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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Use Of Marijuana Up, Other Drugs Down Among American Students

If there was any recent story that perfectly summed up the changing nature of drug use among America's young adults - and the associated need for drug addiction programs in North Carolina like Red Oak Recovery® to adapt - it was surely the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) most recent annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey.

Released in April, the publication observed, for the 16th consecutive year, a decline in the percentage of grade 8, 10 and 12 students in America who reported having ever used alcohol. There was also a drop - for the 17th year in a row - in the percentage of survey respondents who claimed to have ever smoked cigarettes. It means that lifetime smoking prevalence among teens is now less than half of its mid-'90s peak.

However, not all of the survey findings made pleasant reading for the coordinators of drug addiction programs in North Carolina and other areas of the United States. A 1.7 percentage point increase was recorded in the portion of students stating that they had used an illegal drug during their lifetime, from 2012's 34.1 percent to 35.8 percent last year.

Marijuana retained its position from years past as the most frequently used illegal drug, with nearly one third - 32 percent - of those surveyed claiming to have used it during their lifetime. A 16.7 percent rise was observed in the prevalence of past-year student marijuana use, from 21.5 percent to 25.8 percent, in just five years. The level of recorded daily use of marijuana among students last year - 3.7 percent - matched the highest seen in 22 years of monitoring.

However, what will especially worry those helming drug addiction programs in North Carolina is a steady decline among students in the perceived risk of marijuana use, accompanied by the increase in use of the drug. The MTF's principal investigator and Angus Campbell Collegiate Research Professor at the University of Michigan, Dr. Lloyd Johnston, expressed concern that such a lowered estimation of the drug's risk could lead to further rises in marijuana use.

Dr. Johnston commented: "We've seen in various historical periods a strong correlation between changes in perceived risk and use of various drugs. We don't have many leading indicators in the social sciences, so we take this correlation seriously."

Nonetheless, there was better news as far as other drugs were concerned. Past-year use of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin all slightly declined. The survey also found decreased levels of reported use of such drugs as synthetic marijuana - otherwise known as 'K2' or 'Spice' - and bath salts, which have both been associated with serious health concerns.

The survey presents a mixed picture which certainly signifies that the work of such drug addiction programs in North Carolina as Red Oak Recovery® is far from done.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Fall leaves at Red Oak Recovery®
Here at Red Oak Recovery® we are blessed with the presence of eight apple trees, all heirloom varieties that were planted approximately 20-25 years ago. The varieties, known as antique or heirloom apples, carry poetic names such as Sheepnose, American Mother, Lady Sweet and Nickajack.

Apples have long been a staple in Western North Carolina, and as the leaves are changing, the apples are ripe. We have incorporated apple recipes into our mealtimes, and Executive Chef Sharon has taught clients how to use an apple-press to make cider. Known on campus as "the apple cider experience," the process can be tedious, but takes on a much deeper meaning in action. This project is infused with gratitude from start to finish. As we harvest the apples, we feel gratitude toward the people who came before us who had the foresight to plant these trees. As we enjoy the cider, we feel gratitude for the team that put in the hard work to make it.

Making the apple cider has many steps; harvesting, washing, crushing, pressing, straining and pasteurizing. Even though this might seem to be a daunting process, everyone chips in and it is quickly proven true, "that many hands make light work."  Clients must work together for a successful outcome and tasty cider requires collaborative focus. We don't have to twist anyone's arm to show up for cooking class when the apple-press is involved, as there is a  sweet and delicious reward at the end!

Monday, October 6, 2014

What Qualifications And Experience Should Substance Abuse Therapists Have?

When parents are seeking a substance abuse treatment program for the young adult in their life, there are certain requirements that they will have. They are likely to want to know more about the exact focus of the program - is its focus squarely short-term addiction intervention or does it take a more holistic approach to clinical care, addressing not just the substance abuse itself, but also the accompanying emotional issues feeding that abuse?

However, additional focus should also be on the substance abuse therapists themselves. If, for example, the program is about tackling a young person's issues in a simultaneous and integrated manner, does it have Masters’ level clinicians holding dual licensure in mental health as well as clinical addictions? In addition, what is the relation of the owners to the day-to-day operations of their program? Do they take a hands-on approach, in addition to overseeing strategic decisions?

You may be looking for an adventure-based therapy program, in which case, you will be reassured by a program that is led by experts with a strong track record in the integration of adventure therapy, substance abuse and mental health treatment. The creation of a truly effective holistic substance abuse treatment program - one addressing the client's physical, mental and emotional health as part of a focus on long-lasting recovery and wellbeing - depends on a team that knows exactly how to develop a cutting-edge program based on past experience and industry research.

The objective of guiding substance-addicted, troubled young adults to a genuinely sustained recovery is a difficult one to achieve without the right programming and clinical care. This may encompass experiential therapy, adventure therapy, social skills development, life skills, and unparamounted clinical care - among other elements. A program led by those licensed in professional counseling; clinical addictions; and mental health issues, such as depression, grief and trauma, developmental issues, bipolar disorder and gender identity issues.

Often times, substance abuse therapists have first-hand experience of addiction and its effects in themselves and/or their wider families, as well as specialized training in related areas including marriage and family therapy, adventure based counseling, systemic family interventions and clinical supervision. Whatever their exact qualifications, the most important qualification of all should be that you have complete confidence in the assistance that they can provide to your young adult.