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Decline in Teen Smoking Rates Highlights Importance of Intervention

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Teenagers may become too eager to become adults because they think it gives them more freedom to do things on their own and to make their own decisions without the need for anyone’s approval. Unfortunately, this is one of the many reasons why teen smoking has risen in popularity these days. Without considering the risks that smoking can do to their health, adolescents find it exhilarating to light a cigarette in order to experience being adults.

However, there’s a light ahead of the tunnel. A recent study revealed that teen smoking rates are gradually dropping. In this article, we will look into the teen smoking trend, as well as the importance of intervention to prevent the issue from blowing out of proportion.

What’s in a “stick”?

teen smoking cigarette ashtray

Health-conscious individuals may not be able to comprehend why teen smoking has become alarmingly trending. After all, it is just like puffing smoke and slowly burning off a person’s health. However, researchers found out that more than merely wanting to try smoking, there are other factors that push a teen to start smoking.

For starters, some teenagers consider smoking because they want to look mature. Meanwhile, others merely follow the same things that their friends are doing, for the sake of peer acceptance.

On the flip side, many adults have their own reasons for smoking. These include wanting to feel relaxed when they are stressed, or looking for a sense of relief when experiencing difficulties in life. However, no matter what their reasons are, smoking can do more damage than anyone could realize.

Factors That Influence Teen Smoking

Some teens are more likely to smoke because of their desire to look mature. But apart from these reasons, teenagers may also be influenced by how smoking is being advertised. Seeing their favorite celebrities endorsing cigarette products would make any avid fan patronize and engage in the same things.

A very strong influence may be brought about by the parents themselves, especially if their teenage children see them smoke at home. In their young minds, they might be saying “if it is something that my parents do, there’s no reason why I can’t do the same thing.”

Decline in Teen Smoking Rate

cigarette butts

Smoking is one hard habit to break. Individuals who may have wanted to stop this vice would attest to how difficult it is to get rid of smoking.

The good news, however, is that recent studies have shown that there has been a significant drop in the number of teens who smoke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that the number of middle and high school students who are tobacco users significantly dropped from 4.7 million in 2015 to 3.9 million in 2016.

The reason for this may have been brought about by the popularity of e-cigarettes. These battery-operated devices are designed to look and feel like traditional cigarettes. It makes use of a liquid that vaporizes ang gets puffed by the user through the device. Although these devices claim that they are less harmful than regular cigarettes due to the minimal amount of nicotine, studies have shown that the chemicals in e-cigarettes contain carcinogenic substances that may be more harmful than regular tobacco.

Teenage smoking has been a serious public health issue. Smoking is known to be the leading cause of preventable death not only in the United States, but also in other countries. In fact, nine out of ten American smokers had their first taste of tobacco before they turn 18.

It was between 2011 and 2015 when the decline in tobacco smoking became evident. During this time, e-cigarettes started rising in popularity among high school students, which contributed to the rate of e-cigarette use increasing by 900% at the time.

All other forms of tobacco products used include hookahs, smokeless tobacco and cigars.

The decline in teen tobacco and e-cigarette use is an indication that interventions may be gaining traction. It’s quite a challenge to pinpoint the real cause, but authorities have qualified the drop in teen smoking rate to a range of various policies designed to dissuade young adults from using tobacco.

Among these policies include the increase in tobacco taxes as well as the expansion of anti-smoking regulations. The latter includes e-cigarette and other new products that the government perceives to become harmful to their health. Massive campaigns were also created by the joint efforts of the different sectors of society.

Some of the strategies used in the campaigns were believed to be extremely effective, thereby leading to the decline in the rate of teen smoking.

Health Effects of Teen Smoking

cigarette smoking dangers

Any substance that we consume will always have an effect on our health. This would be either good or bad, depending on the kind of substance.

Poor development

Smoking has a terrible impact on teen health since they are still in a developmental stage. As a result, they are more vulnerable to the effects of smoking.

Lung problems

It can slowly decline lung function during late adolescence and early adulthood. It has also been found to impair lung growth, cause chronic coughing, and wheezing.

Nicotine Addiction

Smoking leads to a form of addiction caused by nicotine. Did you know that out of the population of kids who are regular smokers, a third of them may die prematurely as a result of being dependent on tobacco?

Cardiovascular issues

Habitual use of tobacco can affect performance and activities as it causes the narrowing of blood vessels, which puts a strain on the heart. This also causes a deficiency in oxygen and shortness of breath. This is the reason why smokers move at a slower pace when running compared to non-smokers.

Secondhand smoke exposure

Secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer in adults, increase the risk of respiratory diseases in children, and lead to sudden infant death syndrome. Tobacco smoking produces carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke, which increase the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Moreover, children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to develop several medical conditions that include ear allergies, asthma, bronchitis, infections, and pneumonia.

