Archive for September, 2015

Colorado Realizing the Negative Effects of Legalized Pot

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

“I feel like we’re losing a generation. I talk to these kids. Mainstream kids who are doing the concentrate (concentrated marijuana) every day. The potential for harm and the implications for their future is unfathomable.” – Diane Carlson, Co-founder of Smart Colorado, a youth advocacy group

More and more the citizens of Colorado are learning of the negative effects caused by the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. As a result, throughout the state, a fledgling repeal movement is underway. In fact, according to Bob Doyle, Executive Director of the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance, voters who once supported the law in 2012 are now voting to block pot shops in their neighborhoods.

The primary concerns are:

  1. The levels of the psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are 400 percent higher than they were three decades ago, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
  2. Marijuana is available in concentrated products such as brownies, chocolates, cookies, lollipops, gummies and cherry drops. Opponents say the marijuana industry is targeting young people with edible marijuana products. These items are produced by extracting the psychoactive ingredient of the plant for a very powerful effect.
  3. The focus on youth is making a horrific impact. Based on information provided by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA), an offshoot of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, kids under the age of 21 are using pot at excessive levels despite 21 being the minimum age for purchasing marijuana.

As a result of legalized pot, all aspects of life in Colorado – family life, education, business, law enforcement and healthcare – are being adversely affected.

Stages of Chemical Dependency

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

GRAND FORKS, ND – There are three stages of chemical dependency, according to physiology:

  • Early Stage – Use
  • Middle Stage – Abuse
  • Late Stage – Addiction

THE EARLY STAGE – USE

  • The use of alcohol or illegal substances to achieve a “high”, “euphoric state of mind” or “calming effect”.
  • Excessive use of prescription medications in higher doses than prescribed by a physician to alter the user’s mood or to get a “high”.

THE MIDDLE STAGE – ABUSE

  • The continued excessive or improper use of a drug or alcohol despite negative consequences.
  • Usage of the substance is continuously increased. Yet the initial euphoria and high cannot be reached.
  • Stopping usage of the substance is still possible.
  • Drugs or Alcohol become the central focus.
  • Behavior changes are apparent.

THE LATE STAGE – ADDICTION

  • This disease causes the body to become chemically dependent upon the substance (drug or alcohol).
  • Condition is classified as “drug dependence” or “alcoholism”.
  • User needs the substance in order to function and prevent withdrawals.
  • An alcoholic or drug dependent (addicted) person cannot stop without counseling, medical treatment and family support.

Codependency

Codependent relationships are defined as a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, lying and deceit, or under-achievement. It enables, not empowers others, by providing help, assistance and support to bail someone out or cover-up behavior so the wrongdoer does not suffer the unpleasant consequences of their actions. These enablers, who perceive themselves as rescuers, are often in denial of the wrong- doing of others through justification.

Enablers, who are often motivated by love or manipulation, feel satisfaction and acceptance by being merciful and helpful. They do not understand they are actually hurting the wrongdoer by not allowing the offender to face the real issues and resulting penalties. Enablers prevent wrongdoers from receiving help.

The Workplace Enabler

A substance abuser in the workplace can create a paranoid corporate culture of deception based on lies, deceit, mistrust and suspicion. Abusers control and manipulate managers, supervisors and co-workers to cover up for their symptoms and behavior. Those who are manipulated feel sorry for the abuser. As a result, these knowingly or unknowing participants partake in the cover-up by making excuses, justification or not reporting the abuser’s signs of wrong-doing.

Flakka: Dangerous New Synthetic Drug

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Flakka is more potent than previous synthetics and triggers crazed and bizarre behavior. It is more dangerous than cocaine.

GRAND FORKS, ND – Flakka, whose street name is ‘Gravel’ due to its white, crystal chunks, is a new designer drug that is more potent and addictive than its synthetic predecessors, according to the DEA. It can be crushed and snorted, swallowed or injected and frequently mixed with other drugs like methamphetamine. According to a report by CNN, this manmade drug causes a high similar to cocaine. But like ‘bath salts,’ Flakka has the potential to be much more dangerous than cocaine.

Often referred to by the media as the, “the insanity drug” due to the crazed and bizarre behavior of its users, Flakka is a stimulant that is classified as a cathinones, with the amphetamine-like effects of Molly and Ecstasy. According to the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse, Flakka was the cause of 123 deaths in Florida during 2013.

The Effects and Dangers
The effects of a high dosage of Flakka, which comes mostly from China, include a sudden rise in body temperature to as high as 105 degrees and experiencing a state of ‘excited delirium’ during which the user believes he or she is stronger and faster than normal with the sense of invincibility. Heart problems like tachycardia and life-threatening kidney failure have also been linked to the drug.

Is Your Child Safe and Secure?

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Child Passenger Safety Week September 13-19, National Seat Check Saturday

GRAND FORKS, ND – Every 34 seconds a child under the age of 13 is involved in a vehicle crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The report further states that many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented by the proper use of car seats, boosters and seat belts.

“It is critical that every parent understands how to install and use safety devices when it comes to the safety of their children,” James “Jamie” Bork, the Director of Compliance for Global Safety Network, said.

The first step in selecting a car seat for your child is determine if the rear or front facing best fits your situation. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, the rear-facing seat provides the best protection for children up to 2 years old. Weight and height restrictions are listed on the side or back of the seat.

For older children, the only option is the front-facing seat, which provides a top tether and lower anchors. It is recommended to use the tether for children under 40 pounds. Your seat’s label provides exact information regarding the weight and height restrictions for using the tether and anchors.

