Archive for July, 2015

Massachusetts bill seeks to screen students for substance abuse

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by sobrietyresources No Comments

July 16, 2015

BOSTON — About 60 people gathered Thursday morning for the launch of the Addiction Free Futures project, which aims to address drug addiction by expanding access to prevention and early intervention programs for teens.
“The earlier we can get to kids, the better off the trajectory is for that child,” Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children CEO Mary McGeown said. “If we can help delay that first drink or that first use of marijuana, we know it makes a real difference in that kid’s life.”
The Addiction Free Futures project is pressing for passage of a bill (H 1796) that would add SBIRT — Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment — to the list of health screenings conducted in public schools.
The bill calls for screenings “at least once annually in grades 8 or 9, and 11.”
The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee will hear testimony on the bill Thursday afternoon.
Advocates said SBIRT is “an evidence-based and cost-effective set of tools that helps identify alcohol or drug use and guides follow-up counseling and treatment if a problem exists.”
The screening consists of a short questionnaire to assess the patient’s risk of using drugs or alcohol in an unhealthy way, the intervention portion consists of “non-judgemental” conversations about substance use and options for change, and the referral typically involves providing information about services like Alcoholics Anonymous, according to the Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Abuse Services

http://m.eagletribune.com/news/mass-bill-seeks-to-screen-students-for-substance-abuse/article_667f8ad2-1c07-53d4-a38b-168ca9316744.html?mode=jqm

LGH doctor pioneering pain treatment with shot over opioids

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by sobrietyresources No Comments

By Todd Feathers, tfeathers@lowellsun.com
Tuesday, July 14, 2015 – 9:55 a.m.

CHELMSFORD — After months of coping, the pain in Jacob Metzler’s left shoulder was becoming unbearable.
Several times last year, when the joint dislocated and he couldn’t pop it out himself, Metzler would ask a friend to wrap a shirt around his limp arm and yank.
“Eventually it got to a point where I would lie down and it would pop,” said Metzler, now 21, of Lowell. “It’s not anything pleasant, I feel it through my whole body. It’s that kind of ache.”
The shoulder was first broken in December 2013, an ugly injury under ugly circumstances. And whenever he thinks about it, whenever the pain comes, as it still does from time to time, Metzler gets angry.
The surgical procedure necessary to fix the joint is relatively minor: a few hours under anesthesia, maybe a night in the hospital, with painkillers to ease the way, and just a few small scars that look almost like pimples.
But Metzler wouldn’t do it. He was ready for the pain, but not for the pills.
“The whole reason I wasn’t going to go through a surgery was because I didn’t want to go back on narcotics,” he said. “I was basically just putting (my shoulder) back in place myself every day.”
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 52 million Americans have taken narcotic, prescription opioid painkillers when it was not medically necessary. Around 2 million of those are addicted to them. Metzler was one.

http://www.lowellsun.com/news/ci_28480478/lgh-doctor-pioneering-pain-treatment-shot-over-opioids

Past Illicit Drug Users More Likely to Abuse Painkillers

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by sobrietyresources No Comments

By Traci Pedersen
July 14, 2015

Individuals of any age who have used illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin within the past year have a higher likelihood of abusing prescription pain relievers as well, according to a nationwide study by researchers from the University of Georgia (UGA).
Another study, recently released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that the connection works both ways, as they found that heroin use is highest among those who have abused opioid pain relievers or cocaine within the past year.

Prescription pain relievers represent the majority of all prescription drugs that are abused in the U.S., and misuse has risen dramatically in recent years. The most over-used pain relievers are opioids, highly addictive painkillers such as codeine, oxycodone, and morphine.
Emergency room treatments for opioid misuse, including suicide attempts and accidental overdoses, have increased 183 percent from 2004 to 2011, according to a 2013 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In the UGA study, the researchers found that adults aged 50 and older are more likely to acquire pain relievers through more than one doctor, whereas younger individuals are more likely to obtain the drugs from friends, relatives, or drug dealers.

Their study was based on more than 13,000 responses to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The annual survey, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, collects data on the use of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and mental health problems among individuals aged 12 and older.
The report also offers possible solutions to address the problem.