Facts on Teen Smoking

Here are some alarming facts and figures related to teen smoking:

  • About 47.2% of high school students and 42.4% of middle school students who used a tobacco product in the past 30 days have used at least two tobacco products.
  • One in three teens who become regular smokers will die of a smoking-related disease.
  • Roughly 40% of teenagers who smoke daily have tried to quit and failed.
  • About 2/3 of teen smokers say they want to quit smoking, and 70% say they would not have started if they could choose again.
  • Girls who smoke are more likely to grow excess facial hair than non-smoking females.
  • Any kid who smokes 2 or 3 cigarettes a day may develop an addiction in as short as two weeks.
  • Smoking even as few as 5 cigarettes in a day may decrease a teenager’s lung function growth.
  • Teenagers who smoke are more likely to experience sleeping disturbances compared to non-smokers.
  • Teenagers who smoke are likely to use more medications than those who do not smoke.
  • Teens who smoke have a lower immune system, which makes them more prone to having cough and colds.
  • Teens who smoke produce twice as much phlegm as teens who don’t. This can eventually develop into a condition known as “smoker’s cough”.
  • Pimples are more evident on teen smokers, which can be difficult to treat.

Why Intervention Is Important

The stage of adolescence is a critical period where teenagers become more vulnerable. They can easily be influenced by what they see from their surroundings. Therefore, seeing people whom they look up to can be the main reason why they eventually get hooked on tobacco smoking.

Teenagers may also experience peer pressure, especially if they want to feel a sense of belongingness. This becomes more evident when the individual comes from a family who may be experiencing some difficulties or domestic disputes.

The parents’ goal is to provide their children with the best things in life, which include providing shelter, food, education and good health. And with that, no matter how it would become difficult for parents to make both ends meet, what matters most is that the children can be well-provided for.

Part of teaching the children is letting them know what is right and what are the things that they need to avoid. Having an open line of communication with children is an effective way of letting them feel how much they are valued. By doing these things, parents can be more confident that whatever they teach their children will be put into practice.

Informing them what they should and should not do would somehow help them make better decisions in life. This is exactly how parents should take advantage of having good communication with their children.

Smoking is something that can never be easily eradicated from society, most especially that the government perceives it as a great source of revenue by imposing higher taxes. Therefore, parents should be the first people to let their children know about the dangers of smoking.

Intervention is an effective means of helping children stop the habit of smoking. By citing the possible consequences, it may help children realize that smoking is something that should not be perceived as something “cool” just because their friends do it.

More than harming their own health, teenager should realize the possibility of causing harm to others around them (that is, through secondhand smoke).

How To Address Teen Smoking

There are various ways on how teen smoking can be prevented. For these things to become successful, everything should start with early intervention.

Apart from this, imposing strict policies and regulations against teen smoking should materialize.

School-based educational intervention

As the children’s second home, schools should help parents in keeping their children safe and healthy by providing sufficient information regarding the dangers of smoking.

Federal Public Law 102-321

Strict implementation of this law should be imposed. This particular law requires restriction in selling tobacco products to minors. This also includes penalizing vendors who are caught selling such products to underage customers.

Imposing penalties for youth possession, use, and purchase

Such penalties should help teens think twice about possession, use, and purchase of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Mass media counter-marketing campaigns

Although tobacco companies insist that they mainly advertise to adult consumers, it is impossible for teens to be unaware of these. Most popular cigarette brands make use of promotional paraphernalia such as clothing, outdoor gear, and sporting equipment that attract the younger market. Teens are likely to smoke depending on their education, income, and sexual orientation.

Seeing tobacco companies as sponsors on certain events can also entice any teen to try the products out. In relation to this, restrictions should be implemented wherein tobacco companies should redirect their marketing strategies where the youth is not the target market.

Tobacco Excise Taxes

Higher taxes imposed on tobacco products can become a significant factor in increasing the government’s revenue. This can somehow help in discouraging people from purchasing the products because of its high cost.

Clean Air Act

Public and private entities should encourage more places to be smoke-free. Hopefully, this can help reduce the rate of teen smoking.

Final Word

If you discover your own kids starting to become curious about cigarettes, grab the opportunity to talk to them about the harmful effects of teen smoking. Intervening the potential habit early can make a huge difference in their lives.


Benefits and Dangers of Taking Kava

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One of the folk medicines commonly used by South Pacific Islanders is a root called Kava or kava kava. In this article, we will discuss some of the important information about this emerging plant-based substance, its effects to human health, and the buzz surrounding it.

What is Kava?

Kava is also known as piper methysticum. Its roots and stems are made into non-alcoholic beverages commonly enjoyed socially and in ceremonies for many centuries in Fiji, Hawaii and Tonga.

Due to its calming effect, its action is very much similar to anti-anxiety drug like diazepam. It also has the ability to prevent convulsions and aid in muscle relaxation. Kava is prepared as a tea, and is also available in powder or tincture forms.

