Sex, drugs and Facebook: Seattle Children’s social media research team takes on teen health

Dr. Megan Moreno once met a teen who went to bed every night with her smartphone tucked under her pillow and its alarm clock set to 2 a.m. When the phone woke her in the middle of the night, she’d grab it, open her Facebook app, delete any new mean comments, and go back to sleep.

Being a teenager isn’t what it used to be. Neither is being a parent.

Moreno, an adolescent pediatrician and a researcher at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, leads a team that’s conducted more studies on social media and teen health than anyone — more than 30 studies in six years.

This week she released her first book: Sex, Drugs ‘n Facebook: A Parent’s Toolkit for Promoting Healthy Internet Use.

Ten years since MySpace came on the scene, parents of teens know a lot more than they used to about social media. They know it’s not a passing fad, a childish waste of time or — remember this one? — a hiding place for pedophiles.

It’s easier for parents to understand what teens are doing on the social Web, now that so many parents are there themselves. But the dilemmas they face as parents are not getting easier.

Full story of facebook and teen health at Geek Wire

Children And Substance Dependent Parents

“In a way, I wanted my mum to go back to prison, because she was clean (drug free) for a few weeks when she came out of prison.” ~ Child, (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction).

The children of parents with substance dependence and abuse problems suffer silently.

Substance-related problems are seldom short-lived. From the beginning of the problem through its progression men and women find they have become parents. This was likely not thought through. This situation is risky business for child development.

The children living in environments of drug or alcohol use and abuse are at risk. They are at risk physically, emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, socially, and long term problems are the rule, rather than the exception. Parents may have a wake-up call when Child Protective Services gets involved, when law enforcement comes on the scene, or when the child breaks the code of silence and decides to share his secret with others, who in turn tell someone else.

Its not that parents who are using substances are bad people. Parenting is a full time job and there is no time to check out and be in the numbed world substances provide.

Full story of substance dependent parents at PsychCentral

Doctors can help prevent teen smoking, panel says

Children and teens may hear about the dangers of smoking from parents, teachers and friends, but they may be less likely to take up the deadly habit if they hear the message from at least one more important person: their doctor.

That’s the conclusion of an influential panel publishing new recommendations today in two medical journals, the Annals of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. In a number of studies, kids were less likely to try smoking if they got some kind of counseling or education from their doctors or other health care providers, says the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

“We didn’t recommend any particular intervention, because a variety of things seem to help,” says panel member David Grossman, a pediatrician and researcher at the Group Health Research Institute and the University of Washington-Seattle. “The important thing is that the message is coming from a physician and that’s an important voice … even to kids.”

The report says “even very minimal interventions,” such as a doctor’s office mailing a series of prevention guides to parents and kids, could make a difference.

Full story of teen smoking at USA Today

Fox says Glee episode will deal with drug use in Monteith tribute episode

Glee Episode will Deal with Drug UseGlee‘s fantasy world of high school choirs has never been afraid to discuss real-life problems, and a Fox executive said a tribute episode to Cory Monteith will be no different.

Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly said the third episode of the fifth season will be a tribute to Monteith, who died of a drug overdose last month.

Reilly said the episode “will deal directly with the incidents involved in Cory’s passing and the drug use in particular.”

It’s not clear if Monteith’s character Finn will die of a drug overdose. In the show, Finn never had a drug problem.

Writers are still working on the tribute episode, Reilly said.

Full story of Glee episode on drug use at Fox 31 Denver

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Cory Monteith’s Long Battle with Substance Abuse

Cory Monteith's Substance Abuse BattleFor the indie movie McCanick, Cory Monteith didn’t audition for the role of a drug-addicted hustler sent to prison for murder. He just talked to director Josh C. Waller about his past.

“He opened up quite a bit,” Waller tells PEOPLE of their meeting for the movie that shot last September. “He was like, ‘I can do this character. I know this character. I was this character. I have lived elements of this.’ He said, ‘I was a troubled youth.’ ”

Less than a year later, there were questions of whether Monteith’s past had caught up with him after the Glee star, 31, was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room.

A cause of death was pending the results of Monday’s autopsy and toxicology tests. “We genuinely don’t know,” says coroner spokeswoman Barbara McLintock.

The Canadian native completed a month-long stint in a treatment facility for substance addiction in April and had been open about his lifelong struggles with substance abuse.