“If we know how people come to possess the pain relievers they misuse, we can design better ways to lower that likelihood,” said Dr. Orion Mowbray, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work and the UGA study’s lead author. “This study gives us the knowledge we need to substantially reduce the opportunities for misuse.”

“Doctors may conduct higher quality conversations with older patients about the consequences of drug use before they make any prescription decisions, while families and friends should know about the substantial health risks before they supply a young person with a prescription pain reliever,” Mowbray said.
The researchers believe there needs to be greater coordination between medical care providers to reduce the possibility of over-prescription of painkillers as well as improvement in communication between doctors, patients and the public.

Source: University of Georgia

http://psychcentral.com/news/2015/07/13/past-illicit-drug-users-more-likely-to-abuse-painkillers/86791.html

UGA study reveals patterns in prescription drug abuse

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by sobrietyresources No Comments

Andy Miller, Georgia Health News | Posted: Monday, July 13, 2015 4:56 pm

People who have recently used illicit drugs have a higher likelihood of misusing prescription painkillers as well, a University of Georgia study has found.
The nationwide study, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, also revealed a significant age difference in how people obtain these pain medications.
Older adults were more likely to report acquiring these drugs by going to multiple physicians, while younger people were more likely to get the painkillers from friends, relatives or drug dealers.
Abuse of opioid painkillers is a major national problem.
From 1999 to 2013, the amount of opioid painkillers prescribed and sold in this country nearly quadrupled. In 2013 alone, more than 16,000 people died in the United States from opioid painkillers, which include hydrocodone, oxycodone and codeine.
But on a more hopeful note, the CDC reported that 2012 saw the first national drop in prescription overdose deaths since the 1990s. This drop in deaths coincided with a similar drop in painkiller prescribing rates across the country.
The researchers from the UGA School of Social Work found that individuals of any age who used illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine or heroin within the past year had a higher likelihood of misusing prescription pain relievers. The study also looked at non-opiate pain relievers.
“The most likely illicit drug users are young adults,’’ Orion Mowbray, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work and the UGA study’s lead author, said Monday in an interview with GHN. “To see it pop up in older adults” is surprising, he said.
The research was based on more than 13,000 responses to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Neil Campbell, executive director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, said Monday that the results of the UGA study “are extremely important given the rise of opiate misuse in Georgia over the past five years.”
Campbell added, “Honest conversations between health care providers and patients about the risk of prescription drug misuse would not only increase awareness about the potential of addiction but could also lead to a reduction of the long-term effects of this problem.”
The annual survey, taken among individuals 12 and older, collects data on the use of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription drugs, as well as on mental health problems.
Mowbray said different strategies can be used to stem the misuse of drugs.
People who are prescribed painkillers should monitor them better and keep them away from potential abusers, he said.
Better oversight of drug prescribing patterns can also help, as well as doctors having conversations with their patients about possible misuse, he added.

http://m.northwestgeorgianews.com/mobile/associated_press/news/state/uga-study-reveals-patterns-in-prescription-drug-abuse/article_9312e8d8-29a1-11e5-930d-27d6d25f4594.html

Vermont Scores $12.4M to counter drug abuse

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by sobrietyresources No Comments

By Neal P. Goswami VERMONT PRESS BUREAU | July 07, 2015

MONTPELIER — two of the state’s top elected officials announced a $12.4 million federal grant to help Vermont combat prescription drug abuse, marijuana use and underage drinking.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and Gov. Peter Shumlin, both Democrats, held a State House news conference Monday to announce the five-year grant funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It will help Vermont expand its Regional Prevention Partnership program from six sites to 12 across the entire state.

Leahy, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, helped the state establish the first six partnership programs in six counties with a $3.6 million grant that expires this fall. The new $12.4 million grant will continue funding for the sites in Windham, Rutland, Windsor, Washington, Lamoille and Chittenden counties. Also, it will provide funding for new sites in the towns of Bennington, Springfield, Middlebury, St. Albans, Newport and St. Johnsbury.

