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Prevent RX Abuse Among Youth

by Lux Joseph 17. October 2014

Last week we informed you about October being breast cancer awareness month, but did you know that October is also National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Prescription medicine—a critical piece of our cultural fabric—“a pill for every ill”—all you have to do is turn on the TV, listen to the radio or view ads on the Internet or in the newspaper to see and hear about the latest medicine that can cure migraines, treat pain and stress, keep you more alert, help you sleep or address depression. We walk that fine line between ensuring access to needed medications to preventing misuse/abuse and addiction.

Commercial Medical Escorts encourages you to educate children and young people about the realities and dangers of prescription drug abuse. By educating the youth we can increase our chances of preventing them from starting to abuse psychotherapeutics in the first place. The statistics can be shocking including: 

  • The rate of current illicit drug use among people aged 12 or older was higher for males (11.6 percent) than for females (6.9 percent). Males were more likely than females to be current users of several different illicit drugs, including nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs (2.8 versus. 2.4 percent).
  • Among 16 or 17 year olds, 4.0 percent used psychotherapeutic drugs nonmedically (with 3.1 percent using pain relievers nonmedically); prescription medications came in second to marijuana.
  • The rate of current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs among young adults aged 18 to 25 was 5.3 percent. The rate of current nonmedical use of pain relievers among young adults in 2012 was 3.8 percent.
  • The rate of current illicit drug use among adults aged 26 or older was 7.0 percent, including rates of 5.3 percent for current use of marijuana and 2.1 percent for current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs.

Source: 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)

The good news is that nationally, among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of current nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs declined from 4.0 percent in 2002 to its current levels. While we can say, “great job,” we need to remember that

  • Many teens and young adults still believe that Rx medicines are safer to abuse than illegal drugs.
  • These medicines are easy to get—about 54 percent of those abusing these medicines obtain them from friends and relatives.
  • Approximately 2000 teens misuse or abuse Rx drugs for the first time each day (NIDA FOR TEENS).

As such, some teens and young adults will fall down that slippery slope of abuse and addiction. And before you can say, “Not my child,” you may find yourself saying, “it is my child—now what?”

Be a part of the solution. CME encourages parents to lock up your medications and properly dispose them when they’re no longer needed. Then, get involved. Talk with your teen or young adult.

In this age of a “pill for every ill,” we live in a society where the potential for prescription drug abuse and addiction is ever-present. Among teens and young adults, next to marijuana, Rx drugs are abused the most. According to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.8 million people or 2.6 percent of the population were unmedical users of Rx medicines in 2012.  Out of this number, 2.8 percent represent young people, aged 12-17. Data also tells us that they’re abusing pain relievers, depressants and stimulants to go to sleep, wake up, stay alert and/or get high.

We see the more visible signs of Rx abuse every day:

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman—died of a heroin overdose, triggered by an addiction to prescription pain medicines.
  • Whitney Houston—died of an overdose of cocaine and prescription drugs.
  • Heather Ledger—died of an overdose of sleeping pills—both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, Brian “Crush” Adams (professional wrestler) and Ken Caminiti (1996 Most Valuable Player-played for Houston Astros, San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves)—died of prescription drug overdose.

Some key side effects of abuse include the following:

·      Nausea and vomiting

·      Abdominal pain

·      Confusion

·      Dizziness

·      Double or blurred vision

·      Slurred speech

·      Rapid heart beat

·      Drowsiness

·      Disorientation

·      Impaired physical coordination

At Commercial Medical Escorts we encourage you to educate yourself about the abuse and ways you can prevent it from happening to a love one. As a parent you will want to know potential warning signs of abuse:

       Empty cough medicine boxes or bottles in the trash a teen’s room, backpack or school locker

       Teens purchasing or using cough medicine when not ill

       Missing boxes or bottles from home medicine supply

       Hearing a teen use certain slang terms for DXM abuse, such as skittles, skittling, tussin, robo-tripping, robo, CCC, triple Cs,  and Dexing/DXM

 

 If you suspect or recognize any of these instances occurring then it is likely that you child could be abusing and at that point you should be proactive. Talking to your teen, talking to other parents, and monitoring your child’s behaviors are critical to determining the best way to approach the situation. Being proactive, being alert, and addressing the situation in the early stages will be more effective than ignoring or hoping it will go away on its own. Take action!

