Friday, August 03, 2012

A New Drug in Town, Part 2 Or Zombies, Zombies Everywhere

We blogged about Bath Salts two years ago in April of 2010 – then the new kid in town, drug-wise. Now it’s resurging in an alarming way. No, it’s not turning people into zombies (contrary to initial reports), maybe just cannibals.

To begin with, the drug marketed as Bath Salts has hung around in spite of a September 2011 Drug Enforcement Administration emergency order to ban or restrict these stimulants already off limits in at least 37 states. An internet search on bath salts will turn up increasing incidents of out-of-control people high on these drugs.
The famous ‘heads up’ came at the end of May 2012, when a naked Miami man chewed off the face of another man, continuing his attack even after being shot by police.  Described as a ‘zombie attacker’, he was thought to be under the influence of bath salts – a synthetic marijuana.  Later it was found that he had ‘just’ used regular marijuana.
In early July at the Atlanta Golf Center, a man wearing only underwear, came out of the woods and began to scream about ‘religion, Tupac Shakur and cannibalism’. It took four Taser hits to stop and arrest him. Bath salts were the culprit in this case.  Police around the country have observed that bath salts can kill pain for several hours and make a person delusional.
Soon after this incident President Barack Obama signed a bill that banned the sale, production and possession of some chemicals used for making many types of synthetic drugs, and the DEA has temporarily banned some chemicals found in synthetic marijuana.
Then on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 Operation Log Jam, a joint effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration and federal and local agencies, was conducted in more than 90 cities spanning 30 states.  Seized were $36 million in cash and more than 4.8 million packets of synthetic cannabinoids along with synthetic amphetamines that mimic the affects of marijuana and meth.
As parents we can be thankful for this crackdown.  According to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart these drugs have been deceptively marketed to young people as bath salts, K-2 and Vanilla Sky.  In spite of disclaimers on the packaging stating ‘not for human consumption’ most young people knows what these products are used for.  The results of use are varied, but include hallucinations, aggressiveness, attempted suicides and murder as well as a twenty-fold increase in calls to poison control.

Let’s keep aware of what’s ‘out there’ so that we can advocate for our kids.  Are you worried that your teen or young adult is abusing these or other drugs?  Come to a StandUp Parenting group near you for ideas and support.
Sources: Internet news, especially Louis Casiano, NBC News

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pursuing the High School Diploma

School has just ended here in the Northwest, but school’s not out for many parents.  Especially the parents of high school kids who just aren’t making the grade.  They’re busy attending meetings to figure out what possible steps can be taken to help their struggling kids succeed.

Will summer school help? Night school? Maybe that new alternative program.
A local newspaper, The Oregonian, recently ran a three part series on why our teens weren’t graduating from high school in the typical four years – in fact many drop out.  The numbers weren’t what I found interesting, it was the techniques that local schools are using to enable teens facing challenges to stay in their home high schools, succeed and graduate on time.

What is working:
 - Having a weekly meeting of staff (about a dozen) who track and discuss the group of students at their school who are having problems, skipping school and are in danger of dropping out – or getting kicked out. 

- Tracking these student’s attendance on a daily basis.  Personally calling the home of a student who is absent.  Making sure they get the support and services they need.
- Screen all freshmen to ensure they can read on a high school level.  Provide a class or tutoring to bring those who are struggling up to speed.
- Work to keep these kids in their home/neighborhood school, rather than automatically sending them to alternative schools.

- Give students who have missed class work the opportunity to do make-up work in a flexible and timely fashion. 

The Hillsboro, Oregon school system has used these methods with great success.  Would these methods work in your school?  Is your child’s high school using one or more of these methods?  Would you be willing to ask your high school to look into implementing these techniques when you consider your child’s options for the fall?
Get help and support from your StandUp Parenting group as you work towards a positive future for your child’s education.

Next blog post: When Traditional Schools Just Don’t Work


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sick and Tired

I’m just sick and tired of being sick and tired!

I was sick for nearly two months at the end of 2009 and the general 'out of sorts' lasted well into 2010. Nasty flu!

Getting sick is one of the hardest things for parents of difficult kids. We're used to taking care of them, or at least jumping up and running out to solve the latest emergency.

Here is what helped me get through this time - with one kid in jail and another in Iraq.

Simplify: I only did what I had to do. This included cooking and cleaning. Plus meetings. Lots of premade food (nutrition and budget took a temporary backseat). Even got groceries delivered (it was free the first time - and worth it).
Consolidate: I'd gather up my energy and do errands one day and then recuperate the rest of the week.
Delegate: Actually this was more like - 'Don't show up and someone else will fill in.'
And they did. At StandUp, church and my writer's group, somehow they all got along without me. Yes, they were glad to see me come back again, in good health, but the world didn't fall apart while I was gone.
Ask: I asked one of my adult kids to help at home. I asked folks at church and StandUp for support, encouragement and to fill in for me. They did.

Simplify, Consolidate, Delegate and Ask, then get better soon!