Friday, May 30, 2014

Today's Heroin Addict Is Young, White And Suburban

NPR, May 28, 2014

"Heroin was once the scourge of the urban poor, but today the typical user is a young, white suburbanite, a study finds. And the path to addiction usually starts with prescription painkillers.

A survey of 9,000 patients at treatment centers around the country found that 90 percent of heroin users were white men and women. Most were relatively young — their average age was 23. And three-quarters said they first started not with heroin but with prescription opioids like OxyContin.

In contrast, when heroin first became popular in the '60s and '70s, most users were young minority men who lived in cities. 'Heroin is not an inner-city problem anymore,' says Dr. Theodore Cicero, a psychiatrist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who led the study." Read more

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Teen Truth Educates Students about Bullying

WWLP News 22 (Springfield, MA) May 28, 2014

"Hundreds of students from across New England learned about the effects of bullying and how to prevent it from happening in their own communities.

Six Flags New England partnered with Teen Truth, a national program striving to better our schools and stop bullying.

About 300 students watched an emotional video about how they can support victims of bullying and methods to make a difference in their schools.

'When it comes to bullying, things kind of develop in a way where we can stop people before you know things blow up,' student Elsa Brockett said." Read more

Why Mentoring Is About Being Real, Not Being Perfect

Huffington Post, May 22, 2014

"Spend a minute thinking about the people who helped you get to where you are today--either in your career or life in general. Maybe it was that eighth grade history teacher who showed you pictures of exotic hummingbirds from her summer trip to Asia who made you believe you could travel the world just like her. Maybe it was the track coach who made you run until you almost threw up who helped instill a 'it might not be pretty, but it will always be worth it' work ethic. Maybe the mischievous cousin who helped you take apart your mom's priceless antique clock as a kid helped you realize you should be majoring in engineering instead of business. Or maybe it was someone you didn't even know -- whose story you heard -- who inspired you to be 'just like' him or her when you 'grew up' (even if you're 30 and still trying to figure things out)." Read more

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Drug Test Your Teen at Home, May 27, 2014

"Most parents of teens have wondered at some point or another if their teen is using drugs (including alcohol)--or if they have tried them. They have reason to wonder: 70 percent of US high schoolers have tried alcohol at least once, and 40 percent have tried marijuana. While the percentage who have tried things like heroin is lower (3 percent), teens are known experimenters.

You could always take your teen to the doctor.'s a bit embarrassing. Not to mention the fact that drugs are illegal (including alcohol for underage drinkers). So why not do it in the privacy of your own home?

That's what the home drug testing companies hope parents think. And there is a real appeal to getting immediate and private results. But there are real problems with drug testing of teens in general, and especially home testing, which is part of the reason the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their policy statement entitled 'Testing for Drugs of Abuse in Children and Adolescents.'" Read more

Prescription Drugs More Deadly Than Car Accidents, Guns, and Suicide

The Daily Beast, May 25, 2014

"America, we’ve got a problem: More than 100 people die each day in the U.S. because of prescription drugs.

America is in the throes of a prescription drug epidemic. More people die every day from that addiction than gunshot wounds, car accidents, or suicide—with 100 people losing their lives daily as a result of misusing medication.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse has some pretty shocking statistics detailing just how bad America’s addiction has become. For example: the US, which holds 5 percent of the world’s population, is responsible for 75 percent of global prescription drug use; 52 million people over the age of 12 have used this medication for purposes outside of what they are intended for; enough painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult every four hours for a month; over half of these pills are obtained for free from a friend or family member; there are 5.1 million abusers of painkillers, 2.2 million who illegitimately take tranquilizers, and 1.1 million needlessly popping stimulants." Read more

Greenwich Magazine Questions Suicide of Greenwich High School Student

Greenwich Magazine (Greenwich, CT) May 27, 2014

"'Not in Vain' tells the story of Bart Palosz, a boy driven to take his own life after years of being bullied in the Greenwich, Connecticut school system.

