It is now an epidemic

 

th2o4lplinToday is Friday, the last day of Red Ribbon week.  Please be sure to ask your kids what they learned at school each day this week.   I hope that I have been able to give you some education as well.  We must have these honest conversations with our kids.  I will continue to provide information and education throughout the year.  Drug dealers work 52 weeks out of the year.  Not just during Red Ribbon Week.

With a person dying every 13 minutes from a drug overdose, and someone dying every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose, we as a country have finally admitted that we have a problem.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has called this a national epidemic.  We are no longer just talking about kids.  These are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers that are anywhere from 15 to 60’s that are dying.  Big Pharma is encouraging doctors to write more prescriptions for pain relievers.  The pain scale of 1 – 10 is killing us.  Once the hydrocodone is gone, there are plenty of street drugs that take the place.

Here is a story that a mom wants to share.  She wants others to understand that this is very real.  We have to pay attention.

Heroin Just Killed my Baby  (appropriate for 8th grade and up)

This article and video came across my desk recently and I am just amazed at the statistics and where they are headed.  There is also a short video that is very well done.

This is America on Drugs: a visual guide

There is a fabulous video by Discovery, narrated by Robin Williams.  Your body on drugs.  It takes 4 different drugs and 4 different people that are addicted to these drugs.  They have them do four different activities and watch how each person struggles with each activity.  I highly recommend you watch this video with your kids.  It is probably good for ages 10 and up.

 

robin_williams      Your Body on Drugs  (44:06)

 

Many that are addicted to opioids or methamphetamines find themselves injecting the drug with needles.  However, there are many problems that can occur from this, abscesses, collapsed veins and more.

“This is a picture of my daughters arm from the last time she stuck a needle in her arm on 6/10/13. She got cellulitis at the injection site which turned into necrotizing fasciitis within 24 hours. She had five surgeries to save her life and her arm. She got a miracle. Thirty days in the hospital. Five days on life support and 8 in ICU. She’s been clean since then, but she has that scar to remind her of what heroin cost her.”      – Nuncy DeLeo Sullivan

 

 

soccer-ball

Soccer Ball Lesson
Soccer Ball is a game that you throw a ball that has words on it.  Whatever word your thumb lands on, you learn about that word.  Today’s words are:

Bath Salts          Methamphetamine          Heroin

 

 

You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing!

 

 

Addiction is a Medical Disease

th2o4lplinToday is Thursday, the 4th day of Red Ribbon week.  Please be sure to ask your kids what they learned at school each day this week.

Research shows that if someone is genetically predisposed towards having mental illness, they are also prone to use licit and illicit substances and develop problematic usage patterns,” says Caitlin E. Carey, a PhD student in the BRAINLab at Washington University in St. Louis. “This is important because if a mental illness, like depression, runs in your family, you are presumed at risk of that disorder. But we find that having a genetic predisposition to mental illness also places that person at risk for substance use and addiction.”  (Medical Xpress.com, Oct. 6, 2016)

When we were doing the interviews for Not Me, I was amazed that each person had some form of mental health diagnosis.  There was ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, and disorders such as Eating Disorders.  Then you throw in any type of Trauma, and it made me understand why they used.  They just wanted to feel normal, or should I say, Not Feel.  One of our youth was asked what she will do different for her children, and her answer was “I will make sure they see a counselor from the 4th grade up”.  With all that I see and learn about substance use and mental health, she is spot on.  We get well check ups, but ignore the mental health.

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Addiction is a disease, NOT a moral failure.  The brains are different in addicts.  Can you imagine not being able to stop doing something that you know is not good for you?  Can you imagine waking up sick every morning knowing that you will get worse until you get more drugs?  I have heard people talk about the beginning.  Shoulder surgery, knee surgery, wisdom teeth, peer acceptance, boredom, and other reasons that people begin down that path.

Here is a story that was in the paper.  The author honestly tells what her life is like.

Feeding a vein is not a life choice.

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Is the Brain of an Addict Different from Non Addict?  (1:17)

Methamphetamines are very dangerous drugs.  You can snort, smoke or even shoot with an IV needle.  Interestingly, if you are not familiar, there is little odor if someone is smoking it, making it easy to get away with at home.  Below is a documentary showing the many problems associated with use of the drug.

How meth can destroy your life (10:37)

Taylor Hooton Foundation educates on the dangers of steroids and OTC Supplements.  These are very quietly abused drugs and supplements.

