What Does Back To School Mean?

What “Back to School” can mean for the high school student
and also for the college student.

August 13, 2013 by
Jon Daily, LCSW, CADC II
Entering junior high / high school and college can be a very difficult time of life. Just as one is starting to feel independent, the influence of people their age is especially powerful and can influence the way they feel, act, dress and behave. It is simply a risky time for adolescents and young adults.

For some, it is not just the time when they will learn algebra, geography, science, and English, it is the time when they learn to develop a trusting relationship with drugs (alcohol is a drug).

My colleagues and I have seen many adolescents and young adults who have developed substance abuse or addiction in a period of time as short as 6 months from their first experience of intoxication, or immediately if they are genetically predisposed to addiction.

You would think that school provides the necessary structure to inhibit this progression, but in reality, school is the “drug store” for many users.
As a drug dealer told me during the summer, “I sell drugs and make a lot of money, but not right now because school is out.” And just about any adolescent you meet today will tell you that they can buy drugs on their campus.

While this speaks to the risks for people who have not used drugs at this time, how does returning to school effect the person who is drug-abusing or addicted?

The answer is that they will not only continue to use drugs, but they will progress without treatment.

Many parents, who have been struggling with their child’s behavior at home because of their drug use over the summer, erroneously believe that when their child returns to school, things will somehow all return to normal.
Many parents think returning to school means getting back to the books, studies, homework, the grindstone, and life. However, this is not what returning to school means for the drug user.
For the drug user, returning to school is a time to reconnect with old friends, share “war stories” of the summertime parties, and diligently keep the summer alive by planning activities and parties on the weekends to use drugs. For some it is deciding where to get high at 4:20 p.m. (“420” is a time when drug-users use with the belief that it creates some sort of connection with everyone in the world getting high at that time or date) Visit my website to learn about “420”.

If you are a parent, the easiest way to look at this for your child in treatment is that returning to school means returning back to old friends and places that might be associated with their drug use history. Any association with drug use history can be what we call a “Trigger for Relapse”. It is important to be clear about your expectations and consequences for unmet expectations during this time. By Jon Daily, LCSW, CADC II http://recoveryhappens.com

Marijuana Use in College May Increase Risk of Leaving School, Study Suggests
| March 25, 2013 |
Using marijuana in college may increase the risk of leaving school, a new study suggests. Researchers found even students who only used marijuana occasionally were more likely to leave than their peers who did not use drugs.
The study included 1,133 college students, who were followed over four years. The researchers found students who used marijuana more than 17 days a month were twice as likely as those who used marijuana less than a day per month to have an enrollment gap while in college, HealthDay reports. Even students who used marijuana three to 12 days a month were more likely to have an enrollment gap, compared with those who did not use marijuana.
Drugs other than marijuana also were significantly associated with leaving college, the study found.
Continuous enrollment was defined as being enrolled in college for at least one credit during each fall and spring semester for the first four years, the article notes.
“We wanted to look at whether or not drug use interferes with goals students had set for themselves. Our results show that marijuana use is not a benign thing,” said lead researcher Dr. Amelia Arria, Director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. The findings appear in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
In a second study, published in the journal Psychiatric Services, Dr. Arria found students who experience depression symptoms and seek treatment in college may be at risk for an enrollment gap, particularly if they use marijuana or other illegal drugs.
If students’ depression was identified and treated before they went to college, they were not at risk for enrollment gaps, the study found.
Family Warnings About Binge Drinking Can Influence College Students’ Alcohol Use
July 18, 2013
College students who hear warnings about binge drinking from family or friends are more likely to be concerned about their own alcohol use, compared with their classmates who don’t hear such advice, a new study suggests.
Researchers at Penn State’s College of Education found students who were not distressed about their binge drinking did not have other people who expressed concern to them about their alcohol consumption, Medical Xpress reports.
“On the other hand, when a friend or family member expressed concerns to a student about her or his excessive drinking, it can help the student reflect on their alcohol consumption and begin to take steps to reduce it,” lead researcher Jeffrey Hayes noted in a university news release.
The results come from data gathered by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health, a network of almost 200 university counseling centers around the country. The study is published in the Journal of College Counseling.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about four out of five college students drink alcohol, and about half of college students who drink, also consume alcohol through binge drinking.
Almost Half of College Student Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Involve Alcohol
February 8, 2012
Almost half of all admissions for substance abuse treatment that involve college students are primarily related to alcohol, according to a new government report.
The report, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found the rate of alcohol-related treatment admissions is much higher among college students than for non-college students who are the same age—46.6 percent versus 30.6 percent.
College students are less likely than their non-student peers to abuse drugs such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine, Reuters reports. For instance, 16.1 percent of non-students ages 18 to 24 seeking treatment were abusing heroin, compared with 7.2 percent of the college students. Cocaine admission rates were more than twice as high among non-students (4.2 percent versus 1.9 percent), and methamphetamine admissions were more than four times as high (4.4 percent versus 1 percent).
Marijuana accounted for about 30 percent of both student and non-student admissions.
SAMHSA analyzed data from 2009, when about 374,000 people ages 18 to 24 were treated for substance abuse or dependence in the United States. Most of them—362,000—were not enrolled in college or post-secondary school.
“This report confirms the pervasive and potentially devastating role that alcohol plays on far too many college campuses,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “Other SAMHSA studies have shown that one in four full-time college students have experienced past year alcohol abuse or dependence. SAMHSA is working with the academic community and its partners in behavioral health to help students prevent exposure to the dangers of alcohol misuse and encourage those who have a problem to seek treatment.”
Outpatient Treatment for Adolescents & Young Adults and Adults with Drug Abuse, Addiction and Mental Health Issues…

Jon Daily, LCSW, CADC II

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