A difficult story for the Palosz family to share and one too often sensationalized, the piece explores what went wrong and how so many ultimately failed Bart Palosz and his family. Greenwich magazine has given voice to a young man and his family that will grip parents and compel conversations across the country.

Bart was a regular boy who loved camping, fishing, and Boy Scouts. He had a loving family. But after being targeted by fellow students for years, Bart's pain became so great that took his own life by putting a gun to his head on August 27, 2013--the first day of his sophomore year." Read more

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Marquis Taylor Mentors At-Risk Kids

People Magazine, May 22, 2014

"In 2009, Marquis Taylor was well on his way up the corporate ladder.

The California-raised Stonehill College grad had recently landed a plumb job as a Boston-based real estate investment banker.

'I really enjoyed it,' Taylor, 30, tells PEOPLE, 'But I always felt like something was missing.'

So in 2011 he founded the non-profit youth organization Coaching for Change – an after-school mentoring and basketball program that has helped more than 200 youth in and around the low-income community of Brockton, Massachusetts." Read more

Letter: Column Prompts Binge-Drinking Alert

Fairfield Citizen, May 23, 2014

"I don't think most parents are aware of how much binge drinking is going on these days in middle school, high school and college. The consequences can be quite serious, including death. Each year, an estimated 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related, unintentional injuries.

Check out and read the heartbreaking story of a beautiful college girl named Samatha Spady who died because she drank too many shots of vanilla vodka in a dorm room, passed out (a sign of alcohol poisoning that should never be ignored) and was left in a frat house to 'sleep it off.' Well, Samantha Spady never woke up.

Rape and sexual assault (of both males and females) also can result after a night of drinking, as well as drunk driving, fighting, vandalism and/or arrests." Read more

Cyberbullying Knows No Socio-economic Bounds

HealthDay, May 23, 2014

"Even though they have less access to online technologies, poor teens are as likely as middle-class and rich teens to be victims of cyberbullying, according to a new study.

The findings suggest that there is no economic 'digital divide' when it comes to cyberbullying, said lead author Thomas Holt, an associate professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University.

'We found neighborhood conditions that are indicative of poverty and crime are a significant predictor for bullying -- not only for physical and verbal bullying, but cyberbullying as well,' he said in a university news release. 'This is a very unique and somewhat surprising finding.'" Read more

Friday, May 23, 2014

Prescription Drug Scheme Highlights National Problem

USA Today (Nashville, TN) May 20, 2014

"A recent spate of high-profile prescription drug diversion schemes has led to a renewed focus on the safety and security of the nation's pharmaceutical supply chain.

The schemes put consumers at risk and prompted Congress last year to act to strengthen oversight and eliminate a patchwork of state laws that opened loopholes for the criminal enterprises, drug experts said. 

Cumberland Distributors Inc., which ran drug warehouses in Nashville, illegally obtained $58 million of unused prescriptions from 2006 to 2009, and resold them to pharmacies, federal officials said. A couple who helped run the company recently pleaded guilty in federal court." Read more

Connecticut's Pitch To Drivers: 'Be Safer On The Roads'

Hartford Courant, May 22, 2014

"As the long holiday weekend begins, the state transportation department is reminding drivers to buckle up and stay away from the wheel if they've been drinking.

Those are more than suggestions: Municipal police and state troopers are planning extra patrols and will be enforcing the Click It or Ticket campaign. The state DOT is also in the midst of a special monthlong effort to get motorcyclists to drive responsibly with its "None For The Road" campaign.

'Fatal crashes with motorcycles are on the rise, and helmet usage is on the decline. We all need to be more aware of motorcyclists in order to save lives,' state transportation Commissioner James Redeker said earlier this month. 'Motorcyclists will be out in force as the weather gets warmer, which is why May is the perfect time for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.'

Nationally, 40 percent of all motorcycle fatalities involve alcohol, the DOT reported." Read more

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Stephen Lerner and Nelini Stamp: When Heroin Hit the Suburbs

Middletown Press, May 19, 2014

"Last month, NBC News ran a series of stories about the United States’ 'growing heroin epidemic.' Two things stand out in the reports: One is their sympathetic tone; the other is that almost everyone depicted is white.

