Opioid Abuse in North Carolina’s Middle Schools

It is shocking that students are abusing drugs at younger and younger ages. Students in middle and high school across North Carolina’s Piedmont region are addicted to powerfully potent drugs. So much so that school resource officers said they’ve caught them getting high in class with their teacher in the room. Continue reading “Opioid Abuse in North Carolina’s Middle Schools” »

How New Marijuana Legalizations Affect Teen Drug Use

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Recently new laws legalizing recreational marijuana use in Nevada, California and Massachusetts were put into action. Altogether 28 states and D.C. have some sort of legalized marijuana laws on the books. Only a small amount of the states have legalized for recreational use, most of them have only decriminalized possession of small amounts or growing a few cannabis plants. So the question now has to be asked, is it easier for teenagers to get marijuana and will the numbers of teens smoking marijuana rise? Continue reading “How New Marijuana Legalizations Affect Teen Drug Use” »

Teens: Be Aware of How Marijuana Use Alters DNA & Increases Risk of Disease

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, affects DNA causing problems for future generations.

A new study conducted by The University of Western Australia discovered that the widely used illicit drug has serious negative health effects.

A reported 22.2 million people smoked marijuana in the month that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) conducted its study.

Many of these users, particularly teens, are probably not aware of the dangerous effects of marijuana abuse.

Continue reading “Teens: Be Aware of How Marijuana Use Alters DNA & Increases Risk of Disease” »

Marijuana Use During Pregnancy Poses Serious Risks

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In November, the American Medical Association (AMA) made moves to ensure that pregnant women and their children will no longer be impacted by recreational marijuana use during pregnancy. Considering that self-reported usage rates among pregnant women range from 2-5%, increasing 15-28% in young, urban, and poor women, it seems their intervention is necessary.

Their first steps included promoting regulations that will require the placement of warnings on medical and recreational marijuana products, as well as placement of warnings wherever these products are sold.

What led to these recommendations? The AMA took into account several studies linking marijuana usage during pregnancy to medical and mental issues in children. Their recommendations also affect breastfeeding mothers.

Read on for more specific details about their recommendations and the affect the marijuana can have on children.

Continue reading “Marijuana Use During Pregnancy Poses Serious Risks” »

Trends in Teen Drug Use

As a parent, you may spend a lot of time worrying.

Worrying your child will stay safe.

Worrying your child will stay happy.

Worrying your child will stay healthy.

While there is no way to predict the future and quiet these fears, parents can be proactive about their teens’ wellness by being aware of teen drug use — including warning signs and current trends in usage.

The recently released results of a 2014 survey show promising signs relating to teen drug use. In some respects, the survey demonstrated a drop in overall teen drug use. Other aspects were more troubling, such as the greater perceived tolerance for marijuana. Much can be learned about teen drug use by highlighting the more significant findings, as we’ve done below!

Continue reading “Trends in Teen Drug Use” »

Parents: Watch Out for Wax Marijuana

Metro parents need to be on high alert: a new form of marijuana popular among teens is starting to circulate in the Kansas City area, according to officials from one Johnson County, KS crime lab.

ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City is sharing what you need to know about wax marijuana.

Continue reading “Parents: Watch Out for Wax Marijuana” »

Drugged Teen Drivers: A Growing Threat

Drunk drivers are not the only risk on the road. There has been a significant uptick in drugged drivers causing fatal accidents, and many of these drivers are testing positive for prescription drugs.

To complicate the issue further, the rate of prescription drug abuse among teens is rising, with 14.8% of high school seniors reporting that they used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes.

The combination of inexperienced drivers and prescription drug use could prove to be deadly. Here’s what you need to know about this disturbing trend.

Continue reading “Drugged Teen Drivers: A Growing Threat” »

Summer Break is Here – Watch Your Kids for Signs of Drug Use

Summer’s in full swing! For many teens, this means days at the lake or the pool, afternoons at the mall, and nights with friends. But for some, break from school can also include drug use.

As parents, it’s your job to be vigilant about your teen’s drug use, especially during the summer when your kids are home from school and have more free time (and potentially less supervision).