Prevention Tips for Breast Cancer

by Lux Joseph 5. October 2014

Every 2 minutes, there is a new breast cancer diagnosis.

Every 14 minutes, a life is lost to the disease.

Over 40,000 people will die this year; about 400 of them will be men.

85% of all diagnoses have no family history.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between ages 40 and 55.

Cancer takes a toll on communities across the United States. It’s a complex disease that affects people in each city, town, and neighborhood differently. Prevention is the best way to fight cancer. This means getting people to do things that will protect their health—like get screened, quit smoking, and exercise more. It also means bringing together local leaders to support local cancer prevention efforts.

This October, Commercial Medical Escorts (CME) is proud to participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.

 

·       If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them.

·       If you are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every 2 years.

 

You may also choose to get them more often.

Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours has had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms.

CME will be sharing with you tools and tips to protect your health this October. It is important to be proactive when it comes to your well being and staying healthy. This week CME is going to focus on tips to help you prevent breast cancer. While most marketing and publicity focuses around women getting breast cancer, keep in mind it can also occur in men.

1. Schedule your well-woman visit with a doctor or nurse every year. The well-woman visit is an important way to help you stay healthy. Well-woman visits include a full checkup, separate from any other visit for sickness or injury. These visits focus on preventive care for women, which may include:

·       Services, like shots, that improve your health by preventing diseases and other health problems

·       Screenings, which are medical tests to check for diseases early when they may be easier to treat

·       Education and counseling to help you make informed health decisions

2. Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight has many negative consequences for health, and the risk of breast cancer is one of them. The effect of weight is dramatic. Obesity raises the risk of breast cancer after menopause, the time of life when breast cancer most often occurs. Strive to keep your body mass index (BMI) under 25. Breast cancer is often detected at a later stage in obese women, and obese women are more likely to die from breast cancer.

3. Eat healthy to avoid tipping the scale. Embrace a diet high in vegetables and fruit and low in sugared drinks, refined carbohydrates and fatty foods. Eat lean protein such as fish or chicken breast and eat red meat in moderation, if at all. Eat whole grains. Choose vegetable oils over animal fats.

4. Keep physically active. Research suggests that increased physical activity, even when begun later in life, reduces overall breast-cancer risk by about 10 percent to 30 percent. All it takes is moderate exercise like a 30-minute walk five days a week to get this protective effect.

5. Drink little or no alcohol. Alcohol use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Women should limit intake to no more than one drink per day, regardless of the type of alcohol.

6. Don’t smoke. Research suggests that long-term smoking is associated with increased risk of breast cancer in some women.

7. If you bear children, breast-feed your babies for as long as possible. Women who breast-feed their babies for at least a year in total have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later.

8. Avoid hormone replacement therapy. Menopausal hormone therapy increases risk for breast cancer. If you must take hormones to manage menopausal symptoms, avoid those that contain progesterone and limit their use to less than three years. “Bioidentical hormones” and hormonal creams and gels are no safer than prescription hormones and should also be avoided.

9. Consume a diet low in animal-based products. Animal-based products are extremely inflammatory and expose the body to a high dose of arachidonic acid, an inflammatory mediator. Fill half your plate with veggies or even consider a vegan-based diet. 

10. Dedicate at least 8 hours to sleep. A study published in August 2012 showed an association between less sleep and development of aggressive forms of breast cancers in women. If you suffer from chronic sleep issues, work with your physician to find the underlying cause and correct it. Using drugs isn't the answer!
Should you have any additional questions, please consult your physician. Some tips and resources are from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) and we encourage you to visit their website. Throughout the month we will share additional tips and resources to keep you staying health.

