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High School Marijuana Use Has Decreased

High School Marijuana Use Has Decreased

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

There has been a plethora of questions surrounding marijuana in the past few years. Should marijuana be legal? If it is legal, should it be recreational use or medicinal? These are the questions being debated across the country. With several states legalizing the drug, marijuana is increasing in availability.

With all the focus on marijuana lately, one would assume that marijuana use would have skyrocketed in high school settings. Surprisingly, this is not the case.

Contrary what you might think, marijuana use in American high schools have actually gotten lower over the years.  Considering the movies that depict high school as still being full of pot smoking partying teenagers, this is not expected.

Despite the legalization of marijuana in several states, a new study reveals that high school marijuana use is significantly lower than it was 15 years ago. These numbers were surprising considering a move toward decriminalization of the drug and even recreational use in a handful of states like Colorado.

Maybe it’s one of those “If everyone starts doing it, it’s not as cool anymore” phenomenons.

Either way, Marijuana is still the most common used drug in high school. According to research done by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, researchers say marijuana is more popular then the use of other illegal drugs.  Here are the results from the study:

  • Numbers: Research shows that 40 percent of teens in 2013 answered yes to if they have ever smoked marijuana. That number decreased from 47 percent in 1999.
  • The Gender Gap: In the past, boys tended to smoke marijuana more than girls. Findings show now that boys and girls are now using marijuana at a similar rate.
  • Race: In the past, whites and blacks used to use marijuana at similar rates. Findings show now that blacks report using the drug more often.

Compared to twenty years ago, marijuana policies have undergone significant changes.

Since 1996:

  • 34 states have passed laws removing criminal sanctions for medical use of marijuana.
  • Eleven states have passed laws decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana adding to the nine passed in the late 70s.
  • Four states now allow for the recreational use of marijuana for people over 21.

All this would lead anyone to assume the use of marijuana, especially in high schools, would keep going up and up.  Study leader Renee, M. Johnson, PhD, explains more:

“People have been very quick to say that marijuana use is going up and up and up in this country, particularly now that marijuana has become more normalized. What we are seeing is that since 1999 — three years after medical marijuana was first approved — the rates of marijuana use have actually fallen. But we will be watching those states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized to see if that leads to increased use among teens.”

Time will tell is the general consensus. The 80s and 90s were the era of “just say no” and federal crackdown on illicit drugs. Yet, those were the times where drugs were high in popularity. Use of other illegal drugs has also decreased such as hallucinogens and cocaine. Alcohol and cigarette use continues to decrease alongside them.

The study recommend programs get implemented that educate students about the specific harm of marijuana use—something that is rarely ever done. The focus for too long has been on tobacco and cigarette use, Johnson stated.

“We’ve done a really good job in public health of alcohol and tobacco use prevention,” she says. “We haven’t done the same with marijuana. We would do well to follow the lessons learned from those programs, which have been pretty successful.”

Over 115,000 high school students were surveyed for the results. We’ll have to see in a couple more years how marijuana reform affects rates of marijuana use.

Like any drug, marijuana has the potential to be abused. If you feel like you may be leading into an addictive path, find someone who can get you on the path to recovery.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

11 Telltale Signs Someone is Lying to You

11 Telltale Signs Someone is Lying to You

By Cheryl Steinberg

Ever get the feeling someone’s lying to you? It may be your intuition – your Spidey sense tingling – that someone is being dishonest with you. Chances are, you’re picking up on certain body language and speech cues and didn’t even realize it. Here are 11 telltale signs someone is lying to you, so that you can know what to carefully look for next time.

#1. They tilt or jerk their head

When you ask a direct question and the person makes a sudden head movement, such as a jerk, retraction or tilt, this can be a sign of deception on their part. Just remember: when looking for this telltale sign, it often happens just before they respond to the question put to them.

#2. They’re breathing heavily

Heavy breathing is a ‘reflex action’ that is commonly associated with lying. If you’re not close enough to hear or feel if the person is breathing heavily, watch their shoulders, which will rise and fall with their breathing.

Also, listen to their voice – when someone is lying, their voice may crack or become shallow and unclear. This is because the person who’s doing the lying is experiencing breathlessness due to their increased heart rate and changes in their blood flow – all caused by the stress and pressure from the act of lying. Keep in mind, though, that people may experience breathlessness from being nervous or tense; not just when they’re lying.