Drug users and their families aren’t vilified; there is no panicked call for police enforcement. Instead, and appropriately, there is a call for treatment and rehabilitation. Parents of drug addicts express love for their children, and everyone agrees they need support to get clean.

In one NBC report, a drug court judge kindly cajoles and encourages people into getting treatment to avoid jail time. Another shows a teacher who was shooting up in the school bathroom now off drugs and happily married. Parents talk passionately about the need to have access to Naloxone, a drug that can counteract heroin overdoses. Every user is treated as a human being who made a mistake and who, with the proper support, can go on to live a productive life." Read more

Police across State to be Trained on Handling of Mentally Ill

The Day (Hartford, CT) May 19, 2014

"Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is poised to sign a bill requiring police officers to take training courses on how to handle situations involving the mentally ill, part of several health reforms proposed after the Newtown school shooting.

Details will have to be worked out, but Malloy said the training will include the use of crisis intervention teams that are employed by nearly 2,700 police departments across the country, including many already in Connecticut. The teams involve pairing police with mental health experts to diffuse situations and avoid lethal force.

More than a half-dozen police-involved shootings have occurred in the state since January of last year. One was the case of Michael Dugas, a 52-year-old man who was killed with six shots by Norwich officers who fired a total of 41 rounds. He had refused demands to drop what turned out to be a pellet handgun and then pointed it at an officer." Read more

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Police Bust New York Heroin Ring that was Major Supplier to Connecticut, Officials Say

West Hartford News (New York, NY) May 20, 2014

"More than 24 kilos of heroin were seized in a bust that shut down a drug ring that was a key supplier to Connecticut, authorities said Monday in a press release.

Local and federal authorities in New York said two ringleaders of the multi-million dollar drug distribution network were arrested in Hartford after a six-month investigation. The press release said the network was 'responsible for supplying massive amounts of heroin and other drugs throughout the Northeast.' Police also seized more than 9 kilos of cocaine, three guns (including two assault rifles) and $85,000 in cash. The heroin is worth $11 million, according to NBC New York." Read more

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy Signs Distracted-Driving Bill Into Law

CBS New York (Hartford, CT) May 20, 2014

"Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has signed a bill that sets a penalty of up to $1,000 for drivers caught texting or talking on their cellphones, WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported.

But Marlene Dorsey, whose son was killed by distracted driver in 2012, said the law doesn’t go far enough.

Dorsey’s son, 44-year-old Kenneth, was jogging on a road in New Canaan when a 16-year-old who was checking her smartphone while driving struck and killed him with a sport utility vehicle. Brianna McEwan accepted a plea deal in the case and was given a suspended sentence." Read more

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

OUR VIEW: A Step Toward Fighting Addiction

Bristol Press, May 18, 2014

"We were glad to see U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty stepping up to take a lead role in fighting the epidemic of heroin addiction.

The Fifth District Congresswoman visited New Britain Friday to hold a round-table discussion with city leaders, including the chiefs of police and fire, multiple experts in the medical field and others in the community. Together they looked for the root causes of 257 deaths statewide in the last year from heroin overdoses, and what she could do to help.

While there’s nothing new about heroin addiction, the problem gained national attention in March when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said a spike in overdoses from the deadly drug constitutes 'an urgent and growing public health crisis.'" Read more

Monday, May 19, 2014

Student: Little Things Making a Difference at GHS

Greenwich Time, May 18, 2014

"Holding the door for a classmate or a teacher -- that seems like a trivial act, right?

Greenwich High School sophomore Ashley Jones doesn't think so. For her, it is important enough to record on paper. And not just in a journal, but in a letter she wrote a few weeks ago to her school's headmaster, Chris Winters.