See the Video (4:35)

soccer-ball

 Soccer Ball Lesson
Soccer Ball is a game that you throw a ball that has words on it.  Whatever word your thumb lands on, you learn about that word.  Today’s words are:

Opioids        Cocaine        Steroids

 

Be careful with your words, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten. 

 

Real Life Stories

th2o4lplinToday is Wednesday, the 3rd day of Red Ribbon week.  Please be sure to ask your kids what they learned at school each day this week.  And please share this post so other parents can learn.

I have spoken to so many people that struggle with addiction and who began getting high as youth.  The one thing that I hear most often is “I never knew what the real consequence was”.  It is so very important that we teach our youth about the realities of drugs, and not let them learn about them from their friends.

As Robert Downey Jr. said “Getting high was fun until it was no longer fun.”  Being an addict is difficult.

This video contains honest people sharing their stories and their journey.

Real Life Drug Stories (7:51)

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Talking with many health professionals, one thing that many agree on is that our youth do not have good coping skills.   Many turn to substances as a coping skill.  Some even learn this from parents.  For example, you walk in the door from work, comment that you had a really hard day, and then go pour a cocktail.  This is a coping method.  Our kids see it.  Better if we walk in the door, comment on your day and say, I am going to go take a bath, or take the dog for a walk or just sit in the garden.  Then when you are having dinner, having a glass of wine with your meal looks very different to them.

After Brett’s funeral, everyone came back to our home for fellowship.  I looked out the window and saw a few of his friends walking down the street.  They were heading to a house to cope, the way they knew how.  By smoking pot, taking Xanax or shooting heroin.  

One of the best methods of coping, relaxing, calming anxiety, calming anger and even enhancing sleep quality is Mindfulness.  Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad.  Everyone can benefit from this simple exercise.

How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life

 

In the documentary “Not Me”, the realities of who our kids became due to drugs was discussed.  The drugs changed their lives.  The drugs changed relationships.  The drugs changed everything.  The story, “I AM” shares one person’s thoughts about change.

Read ‘I AM”

soccer-ball

Soccer Ball Lesson
Soccer Ball is a game that you throw a ball that has words on it.  Whatever word your thumb lands on, you learn about that word.  Today’s words are:

Amphetamines         DXM         Hallucinogens

Take the time today to tell your kids how much you love them.  We cannot see the future.  Love today like there will be no tomorrow.

Ecstasy/ MDMA / Molly

th2o4lplinToday is Tuesday, the 2nd day of Red Ribbon week.  Please be sure to ask your kids what they learned at school each day this week.

MDMA was legally being sold in the United States under the brand name “Ecstasy”.  In 1985, the drug had been banned due to safety concerns. Since, Ecstasy has become a term for drug dealers selling “Ecstasy-type” drugs that may, in fact, contain very little or no MDMA at all.  What is being sold on the street, is very inconsistent and scary.

Usually when kids take this drug, they are staying “overnight at a friend’s house”, and typically need a day to recuperate.  Because of the dry mouth effect, they will often suck on hard candy or suckers.  Many youth have shared that they started this drug in middle school.  It is very big at Raves and commonly taken at Electric Daisy Carnivals (EDC).

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Ecstasy / MDMA                                                                         Molly

Read the facts

 

Below is a story about Olivia Marquez-Sykes.  I learned about Olivia from a girl in Flower Mound, that is somewhat like a daughter to me.  They were great friends.  Although we prayed, God had another plan.  Olivia now helps me educate.

Olivia’s Story

 

Overtaken is a documentary that reflects prescription and illicit drug use.   It is a great film to watch as a family with kids from 4th grade and up.  (26:55 min.)

Overtaken Documentary

A few years ago, three young adults were at a Rave.  As they were driving from Downtown Dallas to Keller, one of the three overdosed in the car.  They drove to a hospital in Irving where the youth ultimately died.  Read the story

The investigation found that they purchased a few tabs at the Rave from a girl that was just 18 years old.  She got charged with involuntary murder for selling the drugs that someone died from.

 

soccer-ball

Soccer Ball Lesson
Soccer Ball is a game that you throw a ball that has words on it.  Whatever word your thumb lands on, you learn about that word.  Today’s words are:

Rohypnol         Spice/K2          GHB

 

Alcohol

th2o4lplin

Today is the first day of Red Ribbon Week.  Our mission is to give you information that you can share with your family.

