Lurie Children’s Hospital Cautions Parents of the Dangers of Teen Binge Drinking at Lollapalooza

iStock_46778544_SMALL.jpgThis weekend kicks off the annual music festival in ChicagoLollapalooza. While popular for its music, it is also a popular event for teen drinking. Nearly 100 teenagers were treated for alcohol poisoning during this event last year.

At Lurie Children’s Hospital, doctors and nurses push a young woman on a stretcher down a hall as she demonstrates expected behavior from a typical teenage patient who is intoxicated: mumbling and crying, as well as vomiting and dehydration. It may be a common sight starting on July 28 when Lollapalooza comes to town.

“We have to staff the ER with higher numbers. We need a lot more acute care for these children,” says Dr. Nina Arfieri.

The patient, Gabi Sel, is actually a hospital intern who is helping with the drill so that staff can be better prepared for when real patients come. And they will come; according to a hospital study, in 2015 Lollapalooza weekend saw hospitals receiving more intoxicated patients than the next three busiest weekends of the year combined.

Nurses are going over the protocol for handling those patients. For her part, Gabi is glad this is only a drill.

“Being in this bed is very scary and it feels very real when you’re in it, even if it’s just a scene,” she says.

The study finds that the majority of patients are 16 to 18 years old, female and from the suburbs. But the authors of the study say they’re not trying to discourage people from going to Lollapalooza.

“I think it’s important for kids to go out and enjoy music, and get outside, but I think there’s a safe way to do it, and I think we can do this without having them risk their lives,” says Dr. Arfieri.

The news isn’t all bad though: the study found the number of teenagers going to the emergency room for intoxication dropped significantly in 2015 compared to 2014. Doctors are hoping that trend continues.

TALKING TO TEENS ABOUT DRINKING AND DRUG USE

In honor of “Purposeful Parenting Month” in July, and with Chicago’s Lollapalooza right around the corner, take a moment to talk to your teen about the dangers of drinking and drug use. At Gateway, we know starting this conversation isn’t always easy. Use the Parent Tools Below to help you start the conversation about binge drinking and teen drug use.

PARENT TOOLS FROM GATEWAY ALCOHOL AND DRUG TREATMENT CENTERS:

Still have questions? Gateway has answers. Learn more about teen substance abuse by downloading our free resource guide at Recovergateway.org/teens or call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

 

Gateway Treatment Centers Support Red Ribbon Week with Free Family Guides

substance abuse, gateway treatment centers

Click for a Free Copy of Gateway’s Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse

In support of Red Ribbon Week’s drug awareness campaign, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers will distribute red ribbons and free Family Guides on how parents can talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol.

The goal of Red Ribbon Week is to promote drug awareness among parents and teens to keep young people drug free. Children whose parents regularly talk to them about drugs and are 42 percent less likely to use them, according to the Red Ribbon campaign, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

“Most parents are already aware they should be talking to their children about the risks of drug and alcohol use, but they might be unsure of how to handle such a topic,” said Lori Dammermann, Executive Director of Gateway’s Carbondale center. “The Family Guide offers advice on how parents can initiate and maintain an ongoing conversation with their kids to help keep them drug free.”

The guides will be distributed in schools and other public places throughout Illinois. They cover such topics as talking to your children about drugs and alcohol, understanding substance abuse, information on drug treatment and signs of potential trouble that parents should watch out for.

The ribbons declare this year’s theme for Red Ribbon Week: “Respect Yourself. Be Drug Free.”

Information is also available on the “Getting Help” section of the Gateway website at RecoverGateway.org. This includes the Family Guide, drug treatment options and how families can cope with a loved one who needs help.

The Red Ribbon Campaign, begun in 1985, is an effort by the National Family Partnership to promote drug prevention, education and advocacy.

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers offer a comprehensive approach to drug rehab. With facilities throughout the state, including Lake County, Chicago, St. Louis Metro East, and Carbondale, its staff creates personalized treatment plans for each client, one that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just their addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Services include substance-abuse education, group and individual counseling, medical treatment of withdrawal symptoms and integrated therapy for underlying mental health concerns. Gateway also provides family counseling and education, relapse prevention and aftercare recovery support programs for teens and adults.

National Safety Month a Good Time to Talk to Teens about Drinking Alcohol and Drug Use

talking to teens, drinking alcohol, drug useJune is National Safety Month, which also coincides with the end of the school year. It’s a time of year when many young people have extra time on their hands and for some, temptation can be right around the corner.

In keeping with National Safety Month, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers would like to remind parents to talk with their kids about drinking alcohol and drug use.

Start the Conversation

The power of conversation should not be underestimated – adolescents really do listen to what their parents say about smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use. It can be a challenge to find the time to have a sit-down, face-to-face conversation with your children, but it’s well worth the effort. Once a conversation has been initiated, it should become an ongoing dialogue that you will revisit and reinforce over the years.

Communicating Effectively

Parents may be unsure how to begin talking to their children about alcohol and drugs. The following tips can help:

  • Listen to your child and respect what he or she has to say. A child who feels judged is less likely to share their concerns with you.
  • Be clear about your expectations of no drinking alcohol or drug use and let your child know these expectations will be enforced.
  • Talk about the dangers of drinking alcohol and drug use, including laws, potential repercussions and health-related outcomes.

Know the Dangers

The brain of an adolescent is not yet fully developed. Drinking alcohol damages the development of the executive function of the brain, which is how we make decisions, defer gratification, and plan now for a reward that’s down the road.

Marijuana also affects the development of the adolescent brain, causing changes that may result in learning issues, memory problems and IQ loss.

“If parents want their children to grow up to realize their full potential, they should not condone drinking alcohol or smoking pot,” explained Dr. John Larson, Gateway’s Corporate Medical Director.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), following marijuana and alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs have become the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older. Once a person becomes dependent on opioids such as Vicodin and Oxycontin they may eventually switch to heroin because it is easier to access and much less expensive.

Many parents like to believe their child is not vulnerable to alcohol or drug abuse, but sadly, this isn’t so. There is a wide variety of alcohol and drugs available to young people, who are often just looking to have some fun. Establishing open communication is one of the most powerful tools parents have to positively influence their kids’ decisions, during National Safety Month, and throughout the year.

For a Parent’s Checklist for Talking to Teens about Drugs & Alcohol visit RecoverGateway.org/ParentChecklist

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