Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Teens Closely Watch & Mimic Parents Use of Drugs & Alcohol

As a parent or caregiver, it is important to be mindful of what you might be modelling to your child or teenager. Children closely watch and mimic their parents use of drugs and alcohol.

Compared to teens who have not seen their parent(s) drunk, those who have are more than twice as likely to get drunk in a typical month, and three times likelier to use marijuana and smoke cigarettes, according to the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse.

Here are some sobering figures taken from the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIV: Teens and Parents, the 14th annual back-to-school survey conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.

The CASA survey found that 51 percent of 17-year olds have seen one or both of their parents drunk and 34 percent of 12- to 17-year olds have seen one or both of their parents drunk.

Teen drinking behavior is strongly associated with how teens believe their fathers feel about their drinking. Compared to teens who believe their father is against their drinking, teens who believe their father is okay with their drinking are two and a half times likelier to get drunk in a typical month.

The survey found that five percent of 12- to 15-year old girls and nine percent of 12- to 15-year old boys say their fathers are okay with their drinking. Thirteen percent of 16- and 17-year old girls and 20 percent of 16- and 17-year old boys say their fathers are okay with their drinking.

“Some Moms’ and Dads’ behavior and attitudes make them parent enablers—parents who send their 12- to 17-year olds a message that it’s okay to smoke, drink, get drunk and use illegal drugs like marijuana,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA’s chairman and founder and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “Teens’ behavior is strongly associated with their parents’ behavior and expectations, so parents who expect their children to drink and use drugs will have children who drink and use drugs.”

Prescription Drugs Readily Available
For the first time this year, the survey asked 12- to 17-year olds how fast they can get prescription drugs to get high. More than one third of teens (8.7 million) can get prescription drugs to get high within a day; nearly one in five teens (4.7 million) can get them within an hour.

When teens were asked where they would get prescription drugs, the most common sources were home, parents, other family members and friends.

For the second year in a row more teens said prescription drugs were easier to buy than beer.

As a loved one it is important for you to know how your own attitudes and behaviour do have a powerful influence. Being mindful of what you do and making healthier choices is win-win. A win for your own health and for the ones you care about. I love win-win scenarios.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

-Saving and transforming lives and families 24/7

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Healthcare Reform-Whose Taking Control Over Your Health?

There has been much controversy regarding revisions and proposals being made with the U.S. Healthcare Reform (many Canadians are probably wondering what all the fuss is about).

A recent news article...

...has focused on what seems a contentious issue of where does one's personal responsibility fit in with the new health system? Is the system responsible for my health, or am I? Before you definitively answer this question, I invite you to look at the responses posted by the public at large to get an idea what the controversy is all about.

It would seem there is a great deal of fear and reactivity regarding Healthcare reform as demonstrated in these posts. Change often means uncertainty. The greater the change- the greater the fear. I’m not sure if this is an either/or debate between the health system and the individual.

Perhaps the greatest need of change is in perception. I don’t need to wait for the system to change sometime in the future to take responsibility for my health in the present. The system is not responsible for my health choices, I am!

The choices I make today will reflect my health in the future. I become concerned when some people say “I can always rely on the system to fix the poor choices I’m making now” and use this thinking as their acting out ticket and/or a “licence to (gradually) kill” themselves. Some would call this (systemic) “co-dependency” and/or “enabling”. Of course the system needs to change and yet, we each have our own choices to make. That is our burden and our freedom.

Health and recovery begins with the power of choice.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

-Saving and transforming lives and families 24/7

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

States Using Graphic Images to Show Consequences

A recent Washintgon Post article outlined the following "Packing a Heavier Warning
Elsewhere, Cigarette Boxes Bear Graphic Evidence of Smoking's Ill Effects; U.S. Labels Will Soon Do the Same"

Researchers have found a higher level of awareness when it comes to the risk of smoking cigarettes and nicotine addiction in countries such as Canada and Australia, and credit that to the more explicit labels in these countries. It has been argued that "pictures are more likely to catch people's attention and to hold people's attention over time," especially if the message reaches kids.

"Even the most hardened, recalcitrant smoker will often tell us, 'Well, they don't have an effect on me, but my 6-year-old keeps coming up to me and saying, "Daddy, this is going to happen to you?" ' " Hammond says. "That does not happen with the text warning (that has been used in the past in the United States)."

Study author David Hammond is a researcher from the Department of Health Studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

It is argued that these labels will also break the barrier when it comes to getting the message across for people who can't read (the labels in English) and targets this population that is "more likely to smoke anyway."

Over the years I have found showing brain images of alcohol/drug abuse an effective deterrent especially for early stage users...

Showing graphic images on cigarette packages is just showing what tends to be a (longer term)"natural consequence" to engaging in such behaviour and therefore creating a negative association (in the present) with smoking (or other substances).

Working with nicotine addicted clients who now have emphysema, they state they would do just about anything to "get their life back".

My belief of (graphically) showing the risk & consequences is providing the potential consumer/child with a more informed choice.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Best health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

-Saving and transforming lives and families 24/7

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Improving the World One Step, One Person & One Family at a Time

Howdy folks, how goes it? Our "pay what you can" option was an idea intended for the month of January as people are more resolved to break "bad habits" and get healthy. Due to the state of the economy early 2009, we wanted to provide people with a very cost effective incentive to get going toward greater heath.

Since January, we received such positive emails of appreciation for this option. Folks who did not have any kind of health insurance, or who were laid off, struggling financially etc were still able to engage in a healthy and life transforming option. As a result of the economy and this outpouring of emails, we had extended the "pay what you can" option until early August of 2009.

Thankfully, the economy is turning around. We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your emails and sharing your stories with us. To those of you who expressed your gratitude to us for providing such an option, we are more than grateful to you in sharing of your stories of growth and health.

Our mission was to create a resource that would make a difference in peoples lives. We are very honoured to hear that we have done just that and that many of you have chosen to use this resource to make a difference in you and/or your family's life. Glad we could be there for your journey.

With the break in the economy, we are resuming our usual options for this program and are more committed than ever of providing you the most empowering and best possible resource to you and your families continuing health.

As always, best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

-Improving the world one step, one person and one family at a time