“Prevention is a key component if we’re going to change the course. This $12 million grant in our state of Vermont is a well-deserved recognition … that our state is leading the way and makes this Vermonter very, very proud,” Leahy said Monday.

The grant will allow the Vermont Department of Health to provide comprehensive prevention services at the regional level across the state and in every county, focusing on Vermonters who are between the ages of 12 and 25.

“To break the cycle, we know that prevention must start early, years before a person begins the risky behaviors that can lead to addiction, overdose or even death,” Vermont Health Commissioner Harry Chen said. “We know that we must take a public health approach. We must apply our collective efforts at the community, regional, state and national level in order for that to occur.”

Chen said there is some evidence to suggest that the state’s efforts to prevent addiction and substance abuse in younger Vermonters is working. He said the latest survey conducted by the Vermont Health Department showed lower rates of binge drinking and less marijuana and opioid use.

Leahy said he hopes Vermont’s efforts will become a national model. He said he has worked to make preventing substance abuse a priority in both the Senate Appropriations and Judiciary Committees on which he serves.

“One of the things I’ve heard everywhere I’ve gone … is that we’re all in this together. There is no magic bullet. We all have to be involved and we have to reach people at earlier ages than ever before,” he said. “I tell the members of the Appropriations Committee it’s a lot less expensive, it’s far more productive, and it’s better for society if we prevent substance abuse on the front end instead of all the problems we have at the back end.”

Leahy thanked Shumlin for devoting his entire State of the State address in January 2014 to the issue of opioid abuse, and the impact it has on Vermonters. Shumlin called for dealing with the issue as a public health crisis rather than a law enforcement issue.

Shumlin says that since then, the state has boosted treatment options and 1,000 more Vermonters are receiving treatment for opioid abuse. The state has also dispensed 2,000 rescue kits to first responders and others, which have saved about 200 Vermonters from overdosing.

Still, an annual report released by the Department for Children and Families last week shows that opioid abuse continues to grow. According to the DCF report, 800 more child abuse cases where substance abuse was a factor were reported in 2014 over 2013. Shumlin and others said Monday that shining a light on the problem is likely to lead to more cases in the short-term, but fewer addicts in the long-term.

“Mission accomplished? No. A lot more work to do? You bet,” he said. “We’ve got a long road ahead. We’re making real progress. This grant is a huge step forward for Vermont.”

Shumlin said the grant announced Monday will allow local communities to address addiction problems in a way that makes sense for them.

“This $12.4 million is going to allow us to partner with the communities that want to help so badly, that want to get this right. They know that the answer in Windham County might not be the same as the answer for Rutland County,” Shumlin said. “Senator Leahy got us the first six centers, the resources for that, some years ago. This allows us … to get to all of the rest of the state.”

neal.goswami @timesargus.com

http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20150707/NEWS03/707079903

 

Scientists Link Two Brain Profiles to Risky Sex and Alcohol Abuse, New Study Says, Plus More Ways Sex Affects Your Head

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by sobrietyresources No Comments

KRISTEN SOLLEE@SLUTIST 3 DAYS AGO LIFESTYLE

July 6, 2015

Sex and booze can be dangerous bedfellows, inspiring everything from consensual drunken hookups you’d rather forget to outright assault. The brain chemistry that drives us to engage in dangerous behavior in the bedroom or in the bottle are closely related, too. In two recent studies, Duke University scientists were able to map brain profiles linked to risky sex and alcohol abuse in young people, which they say could also help predict the likelihood of future risky behaviors.

Using a sample of 759 male and female undergraduate students, researchers employed non-invasive MRI’s to gauge brain activity in the ventral striatum (the reward center of the brain) and the amygdala (the decision making/emotional center of the brain). According to one study published in Molecular Psychiatry, those with an inverse imbalance of activity in these areas are more likely to engage in “problem drinking.” Both an overactive ventral striatum and an underactive amygdala or an underactive ventral striatum and overactive amygdala inspire alcohol abuse.

