Could Vaccine Curb Growing Need for Drug Prevention Education?

by Mike Miller December 26, 2012

All drug addicts hope for a simple solution to their problem. Could it be as simple as a vaccine?

The answer may be in a vaccine for crystal meth developed at the Scripps research Institute in La Jolla California, as reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry. As reported in

Considered one of the most widely abused and addictive recreational drugs, researchers may be one step closer to knocking down the destructive pull of methamphetamine.

They have developed a vaccine that appears to protect against meth intoxication in laboratory animals. The next step will be to see if it works in people, too.

Methamphetamine is one of the most common and destructive recreational drugs in the country. In the United States there are an estimated 430,000 users, with more than 41,000 new users this year. The drug, also known as speed or crank, can cause psychosis, and its stimulatory effects are considered 50 times stronger than cocaine, keeping people awake for days.

In California, meth accounts for more primary drug abuse treatment admission – 26 percent – than any other drug, including marijuana (21 percent) and alcohol (12 percent).

Earlier this spring, one of the largest U.S. methamphetamine drug busts took place in San Jose, where more than 750 pounds of the drug was seized, with a street value of more than $34 million.

The vaccine attacks the drug as it gets into the body and keeps it from going into the brain and the nervous system. It's an approach that has also been used for other addictions, with vaccines for cocaine and nicotine currently in development.

The process is still early but this looks promising. How nice would it be to find a way to get of meth once and for all? A drug class is a good place to learn about the dangers of meth. Keeping kids from every trying it is still the best prevention to meth addiction.

Have You Been Asked to Complete an Alcohol Awareness Class?

by Mike Miller December 25, 2012

Online Drug Class saves you time and money by allowing you to meet your Alcohol Education requirements 100% online.

We offer 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24-hour alcohol class options to suit any need.

You set the schedule.  And skip the hassle of attending lengthy classes. Complete the course from any computer, at your own pace, and your certificate will process the same day you finish.

Our Alcohol Classes are approved to meet state and national court requirements, so you don’t have to worry. Your court will accept your class, or you’ll get your money back.

To get started, visit today.&

Minor in Possession Classes Educate on Teen Drug Abuse

by Mike Miller December 24, 2012

Whether you or a parent of a teen or not, the current epidemic of prescription drug abuse by our nation’s adolescents should alarm you.

Prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Ritalin and Valium are the killer new teen high. As reported in

According to a recent study, one out of every six American teenagers say he or she has taken a prescription drug at least once in the past year. One in 11 is drug-dependent and one in five show signs of dependence.

Those are terrifying statistics. To think that 10% of our nation’s future is already addicted to drugs and they are not even 20!

While kids swipe pills from medicine cabinets and purses, trade them at school or pluck them from bowls at “pharma parties,” parents are often clueless. We don’t think it can happen to our kids, so we say little, miss early warning signs and fumble opportunities to educate and protect our kids.

We need to finally mandate drug classes for all of our nation’s children. We should not wait until they have a drug-related incident in order to make them take a drug education class.

This will be the first in a series of blogs looking at our youth’s problems with prescription medication and we will examine ways to combat this problem.

Take an Alcohol Awareness Class before Mixing Your Meds with Booze

by Mike Miller December 22, 2012

This is the second in a series of blogs looking at adverse effects caused by drinking alcohol while taking prescribed medication. Most of us hear the warning from our doctor and we see the huge warning on the label of the medication. How many people really take that warning seriously?

As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol awareness classes I can tell you the vast majority of my students do not heed this warning. Following are some of the medications we take that can be harmful if taken with alcohol. As reported in

Antihistamines, commonly used to treat used allergies and colds can cause drowsiness, sedation and low blood pressure, especially in elderly patients.

Sedatives and tranquilizers and mixing them with booze should be a no-brainer. This includes drugs such as valium, which have sedative-hypnotic effects. They may impair the memory, increase risk of overdose, slow or cause difficulty breathing, liver damage when used with alcohol.

Pain killers, including aspirin, should also be a no-brainer. Alcohol may exacerbate the increased risk of ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding (particularly in the stomach and intestines) and cause liver damage. It also leads to overdose issues.

Antidepressants cause drowsiness, and so does alcohol. Mixing the two increases their sedative effects, which is dangerous in situations where there is the need to be alert, such as driving, or at work. These can lead to such reactions as rapid heartbeat, sudden changes in blood pressure, dizziness and fainting.

Blood clot medications are extremely dangerous to mix with booze. Occasional drinking may lead to internal bleeding; heavier drinking also may cause bleeding or may have the opposite effect, resulting in possible blood clots, strokes, or heart attacks. in persons taken blood clot medications.

High blood pressure medications, mixed with alcohol can possibly lead to dizziness, fainting, drowsiness; heart problems such as changes in the heart’s regular heartbeat (arrhythmia) when combined with alcohol. When the blood pressure goes down below the normal (hypo-tension), it is deadly.

Alcohol should never be consumed by diabetics, therefore it is no surprise that combining booze with diabetes medication is a terrible idea. Alcohol consumption affects the availability of medications used in lowering blood sugar. It also interacts with some drugs of this class to produce symptoms of nausea and headache.