Here is a great video “Understanding addiction as a disease”.  Many people do not understand that Addiction is a disease, not a moral failure.   This video explains it in a very simple manner.  It is appropriate for those from 4th grade and up.

Watch Video

The substance that causes the most overdoses is Alcohol, also known as ethanol.  Often, we think about how it is just something that kids do.  “A rite of passage”.  However, we really need to understand that they will experiment, especially with their friends.  Peer Acceptance.  They drink, they drink fast, and they put themselves in danger.  If there is a problem, they get scared and make poor decisions.  Their frontal lobe is not developed yet.  They are kids.

I often tell our youth….  “So you go to a party and some kids may be drinking.  You see a guy passed out on the couch or maybe someone is throwing up.  You laugh and maybe pull out your phone and take a few pictures.  But you have to understand that this person is already in trouble.  Their body is starting to react to the alcohol.  You have a choice at this point.  You either babysit and make sure that they are OK, or you call for help.  Regardless, you get them into the Recovery Position to make sure they do not aspirate. Friends do not let friends die.”

Here is a story that a family shared to help educate to the dangers of alcohol, and the domino effect of bad decisions.  Please share this with your family and discuss. 

15 Shots of Vodka Killed Our Daughter

Here are a few questions to discuss after reading this story.

  • What do you think about Shelby doing 15 shots of vodka?
  • Do you think that her friends should have stopped her or that they did not really know the possibility that she could have died from alcohol poisoning?
  • Do you think that the father should have left them with alcohol before he went to bed?
  • What would you do if you were in this position?

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

You’re likely to see things on this list that you’ve either seen in others or experienced yourself when drinking. Just because you’re still here doesn’t mean these aren’t serious symptoms. A drunk person who’s confused and complaining of nausea is at risk. It’s not good enough to simply drive them home and tuck them into bed. At an absolute minimum, a sober person will need to stay nearby to see if he or she gets worse.

Call 911 immediately for an intoxicated person who has any of the following symptoms:

 Alcohol Poisoning Treatment

There are a lot of myths about treating alcohol intoxication, but there isn’t a cure. The only way to sober up is with time. Calling 911 or taking the intoxicated person to the hospital is the only safe way to treat alcohol poisoning.

The most important first aid for alcohol poisoning—after calling 911—is to keep the person safe until help arrives. The most important issue is protecting the person from choking on his or her own vomit by putting them in recovery position, shown below.

signs-of-overdose

 

soccer-ball

 Soccer Ball Lesson
Soccer Ball is a game that you throw a ball that has words on it.  Whatever word your thumb lands on, you learn about that word.  Today’s words are:

Wax Weed             LSD               Alcohol

 

 

We made a HUGE mistake

We made a HUGE mistake in our family. We thought that our kids were taught about drugs and the consequences of their use at school. Unfortunately, they never really learned why these drugs were so dangerous. Brett was a high risk due to his diagnosed ADHD and impulsive behaviors. Brett died from a mixed drug overdose at 18.  His FRIENDS taught him about drugs.

Red Ribbon Week starts next week. Many schools will be in the “Spirit” of being drug-free. They will sign banners and dress up like cowboys to “Boot drugs out”.

WTF provides education. As a family, we lacked it. You must have it. So next week, we will be posting important information on Facebook, our website and twitter for parents and youth to learn the real consequences of the drugs available in our communities.

I encourage every parent to take the extra time to follow us next week as we provide education to discuss with your child.

An estimated 20 million Americans aged 12 or older used an illegal drug in the past 30 days.  Those statistics prove that we cannot afford to believe that this will never happen in our family.  We must be educated and discuss this “Sensitive” subject.  Drugs destroy everything.  Our family knows this first hand.

Follow us next week.   And please, share with your friends.  Let’s be sure we use Red Ribbon Week to bring awareness.  A person in the US dies from a drug overdose every 13 minutes and addiction touches 3 out of 4 people in some way.  We must keep our families healthy.

Twitter:  @WTFfight

Website: https://www.facebook.com/winningthefight/
Posts will be made to the blog daily

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/winningthefight/

Stompin’ Stigma ’16

 

 

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On October 8, 2016 we hosted Stompin’ Stigma 5K / Fun Run – Walk to raise awareness to addiction and the stigma attached to it.  It was an absolutely beautiful day for this event.