In a different study on sexual behavior and the brain published in The Journal of Neuroscience, the same brain activity that causes problem drinking was found in men with a high number of sexual partners. Interestingly, women with a high number of sexual partners had high activity in both parts of the brain, which, according to PsychCentral, indicates both high reward and high threat and suggests that “the amygdala signal is representing different things in men and women.”

http://www.bustle.com/articles/95152-scientists-link-two-brain-profiles-to-risky-sex-and-alcohol-abuse-new-study-says-plus-more

Seminar offers drug abuse training

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by sobrietyresources No Comments

July 4, 2015

By KATIE WHITE, Salem News

LISBON – Demand for illegal drugs in the county may always exist, but the Drug Task Force is working hard to eliminate the supply, according to DTF director Brian McLaughlin.

Speaking during a recent drug abuse education training seminar at David Anderson High School, McLaughlin also cautioned county residents to educate themselves before voting on any future legislation that proposes to legalize marijuana.

Referring to the movement in Ohio to legalize the drug, he said a recent study conducted by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) shows legalization has far-reaching effects.

The study is available online at www.rmhidta.org and is the result of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado.

“There were shocking numbers in that study. We need to be informed before we go to the poll to get that on the ballot,” he said. “It is astronomical the number of accidents they have had … they have actually had deaths from marijuana. Get the whole story.”

He added that, yes, it is possible to overdose from the drug.

He also provided a graph from 2010 showing marijuana use is higher in the nation than other illegal substances and prescription painkillers, the latter of which typically leads to other narcotic abuse like heroin.

The local marijuana cost is about $10 for a gram and $200 for an ounce, which is 28.35 grams. A pound of the drug, or 453.59 grams, can run anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000, he said.

Other drugs with a presence in the county include heroin, meth, cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, bath salts, and the psilocybin mushroom, he added.

“We are not any different from any other state, any other place in this country. Heroin is a problem,” he said.

According to McLaughlin, an “explosion” of heroin use in the county between 2003 and 2004 can be traced back to oxycodone.

He said that since the task force’s creation in 1991 until 2003 the force took .09 grams of heroin off the streets. In 2004, agents took 1,400 unit doses off the streets.

The increase was the result of the task force’s removal of a doctor they found was prescribing oxycodone in the tri-county area. The force worked alongside Mahoning and Jefferson counties on the investigation.

“The company that produced oxycodone did not do a good job of educating doctors. That drug was meant for terminal cancer patients to make them comfortable until the end,” he said.

Once oxycodone users no longer had access to prescriptions, they turned to heroin, he explained, adding that moving from painkillers to heroin is typical since heroin it cheaper to purchase.

“Heroin replaced oxycodone at that point,” he said.

Local prices for heroin are around $20 per bag, which is roughly .03 grams. That national average is $200 per gram.

He said the force is no longer seeing unit doses in the county, but grams.

While state legislation could move to free up one drug for recreational use, it has been used to crack down on meth labs, he said.

The discovery of the county’s first active meth lab was in 2003 and legislation paved the way for officials to charge people with a third-degree felony for clandestine labs, he said.

“Legislators got serious about this,” he said.

The force is finding meth mainly in the northwest part of the county and average enforcement for its manufacture is six years in prison, he said.

He also said makers are usually users as well and officials can track them thanks to a computer database that stores information from the required identification provided for the purchase of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine at local pharmacies.

“If we are watching somebody for cooking we can actually see that they went and bought what they needed” to make meth, he said.

He also cautioned people to stay away from picking up any bottles on the ground as part of any cleanup efforts, or just being a good citizen, since meth labs are being disposed of on the street.

“It has been happening in our county. There was one in Center Township, one in Madison Township last summer,” he said.

The bottles feature a powdery or liquid substance and are capable of causing a flash fire.

People are encouraged to call the task force or county sheriff’s office if they suspect any illegal drug activity.

