Drug Education Courses Don’t Teach How to Grow Weed

by Mike Miller July 12, 2013

Do you know someone who has a marijuana plant or has grown marijuana in the past? I bet you do. As a counselor for alcohol,drug and DUI classes I often discuss the subject of weed cultivation with my students. It may not surprise you to learn that many of my students have grown weed.

Cannabis has always been a popular drug all over the world and is one of the most commonly made-at-home drugs today. Cannabis cultivation is so popular because it can be done all naturally, rather inexpensively, and allows users to have access to consumption anytime they want without having to purchase it. It also can be done indoors.

Not sure just how to grow your weed? No worries, just attend “Weed University!” That is no joke, there are actually schools opening up to teach marijuana cultivation.

This blog is not designed to teach you how to grow, rather highlighting the essentials. First, marijuana plants can be grown with or without soil.

The second essential for cannabis cultivation is the overall warmth. There are optimal temperatures that the cannabis thrives in based on the time of day, so it’s important to pay close attention to that.

Of course light and water are crucial to the growth of any living plant. Instead of growing weed, get educated with a computer based drug awareness class.

Computerized Drug Course Educates About Drug Abuse

by Mike Miller July 10, 2013

When you think about the term “drug abuse” what comes to mind? As a counselor for in person and online drug and alcohol treatment classes, I often discuss this term with my students. You might not be surprised to know that the majority of my students associate “drug abuse” with some drug-addicted homeless guy under a bridge.

There is not one person who experiments with drugs with the expectation or aspiration to become a drug addict.

Many people start out using drugs casually at school or social settings because they feel that is what is expected of them in those situations. For some, this remains a social a recreational thing that ends after high school or in their early 20s.

For others, however, it becomes a problem.

Recreational use and social experimentation can easily turn into excessive use and abuse. This can happen when the recreational user “uses” to deal with anxiety or every day stresses in life. It becomes a coping mechanism for many, which results in drug abuse a lot of the time. Others find themselves using drugs to deal with challenging work, obtain self-fulfillment, or to satisfy personal relationships.

Drug abuse is very common. From alcohol and illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine or marijuana to legally prescribed drugs like Adderall and painkillers, America’s drug abuse problem is rampant. What started out as recreational use, turned into recreational over-use, which became an addiction. Now the addiction is drug abuse.

What can you do?

It is ever-so-difficult to stand up to a friend, family member or coworker regarding a possible problem.

As a friend, family, member, or coworker it is important to listen to each other and to pay attention to signs or symptoms. However, in many cases, severe drug abuse can be prevented or stopped before it becomes dangerous, but it takes you being aware of the people around you.

Obviously, when confronting someone about a possible drug abuse situation, it is something you want to tread lightly with from the very beginning. However, being an aware friend who pays attention to those around them is the best thing we can all offer when it comes to any type of drug abuse.

Mixing Drugs Could Out You in Drug School, or Worse!

by Mike Miller July 10, 2013

Drug use and addiction are both progressive diseases. One's use increases as the addiction sets in. Eventually, one drug is not enough and many users begin to combine drugs - marijuana and alcohol or cocaine and Vicodin.

Two drugs turns into more experimentation, perhaps nicotine or harder drugs like cocaine or prescription medication. Drugs are dangerous, mixing and combining drugs is idiotic!

Mixing drugs can be as simple as smoking a joint while drinking alcohol, but can be as dangerous as something referred to as poly drug use.

Poly drug use means someone who uses two or more psychoactive drugs at the same time to achieve a particular effect. In many cases, the user will take one drug as the base and use the other one(s) to compensate for the side effects of the first drug they took. They think it creates a sense of drug synergy and keeps them in the state of euphoria longer without any downfalls. It also helps them sustain the feeling as the first drug starts to taper off.

Would you consider a mixed drink like vodka and Red Bull to be poly drug use? There are some who think so.

It is undeniable that poly drug use carries much more risk than the single use of any other drug because it increases the side effects and drug interactions. Poly drug use is one of the quickest ways to suffer a drug overdose and yet is still one of the most commonly practiced methods of regular users.

If you or someone you care about is a poly drug user please seek help immediately. I recommend starting online with an alcohol and drug class.

Are E-Cigs E-Ticket to Tobacco Class

by Mike Miller July 8, 2013

Have you ever “smoked” an e-cigarette? Electronic cigarettes are the latest fad in tobacco products and is gaining a foothold not only in the United States, but globally as well. They are very popular in Europe right now.

This is the third in a series of blogs looking at e-cigarettes and the tobacco industry. If you missed the first two installments please go back and read them too.

