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A Mixture of Caffeine and Alcohol Can Lead To Alcohol Overdose

It’s probably not something that the average parent is thinking about, but they should be aware that a continuingly popular trend in the U.S. amongst teenagers is to mix alcohol and energy drinks. This is a potentially deadly combination and one that is attractive to young adults because it gives them the feeling of being able to loosen up in combination with keeping them awake for a long night of partying. Most teens are not daily drinkers but partake in excess on the weekends, or binge drink. In fact, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 1 million high school students engage in binge drinking and on average about 5,000 die each year from an alcohol overdose, alcohol-related car accident, suicide or accidents. Shockingly, by the end of senior year, about 75% of high schoolers have tried alcohol.

An age-old favorite cocktail for young people used to be rum and coke. The sweetness masked any unsatisfying flavor and the caffeine helped to boost energy levels. In the 2000’s pre-made caffeinated drinks hit the market and replaced this cocktail. They were inexpensive and stepped up the level from 1 shot of rum and 1 can of coke to caffeine levels equal to 3 cups of coffee, and an alcohol level equal to 3 cans of beer in one pre-made drink. Thankfully, by 2010 after a rash of emergency room visits and deaths, the FDA stepped in to force these unsafe products off the market.

The attraction to caffeinated alcohol drinks is to stay awake to keep the fun going. This is dangerous because the body’s natural defense against too much alcohol is to put you to sleep, but now the caffeine acts as a stimulant so you keep drinking beyond your limits. When the two are mixed, they don’t cancel each other out but instead make the individual less aware of how intoxicated they really are. The old myth that a cup of coffee will sober you up is just that, a myth. Drinkers think they have sobered up, but it’s just that they are a bit more alert.

One study shows that today, 3 out of 4 college students in Europe and in the U.S. mix alcohol and energy drinks. No, they didn’t go back to the rum and cokes, but now to the Red Bull and vodka. A 12 ounce can of Diet Coke has about 38 – 47 mg of caffeine in it while a 8.4 ounce can of Red Bull has about 79-80 mg of caffeine, almost twice the amount. This is concerning because studies now show us that this combination of alcohol and caffeine leads to an increase in violence, unsafe levels of intoxication and overall impulsiveness. These drinkers are also 3 times more likely to binge drink as a result of not feeling the full impact of the alcohol.

All of this information is to say that it’s important that parents stay current on the recent trends. Even if you think that it could never be your child, the more that parents are open and talk to their kids about the risks and repercussions of underage drinking the higher the chances they will continue to choose to say no.

Encouraging Open Dialogue Helps Keep Children Off Drugs

The best time to start talking to your kids about alcohol and drugs is right now while schools across the country are participating in Red Ribbon Week. The Red Ribbon Week campaign was established in 1985 to heighten awareness of the destruction that these substances cause and to motivate youth to participate in drug prevention activities. It’s really never too early to start the conversation about choosing a healthy lifestyle. Shockingly, a 2010 survey conducted by SAMHSA reported that about 21% of children have used some type of illicit drugs by the 8th grade! The goal of this program is to encourage open and public discussion about the subject because studies show that teens are 42% less likely to use drugs if they feel free to talk with their parents or caregivers about the subject.

As I was listening to the Red Ribbon Week presentation during the morning assembly at my child’s elementary school, I also heard some parents discussing how horrified they were that the subject is brought up to 7 – 11 year olds. They felt like there’s no reason to introduce it at such a young age, like bringing it up will make them want to do it. The truth is the earlier we can bring it up in an age appropriate way, the better. Pre-teens and young adults often make risky decisions and we now know why. Scientific studies tell us that the brain is not fully developed until young adulthood, which is at about 25 years old. During the pre-teen years, the brain only has about 50% of the neurochemicals it needs to make decisions and exercise good judgment. Brain imaging scans prove that adolescence is a time associated with the greatest risk for developing a drug or alcohol use problem probably because the pre-frontal cortex is not done growing. When kids do drugs during this time in their lives, they not only have a higher risk of becoming a long-term abuser but it has been associated with changes in brain structure, function and learning abilities.

Now that the states of Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana, Americans seem to be easing up on the idea. According to the most recent Gallup pole, approximately 58% of the nation now supports legalizing marijuana, which is a historic high. The general belief is that marijuana isn’t a very dangerous drug and should be as available as alcohol. However, it’s important to keep in mind that regular use of marijuana (like alcohol) is dangerous for the teen’s developing mind. It has all the same side effects as smoking a cigarette but without the nicotine addiction, so it increases the chances of coughing, wheezing and getting chronic lung disease. Other effects of early use include decreased brain size, a slowed rate of thinking, memory disorders, lower IQ’s and lack of motivation.

