Wake up call: underage drug use

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Tomahawk Leader
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Wake up call: underage drug use

Postby Tomahawk Leader » Tue May 20, 2008 6:44 pm

Commentary in the May 20, 2008, Tomahawk Leader

By Rick Lodholz, CSW, SAC
Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Case Manager
The Human Service Center, Rhinelander

Recently Tomahawk residents experienced an unsettling revelation when drugs were found in the school. Hopefully this can be turned into a positive reaction that will benefit the community as a whole.
Last fall, WJFW Channel 12 did an online poll asking if area residents felt there was a problem with underage use. The results came back with 74 percent of the respondents answering “No.”
There are a number of things that can be learned from this situation. First is that a problem does exist. Second is that the individuals caught are definitely not the only adolescents in the school population that are using. Third is that this is a community issue and requires community effort to deal with it.

I believe that the school officials and community leaders who are behind the scenes in the recent dog search on school property need to be commended for their actions. They could have easily excused themselves from taking any action; many school districts do not take such a proactive stance. It is often easier politically to deny the problem vs. drawing attention to it. This is our community and our schools are for all of our children, our hope for the future. The school board members are our stewards and they are making it known that it is not acceptable in our schools. Good job!
We know from adolescents’ self reporting on the WI Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) that some of them are choosing to use substances at a very early age. I suggest you take a look at this survey as it is very informative. It can be accessed through the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), web site; http://dpi.wi.gov/sspw/yrbsindx.html.

The end result of this use can be felt when we get reports such as Wisconsin having the highest percentage of people who report driving while under the influence. Nationally it is about 15 percent, while in Wisconsin it is 26.1 percent, and that is just alcohol. (You can add another 5 percent for other drugs).

Which leads me to the fact that: Yes, alcohol is a drug. In many ways it is one of the worst drugs. It causes the ruin of more individuals and families than all other drugs combined. It negatively affects most of your body’s organs, more than other drugs. It costs society more in lost productivity, legal ramifications, treatment and lives than all other drugs combined.

This is a community problem that has to be addressed by the whole community. The alcohol industry is very powerful and shrewd. It is important to remember that they exist and thrive on our collective sufferance.

For the last couple of decades they have fostered the idea that this is a parental concern. Let’s examine that premise. It is a very effective tactic. When we buy into this thinking it ensures inactivity. In other words, that’s their problem not mine so I guess I really don’t have to think about it or do anything about it as long as it does not affect me. Divide and conquer, one of the oldest and most effective tactics there is. On top of that, in the last 20 years where has that type of thinking got us?

While parents do have responsibility in this area, it is not enough. Parents often need help and this is definitely an area where they do. Families are stretched thin for quality time for many reasons today. Add that many of them have their own substance-related issues or their views on the issue may be formed without the knowledge they need.

We have always known that it was “bad” for adolescents to use psychoactive chemicals. We now know why it’s bad due to the new information being generated by scientific research.
Communities can make a huge difference for our children if they commit to working on it.

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Re: Wake up call: underage drug use

Postby sour_lemon123 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:42 am

"Which leads me to the fact that: Yes, alcohol is a drug. In many ways it is one of the worst drugs. It causes the ruin of more individuals and families than all other drugs combined. It negatively affects most of your body’s organs, more than other drugs. It costs society more in lost productivity, legal ramifications, treatment and lives than all other drugs combined".

Yes, it is a "FACT" that alcohol is a drug. As far as the statement "In many ways it is one of the worst drugs. It causes the ruin of more individuals and families than all other drugs combined. It negatively affects most of your body’s organs, more than other drugs", I strongly disagree.
Who ever said that alcohol causes the ruin of more individuals and family's than all other drugs combined, i feel is not only ill-advised, but also quite hebetudinous and lethargic.
If you would stop, and take a good long hard look at our community, you could come to realize (in my opinion) that that statement is drastically primitive and ignorant.
In essence, the statement above is saying that "alcohol" causes more wreckage to the human race than marijuana and any opiate, narcotic or hallucinogen. Are you serious? Have you ever heard of heroin, oxy, cocaine, extacy or meth? So your saying alcohol causes more harm than any of the listed "DRUGS" .. and worse that all of them combined? *YES, you are.
I'm starting to think it would be a wise choice for you to enroll you're self in some kind of observation to further your knowledge and your lack of mentality. Due to the FACT that not only have i been a resident of Tomahawk for 19 years, i have also seen first hand what is not only happening, also the results of what is happening. It's FACT that not only are you're, but also the school districts statistics astonishingly wrong.
Alcohol use in our community is 100% NOT the thing everyone should be focused on. Granted, there are quite a few "lush's" in tomahawk. There are also many reports of " OWI and underage " all the time. This is because our ignorant members of the community think it is a good idea to drink and drive. And as far as teen using alcohol.. i am sure you and many others used alcohol as a teen.. it is kind of a part of life. (graduation party's and celebration just to list a few)
Finally the point of this response..... Look at all the break-ins, ask the hospital for a rough "statistic" on people who OD in our town, add that one to you're well educated minds. This is all going on due to the fact that well over 50% of the residents in tomahawk are regular users of marijuana and many opiates, narcotics and hallucinogens. They are very pricey, in turn this is what is causing the break-ins and theft of checks in tomahawk. These drugs destroy not only our community, they also ruin family's and also the health and mind of users 200x faster than alcohol! Granted, if you become an alcoholic (which is a minor problem in tomahawk) it will lead to some of the issues that are up-rooted from drug use. The thing everyone needs to realize is the " Problem " in tomahawk at this moment in time is not by any means alcohol, its other drugs that are being used and distributed in our community. Maby the tomahawk leader should put a article in the paper about this, to inform parents and school district that they NEED to further educate the tactics they are using to try and not only help, but also "better" our community. You are all over confident in thinking you are doing a good job at trying to reform and better our community.

