New Study Finds Distressing Increase in E-cigarette Use by Middle and High School Youth

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), battery-powered devices that provide nicotine and other additives to the user in the form of an aerosol, have become the most popular form of tobacco use among middle and high school youth. The recent National Youth Tobacco Survey, 2011-2018 found a distressing increase in the use of e-cigarettes, also known as “vaping“, that far surpassed the rate of use of conventional cigarettes during survey period.

What’s more, concurrent studies by both the Center for Tobacco Products at the Food & Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control point to a rapidly escalating problem. High school students currently using e-cigarettes increased from 1.5% in 2011 to 20.8% 2018. During 2017–2018 alone, e-cigarette use increased by 78% (from 11.7% to 20.8%).

At the same time, among middle school students, e-cigarette use increased from 0.6% in 2011 to 4.9% in 2018. During 2017–2018, current e-cigarette use increased by 48% (from 3.3% to 4.9%).

Percentage of middle and high school students who currently use e-cigarettes and any tobacco product

The studies also showed that, while current use of any tobacco product among high school students grew from 24.2% in 2011 to 27.1% in 2018, the use of e-cigarettes continued to increase at rates not seen in previous surveys.

This sharp rise in e-cigarette use among U.S. middle and high school students during 2017–2018 is likely because of the recent popularity of e-cigarettes shaped like a USB flash drive, such as JUUL. These products can be used discreetly, have a high nicotine content, and come in flavors that appeal to youth.

Although e-cigarettes can be of potential benefit to adult smokers as a complete substitute for smoking tobacco, adolescent use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is considered unsafe. The Surgeon General has concluded that “e-cigarette use among youths and young adults is of public health concern; exposure to nicotine during adolescence can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain”.

The Council on Recovery provides a wide range prevention and education programs aimed reducing tobacco use, especially among adolescents and young adults. These programs are provided at area schools, churches, community centers, employers, and health fairs. For more information about The Council’s Prevention & Education Programs , please call 713-942-4100, email education@councilonrecovery.org  or contact us online.

How Pornography Affects the Teenage Brain – An Infographic

Pornography addiction is an adolescent high-risk behavior that is escalating across all segments of the teenage population. By viewing sexually pornographic material, adolescents may face potential emotional, psychological, social, and physiological disorders and issues. The Infographic below, designed by helpyourteennow.com, illustrates the effects that pornography can have on developing adolescent brains. It can help you understand the problem and start important dialogue with your teen about viewing sexually explicit material.

Mindful Choices is the Center for Recovering Families’ adolescent high-risk behavior course that covers pornography addiction and 14 other risky behaviors. For teenagers and their parents, the course addresses these problems in the early, treatable stages. For more information, call 713-914-0556email CRF@councilonrecovery.orgor contact us online.

The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 48

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 48 of a series dealing with Alcoholism and Addiction from a Mystical, Mythological Perspective, reflecting Bob’s scholarly work as a Ph.D. in mythological studies.

In the Hindu traditions, there is a long Sanskrit epic called the Mahabharata, about a multi-generational feud between two ruling families, the Kauravas and the Pandavas, ruling in the ancient land that is today Northern India. The story culminates in a giant battle involving all the young men of the time, all aligned with one of the two families.

As the battle is about to begin, the head of the Pandavas, Arjuna, asks his charioteer, who is also the god Krishna, to drive him into the ‘no man’s land’ between the two armies. Seeing the size of the armies aligned against each other and imagining what is about to begin, Arjuna is overcome with grief. He asks Krishna for some relief, some way to avoid the coming armageddon. Krishna answers with a long poetic text that has become highly celebrated in spiritual circles; it is the Bhagavad Gita, aka the “Gita,” a spectacular, deeply articulated, relatively long prescription for an enlightened way of being.

Krishna begins the Gita with a direct response to Arjuna’s question.  He says that, as a warrior, Arjuna’s dharma, his cosmic reason for being, is to fight; he cannot avoid the call to arms.  Krishna says, “For a warrior, nothing is higher than a war against evil […] for it comes as an open gate to heaven.”

This is a wonderfully inspirational message for me, and, I believe, for all of us on the lifelong journey in sobriety. Active alcoholic behavior, living in the active disease, is an intrinsic evil, a place where we are active agents of devastation and abuse, abuse of people and the cosmos.  Our efforts to cross the threshold to abstinence, to a life of deeply imbedded behavior modification, and to a committed life of service are truly those of the warrior, that of the nobility of a warrior in a glorious quest for conquest over evil. Reading the Gita, from its beginning in the exchange with Arjuna, is a wonderful spiritual experience…and seeing it from the perspective of our own personal journeys is a great gift of grace from our own Higher Power.

New Research: First or Second Use of Cannabis Can Change Grey Matter Volume in Teenage Brain

Research just published in the Journal of Neuroscience presents evidence suggesting structural brain and cognitive effects of just one or two instances of cannabis use in adolescence.

The study utilized brain scans to compare grey matter volume (GMV) in 46 fourteen year old male and female adolescents with just one or two instances of cannabis use and a carefully matched control group of non-cannabis users. The outcome showed differences in GMV among the cannabis users that were not indicated in the non-user group. It also showed that GMV differences were unlikely to precede cannabis use.