Appearing on Inside the Actor’s Studio last year, Monteith said that his problems with drugs and alcohol began when he “was about 12.”

Full story of Cory Monteith’s battle with substance abuse at People

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Underage Drinking Laws on Campus

Underage Drinking Laws on CampusIt is no secret that alcohol use is prevalent on college campuses. According to the National Institute On Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 80 percent of college kids drink alcohol, and over 50 percent of them have partaken in binge drinking in the last two weeks alone. Because less than half of  the collegiate student body is over 21 (the legal drinking age in the United States), most schools are left with a choice; they can either enforce underage drinking laws on and around their campuses, or they can ignore the underage drinking that takes place in their vicinity.

For the time being, these are the only two options universities have, although many (including the organization Choose Responsibility) advocate for lowering the drinking age to 18, thereby circumventing the issue altogether. Choose Responsibility claims that keeping the “legal age 21 is not working–not in urban America, not in rural America, not on college campuses.”

Many college students see a lowering of the drinking age as their legal right, including Wisconsin University student Ryan Perlic, who says that “I can die for my country and vote for my country, yet my country does not consider me responsible enough to drink.”

Full story of underage drinking laws on campus at Huffington Post

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Success Over Teen Drinking

Teen Success Over DrinkingTeenagers have an incredible capacity to learn, grow and change. And that capacity may be of service when it comes to reducing unhealthy drinking behavior among teens.

Recently, a group of researchers ran a trial to test a personality-focused alcohol intervention program on a group of 9th graders.

The results of the trial showed that a long-term reduction in unhealthy drinking behaviors among teens could be achieved through teacher-led sessions focusing on how to better manage emotions and behavior.

Patricia J. Conrod, PhD, professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Universite de Montreal in Canada, led a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of a program to train teachers to counsel high-risk students about alcohol misuse.

“Alcohol use is highly prevalent and problematic among youth in developed countries and has been reported to cost society more disability-affected life-years than any other health risk behavior, accounting for 9 percent of all deaths of people aged 15 to 29 years,” according to the authors.

Full story of teen drinking at Daily RX

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How Should I Handle My Teen Trying Marijuana?

Parents Handling Their Teen Marijuana useMy 15-year old son just told me that he tried marijuana a few weeks ago with his buddies. I don’t know if I should punish him or if doing so will only make him become dishonest. He said he didn’t like it, but I’m not sure I believe him.

Within the world of parenting teens, the issue you’ve raised is one of the most difficult to address. Despite all the talks we have about the dangers of drugs with our children when they are young, most of us are resigned to the fact that our kids will probably experiment with at least alcohol and pot once they arrive at adolescence. Here’s my advice:

• Assess your child’s risk. A youngster who is generally doing well in life — happy, well adjusted, engaged with the family — generally poses less risk for potential problems than one with a family history of drug or alcohol abuse, depression or in the midst of a family crisis. If your son falls in the high risk category, I would urge you to get outside professional help to nip any serious problems in the bud.

Full story of teens and marijuana at Huffington Post

CDC issues final report on 2012 state teen suicides

CDC Issues Report on Teen SuicidesThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a final report Monday about the rash of teenage suicides in Delaware last year.

Between Jan, 1 and March 4, 2012, 11 young people in Kent and Sussex counties died by suicide. There were also 116 non-fatal suicide attempts.

Last March, the state Department of Health and Social Services asked the CDC to conduct an epidemiological investigation into the then six known suicide deaths. The CDC published its initial report in August, and, after a careful case-control analysis, released the full, 51-page report Monday.

Dr. Alex Crosby, a CDC medical epidemiologist, identified mental illness, problems with parents, conflicts with boyfriends or girlfriends, legal issues, and substance abuse as common risk-factors, which is consistent with research.

Full story of CDC on teen suicides at Delaware Newszap

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Depressed Teens 13 Times More Likely to Smoke

Depressed Teens More Likely to SmokeNew research on teen depression reveals that those with depression are 13 times more likely to pick up smoking, and that the children of divorced parents are about 50 percent more likely to take up the habit.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, cigarette use among youth has declined over the past decade, but 19.5 percent of high school students report smoking one or more cigarettes in the past month.

The two newest studies examined the impact of divorce and childhood depression, and found that these two factors drastically increase a child’s likelihood of becoming a regular smoker.

Full story of depressed teens and smoking at Health Line

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