Narcotic pain relievers combined with booze can be lethal. The combination of opiates and alcohol enhances the sedative effect of both substances, increasing the risk of death from overdose.

I encourage you to not only listen to your doctor’s advice but take both an online alcohol class and online drug class to learn more about the way alcohol affects the body when combined with prescription medication.

Online Drug Classes Could Keep Teen off Marijuana

by Mike Miller December 20, 2012

New and more harmful strains of cannabis could be responsible for the growing number of teenagers needing specialist help after using the drug, The Daily Telegraph reported today.

The story comes from a new report on substance misuse among young people. The good news is that the study found that, overall, the number of those under 18 seeking specialist help for drugs and alcohol has fallen over the past year. As reported in

The potentially bad news is that the number needing help for cannabis misuse has risen.

The researchers offer several theories about why this may be the case, including that:

  • the increasing use of a potent type of herbal cannabis (skunk) may lead to a corresponding increase in mental health problems related to cannabis use
  • there is wider awareness of the health problems associated with cannabis use, so young people with problems are more likely to be referred to specialist services

The report has been published by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA), an NHS special health authority. The NTA was set up to improve the availability and effectiveness of treatment for drug misuse in England.

The report points out that a very small percentage of young people have serious problems with drugs or alcohol. This year’s data show that 20,688 young people used specialist alcohol or drug services – which amounts to 0.4% of the total population of around 5.5 million young people aged 9-17 in England.

The report also highlights the fact that, overall, the number of under-18s needing help for drug or alcohol use has fallen for the third year running and the number treated for problems with class A drugs, such as heroin, cocaine or ecstasy has reduced by more than two-thirds compared with five years ago.

These are encouraging figures that suggest that drug use prevention strategies for young people appear to be increasingly effective.

What are the health risks of cannabis use?

Prolonged cannabis use can affect both physical and mental health, and may cause:

  • feelings of anxiety and paranoia
  • an increased risk of lung disease, including lung cancer (if you smoke cannabis mixed with tobacco)
  • co-ordination problems, which is one of the reasons why drug driving, like drink driving, is illegal

There is some evidence that cannabis can increase the risk of serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or psychosis, if you already have an increased risk of developing such a condition (for example, if a close relative has a serious mental illness).

What does the report say?

The report found that:

  • The overall number of under-18s accessing specialist substance misuse services has fallen from 21,955 in 2010-11 to 20,688 in 2011-12.
  • The number treated for problems with class A drugs, such as heroin, cocaine or ecstasy, fell from 770 in 2010-11 to 631 in 2011-12.
  • The number seeing specialist services for alcohol misuse fell from 7,054 in 2010-11 to 5,884 in 2011-12.
  • The proportion of under-18s who left specialist services having successfully completed their programme rose to 77% in 2011-12 from 50% five years ago.
  • The number of cases seen by specialist services for help with cannabis misuse was up from 12,784 in 2010-11 to 13,200 this year.

Are these figures part of a significant trend?

Yes. The drop in the number of under-18s accessing specialist services for substance misuse is the latest step in a trend that began in 2008-9, when the number hit a peak of 24,053. It has been declining steadily ever since. This ongoing fall in numbers has happened across misuse of most substances. For example, the number accessing help for alcohol misuse has fallen from a peak of 8,799 in 2008-9, while the number seeking help for class A drugs has also fallen. The increase in those seeking help for cannabis use is also part of a trend.

Cannabis remains by far the most prevalent primary drug used by under-18s, says the report. In 2008-9 there were 12,642 cases and this number has increased every year since.

While not discussed in the report, the popularity of cannabis with young people could be due to cost and availability. In most areas of the country cannabis is much cheaper than class A drugs such as cocaine.

Online Alcohol Class Can Help Keep You Sober Through the Holidays

by Mike Miller December 19, 2012

Addiction is a very difficult habit to break. We indulge in our bad habits at certain times of the day or during certain situations. Smokers understand how habitual lighting up a cigarette can be. They light up in the morning when they wake up, after a meal, when they get in their car, etc…

The holiday season is a time many addicts drink more alcohol and use more drugs. It is one of the most stressful times of the year. For addicts, being addicted to drugs or alcohol only adds to this stress.

So how can you stay away from drugs and alcohol this holiday season? Here are a few helpful tips.

  1. Make a decision not to use – this looks easy, but can be very difficult to follow through with. You have to make the decision and stay resolute.
  2. Put yourself in good, smart situations – If you have friends and family who drink or use drugs, you need to stay away from them. They are part of the bad habit and addiction cycle you are in.
  3. Take an alcohol awareness class, drug class, or go to an AA meeting – this is all part of putting yourself in a good situation and staying resolute. Classes help reinforce your smart decision not to use and AA meetings help provide support from other sober individuals.

If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, make this the holiday season you decide to give yourself the gift of sobriety. If you prefer to begin by maintaining anonymity there are online alcohol classes and online drug classes which are great places to start.