#3. Their stance and movements are unnatural

When engaging in regular casual conversation, people generally move casually, repositioning their stance, shifting their weight, subtly relaxing, swaying and making unconscious movements, such as with their hands as they’re talking.

When someone is lying, they tend to have a rigid demeanor and stance. This may be counterintuitive because many people would think that, when someone is lying, they’d be more likely to fidget or appear shaky. But, when you consider the body’s “fight or flight” instinct, when someone is trying to sell their lie, they become stiff as a result of this phenomenon; the body tenses itself in preparation for potential confrontation.

#4. They use repetitive speech

When someone is lying, they of course want to convince their audience of the lie for whatever they have to lie in the first place. One way a liar will attempt to accomplish this is through repetitive speech. Think of it an exercise in trying to ‘drill it in’ to your head.

The person lying may also repeat what they’re saying as a way to also convince themselves that the lie is actually true.

Lastly, repeating the question or what they’ve already said is a way of buying time in order to think up a response an even more elaborate story. Which brings us to the next telltale sign someone is lying to you.

#5. They tell you elaborate details

Liars will also over-compensate for their lie by providing too much information. When someone starts offering all kinds of details that weren’t even asked of them, this is another red flag that they’re trying to convince you that their story is really true.

#6. They cover their mouth

In a practically literal attempt to hide their deception, a liar will sometimes – subconsciously – cover their mouth with their hands when responding to a question. The covering of the mouth is also symbolic of the person’s reluctance to respond and can be seen as a clear indication that they are shutting down all communication and basically have no intention of telling you the truth.

On a similar note dealing with the mouth, someone who is lying to you might also bite or purse their lips.

#7. They also covering vulnerable areas of their bodies

Similarly, someone who is lying may cover other areas of their body that they consider to be vulnerable, such as the throat, head, chest or even genital area (think folding hands in front of them, if standing or in their lap, if sitting).

#8. They shuffle their feet

If someone is nervous or uncomfortable with a situation, they are likely to have extra nervous energy. When someone shuffles their feet in conversation, it is the body’s way of using up nervous energy, and therefore can be a sign that they are being less-than-honest with you about something. Shuffling the feet also symbolizes their desire to literally walk away from the uncomfortable scenario.

#9. They have difficulty speaking

Someone who’s being dishonest may also experience a difficulty with speaking, even if they have no history of speech difficulties.  This is because they may find it difficult to speak when under the pressure of telling a lie. Experts say that this is caused by the body’s nervous system decreasing the salivary flow during a stressful time, which results in dry mouth.

#10. They make deliberate eye contact

Contrary to popular belief, a liar is more apt to make eye contact – sometimes extended eye contact, even to the point of awkwardness – in an attempt to convince you of their lie, because they also think that being unable to maintain eye contact is a giveaway of deception. A liar might also hold a prolonged stare in an attempt to intimidate you so that you don’t question them on what they’re telling you.

In fact, people in normal conversation who are being truthful tend to shift their eyes regularly and may look around at their current environment.

#11. They use a lot of aggressive pointing and other hand gestures

Often times, when someone is lying, they tend to be defensive, too, because, after all, they are defending their lie. If you challenge them on something they’ve said, they may become hostile and aggressive, resulting in angry gestures, along with pointing in an attempt to reiterate and emphasize their point.

If called out, the person being dishonest might become angered, in which case, they will often try to ‘turn the tables’ on you, so to speak, as a way to deflect attention and change the subject.

Lying is human nature. Sometimes it’s a little white lie told to spare someone’s feelings. Other times, it’s a lie told to avoid blame, guilt, and shame. If you have been trying to maintain a secret life as someone who is chemical dependent or who has a substance use disorder, such as drug addiction, it’s time to let it go. Let go of the guilt, shame, and stress of trying to keep up the façade that everything is alright. If you are struggling, or you suspect someone you love is struggling, please call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist.

