Underage Drinking

IMG_20160428_111527

“During the last 30 days, 26.4% of underage persons (aged 12-20) used alcohol. Binge drinking among the same age group was 17.4%. Alcohol use remains extremely widespread among today’s teenagers.” – SAMHSA & NIDA

IMG_20160428_111544

“Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug, among youth in the U.S.” – CDC

Bringing a child into this world is the biggest commitment you can take on. When the child is born, we are full of emotions: fear, happiness, love, and elation. In addition to those overwhelming feelings, we think – “Am I going to be a good enough mom/dad?” “Will I be able to protect them until the day I die?” Naturally, the actual FEAR doesn’t kick in, until the baby becomes a teenager – asking if she can go to Rebecca’s sleepover next door. What if there will be drinking? What if the responsible chaperone thinks it’ll be ok to let them have “JUST ONE DRINK” if they keep their eyes on them? Your child may be right next door, but when you’re rushing your 15 year-old to the E.R. for alcohol poisoning, THAT is when it hits home.

IMG_20160428_111508

**For a complete outline of safety precautions, to shield your child from alcohol, visit the Surgeon General website. You may also find helpful tips on the Institute of Medicine website**

Here are the startling statistics:

•Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.

•Persons aged 12-20 years old drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this is all consumed in the form of binge drinking.

•On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers.

•In 2010, there were approximately 189,000 E.R. visits by persons under the age of 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.

•Youth who start drinking before the age of 15, are SIX TIMES MORE LIKELY to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after the age of 21.

Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2013) (Within the last 30 days of the survey)

35% Drank SOME amount of alcohol

21% Binge drank

10% Drank alcohol then drove

22% Rode with a drunk driver

In 2013, National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported:

Within the last 30 days of the current survey, 23% (ages 12-20) of the participants drank alcohol. 14% of those surveyed, admitted they were binge drinking.

Signs your child has an alcohol dependency problem:

• Higher absences from school
• Lower grade scores/failing classes
• Fighting with their peers
• No interest in after school activities
• Arrested for a physical fight

Dangers of alcohol dependency:

• Rape (being taken advantage of in other sexual ways)
• Unprotected sexual acts
• Higher risk of teen pregnancy
• Higher risk for suicide/homicide due to depressed mindset
• Car accidents
• Memory problems
• Abuse of other drugs
• Death due to alcohol poisoning

– Jessica Osborn

_20160428_111419

References: http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm

Advertisements

Where In The World Is Michael DeLeon?

IMG_20160422_114143

“It’s OFFICIAL…I’m moving to Clinton County, PA!!!!”

Michael DeLeon is at it again, spreading Steered Straight’s powerful message! Starting out in Clinton County, PA with the eager Aly (Steered Straight speaker), to ending the week with a packed high school gymnasium…let’s see what the busy inspirational leader has been up to all week!

Starting out with Monday, April 18th, Michael and Aly didn’t waste time when it came to the cardinal rule: “you gotta have a java!!” Of course they sat down at the best coffee shop, Avenue 209, to prepare for their busy, five-presentation-day!

IMG_20160422_114654

Still in Lock Haven, PA, Michael and Aly head to the local radio station. There, they discussed the up-and-coming Pennsylvania expansion!

IMG_20160422_130932

Following, they head to Clinton County Correctional Facility. Aly and Michael heard how the inmates there have recently lost sight of their dreams, straying “out of their lane.” Michael and Aly brought the Steered Straight message to them, as it was evident their motivation was in dire need. Michael addressed the importantce of facing addiction in jail, saying “We need to get to the point…we don’t need to keep expanding or building new jails. LET’S CLOSE SOME!”

IMG_20160422_125622

Later in the evening, Michael and Aly head to the Clinton County Court House. In the court house, they shared their stories, spreading HOPE and INSPIRATION, to the entire community!

IMG_20160422_125839

Ending the night, Michael escorted wife, Darla, to The Beacon Theater. There, they celebrated LIFE, with some of their favorite people on “The Bible Tour 2016!”

IMG_20160422_130025

On April 19th, “busy bee” Michael DeLeon, finally had a chance to sit down! Frank Greenagel, of Frank Greenagel Counseling Services, LLC., was the latest guest on “Road To Recovery.”

IMG_20160422_130146

A long, busy (but definitely worth it) week came to a close on April 21st. In Keyport, NJ, Crystal Ann (speaker for Steered Straight) and Michael visited the local middle and high schools. Michael stressed to the 4th and 5th graders, that bullying is NEVER acceptable. At Keyport High School, Michael and Crystal Ann shared their stories – to students living in a county where the drug overdose rate is FOUR TIMES the national average (Monmouth County).

IMG_20160422_130410

IMG_20160422_130550

Ending the night, Michael, Aly, and Christine went back to Keyport High’s gymnasium! Parents and the community came out in order to hear solutions to keep their children away from alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. As the parents found out that night: Keeping adolescents away from drinking, and smoking marijuana/tobacco, reduces illicit drug use as a young adult.

IMG_20160422_130746

 

– Jessica Osborn

Jessica_Osborn22@yahoo.com

What Are Pill Mills?

Florida 2007-2014

A “pill mill” is a doctor’s office, clinic, or health care facility that routinely conspires in the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances outside the scope of the prevailing standards of medical practice in the community – or violates the laws of the state of Florida, regarding the prescribing or dispensing of controlled prescription drugs.

I had a conversation with Steered Straight Florida’s director, Maureen Kielian, and she opened up about her personal struggles, as much as she opened up about her passionate beliefs.

