; it’s your responsibility to keep children active physically and mentally and to not leave them to their own devices. While some boredom is good for the teen brain, excessive free time can increase their risk to get involved in harmful behaviors.
Did you know that summer is the riskiest time of the year for teens and drugs? Research shows that more teens try marijuana and other drugs for the first time in June and July than any other time of the year.
As your first priority, plan time to just have fun together, connecting as a family. Turn off the Media madness (that means you too!) and play a game. You’ll be surprised how much fun it is. Plus, it will reduce your stress and increase bonding, as you learn more about each person in the family. Spending time together walking, swimming or hiking outdoors is also a great chance to stay fit and connected. If one activity turns disasterous, try another one. Don't give up on connecting with your children.
Communicate with your kids about the things they want to do this summer. Open them up to positive activities such as a sport, community serivce or have them take additional summer classes to keep their minds sharp and vibrant. Don’t allow their minds to become addicted to screens. And monitor what they are consuming when they are watching screens. Common Sense Media is a wonderful, time-saving tool.
If you have two minutes to spare, we'd love to get your feedback on issues that matter to you, as we are always striving to offer you the best research-based support to help your kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free.
I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for all the wonderful dads out there. I hope you had a great Father's Day.
Until next time,
On Election Day last November, the presidential race wasn’t the only result to make news in Florida. Voters in our state approved Amendment 2, which expanded the sale and distribution of medical marijuana. The measure, which is now part of the Florida constitution, required a 60 percent vote to pass and received a 71 percent tally—nearly three-quarters of ballots cast. The amendment went into effect Jan. 3, although state health officials are still in the process of cementing rules regulating the cannabis industry.
Confusion remains about what Amendment 2 entails and what it will mean for Florida. Other states have medical marijuana laws, ranging from strict to lenient on how cannabis is prescribed and obtained. One thing is clear from the other states’ leads: Medicinal marijuana, though arguably a benefit to sick patients, negatively impacts teen drug statistics. Although Amendment 2 overwhelmingly passed, how the law will affect Florida families is currently uncertain.
Did You Get The Red Ribbon Message?
Did You Pass It On Correctly?
During Red Ribbon Week®, the red ribbon is used to symbolize the importance of a healthy, drug free lifestyle. This year’s theme, YOLO. Be Drug Free.® was created by two sixth graders in Claysburg, Pennsylvania. It reminds us to take care of our minds and our bodies.
Years ago I directed an after-school program. No matter how hard I tried to educate and set my students on a path to success, if their parents or caregivers weren’t delivering the same message at home, the work was exponentially harder. Furthermore, when our overall environment is sending conflicting, unhealthy messages, we are stressed and challenged. I do believe that one person can make a difference in a child’s life, but by partnering with parents and improving community messaging, the likelihood of raising safe, healthy, drug free kids is vastly improved.
Common Myths Masquerading As Common Sense
“Underage drinking is a harmless rite of passage.”
Really? Is that so?
“Teaching my child to drink will lead to moderation in the future.”
Ever heard one of these?
“I drank and smoked pot in my youth and lived to tell the tale. My child will too.”
Ever believed it?
“If it’s prescribed by a doctor, it’s harmless.”
Are common myths masquerading themselves as common sense? If enough people around you are saying the same thing, whether it’s true or false, do you start to question your own judgment, knowledge?
“If my child 'parties' and still gets good grades, he/she doesn’t have a problem.”
Our Safe Homes Smart Parties campaign aims to inform and empower parents of underage youth to set guidelines around springtime parties to ensure that drugs and alcohol are not present or tolerated. We know that underage drinking is responsible for 4,300 deaths and 189,000 emergency room visits each year. This isn’t make believe.
“Marijuana is a plant so it’s not harmful or addictive. It’s natural.”
According to extensive research (22 studies) published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, “parental provision was generally associated with increased adolescent alcohol use and, in some instances, increased heavy episodic drinking as well as higher rates of alcohol-related problems.”
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report shows progress in reducing some forms of substance use – especially among adolescents. Substance use levels in many areas, however have remained relatively constant. Mental illness levels have also remained constant over time, but adolescents are experiencing higher levels of depression than in past years.
SAMHSA issued its 2014 NSDUH report on mental and substance use disorders as part of the kick off for the 26th annual observance of National Recovery Month. Recovery Month broadens public awareness to the fact that behavioral health is essential to health, prevention works, treatment for substance use and mental disorders is effective, and people can and do recover from these disorders.
Effects of marijuana – with and without alcohol – on driving performance
Using the most sophisticated driving simulator of its kind to mirror real-life situations, new research shows that marijuana use impairs one measure of driving performance. People driving with blood concentrations of 13.1 µg/L THC – the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – showed increased weaving within the lane, similar to those with 0.08 breath alcohol, the threshold for impaired driving in many states. Drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana had an additive effect, so that drivers using both substances weaved within lanes even if their blood THC and alcohol concentrations were below the impairment thresholds for each substance alone. Alcohol, but not marijuana, increased the number of times the car actually left the lane and the speed of weaving. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Office on National Drug Control Policy, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funded the study.
Running with half a dozen buddies in the early morning on New Year's Day, I asked a friend what she and her teen-aged children had done the night before. "Just stayed home and played Parcheesi," Danielle said. "Then the kids and I started to watch a movie, but I fell asleep on the couch in the living room."
"My kids and I stayed home too," I replied. "We played Dominoes and then they baked something that was almost edible. But I'm leaving out the word 'just.' I'm happy to hang out with my wife and children. The kids will be grown and gone soon enough."
As we trotted over tree roots on our way down toward Matheson Hammock, another running buddy joined the conversation: "You supercilious prig," Lynn began. "Not only are you living in a cave, you are harming your kids by not letting them go out from the damp, dark confines in the side of a cliff."
As Election Day draws near, “medical marijuana” has become a hot topic, and many have asked me about my position concerning constitutional Amendment 2. That’s simple: I am personally against the amendment because I know it is a ruse that will create defacto-legalization of marijuana in Florida. The amendment supporters are counting on those of us who are compassionate and who want to help the very sick, to ignore the very real negative consequences of legalization.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU VOTE FOR!!!
Society is overwhelmed with information, so we just hit “agreed” and proceed. Who has time to read all the legalese?
That is the situation Floridians are facing November 4, 2014, when voting on Amendment 2 (Medical Marijuana). We are tired of the drug war and want to stop hearing about it! So it is tempting to just hit “agreed” and move on. But, this time it is critical to read the legalese and accept that Amendment 2 is no panacea for fixing society’s drug problem.