'Holding the door open for someone and the small smiles received when walking in the hallway make our community the strong one that it is,' Jones wrote. 'People going out of their way to help one another is a beautiful thing, but the little things hold just as much power.'" Read more

U.S. Rep. Esty Addresses the Problem of Heroin Use

Bristol Press (New Britain, CT) May 16, 2014

"Local officials got the chance Friday to sit down with U.S. Rep Elizabeth Esty and talk about the heroin problem that the city, as well as the nation, is facing.

Esty said she held the roundtable discussion to hear the concerns about this epidemic from the people who deal with it as a part of their job every day. She said it would help her to know what to advocate for as a congresswoman.

Last year, there were 257 state residents who died from heroin overdoses. In New Britain, in 2013, there were 144 hospital visits related to heroin and eight deaths as a result." Read more

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Students Learn Life Lessons to Overcome Bullying

Reminder News (Manchester/East Hartford, CT) May 15, 2014

"Anti-bullying expert Brooks Gibbs taught resilience and emotional strength to middle school students at Manchester’s Illing Middle School and East Hartford Middle School on May 13 and May 14, respectively. 

Gibbs, who was bullied himself while in school, offered help from a victim’s perspective.

The presentation and school tour are sponsored by Office Depot in partnership with pop band One Direction. Gibbs has been speaking out against bullying since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. 

Gibbs related bullying to a game where there is always a winner and a loser." Read more

Friday, May 16, 2014

Torrington Mayor: Register Citizen has ‘Sensationalized’ Local Heroin Issue

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) May 15, 2014

"Recently, Mayor Elinor Carbone met with an entrepreneur from Virginia. She was trying to convince the gentleman Torrington is a viable, attractive city to start, and grow, a business.

Not long into the meeting, the conversation turned to heroin. The business owner saw a deluge of articles in The Register Citizen about the city’s growing heroin problem, a total of nine confirmed heroin-related deaths and several overdoses last year, and wanted to know if the mayor’s perception of the issue was as dire as it was being portrayed.

'If all these future businesses are reading all the negative press, which isn’t just inherent to this community, it’s difficult,' Carbone said." Read more

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Prescription Painkiller Overdoses Tripled Over 10 Years (Health Magazine) May 14, 2014

"Prescription drugs are playing an increasingly larger role in U.S. life, with nearly half of all Americans taking one or more medications.

Among adults, the most common prescription drugs are for cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. Those are two of several key findings in the federal government’s annual comprehensive report on the nation’s health that was released Wednesday.

The relationship between Americans and their prescriptions is complex, according to the report produced by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On the one hand, more people than ever are receiving effective treatment for chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and depression.

But doctors and pharmacists also find themselves struggling with unintended consequences of drug use, such as prescription narcotics abuse and the advent of antibiotic-resistant germs." Read more

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Being Bullied, Or Being the Bully?

NBC Connecticut, May 13, 2014

"While many adults talk to kids about how to handle bullies, many don't acknowledge which kids have characteristics of potential bullies.

Justin is an 18-year-old high school senior and knows firsthand the damage kids face against bullies. He has triumphed from his past, but his unmistakably shaggy hair and bright red lipstick suggest he’s struggled getting to this point.

'I’ve always been targeted, because I’m different,' Justin said.

Justin represents less than five percent of the U.S. population in the LGBT community. However, his story resonates with many kids who also feel different and have felt victimized by peers in and out of the classroom." Read more

Kid's Viral Bullying Video Shows How Frustrated Parents Can Get

CNN, May 14, 2014

"Sarah Cymbaluk of Fosston, Minnesota, is a frustrated mom who took matters into her own hands. After claiming that her daughter was repeatedly bullied on the school bus and the school did nothing about it, she posted a video on Facebook.

In the video, Cymbaluk asked her crying daughter, 'Tell me how it makes you feel.'

Her daughter, who turned 9 on Tuesday, responded, 'It makes me feel sad and scared, and I don't like it.' 'She's been called into the principal's (office) and made to feel like it's her fault,' Cymbaluk told CNN affiliate KXJB, claiming the bullying has gone on since December.