In the midst of our conversation, Maureen expressed her concern, right off the bat: “The overdose percentage in Florida is 30% higher, since the height of the “pill mills” operation.” Also, she finds it completely appalling that a “pill mill” physician is allowed to continue their practice of medicine, for up to 2 and a half years, until their case “may” be heard by the FL medical boards. Citizen complaints are routinely dismissed. Even after their case is finished, they get a “slap on the wrist,” then go back to their office, distributing more pills for their patients to get addicted to. Very few license revocations or suspensions occur in FL.

“Nothing can be abused, UNTIL AFTER IT IS PRESCRIBED,” Maureen expressed many times, with such angst and matter-of-fact in her tone of voice. Honestly, she is right. As she continued on with her personal belief’s, I couldn’t help but incessantly concur. People who aren’t completely in the know of the corruption of the “pill mills,” are quick to dismiss the physician, blaming the patient’s addiction solely on the patient. After all, the physician knows best, right? After all, they have the degree to show for it, right? Wrong. Since when was there a degree in becoming the lead physician of a “pill mill”? And why do physicians continue to this day, to over prescribe narcotics, when data shows that the risks far outweigh the benefits?

Maureen urges, “STOP BLAMING THE PATIENT.” Continuing with, “Why are we being told to lock up our medicine cabinets? NO! Why are we even prescribed these dangerous, excessive amounts of pills, in order for us to feel as if we SHOULD lock up our medicine cabinets?” Well, guess what, Maureen? I agree with that statement 100%, and there are thousands more who can coincide with that statement, as well. Ultimately, the message Maureen wants spread all over the world, as she participates in silent strikes, is: “Addiction should be treated like chest pain. Every single time someone walks into a hospital, the stigma of addiction makes one discriminate. Even though they have a disease, it doesn’t make them less important than a person with chest pain. A patient with chest pains are walking into the hospital, fearing death. In retrospect, an addict is walking into a hospital fearing the same thing – both expecting help. How can you keep one, but then let the other go, knowing they could die?”

Broward County 2007-2014

Maureen started talking about her son, who has been battling with addiction for years, and I couldn’t help but sympathize. Beings her son, John, has a father who battled addiction, she knew the chances of him repeating his dad’s history was very likely. Maureen tried everything in her power, from: signing John up for basketball, to urging him on the swim team…he was great at swimming, but John still felt inadequate. Much to Maureen’s dismay, he ultimately succumbed to the monster of addiction’s persuasion. John started smoking marijuana and attending “pill parties.” Before long, he was a full-blown addict. Little did Maureen know at this time, that FOUR “pill mills” were located within ONE MiLE of their home. Eventually, John realized he should get help – which led to a relapse, a dangerous detox, and a hiking trip that started in Georgia and ended in Maine (Appalachian Trail Thru Hiker).

NAS 2007-2014

Proudly, John conquered his addiction to pills, but shortly after his hiking trip, he started to abuse alcohol. Not long after his alcohol addiction became full-blown, John relapsed on pills again. FINALLY, John surrendered, and traded in the drugs for Suboxone. Maureen reported that John hasn’t gone back to drugs, since initiation of suboxone 3weeks ago.

– Jessica Osborn

 

(BELOW: MAUREEN WITH SON JOHN)John and I (3)

Kids Are Dying

IMG_20160403_180030
A raw documentary that took two years to complete, is still capturing audience’s attention- three years after its release.

Kids Are Dying digs deep into the core of addiction, all the while tugging at the heartstrings. Michael DeLeon was on a mission: “Addiction can happen to anyone, and we have kids out there dying.” Troubled by the rising death toll attributable to the escalating drug epidemic, Michael pounded the pavement in search of those suffering, hopeful he could help them, and hopeful he could reach thousands with this powerful message.

It is often misconstrued that only, ‘the bad kids do drugs,’ but in this documentary, you will see just how ill-informed that statement is. As one person in the documentary claims, “It isn’t biased; it can happen to anyone at any time. Addiction can take you from, Park Avenue, to park bench.” Whether you live in the suburbs, or in ‘the bad part of town,’ addiction can hit close to home, or even worse- IN YOUR HOME.

Unfortunately, not all of those who participated in the documentary, are here with us today. As sad as that fact is, there are survivors; and I had the pleasure of speaking with one of them – Dorothy Sword. Michael met Dorothy when she was strolling the streets of Camden – homeless, shoeless, and broke. Today, Dorothy is so proud of her accomplishments: having her own apartment for the first time, keeping a steady job, and yes, she is proud she has her own bills to pay! Within ten seconds of beginning my conversation with Dorothy, I knew she didn’t take one breath (or bill), for granted. She was living a life that she never thought she’d have, and she explained, “I have Michael to thank. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be alive today.” Then adding, “He gave me money for a pair of shoes, and I didn’t think I was worth any attention from anybody.” As our conversation continued, she had me tearing up, as I was overcome with pride for this amazing woman.

During the documentary, Michael asked her where she saw herself in a year. Her reply, “Hopefully dead.” Dorothy’s pain was so immense as she suffered on the inside. Michael showed her just how much worth she really had; and with incessant support from him and loving words of encouragement from her family (especially her aunt, uncle, and parents), she now wakes up thankful to see another day.

Dorothy’s message: “If I can do it, you can do it. You could get anything out life, you just have to want it.”

• Jessica Osborn

DOROTHY SWORD NOW:

IMG_20160402_184741