Monday, September 28, 2015

Alcohol on High School Campuses

California just passed a law allowing school districts to serve alcohol at social events as long as students are not present.  Matt Willis, MD, Marin County’s public health officer and Mary Jane Burke, Marin County superintendent of schools raised their concerns in the Marin Independent Journal.

With all the discussion of how to reduce underage drinking and modifying binge drinking at colleges, it appears we are sending mixed messages to teens and young adults regarding alcohol use.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Therapeutic Boarding School in Montana

I visited Montana-The Big Sky State. A picture tells a thousand words. But, I will attempt to put into words why in some instances a therapeutic setting that is so much a part of nature can be healing. Nature gives peace, quiet, something larger than us, time to reflect, and beauty. Nature is healing. 

From Alfonso Ortiz, Native American cultural anthropologist, these words of wisdom-
Within and around the earth, within and around the hills,
within and around the mountains,
your authority returns to you.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

What month might your college student first try certain drugs?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports on when students will first try specific drugs.

April-Stimulant Drugs
June- Marijuana, Inhalants, Alcohol, Cigarettes
July-Marijuana, Inhalants, Alcohol
August- Marijuana, Inhalants, Alcohol
November-Stimulant Drugs
December-Stimulant Drugs, Prescription Painkillers

Brendan Saloner, an addiction researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (independent of the study) suggests that prevention messages could be targeted to those specific months when first use happens.

Parents of new college students should talk to their students about the upcoming environment they will be living in. A website offering tools and scripts for parents is

Friday, September 11, 2015

ADHD and Executive Function Disorder

ADHD and Executive Function Disorder (EFD)

I thought they were the same thing, but they are not. The article in discusses these differences. What is executive function? It is the “cognitive or mental abilities that people need to actively pursue goals.” Executive functioning is important for analyzing tasks, organizing and take steps to carry out the task, developing timelines, and adjusting and completing the task in a timely way. Now you can see why EFD and ADHD are intertwined! Want to know how to help kids with ADHD improve their executive functioning skills? Play games! Checkers, Monopoly and Clue or on the computer games like Zelda And SimCity.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mental Illness, Substance Use, and the Homeless

I live in Marin County, CA. Most people would see this as an affluent area with a lower level of need for assistance for the mentally ill and homeless population.  But, not so. The Marin County Civil Grand Jury Report has come out with recommendations to address these two issues in the county. One recommendation is that housing be added for the mentally ill. Another recommendation is for a systemic plan to address the needs of the homeless, to be developed by the Marin County Board of Supervisors. And for substance use, a replacement location needs to be found for the Helen Vine Detox Center.  The homeless, mental illness, and substance abuse are intertwined in their needs. I support the Grand Jury recommendations. Marin County has the opportunity to become a model for social responsibility in helping those who are without resources.