Funding for the free educational seminar was provided by the county mental health and recovery services board, and the event was sponsored by the board, county commissioners, task force, common pleas court, counseling center, recovery center, and ADAPT coalition.

kschwendeman@mojonews.com

© Copyright 2015 Salem News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

http://www.salemnews.net/page/content.detail/id/591394/Seminar-offers-drug-abuse-training.html?nav=5007

Lackawanna County Drug Court seeks medication-assisted treatment pilot program

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by sobrietyresources No Comments

KYLE WIND, STAFF WRITER Published: July 4, 2015

Lackawanna County’s drug treatment community wants to combat the region’s heroin epidemic with a greater emphasis on medication-assisted treatments, like methadone and Vivitrol.

Lackawanna County Treatment Court and the Lackawanna/Susquehanna Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs applied for $253,000 in state funding to launch an 11-month pilot program to treat 20 people with severe addiction problems.

The idea is to better address the underlying problems of repeat offenders. The money from the joint grant would be provided by several state agencies, including the Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Department of Human Services and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

“Despite the host of services offered, relapse and thus re-offense continue to plague the county’s law enforcement and addiction support system,” the grant application said. “Current county statistics find that 75 percent of county offenders have previously experienced some form of therapy for drug/alcohol addictions. Consider, according to the coroner, Lackawanna County averages one heroin overdose every five days.”

Habit OPCO in Dunmore would administer methadone or buprenorphine treatments to half of the patients, while Scranton-based Paul Remick, D.O., would administer the Vivitrol program.

In both cases, treatments would be part of a holistic package that includes counseling, social services and connecting patients with groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, said Bo Hoban, director of the Lackawanna/Susquehanna County Drug and Alcohol Program.

“Medication alone is not a way to get people on the path to recovery,” he said.

Vivitrol is administered monthly instead of daily like methadone, can treat alcohol dependence as well as opioid addiction and — also unlike methadone — does not provide any risk of patients getting addicted, said Barbara Durkin, treatment court coordinator.

The problem is, treatments also cost about $1,100 per month — substantially more than methadone — and can be more difficult to persuade health insurers to cover.

The grant program is still contingent on state budget negotiations.

If the money comes through, officials would look for more funding streams and try to connect patients with health insurance to sustain it after 11 months.

 

http://m.thetimes-tribune.com/news/lackawanna-county-drug-court-seeks-medication-assisted-treatment-pilot-program-1.1907779

'When everything went haywire'

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by sobrietyresources No Comments

July 1st, 2015

‘When everything went haywire’: Family copes with Glen Burnie teen’s overdose death

Crystal Moulden, 16, of Glen Burnie, with her father Gilbert Moulden. The teen died of what family members said was an overdose of the drug fentanyl, a synthetic opioid commonly mixed with heroin, two weeks ago in Baltimore. (Courtesy Photo, Handout)

As a younger child, Crystal Moulden had been a straight-A student and cheerleader, collecting trophies in the sport, her father said.

It wasn’t until her early teens the Glen Burnie teen’s problems with drugs started, Gilbert Moulden said.

“That’s when everything went haywire,” Moulden said.

Moulden began drinking, smoking marijuana and hanging around older boys, her father said.

“Crystal was a good child, but she liked to do things her way,” the elder Moulden said. “She started retaliating – she didn’t want to do what we said.”

Within a few years, Moulden moved on to harder drugs.

Glen Burnie crash that injured 5 teens under investigation

Two weeks ago, Moulden’s life ended at 16 when she died of an overdose of the drug fentanyl. The synthetic opioid is exponentially more powerful than heroin, according to the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore.

The drug is often laced with heroin. The mixture has been linked to deaths in the state over the past year and a half.

Baltimore City Police responded to the 3000 block of Elizabeth Avenue 11:49 p.m., June 17, where Moulden was found unresponsive in a nearby alley. Moulden’s father said the teen had been visiting a boyfriend.

She was taken to Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore where she died despite efforts to revive her, city police said.

“Sometimes I’ll be lying in my bed and thinking about the things she’s going to miss in life,” her father said.

Although Moulden’s death occurred in neighboring Baltimore, the tragedy highlights the efforts of Anne Arundel county and school officials to combat heroin and opioid use. 

