Our kids these days live their lives through social media, watching TV, and playing video games. Unfortunately, several new studies are finding that all this screen time is having a negative effect on their mental health.
Informed Families Blog
We knew that the pandemic caused a serious mental health crisis among all ages, and that teens had an especially difficult time.
Sometimes it seems as though we’re trying to hold back a tidal wave in trying to curb illegal drug use. Between 1999 and 2019, 840,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) noted in a report released late last month. Another 20 to 30 times that many non-fatal overdoses are believed to occur over the same period.
More than 93,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Informed Families President & CEO Peggy Sapp was invited to participate in a round table discussion about the opioid epidemic on Saturday, April 20. Organized by Congresswoman Donna Shalala, the panel was moderated by Rodrigo Lozano, LCSW, from the National Association of Social Workers and included John W. Newcomer, M.D., president and CEO of South Florida Behavioral Health Network in Miami, FL, Judge Victoria Sigler and Howard Rosen, Esq., head of narcotics in the State Attorney’s Office.
When Ginger Katz’s 20-year-old son Ian died of a drug overdose, the doctors suggested she tell people that he died of a heart attack or brain aneurysm. Katz said that the night before the funeral, she couldn’t sleep, feeling “physically, spiritually and intellectually” unable to attend the next day’s events.
“I felt that [for me to attend the funeral] they’d have to carry me,” said Katz. “Then, I’m not sure where it came from but at some point that night, I visualized speaking out. I was not one for public speaking but I woke my husband up and told him that I wanted to speak out. I said, ‘if this is happening to us, it’s happening to other families and no one is talking about it.’”
Twenty-two years later, Ginger and her husband Larry Katz are still talking about their experience through the non-profit organization they ultimately founded: the Courage to Speak Foundation. They make presentations to children, parents, educators, clergy, professionals and others in 40 states. Knowing that their story alone could only take families so far, Ginger and Larry worked with a team of experts to develop curriculum evaluated and recommended by the Yale School of Medicine. Their elementary, middle and high school curriculum is implemented across the country. Additionally, they offer a multi-session program for parents called Courage to Speak -Courageous Parenting 101®.
According to a recent report from the Trust for America's Health Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury deaths in the United States, at nearly 44,000 per year. Overdose deaths, half of which are related to prescription drugs, have more than doubled in the past 14 years. Overdose deaths now exceed motor vehicle-related deaths in 36 states and Washington, D.C. And, in the past four years, drug overdose death rates have significantly increased in 26 states and Washington, D.C. and decreased in six.
An analysis of Instagram posts in March shed light on anticipated drug use at this year's Summer Music Festivals. DrugAbuse.com reviewed over 3.6 million Instagram posts mentioning 14 different Music Festivals to determine the percentage of posts that contain language about alcohol and drugs, including 61 popular terms associated with those substances.
The study shows that alcohol is the most prevalence drug at concerts and festivals, followed by "Molly," Marijuana and Cocaine.