Lie, Deny, and Counter-accuse: How You Can Tell if Someone in Your Life is Being Less Than Truthful

 Lie, Deny, and Counter-accuse: How You Can Tell if Someone in Your Life is Being Less Than Truthful

Author: Justin Mckibben

You can’t handle the truth! Or at least that’s how some people in your life may treat you sometimes, especially addicts and alcoholics. There are all types of strategies addicts and alcoholics develop to get away with being less than truthful with people around us. Sometimes we feel we are doing it to protect others from painful reality, other times we are doing it to manipulate a situation to best serve us, or we may even lie to cover up other lies. So it should be no surprise that addicts and alcoholics have trouble getting honest about what our disease has done to our lives, or how it has affected others.

Lie

A lie may not always be as easy to spot as we would like to think, especially coming from an addict. After some time spent manipulating everything to get our way, or to get the substances we want, lying becomes second nature to us. Because we lie so well sometimes we even convince ourselves, there are other ways to try and decipher the lie, and recognize the truth.

Body language is a huge indicator of a lie, or a with-holding of the truth. Micro-expressions through the face and eyes especially have certain ways of giving off a hint that someone is being less than truthful. When examining a person’s physical reaction be sure to notice:

  • Eye-movement/ lack of eye contact
  • Covering their mouth
  • Frequently touching their nose
  • Sweating
  • Quick and shortened breathing
  • Fidgeting or other nervous tics

There are also ways to tell in someone’s verbal usage if they are lying based on how they communicate, especially while being questioned for any reason. These are also signs that are subconscious and often the individual does not even know they are doing it. Each one is not a guarantee in itself, but combinations of these and physical signs are all good indicators. It is very helpful to be aware of things like:

  • Differences in voice volume or speed
  • Impulsive emotional responses to subjects
  • Repeating words or sentences over and over
  • Sudden topic changes in the middle of sentences

Some people even consider not telling the whole truth as a lie. Others may argue that a lie has to be more direct and deliberate. However regardless, the more you ignore the truth the more damage can come from the lack of willingness to be honest.

Deny

Denial is a coping mechanism addicts often use to adjust to stressful or embarrassing situations, and to avoid the truth of their addiction and the way it affects others. Denial is something that we use against people who are trying to show us the issues with our behavior, but we also you denial on ourselves to try and find excuses to keep doing something. Whether we are in denial about the actions we take to get our drugs or drink, or we are denying being addicted all together. The main styles of denial are typically:

Coming up with excuses as to why something should be acceptable.

  • Rationalization-

Trying to explain why the behavior makes sense and should not be considered a problem.

  • Minimizing-

Trying to make the behavior or the drug use seem less than it is, as if people who are concerned are exaggerating.

These are a few of the most commonly used tactics for denial because they try to intellectualize the problem and tip-toe around the core issue by obscuring key elements of the circumstances.  The worst part about denial is that it typically means that the addict is not just being dishonest to you, but they are also not being honest with themselves. And the more they try to convince themselves they do not have a problem with drinking or using drugs, the more they resent the idea of getting help until they can see the truth.

Counter-Accusation

Projection, or counter-accusation, has a lot to do with deflecting the responsibility or the blame for a situation or a problem onto someone else. Falsely attributing negative issues or behaviors to someone else to avoid looking at yourself or your own faults in order to keep acting in a way that serves your addiction is blatantly harmful to you and those around you.

If you try to consult someone in your life about their addiction, or question their behavior even in recovery, and they are constantly trying to turn the tables and put the blame on you for that problem, it may be that they are doing all they can to avoid being honest with you or themselves, even if that means becoming overly defensive and even aggressive.

When you confront an addict about drinking or using drugs and they try and deflect the conversation by projecting their frustration or justifications on to you, it is a clear indicator that there is more to it than they are letting on.

The addict in your life has probably been able to pull off a couple of these strategies in order to tip the odds in their favor more than once. Sometimes we master skills of deception in spite of ourselves, or even subconsciously. Addicts do well to adapt to less than truthful means, and in order to help cut the ties to the lies, we must be able to identify the traits. Once we have been able to see these defects of character for what the are, we are given an opportunity to overcome them. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135  

 

How to Stop Making Excuses for Your Addicted Loved One

How to Stop Making Excuses for Your Addicted Loved One

By Cheryl Steinberg

We’ve written many an article on the excuses addicts and alcoholics use to cover up or justify their addictions; this is an article about how others make excuses for their addicted loved ones. Also an example of enabling, codependents often end up sucked into the world of their addicted family member, friend, child, or significant other and that is why alcoholism and, by extension, addiction, are considered to be a ‘family disease.’ That is, it doesn’t only affect the person in the grips of active addiction – everyone who is in relationship with that person – especially their close loved ones – is affected and often leads to codependency. Here are some ways in which we justify others’ addictions as well as how to stop making excuses for your addicted loved one.