GOVERNMENT

Anne Arundel and the rising tide of heroin [More coverage]

SEE ALL RELATED

Shortly after taking office last December, County Executive Steve Schuh assembled a Heroin Task Force including officials from the county’s police, fire and health department’s as well as schools and other county and City of Annapolis agencies.

In January, Schuh declared heroin a “public health emergency” in the county.

As of Tuesday, there have been 128 suspected heroin and opiate overdoses in the county – 20 of which have resulted in deaths, police spokesman Justin Mulcahy said.

Two of the suspected overdoses, including one of in Arnold this past January that was fatal, involved 17-year-olds, Mulcahy said.

Last year, there were some 360 heroin and opiate overdoses recorded in the county – 49 of which were fatal.

Local venture wants to fight heroin with mobile clinic

Baltimore reported 192 deaths from heroin-related overdoses in 2014, according to statistics provided by the city’s health department.

County schools spokesman Bob Mosier called heroin part of a “new reality” for school counselors and administrators.

Although counselors don’t many students struggling with heroin, they do see a fair number flirting with the “pre-cursors” — prescription pills and other opioids, Mosier said.

Law enforcement and health officials have linked the rise in heroin to prescription pill abuse. Counselors will work to connect those students and their families with resources, Mosier said. The decision to place students in one of the programs is made by the families.

Although Moulden was no longer a county student, she had attended county schools since kindergarten. She left Glen Burnie Senior High School in May, Maneka Monk, and a county schools spokeswoman, said.

On June 21, days after Moulden’s death, about 70 people attended a vigil at the school.

Moulden was the youngest of four siblings. The teen’s mother and father are no longer together, so she would split her time staying at her mother and father’s homes.

A fan of TV crime dramas like “Law & Order” and “CSI,” Moulden had told her father that she wanted to be a medical examiner. The teen also had nurses in her family, her father said.

Moulden turning to harder drugs didn’t surprise her father. She had told him heroin was her “drug of choice.”

‘Drug Court’ celebrates 10 years, largest graduating class

The family had tried to get her help, sending her to treatment facilities including a program at Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Towson. The teen had also had her problems with law, collecting a handful of criminal charges including one for having a knife at school.

Moulden’s father warns parents to keep an eye on their children for signs that they might be using heroin. One tell-tale sign can be drowsiness.

“You can be talking to them and they dose right off,” he said. “It’s a downer – it takes you down.”

His daughter’s funeral was last week in Annapolis.

In March, the county hosted a town hall-style event on heroin at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold. Between 350 and 400 community members attended the event, Schuh spokesman, Owen McEvoy said.

To mirror the event, Schuh’s constituent services representatives have traveled to community meetings to “educate both parents and their children about the dangers of heroin,” McEvoy said.

Schuh’s task force has made between 50 and 55 short- and long-term recommendations for combating the drug in the county, including:

  • $800,000 for a new substance abuse treatment facility in the underserved southern edge of the county;
  • $500,000 for a second task force consisting of county police, fire, Sheriff’s deputies and assistant State’s Attorneys, specifically to combat the drug; and
  • $375,000 in community grant funding for substance abuse programs – a 25 percent increase from last year, McEvoy said.

The county is looking to lease space for the south county treatment facility. It hopes to nail down a location this fiscal year, McEvoy said.

Money has also been included for two new Assistant State’s Attorneys — one of whom will be focused on heroin-related prosecutions. The county Sheriff’s Office has also recently begun prioritizing heroin-related warrants, McEvoy said.

http://www.twitter.com/BenW_MDGazette

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/for_the_record/ph-ac-cn-crystal-moulden-0701-20150701-story.html

Knowing no socioeconomic backgrounds, drug abuse

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by sobrietyresources No Comments

June 30, 2015
Knowing no socioeconomic backgrounds, drug abuse has become a pervasive problem. With illicit drug use on the rise, Consumer Energy Solutions has sought to take matters into their own hands and curb the problem through participation in the Foundation for a Drug-Free World’s educational programs.

