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Educationally Based Online Alcohol Awareness Classes Promote Healthier Living

Many addiction experts agree that education is the foundation to both preventing and treating alcohol abuse. A great number of people who drink alcohol do it for pleasure to help them relax, and rarely have any problem as a result. They are able to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, a beer after work with the guys and know when to stop drinking at a wedding or holiday party. However, some people lose control of their drinking patterns and it results in embarrassing evenings, hangovers, missed days of work, broken relationships and ultimately serious health issues.

The best plan for prevention is to start early and explain to young adults why they shouldn’t drink alcohol and what the risks entail. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, adolescents may drink less often than adults, but when they do drink, they consume about 5 drinks, which is considered binge drinking. Teenagers are especially vulnerable due to social pressures but when armed with the facts and strategies to get out of uncomfortable situations, they can gain the confidence to just say no. Some main points that young adults should be aware of are that drinking impairs judgment and increases chances of risky behavior. Statistics show that approximately 5,000 underage drinkers die each year due to alcohol related car crashes, falls, and alcohol poisoning. The brain continues to develop until the early 20’s and drinking alcohol can impair healthy growth.

Once alcohol abuse and/or dependence has developed in adulthood, there are an increasing number of reasons to stop. Some things to consider are that drinking can contribute to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats and even stroke. It kills the liver causing fatty liver disease, fibrosis or cirrhosis. It weakens the immune system so heavy drinkers are more susceptible to infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis. And, studies show that it contributes to certain types of cancers like breast, liver, throat, mouth and cancer of the esophagus.

Although it might seem like an alcoholic beverage might help individuals who are anxious or depressed to relax and lose their worries, in the long run the opposite is actually the case. Alcohol actually promotes depression and interferes with memory and regular sleep patterns causing more anxiety. While it might help someone to initially fall asleep, when it wears off in the middle of the night and the blood sugar level drops, drinkers can find themselves unable to sleep.

Taking an educationally based alcohol awareness class might be court mandated for someone who has become tangled with the law, but is also a key component to rehabilitation with the goal of sobriety. Students learn all of the health risk factors including how alcohol affects the brain and central nervous system. This leads to why one shouldn’t drink when driving or operating any machinery. The classes further discuss how this behavior affects those close to them and can come with severe consequences. Finally, learning new skills in how to better handle stress and improve communication with others help the individual move forward with a better understanding of how to live more mindfully and make healthier choices for the future.

Online Drug Education Classes for Court Requirements or Personal Growth

Have you run into drug possession issues at work, school or with the law? Some examples we hear often are: You’re a legal adult and were out with a bunch of friends to go to a concert and unfortunately caught in the public parking lot doing a little pre-partying. Or, you have a child in high school or college and you’ve received the phone call to come pick him or her up because a group of them were caught in possession of marijuana. As a responsible and caring parent, you hop in the car and race miles to get him out of this mess. After hours of stress, you’ve finally paid the fines, secured release and are on your way home to have a talk and continue to try to sort out the details of the offense. In both scenarios, community service is usually mandated as well as a drug education class before the judge will close the case. The problem is that you travel a lot for work and are never in town when they hold the weekly in-person classes in your area. Or, your child goes to school full time, doesn’t have transportation and you work and can’t possibly get him to weekly in-person classes without running into trouble with your employer. Where to turn?

Online drug and alcohol awareness classes are the easiest, least expensive and most convenient route to take in this situation. You or your teen can take a Minor-in-Possession class, a Marijuana Education class, a Drug Class or an Alcohol and Drug Awareness class with the touch of a button. Online classes from the AJ Novick Group, Inc. are designed to cover all the topics that the court expects offenders to learn to fulfill the mandate. All you need to do is get approval from the judge or probation officer to take the class online rather than going to a traditional classroom because of your specific circumstances. For example, if your teen has been cited for an offense while home on a brief vacation but spends the majority of the year away at college in another state, the judge might accept an online program. Another scenario we have seen accepted is for truck drivers or people who travel a great deal for work and simply can’t make weekly classes without possibly losing employment. Lastly, health issues that prevent an individual from safely getting to a classroom, or that make it difficult to sit comfortably through a class might persuade the judge to allow an online program.

