Archive for the ‘Parenting Education’ Category

Guest Post: “Bath Salts” — What Parents Need to Know About These Dangerous New Drugs

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Today I’m happy to welcome Richard J. Geller, M.D., MPH, of the California Poison Control System, as a guest blogger on Parent Talk Today. To learn more about bath salts and other harmful substances, along with info on how to talk with your kids about these issues, follow California Poison Control System on Facebook and @poisoninfo on Twitter. Thanks, Dr. Geller, for this important info for parents.

Beginning in September, 2010, U.S. poison control centers began to receive reports of patients ill from the effects of a series of previously unreported drugs of abuse collectively known as “bath salts.”  These agents have nothing to do with bathing, and, like the synthetic cannabinoids marketed as “spice,” are marketed as something other than what they really are.  Most recent data as of this week is that U.S. poison centers took 236 calls for 2010. We are at 220 to date for 2011.

“Bath salts” are powders that are often sold in 250 mg amounts, packaged in either small zip-lock bags or in jar-like containers, costing $15 to $65.  Like methamphetamine, they are ingested, snorted, smoked or injected, and have been placed in the rectum and vagina. Users are most often males ages 20 to 25 years.

What is known about “bath salts” is that they combine the more dangerous effects of a number of previously identified drugs of abuse: visual and sometimes auditory hallucinations similar, and possibly worse, than LSD; rapid tolerance and craving similar to crack cocaine; extremely violent behavior similar to PCP and methamphetamine; and an unusually long duration of effect and psychotic behavior that may not resolve after the drug is eliminated from the body.

“Bath salts” were first observed in Louisiana, where more than 200 exposures have been reported to the Louisiana Poison Control Center.  Several “bath salt” users have mutilated themselves with knives. One shot himself in the head.  Law enforcement officials believe that eventually they will have to use extreme force with “bath salt” users.  Visual hallucinations caused one user to barricade himself in an attic with a shotgun, threatening to kill the occupants of the home.  Significant “bath salt” use is now being reported in Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi and Missouri.

On both the federal and state levels, “bath salts” have been legal to sell and to use.  Louisiana’s Secretary of Health and Hospitals signed an emergency declaration in January 2011 banning the sale of “bath salts” in that state, resulting in an immediate slowing of reports of illness to the state’s poison control center.  Other states are considering similar measures.

The most common substance identified in “bath salts” is 3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV, and marketed as Ivory Wave and Energy-1.  Commonly found is Mephedrone, also known as 4-Methylmethcathinone, a compound very similar in structure to Methamphetamine, and marketed as Bounce, Bubbles, M-CAT, Mad Cow and Meow Meow.  Other substances implicated as “bath salts” are 3,4-Methylenedioxymethcathinone (Methylone), 4-Methoxymethcathinone, 4-Fluoromethcathinone and 3-Fluoromethcathinone.  The latter four substances are derivatives of Methcathinone, also known as Khat, Jeff and Cat, a drug structurally and pharmaceutically similar to methamphetamine.  Methcathenone has a long history as a drug of abuse in Asia.

The Louisiana experience suggests that law enforcement personnel encountering “bath salt” users should be prepared to deal with extremely confused (visual hallucinations) and possibly very violent individuals who may be armed.  Healthcare professionals encountering “bath salt” users should be aware that the usual sedative medications, i.e., benzodiazepines, may not be effective, and that major tranquillizers, especially ziprasidone, have been useful.

The California Poison Control System believes that “Bath Salt” products are a grave danger to public health, and urges that immediate steps be taken to ban their sale in California.

Free E-Course: Bullying — What Parents Should Know

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Jennifer O’Donnell, a terrific writer and editor on all things parenting-related, has created a free e-course on bullying. With her permission, I’m including all the info here so you can easily sign up to receive the course materials. (Did I mention that it’s FREE?) Also check out Jennifer’s wonderful About.com Tweens column.Be sure to sign up for her free newsletter while you’re there, too. Great info. Thanks, Jennifer!

Bullying can be a threat to any student, but bullying behavior peaks in the middle school years, and the consequences can be severe and forever damaging. Here’s what parents should know about bullying, bullies, victims, and types of bullying. The more you know, the more you can help your child.

This free e-course will be delivered in four lessons, one per day. Here’s what you’ll learn about preventing and dealing with bullying:

  • Day One: Bullying and Middle School
  • Day Two: The Different Types of Bullying
  • Day Three: All About Victims and Bullies
  • Day Four: The Effects of Bullying
  • Ladies’ Home Journal Tackles Issue of Gay-Teen Bullying and Suicide

    Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

    The stories about recent suicides by gay teens who had been bullied have been all over the news. This month, Ladies’ Home Journal has taken an in-depth look at what’s going on here.

    According to the article by Kenneth Miller, 52 percent of Americans consider homosexuality morally acceptable, according to a recent Gallup poll. “Kids can join gay-straight alliance groups at more than 4,000 high schools and more than 150 middle schools nationwide and find advice and support online,” says Miller in the article. “Yet according to the Journal of Adolescent Health, about one-third of gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens report an attempt at suicide. Why are so many still driven to try to take their own life?”

    Check out this excellent article, then please share your thoughts here. And kudos to Ladies’ Home Journal for talking about this issue.

    Sesame Street Helps Children — and Their Parents — Grieve

    Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

    “When Families Grieve,” an Emmy-nominated, prime-time television special featuring Katie Couric and the Sesame Street Muppets, will be re-airing on PBS, in honor of Veteran’s Day, this Thursday. (Please check local listings for times.)

    The special, produced by Sesame Workshop, presents families’ personal stories about coping with the death of a parent, as well as strategies that have helped these families move forward. Thanks to Sesame Street for tackling a tough topic an providing age-appropriate help for families. Here’s a sample clip:

    Today’s the Day! Parent Talk Today & Positive Parenting Solutions Free Webinar

    Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

    Get Kids to Listen without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling

    I’m excited to partner with Amy McCready from Positive Parenting Solutions to offer a free, live parenting-training webinar TONIGHT from 9:30-10:30 PM EDT / 6:30-7:30 PM PDT. You’ve seen Amy on The Rachel Ray Show and The Today Show, sharing her wonderful parenting advice.

    Get Kids to Listen without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling is for frustrated parents of toddlers through teens and delivers concrete strategies you can use right away and begin to see results.

    (I’m especially interested in learning the 5 R’s of fair and effective consequences…)

    The webinar will be fun and interactive.  You can type your questions into the chat box and Amy will make them part of the webinar.  All you have to do is RSVP and then kick back and learn her proven strategies to get toddlers, and even bigger kids, to listen the first time without nagging, reminding or yelling!

    Webinar reservations will be limited so click here to learn more and RSVP RIGHT NOW!

    Feel free to share this on your FACEBOOK page by clicking here. Spread the word to your friends and let’s all meet up and enjoy this free webinar!