by Alexandria Echo Press
July 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm in Alexandria Echo Press
Agitation, high blood pressure, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, suicidal thoughts: would anyone be foolhardy enough to voluntarily experience these sensations? Continue Reading
Tags: bathsalts, drugs, local news, meth, synthetic 1 Comment »
Ok… not sure where to start. I totally respect new visions and the work that they do so in no do my comments reflects on the importance of what they do. That said, I don’t think the “why” anyone would try bath salts is as simplistic as they don’t have to drive to the run down side of town to get them. I do certainly agree that the fact that they can be sold over the counter does not help; however, the prefontal cortex, which serves as the regulation center, has not fully formed in the adolescent/young adult brain often leaving them feeling invincible. This increases the probability of risk taking behavior, and disregarding potential consequences to actions. Add to that the introduction of hormones and their associated neuro-receptors in the emotional region of the brain, which coincidently is in overdrive at this point, and you’ve got the perfect storm. And if you’re unfortunate enough to have an undiagnosed disroder such as Attention Deficit Disorder the odds of drug use and addiction rise dramatically.
The notion that you have to drive to the bad part of town at all is not in sinc with reality. Many drugs are readily available and illigalization provides little assurance of anything as can be seen with cannabis. After a failed 1 trillion dollar drug war (current estimates) over 40% of Americans admit to trying it at least once. In addition, the war fund is often times put into programs, such as D.A.R.E., which are the antithesis of evidence based (D.A.RE. in fact is has continually demonstrated to be a abysmal failure) and scare tactics (another abysmal failure). As a matter of fact “meta-analysis of prevalence rates indicates that the intervention on average is more harmful to juveniles than doing nothing. The authors conclude that governments should institute rigorous programs of research to ensure that well-intentioned treatments do not cause harm to the citizens they pledge to protect.” We do know that engaged parents that clearly state their expectations and disapproval of the use of drugs is the single best drug deterent.
Now lets add to the mix our love affair with punative measures beginning with well meaning parents use of corporal punishment, after all it worked on them. Truth be told there’s a lot of research on the topic and little of it supports corporal punishments not only because of the potential for harm but the fact that it does nothing to teach self regulation. Then parents hand the children over to the buraucratic school districts who have the use of common sense constrained by zero tolerance. I would direct you to the work conducted by Russel Skiba for more information in this arena; however, I believe he summarized it best by saying “zero tolerance makes zero sense”. The school in turn refers unruly youth to the criminal justice system opening the school house to jail house pipe line. Think I’m exagerating? The single most accurate factor in determining future negative interaction with the criminal justice system is previous negative interaction with the criminal justice system; with earlier negative interactions showing a connection with a longer and more severe series of negative interactions. Once in the system there’s a pluthera of social and economic factors that can keep people in it.
And now you’re thinking that we must have order, how else will you do it? I’m glad you asked. The FBI and the Secret Service both recommend a threat assessment model to be used in schools, not a zero tolerance model and restorative practices. For the criminal justice system we have a victim based restorative justice model which has demonstrated not only that it can reduce recidivism but save us millions in the process. One study observed that for every dollar spent in restorative justice we could save eight.
So while I see bath salts as a problem for the health of our youth, if we respond in the same way that we have in the past it’s not going to get better.
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