'She's been told to ignore it. She's been told to disregard it. Basically she's been told to stuff her emotions and get on with life.' Fosston Schools Superintendent Mark Nohner, who said he thinks the situation could have been resolved without going to Facebook, said he learned about this issue only recently but conceded 'somewhere along the line' the case 'fell through the cracks.'" Read more

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bad News For Ivy Leaguers: ADHD Drugs Hurt Your Memory

TIME, May 13, 2014

"Smart drugs used to boost performance in the short term have long term damage for the young brain, a new study says

Prescription drug abuse is rampant, and for a third of Americans, the first drug of any kind that they take—including illicit drugs—is an Rx that has not been prescribed to them. That’s not surprising when you consider how many students abuse ADHD drugs for performance. But new research shows that recreational use of smart drugs comes at a cost.

Researchers from the University of Delaware and Drexel University College of Medicine reviewed the latest research on the effects of medications like Ritalin and Proviigil on the juvenile brain and discovered smart drug use is certainly not benign." Read more

Heroin, Opiate Use Soars in Valley, Greater New Haven as Part of Epidemic across Connecticut

New Haven Register, May 12, 2014

"Towns in the Naugatuck Valley and elsewhere in Greater New Haven have seen a marked increase in the use of heroin and other opiates, in keeping with a disturbing trend throughout Connecticut.

Prescription drug and heroin abuse has grown to epidemic proportions in the Valley, as it has throughout the nation, says Pamela Mautte, executive director of the Valley Substance Abuse Action Council. She said experts say heroin addiction doesn’t carry the stigma it did in past decades and is readily available.

'Opiate abuse is an epidemic across the nation,' Mautte said.

The Valley Substance Abuse Action Council recently sponsored a “Call to Action,” a forum focusing on opioid and heroin use and prescription drug misuse/abuse." Read more

Bullying's Long-Term Effects Seen in Both the Bullied and the Bully

National Geographic, May 12, 2014

"The effects of bullying in childhood can last a lifetime, both for the child who's bullied and for his or her tormenter.

But according to a Duke University study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, while young adults show long-term ill effects of having been bullied in childhood, those who did the bullying might actually be healthier than their peers in one important measure.

The report is based on findings from the longitudinal Great Smoky Mountains Study, which started in 1993 and followed 1,420 children from western North Carolina. Researchers interviewed the participants at up to nine points in time, first when they were children and adolescents (aged 9 to 16) and again when they were young adults (aged 19 to 21). The study was led by William Copeland, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina." Read more

Monday, May 12, 2014

Heroin Overdose Statistics Only Provide a Glimpse of Torrington’s Epidemic

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) May 11, 2014

" Heroin overdoses are taking place in grocery marts, sober homes, apartments and run-down motels. Yet the number of deaths, and reported overdoses, is only a superficial snapshot of how endemic heroin is to Torrington, officials say.

A 10-year veteran of the city’s police force, Sgt. Dustin Baldis is head of the narcotics division. He took it over about four months ago, right as the city started grappling with a surge in heroin. He said, anecdotally, he has noticed a spike in the number of heroin arrests, in part because of an emphasis on officers canvassing city streets and neighborhoods in search of those peddling the drug.

The problem in Torrington — nine confirmed heroin overdose deaths last year — was evident before the death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman forced Americans to confront what U.S. leaders have called an urgent public health crisis." Read more

Access Remains Limited in Connecticut to Overdose Reversal Drug Narcan

New Haven Register, May 11, 2014

"The walls, papered in obituaries of friends who succumbed to drug overdoses, had finally closed in on Michael Carlson that fateful day in April 2009.

While his parents cooked dinner in the kitchen of their Bristol home, Carlson snuck to his bedroom to boot heroin for what he believed was the last time, in a suicide attempt. When his parents checked on him, they found him gray, unconscious and not breathing.