Blaming the Significant Other

Often times, especially when it comes to a son or daughter who is in active addiction, people will blame their significant other for the child’s using. It might be that addiction runs on one side of the family and thus one parent will blame the other, basically for their genes. Another way in which parents blame each other is that one is ready to say ‘no’ to the child while the other one is the obvious enabler. This dynamic, as you can imagine, causes a rift in the relationship of the parents.

If it’s the significant other who struggles with addiction, their spouse will be quick to blame them for their disease, as is often the case with addiction. The negative stigma that continues to follow addiction is that it is the person’s fault and that they just need to exercise will power in order to overcome this medical condition. Studies of the brain as well as genetics actually have shown that addiction is a brain disorder that affects as many as 1 in 3 people.

Blaming Others

The codependent will often want to blame other people for their loved one’s addiction. It might be their friends or their coworkers that they place the blame with. I know for me, my mother wanted to blame my then-boyfriend for my drug addiction. And, although things certainly got kicked into high gear when I was with him, my substance abuse began well before I ever met the guy.

It’s true that, when we get clean and sober, we must change people, places, and things but, it’s not those three things that solely contributed to our addiction. As mentioned above, alcohol and drug addiction are recognized as chronic medical conditions for which specialized treatment is often required, as well as significant lifestyle changes, in order to bolster success at recovery.

Blaming Life Circumstances

It may be that the loved one has suffered great tragedy in their lifetime, such as the loss of a loved one, or it might be that they were the victim of trauma or abuse. And yet, it may also be that they suffer with a psychological condition such as a mood disorder, like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Or, as often is the case with addicts and alcoholics, they might have even experienced all or a combination of these. People in a codependent relationship with an addict will make excuses for their loved one’s using because they’ve “had a hard life.”

How to Stop Making Excuses for Your Addicted Loved One

There are probably tons of other excuses that people make on behalf of their loved ones and theirsubstance abusing behaviors. What’s important is to recognize whether you are justifying their addictions and therefore enabling them to keep using. There’s a saying among the recovery community that says enabling your loved one is like loving them to death. You must realize that addiction is a serious – and potentially fatal – condition.

In order to stop making excuses, get educated on what they’re going through. Check out support groups, such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Family Anonymous that offer free meetings where you can learn from others who are in your position as well as gather helpful information and resources.

Be informed. You can research information on addiction and addiction treatment online. There are articles on how to talk to your loved one about their addiction as well as resources, such as people who can help you stage an intervention.

Speak with professionals in the field of addiction and addiction treatment. You may want to consider individual and family therapy with one of these specialists. These are all ways in which you can learn how to stop making excuses for your addicted loved one.

If you are concerned about a family member or other loved one that is struggling with substance abuse and addiction, help is readily available. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist for questions and resources. We are available 24/7. Remember, you are not alone.

The 8 Most Harmful Lies We Tell Kids About Addiction

The 8 Most Harmful Lies We Tell Kids About Addiction

D.A.R.E. and ‘Just Say No’ were well-meaning programs that actually resulted in doing a lot more damage than good. Here are the 8 most harmful lies we tell kids about addiction.

#1. Everyone will try to get you high, (including each one of your friends)

This lie is particularly bad for two main reasons: one, because it teaches your kid to be ultra-paranoid and to have trust issues and, two, because you’re sending them the message that everyone’s doing it…which most adolescents with fill in the rest of that thought with, “so why shouldn’t I?” Telling your kid or kids that ‘everyone’s doing drugs’ will make them think that there must be something to this whole drug experimentation thing, so why not give it a try. Let’s just say, this exemplifies the meaning-well-but-totally-backfiring intention of creating such a ludicrous lie.