Clergy See the Need for 12 Hour Drug Classes

by Mike Miller December 18, 2012

With our nation plagues by addiction to prescription medication, it is time that everyone joins in the battle to combat this problem. Joining the fight are members of the clergy.

Houses of worship often are the first point of contact for families struggling with substance abuse and mental illness. As reported in

Many churches and social health organizations are joining together for the sole purpose of combating the very high rates of drug and alcohol abuse.

The idea is to get input from intermediate and high school age children about what methods would be most effective in preventing and treating alcohol and prescription drug abuse among their peers.

While the youth will assist in all aspects of the campaign, they especially are needed to help with social media, fliers, presentations at schools, churches and community centers and other methods of outreach to their peers.

Faith-based organizations are in a unique position to reach and serve large segments of the community, especially those in need or in difficult times. These local congregations help increase awareness of the issue, provide hope that options exist, and give comfort to families by letting them know that they are not alone.

I would like to see more organizations involved in the battle against drug and alcohol abuse. Churches should sponsor members if they need to take a 12 hour drug class or a 12 hour alcohol class. Faith is an important part of all of us and encouraging our faith through sobriety can only help the planet.

Alcohol Awareness Class Could Have Saved Mom and Baby’s Lives

by Mike Miller December 17, 2012

Drinking and driving kills. It is a simple fact. Alcohol awareness classes help prevent drinking and driving and thus can help save lives. Unfortunately for one young mother and her yet-to-be-born child, an alcohol class was unable to save their lives.

Tiffany Ann Woodham, a 19-year-old who was nine months pregnant, and her baby, died in Winter Haven, Florida after a speeding drunk driver rammed his pickup truck into the van she was riding in. As reported in

Woodham was in the left-rear passenger seat and severe trauma and died en route to a hospital, and despite an emergency Caesarean section, her baby also died as a result of injuries sustained during the crash.

Two lives and their family members’ lives tragically ruined. The driver of the vehicle, Thomas Jeremy Dick, faces two counts of vehicular homicide, two counts of driving under the influence-manslaughter, two counts of DUI involving serious bodily injury, DUI crash involving property damage and DUI.

According to initial testing, the 37-year-old Dick had a blood-alcohol content at the scene of 0.131.

Witnesses reported that Dick’s vehicle was speeding and driving recklessly. The other five passengers in the van and the driver all sustained injuries.

Do you think Dick regrets getting behind the wheel while intoxicated? It is too late to save the lives of two innocents, and too late for him not to have ruined his own life. Perhaps others will learn from this tragedy and not get behind the wheel after they have been drinking.

Mom and Daughter Heading to 15 Hour Drug Education Class

by Mike Miller December 15, 2012

This story makes me absolutely sick. For those of you who read my blog regularly you know how disgusted I am by the parenting going on in our country. This takes it to a whole new level.

Rebecca Rachelle Hill might be one of the worst parents on the planet! She admitted to police she and her pre-teen daughter regularly liked to do the same things. As reported in

Their shared interests included a heroin habit that left the 12-year-old so addicted she was hospitalized for drug withdrawal last week. She told police she regularly gave the girl heroin and marijuana and brought her along on shoplifting trips.

The 37-year-old Hill is charged with three felonies, including child endangerment, second-degree drug sale and motor vehicle theft. She was arrested for shoplifting at the Mall of America (Minneapolis, MN) with her daughter at her side.

The daughter was hospitalized for withdrawal and placed into the care of her father. She's since been released, and is making progress in both therapy and school.

At the time of their arrest Hill gave police fake names and lied about their residence, claiming to be from California.

The daughter claims her mother had given her heroin to smoke three times a day.

This is a sad case and I would hope that Hill gets a long jail sentence. While in jail she can take a 15 hour drug education class, a theft class and feel remorse for almost ruining her progeny’s life.

New Jersey Needs Drug Classes and Strict Enforcement

by Mike Miller December 13, 2012

This is a follow up on an earlier blog entry on the horrific heroin problem New Jersey has right now. Of course it is not the only state with an epidemic rise in heroin use, but it is a shining example of how bad the problem is in this country.

The problem begins with addiction to the opiates in prescription pain killers. Once those become hard to find and expensive, addicts turn to the cheaper alternative – heroin. As reported in

Drug dealers — like all good businessmen — are seeing opportunities to franchise and are spreading out from county to county. It used to be just an urban problem, but now it has moved into the middle and upper-class neighborhoods.

Heroin Delivery Service

Suburban high school students, afraid or unable to travel to urban centers like Irvington or Paterson, can pay a little extra to have heroin delivered to their neighborhoods. A bag of heroin that costs $5 in Newark can cost $10 in Morristown and as much as $15 in Sussex, police say. Think of heroin as a commodity, accruing value as it makes its way to market. Suburban kids can afford both the drug and to compensate dealers for the risk of delivering it.

The time has come for New jersey to implement mandatory New Jersey drug classes for all students. I would suggest beginning these courses in 6th grade and continue every year through high school. The message must be clear – never try this lethal and highly-addictive substance!