Once court approved, you will be pleased with the many benefits of taking an online course. Not only do you get to stay at home home but you can sit comfortably in your favorite chair and follow the class on your IPad, Tablet or even Smartphone. After you register, the class becomes immediately available to take at any time of the day or night and you can log in and out whenever you would like. Therefore, if you have to take a 12-hour class and only have 1 week until your court date, you can sit down and get it done in one weekend. When you complete the program, you can download your Certificate of Completion right away and a hard copy will be sent in the mail to you. And, an aspect that many of our clients really like is that taking the class at home gives you complete privacy. You don’t have to worry about going into a classroom full of people that make you uncomfortable or be concerned that you will run into anyone you know.

Spending some extra energy to get court approval for an online alcohol and drug class will save you money, hassle and time in the long run.

Drug Awareness Education Helps Keep Teens Safe

Positive news from 2014 research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that there is a decline among 8th, 10th and 12 th graders in alcohol use, illicit drug use like MDMA and prescription and over-the-counter drugs like Vicodin. Marijuana use has stayed level. In part this may be due to news sources effectively getting the word out each time there is a teen death related to binge drinking on a college campus or drug taking at a concert. The stories are scary and show that the negative effects of drug use don’t just hit the stereotypical unhealthy heroine user, but the healthy, vibrant middle-class college student as well. Just this past August, a 23-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman died at a New York concert called Electric Zoo and a few weeks later a 19 year old died at a music venue in Boston, all from ingesting MDMA. As the school year started across the country this past September, at least 8 college freshman deaths were attributed to alcohol poisoning or alcohol related accidents.

As parents and caregivers, the best thing we can do for our teenager is educate them about drug and alcohol use. The earlier the better and especially before they leave for college or out to live on their own. Once you’ve established the plan for the next phase of their life outside of your constant oversight, it’s important to talk about the high-risk behavior they might be exposed to from new unsupervised peer groups. It’s natural to want to fit in but it can be done without putting their own life in danger. This starts with knowing exactly what kind of street drugs they can expect out there.

1. MDMA – This is most commonly known as “Ecstasy” or “Molly”. It’s a synthetic drug that increases energy and has psychedelic effects like LSD. It’s popular on the club scene as it lowers inhibitions, makes the user feel happy and content, fuels the night, and enhances the sensations of touching, the vibe of the music and the lights. “Molly” has been sold to teens as the more “pure” form of MDMA. This is simply not true and is often found to contain a combination of dangerous drugs at unknown doses. These drugs can cause rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, sweating, blood vessel constriction, and nausea and vomiting, insomnia, panic attacks, dehydration, seizures and prevent the body from regulating its temperature. This can in turn cause the internal body temperature to rise to a point of brain damage, organ failure and death.

2. Roofies – this is the street name for Rohypnol, a sleeping pill that has been associated with date rape. When taken in combination with alcohol it causes a lack of inhibition and subsequent blackouts that can last up to 24 hours. The person under its affect loses muscle control, gets drowsy, confused and even amnesia. Innocent bystanders can come under its influence because someone will drop it into an unattended drink. People, young and old, should be aware of this and not drink out of any open beverages that have been left unattended at a bar, club or party. Instead, drink fresh sodas or water out of the bottle that you open or have watched the bartender pour.

3. GHB – the street name for Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, another club drug or date rape drug. It is also generally used by teens because it creates a euphoric, uninhibited and tranquil experience. Victims often become incapacitated because it makes them so drowsy and are unable to resist assault. The user can experience sweating, blackouts, hallucinations, nausea and amnesia. It is also a drug that perpetrators will put in drinks.

Understand the Health Risks of Combining Drugs and Alcohol

With most of the country experiencing high levels of Flu activity, the demand for over-the-counter medications will most likely continue to increase in the coming weeks. While it might seem like a great idea to get home from a long day at work, get in your bathrobe and have a few beers with your Tylenol and decongestants to help you relax, it’s really not. Mixing alcohol and any type of medication can be harmful because it can intensive the effects of the alcohol or reduce the effects of the medication. Alcohol combined with medication can make you more sleepy, less coordinated, lightheaded or all of the above. I hate to repeat this story, but if it makes you think twice, it’s worth it. Last summer a friend lost her 18-year-old son. Why? He had a mid-summer cold and had been out partying with his friends. When they dropped him off at home after a night of drinking, he slammed back some Nyquil and went to bed. At some point he woke up and stumbled into the kitchen to get something. He was off balance and out of it, tripped and hit his head on the kitchen island. She found him the next morning. The autopsy showed that the combination of too much drinking and too much Nyquil made him clumsy and led to the accident.