I would love to hear a response to my ways of thinking, maybe it would enlighten me...

- 19 year old tomahawk resident.

Rick Lodholz
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Re: Wake up call: underage drug use

Postby Rick Lodholz » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:26 am

Sour Lemon;

Wow where to begin this reply...

It is readily apparent that you disagree with my statements, GREAT. This could be the beginning of a wonderful intellectual journey for you if you choose to go down it.

I am choosing to overlook the attacks on my character and intelligence and instead am chalking it up to youthful exuberance and passion. However, I would like to make just a couple of points before we move on.

One; exuberance and passion are wonderful things and they can get you places in life...But exuberance and passion alone may not always be enough. Two; disagreement will happen all of your life, I believe that cordial discourse can lead to greater understanding and knowledge vs. openly attacking those you disagree with armed with nothing more than an "opinion" vs. "facts".

In regards to my assertions, I stand by them and believe that the data that supports them is overwhelming. My challenge to you is for you to do your own research and when you feel that you have acquired enough information from a variety of well respected organizations and/or people then allow yourself to be open to the knowledge that is there.

I do NOT accept the role of bringing you up to speed for various reasons. Foremost among them is the time it would require. That being said; I am willing to direct your efforts towards self-discovery in the hopes that you too can become aware and involved as an instrument of change for your community.

I do not feel it is incumbent upon me to list my credentials in an effort to legitimize my claims. Let it suffice to say that I hold several professional licenses in this State and that I have been involved in the addiction field as a professional for over 20 years. In case you are of the opinion that "Book Larnin" is something to be pessimistic about let me further add that I AM a recovering addict and alcoholic and have personally abused every psychoactive drug you can name and many you have never heard of.

There are many resources available for you to expand your horizons and I will list some of them to get you started.

Locally; it may be interesting to speak to your ER doctors, DA, judges, Police Chief and Sheriff. You will be surprised by what you discover when you ask them how significant a role alcohol plays in their profession. There are also others in the area that may be helpful, there is an organization called "The Northwoods Coalition," they are based out of Marshfield hospital and I believe that Bob Kovar who is a prevention specialist there could open your eyes.

On a State level; Susan Endres who works for the DRL-she is the head of the Fresh Light Project-(you will find acronyms abound in this field), would be a good resource, another is Flo Hilliard a professor who does research in Addiction-specifically gender based studies at UW-Madison is a wonderful lady and is connected to all the research worldwide that is on-going.

Another great resource is your internet. I suggest you start with the YRBS survey results available through the DPI in Madison-(Dept of Public Instruction). From there you can google the following ...CADCA, SAMSHA, NIAAA, WI Clearinghouse, WI Prevention Network and they in turn will provide links to other sites and so on.

I will say that there is one bit of info you may find that has us alarmed. In the last year or so there is a self-report of first time abusers that shows for The First Time, prescription drugs were chosen over alcohol as a first experience in abuse.....This may indicate a change that would be very significant and a few more years with research that continues to support that claim will be interesting to say the least. Oh and just a couple of more tidbits, did you know alcohol IS listed as a date rape drug in WI?? Did you know that WI adolescents lead the nation in abuse and in the northern 1/3 of the State it is even more prevalent?? Did you know more people die of detoxing from alcohol than other drugs?? (I also attend staffing every morning in the "Psych ward" at a local hospital and have a clear understanding of what drugs are out there and how their use impacts lives).

That should get you started and I wish you well on your journey. I will not be returning to this thread to defend it anymore, as I said the data is there to support my assertions and you can choose to ignore them or dig in and learn.


Rick Lodholz

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Re: Wakec up call: underage drug use

Postby sour_lemon123 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:52 pm

It's ok.. i respect you're opinion.. and yes i will look in to a few of you're "tid-bits" of info. I do still know i am for the most part, correct on what i said. i dont know when u did your surveys but u might want to think about "editing" your stats..

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Floyd Alvin
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Re: Wake up call: underage drug use

Postby Floyd Alvin » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:14 pm

I think Rick Lodholz has pretty much got it right here.

I seen a report last year on CNBC about the loss of productivity due to hangovers on the Monday following the Super Bowl was in the billion of dollars every year alone.

Alcohol extracts a much higher toll on the human condition then other drugs.

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