The Almighty Tobacco Industry

In our last blog we questioned the power and influence of the tobacco industry. It has long been one of the conglomerates who could say and do whatever it pleased (Congress was bought and paid for). However, in recent years the tobacco industry’s primary customers, smokers, have been getting crammed out of social settings. The industry even agreed to put egregious warning on each pack of cigarettes depicting horrific images and equally heinous slogans.

How could such a powerful industry allow such regulation?

The true power of the tobacco industry is actually that cigarettes are still legal at all. Tobacco is a real killer. I would like to believe that an industry that provides such a huge public health crisis could never emerge in today’s litigious society. However, given that the marijuana industry is growing by leaps and bounds we just don’t know.

In the next installment we will look at just how unhealthy e-cigarettes are.

Are E-Cigarettes Fast Track to Tobacco Education School?

by Mike Miller July 6, 2013

A couple of months ago I was on an airplane when the guy sitting next to my 7-year-old pulls out some gizmo and appears to be smoking. When my son asked what it was I had no answer. I had never seen an e-cigarette. Have you?

As restrictions on smoking “real” cigarettes grow, nicotine addicts are forced to look for socially, and legally, acceptable ways to feed their fix.

As a recovering nicotine addict I will tell you that I can empathize with the need to fill the craving. If I still “used” the e-cigarette might be an alternative. My preferred nicotine vehicle was chewing tobacco. I am not talking about the big leafy tobacco leaves used by many baseball players, but snuff – just a pinch between my lip and gum.

Anyway, let’s get back to e-cigarettes. I asked the man on the plane about e-cigarettes and he admitted he had no idea if they were healthier than regular cigarettes. In fact he could have cared less if they were worse for his health. As long as he got his “fix” he was happy.

Do you think this is the attitude of most e-cigarette users?

This is the first in a series of blogs looking at this new fad.

Drug Education Part of Future Solution to Addiction Issues

by Mike Miller July 3, 2013

With is most recent release “Clean” David Sheff again attempts to help those suffering from addiction issues. This is the fourth in a series of blogs on Sheff and his body of work, most notably his most-recent release.

Sheff has first-hand experience dealing with addiction issues as his son Nic almost died from substance abuse. In “Clean” Sheff provides a number of strategies for coping with addiction and most notably calls for the legalization of marijuana (which I am against) and for treating addiction as an illness (which I fully support). As reported in www.nytimes.com.

If you want to read a book that may change a life, read this one. If you are looking for a sure-fire answer to solving addiction issues, though, you may be disappointed

Addiction is a new enough disease that most major scientific strides have been made on the molecular and cellular levels, with relatively little percolating to patient care. Sheff admonished most current addiction treatments: “a haphazard collection of cobbled-together, often useless and sometimes harmful recovery programs based not on medical science but on tradition, wild guesses, wishful thinking and pseudoscience, some of which borders on voodoo.”

Treating addiction is not yet like treating other diseases.

If you or someone you care about suffers from addiction, I urge you to seek help. If you prefer to maintain anonymity there are both online alcohol classes and online drug classes.

Take a Tobacco Class Before Trying E-Cigarettes

by Mike Miller July 2, 2013

This is the fourth in a series of blogs looking at the tobacco industry and most notably – its newest product – e-cigarettes. Regardless of where you are in the United States today, you undoubtedly have come across someone “smoking” an e-cigarette. Of course e-cigarette is the more popular name for the electric cigarette.

How do you smoke an e-cigarette? As reported in www.sfgate.com.

This is the multi-million dollar question. First off, you don’t “light up.” E-cigarettes are battery-powered.

Do you think smoking an e-cigarette is simple? Not hardly. They actually have two primary models – with button and without. The with-button option means that you push a button and inhale and get your nicotine fix. The without-option means you just pop the cap and puff away. The primary drawback to the no-button e-cig is that in addition to inhaling to release nicotine, these cigs can go off with things like loud music.

In essence an e-cigarette has liquid nicotine which is in a cartridge placed at the top of the e-cigarette. The liquid then goes through an atomizer to convert the liquid nicotine to a vapor.

In future blog entries we will look at how healthy or unhealthy these e-cigarettes really are. For now, let’s leave it with that instead of more than 3,000 chemical in a single tobacco cigarette, e-cigs have only nicotine and flavoring (number of chemicals vary).

An Entire Industry

They look just like the traditional tobacco cigarette with the yellow part (the cartridge) screwing into the atomizer (the white part). Of course as with most other modern gadgets you can accessorize with your e-cigs. The base can come in any color and they come in many flavors as well. There are also lines of pouches to carry e-cigarettes and the accoutrement that comes with them.

There are a lot of public health questions surrounding the use of e-cigarettes, but one thing is not in question - they are becoming a popular alternative to tobacco cigarettes. One in five smokers in the United States had tried e-cigarettes in 2011 - up from 1 in 10 in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

E-cigarettes, battery-powered devices that vaporize liquid nicotine so people can inhale it, began appearing in U.S. stores in 2007. They contain fewer hazardous chemicals than tobacco cigarettes but are so new that no long-term studies have been done to determine the health effects both for smokers and those who breathe in the vapors secondhand.