 

 

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Take a Break to Avoid Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

by Lux Joseph 14. September 2014

Does your job require you to be in front of a computer 8 hours a day? Or when you are at home do you spend a great deal of time watching TV or using other electronic devices with a screen? If you are using any type of digital technology for prolonged periods of time you could be subject to computer vision syndrome, or CVS. This is strain on your eyes caused by using a computer or other technological devices for long periods of time. At CME, our Medical Evacuation Coordinators job duties require them to utilize a computer throughout their shift, but CME takes measures to ensure CVS does not affect their performance at work or at home.
 
As an individual you should be aware of the effects that CVS may have on you and things that you can do to prevent it. For some people, there may not be any alternative to working on a computer for your entire shift at work. However, with some of these tips you will be able to reduce the amount of discomfort to your eyes. Some symptoms of CVS include headache, back, neck or shoulder pain; increased sensitivity to light, blurred vision, difficulty focusing, or even double vision. None of these will cause permanent damage, but these symptoms could affect your work performance or your performance at home.
 
When individuals blink, they are bathing their eyes in therapeutic tears. This will moisten and refresh the surface of the corneas. Some people are not aware that when you are looking at a computer screen or other digital devices you tend to blink less and therefore this can result in your eyes being dry and not receiving adequate amount of moisture to keep them wet and refreshed.
 
Viewing a computer screen and other electronic device screens make your eyes work harder. If you work in this type of environment, you must realize that you are putting strain on your body and vision. Other factors that you should be aware of that can cause CVS are:
 

  • Poor Lighting
  • Glare on the Screen
  • Improper Viewing Distance
  • Uncorrected vision problems
  • Poor Seating Posture
  • Any combination of these factors

 
If you think that you may have CVS, we would recommend that you go see your ophthalmologist and they will be able to accurately diagnose CVS. This is done through a comprehensive eye examination as well as an assessment of your environment and work factors that may contribute to the symptoms that you are experiencing.
 
However there are also things that you can do for yourself to help prevent CVS and to ensure you are comfortable throughout the workday. By using some of the following tips you will see a difference in how your body and eyes feel when using electronic devices.
 

  • Your monitor should be positioned in front of you so that there is 20 to 40 inches from your eyes with the top of the screen at eye level
  • The letters on the screen should be easy for you to read. Adjust the contrast and brightness levels as necessary. You may wish to increase the font size or use the built in functions on the word processing application and web browser to zoom to the appropriate level
  • Keep your monitor clean and free of dust
  • Your keyboard should be directly in front of you. You do not want it too high or too low or at an angle. This can cause distress or fatigue in your eyes, wrists, and hands.
  • If you are looking at reading material, it is good to place is on a document holder beside your monitor that is at the same level, angle, and distance from your eyes as your monitor. This will reduce the amount of neck and hand movement as well as limit the number of times your eyes need to adjust
  • Remember the rule 20-20-20. Every 20 minutes you should spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. It is important that you take breaks throughout the day and focus on other tasks such as file organizing, phone calls, or another task that is not focused on the computer.
  • Throughout the day it is important for you to blink often. If your eyes are irritated, they could be dry and you could use over-the-counter artificial teardrops. Eye drops that do not contain preservatives can be used at often as desired. Eye drops that have preservatives should not be used more than four times a day.
  • Practice relaxation exercises throughout the day


 
Keep in mind that CVS can occur when you are using ANY electronic device. While you may not utilize a computer 8 hours, individuals use smartphones, tablets, and e-readers on a daily basis. It is important that you take frequent breaks when using any of these devices. Recently Apple introduced the iPhone 6 and you will recognize they increased their screen. While this may be the direction that smart phone industry is going, having a larger screen will have less strain on the user.
 
Some content courtesy of American Optometric Association.
 


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