Tracy Carlson rushed to the laundry room for the bottles of Narcan she had purchased two weeks before, at a parent support group meeting in Southington. At the time, she had only $9 in cash, enough for three bottles of the life-saving drug. She needed two to get her son breathing again, before paramedics arrived and took over." Read more

Teens and Drinking: Start Talking Early -- and Often

Chicago Tribune, May 9, 2014

"If the 'prom draft' story wasn't enough to turn your stomach, consider this statistic:
One in five high school seniors reports binge drinking at prom, according to a 2013 Journal of the American Medical Association study.

'Tis the drinking season, with end-of-the-year parties and graduation celebrations quickly following on the heels of prom. Which is why a group of parenting experts, headed up by teen authority Jennifer Powell-Lunder, is launching a new 'alcohol talk' campaign.

'Sometimes parents think they've had the talk because they addressed it once,' clinical psychologist Powell-Lunder, author of "Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual" (Adams Media), told me today. 'But it's not a talk. It's a continuous conversation.'" Read more

Friday, May 9, 2014

Program to Focus on Drug trends

CT Post, May 8, 2014

"The Youth Agency in New Milford will sponsor a program, 'Parents: You Matter!,' Tuesday, May 13, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Maxx on Railroad Street.

The Connecticut Governor's Prevention Partnership will present the program about current drug trends, what to look for, what to be concerned about, and tools and resources for prevention and intervention.

For information and to RSVP, contact Laura at or 860-354-0047." Read more

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cyberbullying's Impact on Our Children and What Schools Can Do

HuffPost Blog, May 7, 2014 (by Detective Sgt. Thomas Rich)

"In today's society social media is growing at lightning speed. With the age of the users signing up getting younger and younger, it has made its way into the lives of our youth and is not going away. This being said, it takes the issues of bullying and cyberbullying to a whole new level. The impact that technology has had on our children because they are now always connected, is that they now have become very disconnected with each other.

Starting at a very early age, children become drawn into the use of technology. Most children dive right into using the most popular applications that are out there -- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Kik, Snapchat and Tumblr just to name a few -- and unfortunately seem to share their entire life story. This practice now makes a child very vulnerable because of the fact that peers now have ammunition to harass, intimidate or bully him." Read more

Pills to Heroin: Expert Panel Discuss Drug Use in Warren County

The Warren Reporter (Warren, NJ) May 7, 2014

"It could be wisdom teeth or a broken bone that leads to a prescription for instant release oxycodone, also known as Roxicodone or roxies, but once those 30 pills are gone and wounds are healed, addicts will seek out those pills often finding that heroin is easier, cheaper and better.

This was the warning message delivered to parents and other concerned residents of Warren County last night at a panel discussion focused on the "domino effect" of prescription pain pills to heroin and the drug climate within the county." Read more

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Service Agencies Partner To Aid Norwalk Students

Norwalk Daily Voice (Norwalk, CT) May 7, 2014

"Norwalk's Human Services Council recently received $25,000 in grants from United Way of Coastal Fairfield County to help Norwalk Public Schools.

The money comes via two Community Partnership Grants. The support is for the Human Services Council’s Norwalk Mentor Program and Dr. Robert E. Appleby School-Based Health Centers.

'Both programs provide critical services to Norwalk Public Schools students, both when and where they need them,' representatives said in a press release.

Established in 1986, the Norwalk Mentor Program, in partnership with Norwalk Public Schools, matches students in grades kindergarten to 12 with positive adult role models." Read more

New Campaign Seeks To Combat Underage Drinking by Teaching Parents How To Talk To Their Teens

Wall Street Journal (New York, NY) May 7, 2014

"The Alcohol Talk, a new public education campaign to help parents talk with their teens about drinking, was unveiled today by sponsor Pernod Ricard USA, the New York-based unit of the global spirits and wine marketer. The campaign emphasizes the timing, language and opportunities parents can use to have this conversation with confidence and credibility, based on input from experts, parents and teens themselves. 