But nicotine, whether from a cigarette or an e-cigarette, is "a known addictive agent that is not helpful in any way," said Dr. Daya Upadhyay, an assistant professor of pulmonary critical care at Stanford. So she says she encourages her patients to quit smoking entirely rather than switch to e-cigarettes. She added that e-cigarettes still contain toxic chemicals. "We can't say yet whether it's less harmful than tobacco," she said.

It's currently legal to smoke e-cigarettes indoors in many places - although some businesses and local governments, including Marin and Contra Costa counties, have banned them anywhere tobacco cigarettes are outlawed. The Legislature is considering a similar ban for California.

Companies do not market the product as a smoking cessation tool because that would put it in a category of products, like nicotine gum or patches, that the Food and Drug Administration regulates. But a British study out last month showed that 75% of the 1,400 e-cigarette users who responded to a survey said they've entirely replaced tobacco cigarettes with e-cigarettes.

E-Cigarettes Can Lead to Online Tobacco Education

by Mike Miller July 1, 2013

This is the second in a series of blogs looking at a new trend in nicotine consumption – the e-cigarette. Have you smoked an e-cigarette? By now I am sure you have seen someone smoking an e-cig.

My first sighting was actually on an airplane. I am not sure that is even legal. However, as a recovering nicotine addict I understand the need to get the fix. E-cigarettes seem to get past the recent social backlash against smoking in public places.

How Powerful is Big Tobacco Anymore?

Given all of the legislation over the years it has led me to wonder how much power and influence big tobacco actually yields anymore. From all the locations its primary users – smokers – are now banned from lighting up to the horrific images and slogans they are forced to place right on their packages – there is no doubt the tobacco industry has put up with an amount of regulation seen nowhere else in America. Can you imagine a warning label on bottles of beer or vodka with horrific images of people dying with slogans like alcohol will kill you?

We will continue to explore e-cigarettes and the influence of the tobacco industry in the next blog.

Drug Education Course are a Good Place to Discuss Tough Addiction Questions

by Mike Miller June 29, 2013

As a counselor for online substance abuse classes, and a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, I understand the difficult questions and fears faced by addicts. I discuss these issues and questions with my students regularly.

One of the toughest questions we discuss is whether addicts should, once detoxified, enter residential rehab programs, or can they safely stay home and go to outpatient programs. This is a tough question to answer since every person is different. Staying away from former places where the addiction and bad habits occurred is a good idea until you are really strong in your conviction to stay sober. As reported in www.nytimes.com.

This bleeds right into the question as to when it is okay to leave the sober house. This too differs by person.

Another tough situation is asking if adolescent addicts are helped by group sessions with addicted peers, or just intimidated and, occasionally, taught bad new habits? It is entirely possible that both outcomes are possible. This goes along with the theory that prison teaches prisoners how to be better criminals. No doubt some are rehabilitated.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous the best choice? Given that there are no real relevant statistics it is impossible to say. I admit that joining a social support group like AA, if your heart is into getting and staying sober, is an incredibly powerful tool.

If you or someone you care about suffers from substance abuse or addiction issues, please make sure help is sought. If you prefer to maintain anonymity there are online drug classes too.

“Clean” Shows Need for Widespread Drug Education

by Mike Miller June 27, 2013

This is the second in a series of blogs looking at the new book “Clean” by David Sheff. For those of you suffering from addiction, or know someone suffering from addiction issues, this book is a must-read!

Sheff has first-hand experience in dealing with the devastating effects of addiction. His son, Nic almost died from substance abuse issues. The 31-year-old Nic is now sober. As reported in www.nytimes.com.

Addiction as Illness

In “Clean” Sheff follows in the footsteps of many well-known counselors today which look at addiction as an illness that needs to be treated medically rather than through punishment and incarceration.

Addiction must be considered a disease, as devoid of moral overtones as diabetes or coronary artery disease, just as amenable as they are to scientific analysis, and just as treatable with data-supported interventions, not hope, prayer or hocus-pocus.

This perspective is easy enough to articulate but very difficult to sustain. The symptoms of this particular relapsing illness, after all, include deceit, denial and the betrayal of near and dear.

Perspective

Here is perspective - cardiac patients stop to rest halfway up a flight of stairs not because they want to, but because they have to. Similarly, addicts lie and steal, over and over again, not because they want to but because they must.

In the following blog I will take a more in-depth look at the content of “Clean” and hopefully we will be able to apply it to your life. If you or someone you care about suffers from addiction, I urge to seek help. If you prefer to maintain anonymity seek out an online alcohol and drug class.