It’s particularly serious for older adults who already have balance issues because it can even more easily lead to dangerous falls and physical injury. As the body ages, the metabolism slows down so the alcohol also stays in the system longer therefore having more potential to interact with a medication that is taken within 2- 6 hours of alcohol consumption.

Learning about the risks of drug and alcohol use is helpful to avoid unnecessary tragedies like the one above. Some severe reactions of combining alcohol and medication are:

1. It slows down the central nervous system. Both alcohol and antidepressants slow down the nervous system so combining them makes you feel sleepier; less focused, slows reaction time and contributes to an overall lack of coordination.

2. Lowers blood pressure too much. People with high blood pressure, hypertension or a history of heart attacks often take beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors to reduce blood pressure. When combined with alcohol they can make the blood pressure go too low causing increased dizziness, trouble breathing and even fainting.

3. Liver damage. The liver processes what you eat and drink into the energy and nutrition you need to survive. It breaks down and removes harmful substances like alcohol that you put in your body but can be damaged if a person drinks more than it can process. After years of heavy drinking cirrhosis or irreversible scarring occurs and eventually the liver stops functioning. One of the most common causes of severe liver damage is combining alcohol with pain relievers containing acetaminophen. Also, cholesterol-reducing drugs called Statins already can damage the liver, so the two combined just accentuates it.

4. Unnaturally low blood sugar levels in diabetics. Most Americans with diabetes take medication to treat it. When combined with alcohol, it can cause super low blood-sugar levels up to 24 hours after.

5. Increase in acid reflux. If you already suffer from this, then drinking alcohol will most likely make it worse. The alcohol itself irritates the stomach lining; esophagus and can increase acid making the symptoms unbearable.

6. Increase or decrease ability to sleep. The combination of alcohol and sleeping pills can be hazardous. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 1 in 4 Americans takes a sleep aid every year. The combination increases the level of sedation, slowing your breathing rate and central nervous system. Too much of either and you could stop breathing altogether. Another reaction for some is that the combination disrupts the normal sleep so much that it causes them to wake up more often and lose valuable rest.

Give Your Teen The Alcohol and Drug Education They Need In 2015

Many of us are starting out the New Year with a list of things we would like to accomplish in 2015. It’s a time to consider what we can do a better job at, parenting often being at the top. Did you know that as a parent you are the single most important influence on your children’s lives? The rules you set, the way you conduct your life and your conversations with them can help direct them on a successful path and away from drugs and alcohol. Years of study have shown that scare tactics and even the “Just Say No” campaign initiated by Nancy Reagan didn’t really work. Instead it’s more important to spend time having ongoing open discussions from an early age about the importance of healthy lifestyles and as they get older, the realities of alcohol abuse, smoking, taking street drugs and prescription medications.

It’s key to get the discussion going early on in an age appropriate way by serving healthy foods and with an emphasis on physical activity. Although you might think they are too young to discuss the topic with or they are “good kids”, middle schoolers need to hear it from your voice. In fact, research from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 12.8% of kids who first tried marijuana by age 14 or younger continued on to develop “illicit drug dependence or abuse” as compared to 2.6% of teenagers who tried it at 18 or older. This is due to the fact that during these adolescent years the brain is developing and rewiring and is especially susceptible to the damage drugs and alcohol can cause.

The bottom line is that if your kids see you living in a healthy way, and hear from you that these substances can be harmful, it can override the misinformation they get from their peers. In addition to this, there are other beneficial things a parent can do to support the cause. They include:

1. Look for supportive, caring adults in your child’s life at school, at your place of worship and/or in your social circle. Even if these people don’t directly discuss substance abuse, the positive relationships help to build your child’s self-confidence therefore diminishing the chances that he or she would be interested in trying anything.

2. By the teenage years, set clear rules about what will happen if they are caught taking drugs or alcohol. This isn’t the time to reflect on how you made it through high school without damage, because honestly not everyone does.

3. Lock up alcohol and prescription medicines. Research also shows that teenagers often start with what they can find around the house, or their friend’s homes. It’s not that you don’t trust them but are simply protecting everyone.

4. Support the anti-drug message they hear from the administration at school and have them take an online alcohol and drug awareness class at home like those offered at This information reinforces what the negative effects are on the brain and body. Taking the class online insures a hassle-free experience and the ability to stay in the privacy and comfort of home and go at their own pace.

5. Drug testing is now easily available to purchase for your own home. The excuse that you do random drug testing will give your kids a quick easy out if they feel uncomfortably pressured by their peers.