Here are our tips for spotting signs of drug use in your teens this summer!

Continue reading “Summer Break is Here – Watch Your Kids for Signs of Drug Use” »

Drugs disappoint hopeful LS West fans, parents

Disappointing news came from the Missouri-side of the state this week. A top football player at LS West, and one of the most hopeful prospects being recruited, was arrested after resisting law enforcement who found drugs in his car. Students are upset at what this means for their football team and the opportunity to have one of their own “make it big.” While the jury’s out on what the arrest and suspension means for this student, one thing is clear – drugs at school and student athletes in possession of marijuana will not be tolerated.

The school’s appropriate response to drugs

LS West player arrested … had drugs in his car.

My team at ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City would like to give props to the administrators at Lee’s Summit West for doing the right thing, although it might bring unwanted repercussions. It would have been easy to overlook the behaviors or suspicions that a top player was using or in possession of drugs. Especially a player who carries the prospect of bringing fame and attention to the school and its athletic programs. However, the school stood by its drug and alcohol policy:

Any student in possession of, buying, under the influence of, or using a controlled substance, illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, alcohol, mood altering chemicals or nonprescription drugs, or any student who represents any substance as one of the above, will be suspended for up to ten days with a possible referral to the Superintendent, which could result in a suspension of up to 180 days. (From the LS West Student handbook).

The player’s mistaken response to law enforcement

What’s sad about this story isn’t just that drugs were found in this student athlete’s car – it’s that he resisted authorities and ended up getting arrested. Although he might be a superstar on the football field, life and reality came rushing in this week as his photo was plastered in newspapers and on TV stations for his unfortunate bad decision. We’d recommend that he reads up on other football players like Ricky Williams who also thought he was above the law and had his career jeopardized based on poor decisions.

Facebook responses of both students and alum of the school ranged from being angry and upset at the player for making such a bad decision to angry at the school because “marijuana isn’t that big of deal.” Seems like the report that many high school students are trying marijuana is ringing all too true this week with supporters of the player discounting the dangers of weed.

Drugs have no place in high school sports

This local story reinforces that drugs have no place in high school sports – even if they’re sitting in a player’s parked car. School districts are encouraged to follow the example of LS West and have a no-tolerance policy for any student to be in possession of illegal drugs or alcohol – particularly on school property. If you’re a school in the KC area and need a reliable drug testing partner, please contact my team.

Drugs are a big deal and they must be kept out of the schools. Good job to LS West for ensuring that was the case with their school this week – even with what it may have just cost them and their football team.

Marijuana Use linked to Testicular Cancer?

A team of researchers at the University of Southern California believes they’ve found an interesting link, marijuana and testicular cancer.  In fact, the study has led these researchers to believe that marijuana use amongst teenage males can double the risk of testicular cancer.

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“We do not know what marijuana triggers in the testes that may lead to carcinogenesis, although we speculate that it may be acting through… the cellular network that responds to the active ingredient in marijuana, since this system has been shown to be important in the formation of sperm,” said Victoria Cortessis, lead author and assistant professor of preventive medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. (source)

Cortessis claims that testicular cancer is the most common form for men between the ages of 15 and 45.  She also claims that it is on the rise.

“This isn’t the first time that this information has come out,” said Michael Craycraft, testicular cancer survivor and founder of the Testicular Cancer Society, a support and advocacy group for men and boys diagnosed with the disease.

“There have been at least two other studies in the past couple of years that have basically shown the same thing,” he said. “In particular, that marijuana smoking is associated with nonseminoma, a harder-to-treat kind of testicular cancer.” (source)

Scary stuff, guys.

For young men, living life and having a great time, this is scary.  And to all those folks who claim nothing bad comes from marijuana use… you heard it here first.  “This isn’t the first time this information has come out.” In addition to all of the other bad effects marijuana can have on teens – increased cancer risk is now added to the pile.

Parents, if you suspect your teen is using drugs, here’s yet another reason (or two) to get them drug tested and find out for certain.