Despite these facts, it remains that teen marijuana use is at a 30 year high. Many adolescents believe that it’s safer than drinking alcohol and have bought into the myth that it’s not addictive, or that it doesn’t impact their ability to do well in school. In reality, THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) contributes to an imbalance in thinking and coordination, wreaks havoc on concentration and can actually increase anxiety. Some other negative results include lower grades, increased moodiness, promiscuity, drug related legal problems and sometimes even aggression.

In the elementary schools, the Red Ribbon Week agenda focuses on how important it is to exercise, stay fit, eat healthy and stay away from drugs. As they get older, the discussion becomes more specific. All of this is important information for your child to hear over and over again from first grade until you send them off to college. Heightening awareness will help them to understand what your view is and what the boundaries in your family are. Many parents like to have their child take a drug education class as a proactive measure as well. The more information they are armed with, the higher the chance that they will choose to walk away from any temptations or peer pressure. Education is the key to prevention.

Online Alcohol Drug Class Is Ideal To Satisfy Your Court Order!

Did you know that if you have been charged with a DUI/DWI, MIP, drug or paraphernalia possession or any other alcohol or drug related charge, you might be able to take your court ordered class online? Many jurisdictions across the country are becoming more understanding about the difficulty of getting to a weekly in-person class. If you are an executive who travels for business during the workweek, a truck driver, a nurse with nighttime shifts or anyone with an alternative work schedule it can be impossible to make weekly Wednesday night classes at 6 p.m. without taking time off. In order to reduce the amount of strain and stress on your already complicated life, ask your judge, probation officer, the local DMV or your attorney if distance-learning classes will be acceptable for your particular case.

Once you have received approval, don’t just search the web for the cheapest class. Since you are going to be putting a good deal of your time into this, make sure you register in a course that is designed by a psychotherapist and an expert in the field of substance abuse. The website should provide you with a background of who put the program together so you can feel confident that the information is thoroughly researched and legitimate. Then check to verify that the company has a BBB rating of A+. Read the details. Some courses will advertise they are free so you’ll get started, however, they get your money in the end by charging for the Certificate of Completion. Also, make sure that the entire class is 100% online and that you won’t need a printer, or have to download a bunch of material on to your computer.

Taking your court ordered alcohol and drug awareness program online is a convenient, affordable and stress free way to fulfill the mandate. Once you enroll in the proper length class, it is accessible to you from any Internet connected computer device 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This gives you the flexibility and freedom to take the course on your schedule. There is no limit to the number of times you log in and out, so you could theoretically read through the material for 10 minutes one day and spend 2 hours interspersed throughout the next day. The best part is that if you have an upcoming court deadline, you can sometimes finish the entire program in one weekend. For example, a 16-hour class would generally take 4 months to complete in-person; however, you could get through it in 2 – 3 days online if you commit the time.

The goal of a high quality online course is to provide the educational material necessary to begin a successful recovery and maintain a sober and drug free lifestyle. Participants learn about the risk factors of drug and alcohol abuse, how their behavior affects their loved ones, the health risks associated with short and long-term use and how usage impacts their motor skills when associated with driving. To further create a cognitive shift, students learn how to more effectively communicate and healthy stress management tools.

A quality course will provide a Certificate of Completion to you for free when you have successfully completed the class. This is the official documentation that you need to show the court system, your employer or school to prove you fulfilled the requirement. Doing all this from the comfort of your own home is definitely the way to go!

Parents Utilize Online Drug and Alcohol Classes To Teach Teens They Are Not Invincible

Getting behind the wheel of an automobile after you’ve had a couple of drinks is dangerous enough. Did you know that getting behind the wheel after you’ve combined drugs and alcohol actually triples your risk for getting into a deadly car crash? Although marijuana is legal in two states and available for medicinal use in many more, and physicians are widely prescribing pain relievers like Vicodin, there is still no standard testing or definition of what it means to be drug impaired. However, recent results from a study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health reinvigorates the topic about how important it is to hand the keys over if you’ve spent the evening consuming alcoholic beverages and/or drugs. Specifically, the study shows that about 32% of drivers involved in fatal car crashes tested positive for at least one drug in their body. About 57% of these drivers tested positive for alcohol and 20% tested positive for a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs.