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We were honored to start the morning off receiving a proclamation from Denton County Commissioners Court, declaring October 8th as Addiction Awareness Day.  It was delivered and read by County Commissioner Andy Eads.

 

The grounds were buzzing with runners, walkers, kids, strollers, volunteers, sponsors and even dogs.  Cara Nelson was our Emcee and Ben O’Keefe was our DJ.  We even stomped out stigma on a canvas with shoes and paint.

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We had Team Grant Hansen and Team Brett with family and friends participating to bring their stories. 

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We had lots of medals, but everyone that participated, whether they walked, ran, volunteered, sponsored or just came out to support us were all WINNERS!

Take a look at the Stompin’ Stigma Photo Album.

Plans are already underway for our 4th annual event in 2017. 

Yesterday, we took a leap

Yesterday we took a leap forward.
 
The last family photo we did was in 2008.  When it came time for our 2009 family photo, Brett was in rehab.   I figured we could still do the photo and it would be fun to do the “Wizard of Oz”.  Then a friend said, “What are you thinking?  Your life is not a F**ing fairy tail”. 
 
She was right.  I was trying so hard to make things normal, but they weren’t.  We were fighting for Brett’s life.  No picture was done for 2009, and he died in 2010.  We have not done a picture since.
 
Until yesterday.
 
Kyle and Claire came up from Houston, and Sue Brandvold Decker gave us the opportunity to move forward.  Yes, we had Brett with us, as he always will be.   There was a point where Kyle and Ben were taking photos together and I realized that God created this beautiful family who loves, laughs and also hurts at our loss.  But, it was his plan all along. 
 
Yesterday, we got back on the trail and it felt really great.

Sowing Seeds

Today, life moved forward.  Today, we laid a friend to rest.  He was more than a friend; he was more like a father to me.  One of the first families that we met when we moved to Dallas from California in 1995.  We quickly became extended family.

George created a great life.  He served his country with pride.  He had a long term love affair with his beautiful wife, was blessed with four children, many grandchildren and even more great grandchildren.  He boated, fished, hunted, loved nature and loved to work.   Mostly, he loved.

The service started with “You can only Imagine”.  Perfect song, because that is what most people there hope for.  To imagine having a fulfilling life like George.  Family talked about sowing seeds while on earth.  Yes, we must, so future generations can reap gratitude, honesty, faithfulness, loyalty.

Today, we laid to rest a man who impacted so many lives.  Touched in kindness and love.  Yes, George had his share of challenges, loss and misfortunes.  But he always stayed focused on God, who helped him through the rough times.

There is something peaceful about final goodbyes to an elderly person, who lived a full life.  It is easier to understand than saying goodbye to a youth.  But who are we to question?  It is our job to sow seeds, show kindness and love.  There is a plan that we do not know.  We just must have faith.  Like my father, George showed me what faith really looks like. 

Rest in Peace George Adolph Lindberg.  Enjoy the Kingdom of God, that you so much deserve.  Thank you for loving our family.

george-peggy       14359124_10210294530660923_1614370003655754591_n

We Must Speak LOUDLY!

The other day, I was going through Facebook and came across a phrase/photo that said, “So if a kid has an allergic reaction, the parents have to pay a ridiculous price for an Epi pen.  But a junkie who as OD’d for their 15th time gets Narcan for free?  What a screwed up world we live in.” 
Of course, I had to comment and let the person know that my son, Brett, was a heroin addict. He was a great friend, a wonderful son, and a child of God.  We paid dearly for the Narcan used for him.  I also let her know how offended I was from her post.

Poster responded that she had to pay $400.00 out of pocket for an Epi pen.  Some of the comments made on this feed, made my stomach turn.  I unfriended her and moved on.  Then I got a private message from someone that read through the feed and wanted to let me know how sorry she was that this was posted and how wrong it all was.

Because I unfriended her, I could no longer see the feed.  However, I was told that I was really thrown under the bus, and there was even a comment that “Maybe the junkie will die on the 13th OD and save some money.”

Why the need to blame the disease of addiction instead of blaming Big Pharma?  STIGMA!

We must SPEAK LOUDLY!  Things must change.  Addiction is a disease, not a moral problem.  We must educate these people.  I am still sickened by this, but know that we have so much work to do so that those “Junkies” get the medical help that they need without the judgement that they now get.