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Exploring Effective Intervention Techniques for America’s Most Vulnerable

Exploring Effective Intervention Techniques for America’s Most Vulnerable

Preventing alcohol and drug addictions among teenagers is perhaps one of the most important missions within drug prevention community. This is because research has shown that early abuse of drugs and alcohol increase the likelihood of addiction as adults. There are, however, some groups of teenagers that may be more at risk than others. Studies have shown that teenagers living in rural areas and American Indian teenagers may have increased chances of developing an addiction to alcohol. Because of this, some researchers have begun to determine what intervention strategies are most effective on these groups.

Interestingly, American Indian teenagers and rural teenagers drink as much or at the same rate as teenagers in the rest of the country. However, they seem to be more likely to develop alcohol dependencies than other types of teenagers. This may be because of the lack of education and public funding to discourage against drinking.

So, in order to investigate this further, researchers gathered data given to them by the Cherokee Nation. From this information, researchers developed two plans of attack that seemed to garner the best results in diminishing teenage alcohol consumption rates.

The first plan was centered around the community. Organizers from the Cherokee tribe and researchers created a program to be implemented in schools throughout the reservation. Social workers, trained by the researchers, spent time with each teenager, asking a series of questions related to alcohol and drug consumption. Any teenager exhibiting behavior indicative of alcohol abuse would then be referred for further counseling. This more individualized plan was the second line of attach that the researchers developed. One on one counseling allows the teenager to speak freely and without the judgement of their peers or even their teachers. According to the study results the new strategies are showing some promise. Surveys conducted by the researchers show that students who received either the community-based interview, or the individualized therapy were reporting less alcohol consumption than before.

“This study is one of the largest alcohol prevention trials ever conducted with an American Indian population, and the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of screening and brief counseling intervention in significantly reducing youth alcohol. use at a community level,” explained NIAAA Director, George F. Koob.

Another Study Seeks More Drugs to Treat Addiction

Another Study Seeks More Drugs to Treat Addiction

Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan have suggested an unusual use for medical marijuana after reviewing the results of several studies. The study’s lead investigator, Zach Walsh, an associate professor of psychology, said the research “suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce the use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication.”

The researchers, who worked with a team from Florida State University, also indicated that marijuana may benefit those living with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It may also help to relieve symptoms of depression, one of the most common forms of mental illness. What these advocates don’t say is that there are also a whole list of side effects associated with using marijuana, and that this should be taken into consideration when seeking any drug to treat symptoms, illnesses or other disorders.

Ongoing Research on Marijuana and Mental Health Still Needed

To come to their conclusions, Walsh and his fellow researchers looked at 31 articles on the subject of cannabis for therapeutic purposes (CTP) and 29 review articles on non-therapeutic use marijuana use and mental health. Their work is being described by UBC Okanagan as one of the most comprehensive reports that has been prepared to date on the effects of medical marijuana on mental health.

Highlights of the team’s findings are as follows:

• Medical marijuana is often used by clients wishing to get symptom relief from mental health concerns, but it can leave them with other symptoms.
• The early evidence found by researchers suggests that non-therapeutic use of marijuana may be an issue for people who are living with psychotic mental health concerns.
• It may also impact cognitive assessments, especially ones being conducted to measure a client’s memory. Documentation about on cognitive impairment.

The study was published in Clinical Psychology Review, and the research team concluded that further work will need to be done to determine the impact of the use of medical marijuana on a person’s mental health.

With the continued push to legalize marijuana use in the U.S., there are now several states that allow recreational use for adults over the age of 21. However, the impact from this increased use is being felt in many ways, and the full brunt will not be known for several years.

Studies like this one that are quasi-endorsements for the drug do not bode well for substance abuse intervention, treatment and prevention professionals. This is primarily because limited uses where benefits may have been observed in relation to other treatments are then used by pro-marijuana advocates to push their full legalization agenda, without regard for the negative impacts that ensue.