According to Drugabuse.gov, illicit drug use in America has been increasing. In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans over the age of 12 (or 9.4% of the U.S. population) had used an illicit drug in the past month – an increase from 8.3% in 2002. Marijuana use accounts for a majority of the increase, and is the most commonly used illicit drug. (1) Noting a problem with illicit drug use in the community, Consumer Energy Solutions (http://www.consumerenergysolutions.com/) (CES) decided to take matters into their own hands and decided to integrate participation in the Foundation for a Drug Free World’s anti-drug programs into their corporate structure—creating “CES for a Drug Free World” activities and events.

CES found that within the community, there was a great deal of agreement that the illegal use of drugs crossed all socioeconomic lines and barriers of every level of society. CES believes that the scourge of drug use is a universal issue, meaning it knows no social barriers and unites people from every strata of life.

“People from all levels of society are intimately connected to the ‘drug problem’ one way or the other,” said CES Community Relations Director Lynn Posyton. “They know someone whose son is on drugs, their child is doing drugs, their cousin or nephew is in trouble, the kid across the street, their employee, or their employee’s child.”

CES decided to seek out a solution to the pervasive problem through the curb of the growth of drug use via education as a means of prevention, leading to the company’s support of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World in order to combat the problem. Other anti-drug programs can depend on propaganda and scare tactics, but CES has found that Foundation for a Drug-Free World’s campaign is both purely informative and effective.

The Foundation for a Drug-Free World seeks to empower youth and adults with factual information about drugs so they can make informed decisions and live drug-free. Through a worldwide network of volunteers, 50 million drug prevention booklets have been distributed, tens of thousands of drug awareness events have been held in some 180 countries and Truth About Drugs public service announcements have been aired on more than 500 television stations. (2)

CES takes their support of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World one step further by participating in events that generate goodwill in the community. As the representative of Consumer Energy Solutions, Posyton reaches out to like-minded groups in order to spread the anti-drug message. Groups Posyton has reached out to and delivered the anti-drug message to include the Boys Club of America, Admiral Farragut Academy, many church groups, the Florida Sheriffs Association and National Sheriffs Association, to name just a few. Posyton has signed up hundreds of School Resource Officers from NASRO (National Association of School Resource Officers) and FASRO (Florida Association of School Resource Officers) for the complementary Truth About Drugs Education Package. Our local PASCO County Sheriff’s office welcomes CES for a Drug Free World at their community events. Posyton also represents CES for a Drug Free World each year during the Great American Teach-In where she delivers drug education presentations at local area middle schools.

Posyton, a mother of four and former PTA President herself, notes that the problem of drug use in the community was highlighted when she spoke to the CES sponsored AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball team. The team, comprised of 17 and 18-year-old inner city youth, viewed the Foundation for a Drug-Free World presentation and then were asked what drugs they could buy at school. “The boys responded with drugs including ecstasy and painkillers to the surprise of their coach who had been unaware that this level of drug use was going on in his community,” says Posyton. “He couldn’t believe this was going on right under his nose.”

Pat Clouden, CEO of CES, notes that a key in the success of CES as a company has been integrating the promotion of social betterment activities into the company’s business model. “When the community thrives, we thrive,” says Clouden.

About Consumer Energy Solutions, Inc.:

Headquartered in Clearwater, FL, Consumer Energy Solutions, Inc. (CES) is one of the nation’s foremost full-service energy consulting companies, with over two million residential and 300,000 commercial customers across the United States and Canada, including many Fortune 500 companies. Founded in 1999 by Patrick J. Clouden, CES transitioned in 2004 from selling primarily to residential customers to selling primarily to businesses. The company’s long-standing relationships with the largest independent energy suppliers in the U.S., coupled with its unparalleled knowledge of the industry, give CES customers access to the most competitive electricity and natural gas rates available in their area. CES is dedicated to educating its customers about the choices available to them as energy consumers, and to helping them, in a volatile energy market, to balance short-term savings against long-term risk. The company’s mission is to assist its commercial clients in better managing their energy costs so as to add to their bottom line. CES is an industry leader in providing its clients with effective strategies and solutions to reduce energy costs. References are available upon request. For more information, visit www.consumerenergysolutions.com.

 

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