The NH Center for Excellence is a resource center for best practices in alcohol and drug services in New Hampshire. This website provides practitioners and providers with tools, resources, training information, and data to support their practices.

The NH Center for Excellence is an initiative of the NH Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services and is funded in part by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); the NH Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, Intervention and Treatment; and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

Click here to visit their site.

Nov 062010

Over the past few years, groundbreaking research has been completed in Sullivan County to learn about youth and adult attitudes and behaviors towards alcohol and drug use and abuse.  We have also researched our protective and risk factors.  We have a much better handle on what’s going on and some important safeguards we can embrace and develop that will empower our youth to make healthier and happier choices.  Here is a summary of our findings about youth attitudes:
•  The majority of our kids have never used alcohol or drugs.
•  The time to start talking with our kids is when they are 10 years old.  By 8th grade, 50% have experimented with alcohol.
•  When youth start to drink early they are at a greater risk of addiction or death.
•  There is an impact on brain development.
•  Teens have an inflated perception of substance abuse among their peers.
•  Most youth are getting their alcohol at parties.
•  Other adults are making the choice as to whether our kids are provided access to alcohol.
•  Opening a two-way conversation with our kids about drinking and drugs  has an impact on their behaviors.
•  Prescription drugs is a growing problem.  One in five NH teens have abused prescription drugs.
•  In the last 30 days, 38% of our high school teens were drinking alcohol, 26% binged, 18% used marijuana and 22% used tobacco.
•  When parents engage, 59% are less likely to drink, 67% less likely to binge, 71% less like to use marijuana & 75% less likely to smoke.
•  We have a pretty good website - PreventionWorksNH.org with great resources for parents in our Parent Tool Kit.

And this about adult attitudes and behaviors:
•  Our efforts are making a difference!  Our messages are being heard and parents are ramping up their engagement.
•  85% of parents and adults in the community don’t allow drinking except for a few sips at family or religious gatherings.
•  Parents have an inflated perception of permissiveness regarding other parents’ standards regarding alcohol and drugs.
•  One-third of our parents know others who host underage drinking parties.
•  Two-thirds of our parents would report underage drinking parties if they heard about one.
•  Kids are modeling parental behaviors.  Kids are 5 times less likely to use if parents don’t.
•  Most parents don’t think the problem is with their kids especially when it comes to prescription drugs.
•  Most parents think substance abuse is a bigger problem today than it was 5 years ago.
•  63% of our parents would be willing to get together for an evening discussion to learn how to reduce teen alcohol and drug use.
•  Most employees prefer working for companies with formal alcohol and drug policies.

by Michael Brindley, Nashua Telegraph

CONCORD – One in five teens in New Hampshire say they have abused prescription drugs at least once, a trend that has led New Hampshire to create a guide for parents about medications most likely to be misused by their children.

The state on Thursday launched a website, drugfreeNH.org, with information about pain relievers, stimulants and anti-depressants.

It also provides information about alcohol and marijuana, which are still the drugs of choice among teens, according to the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of New Hampshire school students.

That survey also showed 20.4 percent of students reported having taken a prescription drug, such as Xanax, OxyContin or Ritalin, at least once without a prescription. That statistic is in line with the results from a national survey.

It was the first time the state had asked teens about their abuse of prescription drugs in the survey, given to high school students every other year. At a press conference Thursday, officials who worked on designing the site said prescription drug abuse is a growing problem that needs to be addressed.

“Misuse of prescription medications can have really tragic consequences, not only for the individuals using them but for families and communities,” said Dr. Seddon Savage, director of the Dartmouth Center on Addiction, Recovery and Education.

Savage was one of the speakers during the press conference, held in the State House. The “One in Five” slogan is part of the marketing campaign for the site, meant to focus on the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.

“It’s a daunting statistic,” said Joe Harding, director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services. It’s not just a problem among teens, Harding said. Last year, more citizens died from prescription drug overdoses – 164 – then in car accidents – 110.

The website was developed by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services and the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention.

At the press conference, Charles Rosa of Seabrook spoke about his family’s loss as a result of prescription drugs. He has lost two of his six children to drug overdoses. His two oldest sons died of overdoses of heroin and a fetanyl patch.

Rosa is a mixed martial arts trainer and was prescribed a painkiller after suffering an injury. One of his sons began stealing them, leading to his addiction to heroin.

Rosa said he lives with the guilt, wishing he had done more to prevent his sons from getting involved in drugs. He now speaks at schools and events around the state, raising awareness for prevention of prescription drug abuse.

“I miss my boys,” he said. “I hope this helps people and families because this stuff is no joke.”

Starting in the fall, 10 regional networks will host “One in Five” events to raise awareness about the website and facts and information about how to prevent prescription drug abuse.

Bill Hughen, director of guidance at Alvirne High School in Hudson, said Thursday that while prescription drug abuse isn’t as prevalent as some other drugs, it’s an issue the school is taking seriously.

“The tough part with prescription drugs is that they’re so out there in the community,” Hughen said. “There are people who have legitimate medical issues and somehow these drugs turn up in the hands of students.”

Among the recommendations for prevention on the site is for parents to keep their medicine cabinets locked. But Hughen said often it is the students to whom the medications are prescribed. Many students are prescribed painkillers for injuries or Ritalin or Concerta for Attention Deficit Disorders, he said.

“They could they take them and sell them to friends,” Hughen said. “That has happened on some occasions.”

Another problem in dealing with prescription drugs is that their use is so difficult to detect. Unlike with alcohol or marijuana, there are no smells associated with the drugs. Students could be abusing them without anyone ever knowing, Hughen said.

By comparison, the abuse of prescription drugs is still well below the use of alcohol and marijuana. In the 2009 survey, 68.5 percent of teens reported having had alcohol at least once; 40.5 percent reported having tried marijuana at least once.

The website launched Thursday includes different areas for teens and parents. For teens, there are tips for how to deal with peer pressure, as well as myths and realities of different drugs. There are also links for where to get help and how to recover from addiction.

Michael Brindley can be reached at 594-6426 or mbrindley@nashuatelegraph.com.

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