According to campaign spokesperson and contributor Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder, a clinical psychologist specializing in adolescent behavior, most parents understand the importance of having The Alcohol Talk and have access to information on what to say, but think their teen won't listen to them. 'Almost three-quarters of teens say they value their parents' input on drinking. As such, our materials provide actionable direction on how parents can have this essential talk, including how to keep the dialog going from pre-teen years through high school.'" Read more

Connecticut Sun’s Greene Joins Girls for Cupcakes, Mentoring

Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) May 5, 2014

"Macdonough Elementary School fourth-grade girls took a field trip to a local patisserie to assemble cupcakes with a professional basketball player Monday.

Five Macdonough fourth-graders, chosen for having exhibited leadership, frosted cookies-and-cream cupcakes with Connecticut Sun guard Kalana Greene under the direction of NoRA Cupcake Co.’s Carrie Carella and Phil Ouellette Monday afternoon.

The field trip was the latest installment of the Youth Services Bureaus 'Make Time' meeting series, during which city children meet with local leaders to discuss youth leadership issues." Read more

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Three Strategies for Building Classroom Culture and Stopping Bullying in Schools

HuffPost Blog, May 5, 2014 (by Signe Whitson, author, child and adolescent therapist)

"The 2013-14 school year is winding to a close. For many, this is the 'wrap it up' part of the year where projects are finished, grades are turned in, and report cards are finalized. For others, this is more of a beginning -- a time to look ahead and plan for the next school year. For me, this becomes a busy time of year as schools and organizations are strategizing for improved bullying prevention measures for 2014-15 and scheduling workshops to guide them in their efforts.

In my conversations with faculty and staff about both the struggles and the successes they've had with regard to bullying and bullying prevention, one common theme emerges: It's all about the culture of the classroom. The teachers who are most effective in stopping bullying are the ones who work purposefully and systematically to create classroom cultures in which kindness is valued over coolness; and popularity among students is based not on the power to dominate social interactions, but rather on a young person's willingness to reach out to a classmate with compassion." Read more

Mountainside Treatment Center Tackles Sharp Rise in Connecticut Heroin Abuse

Digital Journal (Canaan, CT) May 6, 2014

"Heroin abuse is an urgent health crisis that has Connecticut in its grip, with heroin addiction currently ranking second behind alcohol as the reason people seek substance abuse treatment. Mountainside treatment center has long been on the front lines of helping those who suffer from heroin and opiate addiction find recovery. Its new detoxification program, Mountainside Detox, was created to alleviate the mounting need for additional treatment services in the state starting in late spring.

'We have always believed that the most effective way to treat clients for drug addiction – and our approach is no different for heroin addiction -- is individually and with compassion,' said a Mountainside spokesperson." Read more

Durham, Middlefield Clinic Nets 110 Pounds of Unused Prescription Drugs

The Middletown Press (Durham, CT) May 5, 2014

"Middlefield and Durham residents turned in more than 110 pounds of prescription drugs during last week’s take-back day coordinated by state and local authorities.

On April 26, Connecticut State Police Troop F in Westbrook and the Drug Enforcement Administration gave the public an opportunity to dispose of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs. This effort to allow for safe, legal and environmentally-friendly disposal of prescription drugs takes place twice a year and is a free service to all residents. Several people took part in this event at the Middlefield and Durham Resident Troopers offices, ridding homes of potentially dangerous substances.

This effort reduces the risk of prescription drugs being consumed inappropriately — either by accident or through illegal sale or possession, according to the Middlefield Durham Local Wellness Coalition." Read more

Monday, May 5, 2014

Many Bullied Teens Carry Weapons to School, Study Finds

U.S. News & World Report, May 4, 2014

"Large numbers of U.S. high school students who are bullied take weapons to school, a new study finds. 