Children can remain in the front-facing seat until they are about 65 pounds, depending on the car seat limits. Once children outgrow the car seat, they can switch to a booster seat. No matter what type of car seat best fits your needs, make sure that it is properly installed. According to data collected by Safe Kids Worldwide, seventy-three percent of all car seats are not used or installed correctly.

Learn more about child safety.

Stop Bullying

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

GRAND FORKS, ND – An estimated 20 to 30 percent of school-age children are involved in bullying as a victim or as the bully, according to Parent and Child Magazine. This form of intimidation can be verbal abuse (name calling, spreading rumors and threats), psychological (outcast and avoidance) or physical (hitting, pushing or stealing possessions).

No matter what type, bullying is painful. It does not discriminate, since this adverse behavior crosses age, socio-economic, racial, ethnic and cultural boundaries. Reports indicate that bullying starts as early as preschool and intensifies as children get older.

Researchers state that victims tend to be shy and weaker with low self-esteem and poor social skills. As a result, the perpetrators consider the victims as an easy target who will not defend themselves against the attacks. Since bullies are usually cowards, they seek victims that are not a threat to retaliate.

The Negative Long-term Effects of Bullying
Bullying affects both the victim and the perpetrator. While victims of bullying can suffer long-term emotional problems that cause low self-esteem and depression that can last into adulthood, the bully usually is unable to form positive relationships as an adult. Reports indicate that the adult bully is more likely to use tobacco, abuse alcohol and drugs and be abusive to his or her spouse. This type of bully mentality has also been found in some cases to be linked to criminal activities.

The Parent and Child Magazine Warning Signs of Bullying
If you’re concerned that your child is a victim of teasing or bullying, look for these signs of stress:

  • Increased passivity or withdrawal
  • Frequent crying
  • Recurrent complaints of physical symptoms such as stomach-aches or headaches with no apparent cause
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Sudden drop in grades or other learning problems
  • Not wanting to go to school
  • Significant changes in social life — suddenly no one is calling or extending invitations

Prevent Workplace Violence

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

“Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.”
– OSHA

GRAND FORKS, ND – On August 26, two members of a small town television news team were shot and killed during a live report. According to police, the alleged gunman was a former terminated employee who had displayed anger toward the pair in the past. WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed while conducting an on-air interview. The person being interviewed was also shot during the deadly incident. Her injuries were not life-threatening.

This is an example of how workplace violence affects not only employees but can involve clients, guests, vendors and visitors. Based on a 2010 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), over 10 percent of fatal workplace injuries were workplace homicides. In fact, the leading cause of death for women on the job is workplace homicide.

According to OSHA, despite many cases not being reported, nearly 2 million American workers each year report having been victims of workplace violence.

THE SOLUTION

Create a Workplace Violence policy in your organization and include the following items as a minimum:

  1. State that the company or organization maintains a zero tolerance policy for violent or aggressive behaviors in the workplace, including: threats of violence, intimidation or any type of harassment.
  2. Show that the company is committed to workplace safety. Senior managers need to support this approach so that the company environment and culture support zero tolerance for violence and aggression.
  3. Describe company procedures that should be followed if violent behavior is observed by anyone in the organization.
  4. Show specifically how to report violence, threats, intimidating, or aggressive behavior
  5. Provide a description of concerns, supported by observations, fact, and if evidence is available (including email or voicemail evidence of threats or overly aggressive demands), this should also be included.
  6. If threats are made: show the threat language as closely as possible to what was actually said (verbatim if possible).
  7. Show what disciplinary measures may be followed, up to and including termination of employment.
  8. Include the policy in employee handbooks so that all employees have access to this information and know what to do and more importantly who they need to inform if a co-worker or manager exhibits this type of behavior.
  9. Train employees annually to recognize the warning signs for violence.
  10. Work with a threat assessment professional to evaluate the level of threat before it becomes more serious. Threat assessment professionals can often help to diffuse the potential for violence.

“Through our effective risk mitigation programs that include background checks and drug / alcohol testing, GSN is helping our clients reduce the chances of violent behavior at work.” – Robert Peterson, Chief Executive Advisor for Greenberg Enterprises

THE BASICS

Starting with basics, employers should consider these practical steps toward workplace safety, each of which may not necessarily make sense for every employer:

  1. Install good lighting all around the employer’s premises.
  2. Provide adequate security in parking areas, common areas, stairwells, cafeterias, and lounges.
  3. Limit access to work areas.
  4. Discourage former employees from coming to visit.
  5. Install alarms and surveillance cameras, where appropriate.
  6. Arrange regular police checks or provide limited access to the premises during high-risk hours (e.g., late at night and early in the morning).
  7. Educate supervisors about personality characteristics that are correlated with potentially violent employees.
  8. Train supervisors in conflict resolution and observation skills.
  9. Periodically survey employee perceptions about working conditions, changes in work loads, equality of treatment, and problems with the work environment not addressed by management.
  10. Develop and implement a policy concerning violence and harassment that encourages the reporting of all incidents to the employee’s direct supervisor or a designated management official. All reports should be documented, as well as the findings of any investigation. Observations and statements by the individual accused of misconduct also should be recorded. When appropriate, local law enforcement authorities should be notified.
  11. Once the investigation is completed, take appropriate action to counsel, discipline, or terminate the offending violent employee as soon as possible.
  12. Provide counseling for employees who have been laid off or fired. Offer outplacement or Employee Assistance Program services if possible. These services have been shown to soften the psychological impact of job loss.