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An Addiction Counselor's War on Drugs

The war in Afghanistan is now considered the longest war in United States history.

Wrong.

The US government’s "War on Drugs" recently turned 40. The longest war in American history by far has been for the most part under the radar of the general public now for four decades. Flashback: Nixon is president, hot pants are in, and Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World" is the #1 song of the year.

I'm embarrassed to admit that it's been under my radar also until the publicity this summer about the 40th anniversary. Since then I’ve become aware of the work of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and the grassroots movement Moms United to End the War on Drugs, all of whom advocate for the reduction of the harm associated with drug policies and for policies, as suggested by LEAP, "grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights".

Happy Father's Day

by Barry Lessin

June 17th, 2011

Father's voices often get drowned out in the commotion of daily family life. Hare are a few fathers who get it:

Dadonfire is a great blog by a dad "on fire about the impact of addiction and need for solutions". It blends comprehensive information for the public and professionals alike, opinion, and intelligent discussion about public health/policy issues.

Four lessons from fatherhood is a posting from Decoder, a parent-to-parent blog found on Drugfree.org that tackles the real, everyday issues we face in raising healthy teens. Dads sometimes have a hard time admitting their mistakes. And their voices often get drowned out in the commotion of daily family life. This father offers some common sense parenting wisdom from a father who gets it.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!

Co-Occurring Disorders in Teens: Bipolar Disorder - The Great Imitator

Angry outbursts, erratic sleep patterns, sudden mood swings, and changes in personality. If you’re a parent of a teenager, these behaviors can be the status quo—actually, we often take these behaviors for granted. When teens are in trouble, when they are struggling to cope with issues that are too difficult for them to handle, drinking or getting high makes these behaviors worse often to the point of frightening us.

Symptoms of substance misuse often mimic other behaviors and make it hard to figure out exactly what’s going on in kids who are getting high. We know that kids (and adults) get high to help manage the difficult emotions associated with life’s challenges. And we know that adolescence presents them (and us!) with unique challenges.

Your parental instinct that something is wrong is often correct, but understanding the difference in the root causes of their erratic behavior will help you decide what course to take with your child.

Sometimes the issues are normal external pressures, like arguments with friends, academic expectations, real or perceived rejections by others.

Happy Mother's Day! Celebrate with Mom's Nite Out

by Barry Lessin

May 5th, 2011

In celebration of the great jobs moms do, The Partnership at Drugfree.org is promoting 'National Mom's Nite Out' to give moms a well-deserved night off and celebrate who they are besides being a mom--a girlfriend, a friend and a woman.

Locally, there's a fun nite planned here on Philadelphia's Main Line to give moms a chance to strut their stuff at a fashion show and silent auction.

Taking time out for yourself to re-energize and let off steam is crucial to effective coping with addiction in the family. Make sure you don't just wait for Mother's Day!!

Is My Teenager Getting High?

The thought of your teenager getting high is scary.

“My kid?”

When you say those two words to yourself, you don't want to believe that your child could be involved in using drugs or alcohol, but you also don't want to ignore the possible early warning signs. So what do you do? We are often so worried that we become immobilized and lose sight of one of the basics of human communication:

WE ASK THEM….

If you think your child is drinking or using drugs, the most important thing to do is to come right out and ask. Research suggests that when we talk openly about drugs and drinking, children are more likely to have better self-control and develop more negative perceptions about these risky behaviors. The work you put into opening up lines of communication now can make all the difference in the future.

Some tips for how to ask:

1. Begin by preparing:

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