'Victims of bullying who have been threatened, engaged in a fight, injured or had property stolen or damaged are much more likely to carry a gun or knife to school,' said study senior investigator Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 15,000 U.S. high school students who took part in a 2011 survey. They found that teens who suffered many types of bullying are up to 31 times more likely to bring weapons such as guns and knives to school than those who have not been bullied." Read more

Tips To Safely Celebrate End Of School Year

Journal Online, May 5, 2014

An open letter to parents from Frank Kaminski, Park Ridge Chief of Police (IL):
"The prom and graduation season is upon us. This is a special time for many of our young people as they look forward toward bright futures. It is also a time for celebrations. Our goal is to make sure we have a safe celebration season. We would like to offer some tips if you host a party or allow your child to attend a party.

If you decide to host a party, make sure you set ground rules ahead of time. Establish a guest list and time limit for the party. Make sure your teen understands your expectations that the party will be alcohol and drug free. Establish a process with your teen if someone comes to the party with alcohol and drugs. Parents should be home for the duration of the party and conduce periodic checks at the party as well as on the exterior of the house." Read more

The Teen Brain: Under Construction

Hartford Courant, May 4, 2014

"Learn about the changes and development of the teen brain; how stress, drugs and alcohol affect the brain; and the significance for the development of emotional and substance abuse disorders at a May 14 community forum hosted by the Canton League of Women Voters and NAMI Farmington Valley.

Hilary P. Blumberg, M.D. professor of psychiatry in the Child Study Center and of diagnostic radiology, and director of the Mood Disorders Research Program at Yale School of Medicine, will speak at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 14 at the Canton Community Center (lower level), 40 Dyer Avenue, Canton." Read more

Friday, May 2, 2014

Teens and Parents Share Empowering Communications Lessons

Reminder News (Glastonbury, CT) May 1, 2014

"Glastonbury Public Schools, Glastonbury Youth and Family Services and the Glastonbury Police Department once again teamed up to present the Empowering Families event, geared toward helping middle-schoolers and their families prepare for some challenges ahead, including avoiding risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug use.

The group saw an overview of current teen drug trends, presented by Ryan Morgan from the Governor's Prevention Partnership.

Data shows that the longer a person waits to first try alcohol or drugs, the less likely they are to become addicted or develop future problems with that substance." Read more

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cyber Bullying: 'With Each Post, Another Girl Left Class To Cry In The Bathroom'

Westport Patch, April 29, 2014

"It was like something straight out of the movies.

Kids were walking down the hall, cell phones in hand, looking up, staring and pointing at unsuspecting peers.  
But this was no movie. It was real, and it was a horrifying reminder of just how cruel some kids can be and how quickly cyber bullying can deliver a crushing blow to youngsters who value so highly what their peers think of them.

The scene was Staples High School in Westport, Conn., and the medium of choice for this cyber assault was a new app called Yik Yak." Read more

Underage Drinking a Serious Issue Affecting our Nation

Redwood Times, April 30, 2014

"Alcohol. It’s a volatile substance that has taken root in many cultures around the world. At one point in our own history, it proved to be so ingrained in our nation’s culture that not even government could prohibit it. We have learned that when used in moderation, alcohol can be enjoyed; however, far too often, we find people overindulging in the substance and abusing it, leading to a number of dangerous outcomes that range from lowered inhibitions to sexual promiscuity to alcohol poisoning.

For the month of April, the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) and the Humboldt Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) have sponsored Alcohol Awareness Month, an effort to inform people about responsible alcohol use. One of the key goals of this awareness effort is reduce the presence of underage drinking in communities." Read more

Alcohol and Drug Discussion For Parents

Hartford Courant (Windsor, CT) April 30, 2014

"The Windsor Youth Commission, the Governor's Prevention Partnership and the Capital Area Substance Abuse Council will host a discussion on current alcohol and drug trends among teenagers Monday, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at Sage Park Middle School, 25 Sage Park Road.

Parents and caregivers will learn to spot red flags and gain key information in regards to alcohol, prescription drugs, designer drugs and other street drugs.

Topics will include: how to prevent and address use; the drinking culture, alcopops and alcoholic energy drinks, flavored alcohol trends, prescription and over the counter drug abuse, marijuana; synthetic drugs; and inhalant abuse." Read more