This new research confirms what The Council on Recovery has understood for years: Teenage and young adult brains are physiologically affected by substance use (such as cannibinoids) until those brains are fully-developed in the mid-20s. Substance users are also more likely to become addicted during this brain maturation period than if they wait until after full brain development.

These findings are timely as the legal status of cannabis is changing in many places and the perceived risks of cannabis use by young people has declined. In recent survey by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, nearly 35% of American 10th graders reported recreational cannabis. And that number may be increasing as the legal status of marijuana changes around the country. But, even as societal attitudes regarding marijuana shift, cannabis use and its effect on the adolescent and young adult brain continue. Certainly, while much is known, more research is needed.

In the meantime, The Council stands ready to help teenagers, young adults, and their families recover from cannabis addiction and other substance use disorders. If you or a loved one needs help, call 713-942-4100 or contact us online.

#192aDay Campaign Launches to Remember those Lost to Addiction

This week, Addiction Policy Forum launched the #192aDay awareness campaign to honor those lost to drug overdose and other complications of substance use. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s 2017 data revealed that more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses — 192 a day — making it the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, more than deaths from gun violence or car accidents. The campaign features 192 letters from the family members who have lost a loved one to addiction.

Excerpts from the campaign:

Cassidy C 192aDay
Cassidy

“She was our sunshine, our beautiful and bright angel. But to shine some light on an illness that is taking the lives of far too many, if we allow shame, guilt or embarrassment to cause this illness to become a dark family secret, hiding in the shadows, everyone loses.”-Cassidy’s mom, Charla

Anthony F 192
Anthony

“The disease of addiction is a merciless, non-discriminatory devil. The loss of my big brother has created a sore on my heart that will never heal. We must fight to end this epidemic.”-Anthony’s brother, Gino

Justice 192aDay
Justice

“Heroin took my daughter. She was 21 years old. She had barely lived. Justice never owned her own car; she never traveled the world; she never married or had children; she won’t see her brothers grow to be good men, or meet her future nieces or nephews. My daughter will never dance again. She will never see an amazing sunset, or feel the warmth of the sun on her beautiful face. I will never hear my daughter’s beautiful voice again or hear her call me mom. Heroin took that all away. We all failed my daughter. All those times she reached out for help and was denied, we failed her. I have to live with this for the rest of my life. Justice was my only daughter. She was my girl, she was my dream, she was my everything.” -Justice’s mom, Jennifer

Emmett  192
Emmett

“Emmett was the average American teen; he loved video games and BMX biking. He was a caring, funny, smart young man with the potential for greatness. He was the adored older brother to Zachary and Alice . He had a smile and charm that could light up a room – but heroin stole that from him.”-Emmett’s mom, Aimee

“It’s far past time we recognize addiction for the disease that it is and move beyond the stigma that enshrouds substance use disorders,” said Jessica Hulsey Nickel, founder of the Addiction Policy Forum. “192 a Day helps shine a bright light on the beautiful lives lost to addiction and gives voice to the families that have been affected. We encourage those who have lost someone to share their stories through the campaign so we can show local, state and national leaders the very real impact addiction has on our communities.”

Please read the stories and get involved at 192aDay.org and watch @AddictionPolicy‘s PSA  #192aDay featuring those lost to #addiction at https://bit.ly/2RlhOct .

Call The Council
If you, a loved one, or friend have a problem with drugs or any substance use disorder, call The Council on Recovery at 713-941-4200 or contact us online. We are Houston’s leading non-profit provider of prevention, education, treatment, and recovery services. We can help!

Sobering Facts About Holiday Drunk Driving

alcohol impaired driving

This is the season for celebrating with family and friends. But, when it comes to drunk driving, this most joyous time of year is also the deadliest. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every holiday season, hundreds of lives are lost due to drunk drivers.

Drunk driving facts

Over the past five years, an average of 300 people nationally died in drunk driving crashes during the Christmas through New Year’s holiday period. From 2012-2016, in the month of December, the NHTSA reported 14,472 people lost their lives in traffic accidents. Of those December deaths, 28%, or 3,995, people died in drunk-driving crashes.

Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 of higher). In every State, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, yet one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 50 minutes in the United States in 2016.

In 2016, the NHTSA reported 10,497 people killed in these preventable crashes. What’s more, over the 10-year period from 2006-2016, an average of more than 10,000 people died every year in drunk-driving crashes.

Steps to Prevent drunk driving

At this time of year, the NHTSA suggests the following steps to prevent drunk driving:

  • If you will be drinking, plan on not driving.
  • Plan your safe ride home before you start the party.
  • Designate a sober driver ahead of time.
  • If you drink, do not drive for any reason.
  • Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation, etc.
  • Download NHTSA’s SaferRide app from Google Play or the iTunes Store which helps you identify your location and call a taxi or friend to pick you up.
  • If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys and help them arrange a sober ride home.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone’s life.

Call The Council

If you, a loved one, or friend have a problem with alcohol, call The Council on Recovery at 713-941-4200 or contact us online. We are Houston’s leading non-profit provider of prevention, education, treatment, and recovery services. We can help!