This is particularly disconcerting when combined with additional research from the Monitoring the Future Project. This organization analyzes 17,000 high school senior surveys each year. The most recent survey shows that more than ¼ of high school seniors admit to driving after using alcohol or drugs, or riding with someone who has. This is scary and needs to be addressed again and again and again. Teens need to understand that driving is a privilege and along with this new independence comes serious responsibility. The fact is that more than 35% of all deaths in the 16 – 20 year old age range are a result of an automobile crash. The best way to address this is with ongoing open discussion in your household and with the support of academic resources.

If you are looking for alcohol and drug education training in addition to what your child receives in driver’s ed., a high quality online program is easily accessible for this exact purpose. Having your teen take a class from home, prior to getting his or her license can reinforce the exact reasons why they shouldn’t drink and drive and what to expect if they get pulled over for a DUI. While they may see the fun everyone is having at a party filled with red cups, they should know the facts. Alcohol is actually a depressant, not a stimulant. It slows down the central nervous system and affects decision-making abilities. Someone who has been drinking and/or taking drugs have a greater chance of making irresponsible decisions and taking greater risks. And, the day after consuming too much is not a pretty picture. Side effects of overdoing it include headaches, vomiting, and nausea – the hangover.

Teens may think they are invincible, but drugs and alcohol can actually leave a larger negative impact on the adolescent brain than that of an adult. These are critical years in mental development and one study from UCSD points to damaged nerve tissue that affects attention span in boys and a girl’s ability to understand and interpret visual information.

The bottom line is that kids need to learn how and why they should overcome peer pressure and just walk away. This understanding gives them the feeling of power, control and purpose to accomplish this task without feeling self-conscious or intimidated by others.

Alcohol and Drug Education Classes Provide Teenagers With The Facts

Experimenting with drugs and alcohol during adolescence is unfortunately fairly common. Adolescents try these substances because their friends are doing it and they are trying to fit in, to help them socialize and relax. Teenagers often live in the moment and don’t think about the long-term repercussions of the risks they are taking today. Statistics show that about 1 out of 5 teenagers have tried marijuana at least once with the average age starting at 14 and 12 years old for alcohol. Some warning signs that your teenager is using include red and glazed eyes, complaints of fatigue, decreased interest in school accompanied with a drop in grades and changing social groups.

Research proves that the number reason kids say that they don’t want to try alcohol or drugs is because they don’t want to disappoint their parents. While there is no silver bullet to insure that your child will never do drugs or drink alcohol, parents can reduce the risk of abuse by following some of the following suggestions:

  • Create an open relationship with your child early on. Talk to them everyday and let them know that you value their thoughts, opinions and input.
  • Encourage positive behavior, healthy eating and if you can, exercise with them.
  • Be a good role model. Your kids are watching your every move so use alcohol in moderation, never get behind the wheel after you have been drinking and have discussions about bad behavior you see on television shows or amongst other adults.
  • Guide your children to choose good friends. Get to know them and their families.
  • Involve your children in organizations that send a positive message like scouts, sports teams and art or music classes.
  • As early as the 4th grade, parents can start having short conversations about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.
  • Set clear rules and punishments for alcohol and drug use.
  • Plan family dinners 3 – 5 times per week. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that kids who eat dinner with their families are less likely to use drugs or drink.

If you suspect that your teen is using alcohol or is caught with drugs, experts agree to confront the problem immediately. Often times, approaching it as a health issue rather than a moral issue can be the most effective way to go about it. Explain to them that you love them and want them to reach their full potential. Along with all of this advice, many parents have found that having their young adult enroll in a drug and alcohol awareness class can further drive the message home. Most school districts are tight on funds these days and no longer have the instruction on campus, so an easy, convenient and educational format is to enroll them in a private, online course. Kids today love the idea of utilizing their Laptop, PC, IPad or even Smartphone to learn from the comfort of the couch at home. Online classes can be more effective for adolescents who are shy to go into a classroom full of strangers or are busy and just can’t fit them in during the workday. Online classes can be accessed from anywhere in the U.S. that has Internet connection and at any time of the day or night. Teenagers often get a second wind and do their best learning after hours when everyone else is asleep. Online alcohol and drug awareness classes will explain the effects and consequences of use and abuse and could save their life!