#2. People who do drugs become addicts, which are horrible, evil people

Basically, this sort of lie is borne of and works to perpetuate the whole negative stigma of drug use and drug addiction. It’s especially detrimental if, say, your kid carries the addiction gene and later becomes an addict. Because they were told that people like them are pieces of sh!t, they will likely go into hiding with their addiction and be less likely to get help. This means that they are also more likely to die from their disease of addiction. If you are a parent who has bought and sold this lie to their child, which is better: having a child who struggles with addiction but is able to talk to you about it and eventually get help for it, or having a child die from their disease because they are too shameful to speak up? Think about it.

#3. You’re “throwing it all away” if you do drugs

This is a horrible threat. Making your child believe that their future is ruined if they develop drug addiction is basically like telling them, “Well, you might as well just continue doing drugs because your fate is sealed, your future is ruined.” So many kids grow up thinking that addicts are just a waste of space so, why bother, right? Quite the contrary, there are tons of super talented, incredibly smart people out there who also just happen to be in recovery from addiction. Having the disease of addiction means drastic lifestyle changes but, it certainly doesn’t mean your life is over.

#4. 2. Addicts are stupid, lazy people

In fact, addicts are probably some of the smartest, most motivated people. It’s just that, while in active addiction, their engaged in destructive behaviors that need to be turned into constructive ones once they get clean and sober.

It’s been found that there are actual changes in the brain of an addict that prompt compulsive drug use. Many people just assume that addicts are just too stupid to know better than to keep using. But addicts aren’t stupid. There comes a point (seemingly) of no return where the addict starts to believe that they need drugs just to survive.

Addicts also aren’t lazy. In fact, they are powerfully motivated people; it’s just that their drive is fueled by the compelling need of getting enough drugs every day to stave off withdrawal. It’s not easy to keep up with. In fact, it’s downright exhausting. It’s like having a whole other full time job.

Speaking of jobs…

#5. Addicts are homeless junkies who have nothing to offer

It might be true that, for many who struggle with substance abuse, their addiction results in homelessness but, there are many, many people who are what can be considered ‘functional alcoholics’ and ‘functional addicts.’ For example, even at the height of my addiction, I had a pretty decent job as a head teller for a major bank. I also owned my own car and had a nice place to live.

#6. Addicts lack willpower

Lacking willpower is a symptom – not a cause – of the brain changes that occur in cases of addiction. Failing to stop isn’t driven by a mere lack of willpower. Continuing to use is driven by changes to the structure and function of brain cells that have morphed into a “new normal” requiring a base-level of intoxication to function. It’s true that most people who are in active addiction lack the ability and willpower to ‘stay straight’ on their own and therefore need some form of treatment to help them on their way to recovery.

The truth is, addiction is a disease characterized by accelerating compulsive drug use despite negative consequences (i.e. negative impact on their personal, physical, social and psychological well-being) due to the progressive nature of tolerance.

And all of this is driven by a natural instinct of self-preservation and an understandably intense fear of withdrawal symptoms. Neuroscientists say that while people may start out using drugs to get high, tolerance causes addicts to continue to take drugs to avoid the extremely uncomfortable, even terrifying symptoms of withdrawal. The motivational power of this fear outweighs all of the rational reasons, such as willpower, that you would think would be enough to convince an addict to stop.

#7. Drug users and addicts need punishment (not treatment)

Threats of punishment like arrest and jail time, only work for rational people. These sorts of threats are largely ineffective at getting addicts to quit using. That’s because, again, addiction is a disease – one in which the emotional need for drugs far outweighs the threat of the negative consequences of drug use. And this is based in biology. Drug use actually alters the balance between the brain’s competing emotional and rational systems, resulting in over-valuing the short-term emotional payoff of continued drug use at the expense of long-term consequences.

#8. It’s a choice

Even though addiction has been recognized by the medical community as a disease of the brain for more than half a century, the misconception that addiction is a choice still pervades popular culture. That said. Addiction is not a choice. It affects people with a genetic predisposition to the disease. Taking that first drink or drug is, however, a choice. It’s important to talk to your kids and find out why they might be considering trying alcohol and other drugs rather than using scare tactics and hoping it’s enough to keep their curiosity in check.

If you want to learn ways to talk to your child about addiction or you are concerned for yourself or a loved one who you think might be struggling with substance abuse or drug addiction, please call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135. Here at Palm Partners, we provide 24/7 access to addiction specialists who can answer your questions.

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