Kava is also known in the following names:

  • Lewena
  • Yaqona
  • Grog
  • Sakau
  • ‘awa
  • ‘ava
  • Wati

Kava comes in different forms such as:

  • Drops
  • Extracts
  • Capsules
  • Brownish-colored drinks
  • Brown powder

Uses of Kava

The calming effect from taking kava may relieve the following conditions:

  • Stress-related symptoms such as muscle tension and spasm
  • Restlessness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anxiety
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Migraine
  • Epilepsy
  • Leprosy (skin application)
  • Muscle pain
  • Venereal disease

What is good about kava is that when it is used to treat anxiety or stress, it does not interfere with mental sharpness. Kava contains compounds that are responsible for the psychoactive qualities in the brain that offers a non-narcotic action against anxiety. This means that it is safe to use compared to the usual prescribed antidepressants.

Duke University Medical Center discovered in a study that apart from it being effective is that it doesn’t produce dependence or adverse effects in blood pressure, heart rate or sexual function. It is a good candidate for future research as treatment in improving attention disorders in children.

Another study showed that kava may be helpful for women who are going through menopause. One of the significant symptoms of menopausal women is having mood swings. Using kava may somehow help them to have a more pleasant mood without affecting the therapeutic actions of estrogen. It was also found out that it has helped increased libido among menopausal women.

The government spends a huge budget in treating addiction. Some studies have shown that using kava as a treatment for addiction may be an effective and inexpensive solution. Kava can help in reducing drug cravings with the help of a compound called kavapyrones.

When it is taken as a sleep aid, it generally promotes deep sleep without affecting restful REM sleep.

The only thing that should be strictly avoided is taking kava with alcohol, which may produce unfavorable effects like impaired reflexes, increased drowsiness and risk of liver damage. Meanwhile, taking kava with antidepressant induces sedation.

How is Kava prepared?

Kava is prepared by placing both roots and stem into a sack, submerging them in water, and squeezing out its juice into a bowl. The liquid extract may be placed in individual cups for drinking.

Its effect is experienced shortly after taking one to two cups. It has an earthy flavor which may take time to get used to.

How safe is Kava?

Experts in studying kava recommend using it not more than three months; otherwise, it may lead to liver failure. Prior to taking kava, you should be aware of the following facts:

  • It is strictly not allowed to take kava along with alcohol or any kind of psychotropic medications because they can exaggerate the sedative effects of the plant-based substance.
  • The effect of kava may differ in every individual. Therefore, it may be unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery when kava has been taken.
  • The effect of kava may decrease with prolonged use.
  • Although kava may provide some relief on certain conditions, one of its common side effects is the yellowing of the hair, skin and nails.
  • It may also cause some allergic skin reactions.

Long-term use of kava may lead to:

  • Liver problems
  • Scaly rash (but can be treated using topical ointments)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Facial swelling
  • Alteration of blood cells
  • Reduced immunity to infection
  • Visual changes
  • Kidney damage
  • Loss of appetite
  • May worsen symptoms of pre-existing mental disorder
  • Loss of drive and motivation

The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) warns individuals who may already have liver problems to consult with their doctors prior to taking kava supplements. Liver disease may cause dark-colored urine and at the same time may have yellowing of both skin and the sclera of the eyes.

Being a depressant, kava is not advised to be taken by the following:

  • Children
  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding mother
  • People with pre-existing heart, liver or lung problems
  • People who are driving or operating heavy machineries

The effect of kava depends on the following factors:

  • The age, weight and overall health
  • If taken with other medications
  • The amount of kava taken
  • The strength of kava

Benefits of Kava

Kava is seen to be a great alternative to traditional medication to treat the following:

  • Reduction of tumor size found in the prostate due to certain elements found in kava that inhibits the growth of some deficient cell lines.
  • Improvement of the immune system because of the presence of flavokawains extract with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Kava has been reported to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties by enhancing antitumor immunity.
  • It is a non-hypnotic anxiolytic that can treat anxiety.
  • It aids in enjoying better sleep.

Disadvantages of Kava

Kava may provide relief on certain conditions however if it is inadvertently used, such negative effects ensue.

  • There is a possibility for kava to be abused, with reports saying that some people are using kava for recreational purposes.
  • Using herbal medicine along with retroviral drugs may cause viral resistance.
  • There have been reports of liver problems in individuals taking kava even for a short period of time. It is recommended to undergo frequent liver tests to ensure that the liver is healthy.
  • It may be unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery when you have taken kava with alcohol as it aggravates the effect of sedation, which may cause vehicular accidents.


Kava is a relatively new substance that is gaining traction as alternative medication. While the substance is legal in the U.S., users should be aware of the pros and cons of using kava for their health concerns.

Helpful Links and Sources

[Image from Forest & Kim Starr]


Graphic Labels in Cigarette Packs May Lower Death Rates in U.S., Says Study

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The printing of graphic images on warning labels and cigarette packages that visually depict the health consequences of smoking is now being implemented in the U.S. market. Tobacco packaging with warning messages and graphic images are implemented in an effort to reach the public’s awareness of the health consequences and harmful effects of smoking.

Earlier studies confirmed that cigarette packages that contain graphic photographs of smokers work as an effective smoking deterrent.

According to a news report, the new cigarette packages could potentially save more than 650,000 lives and can also prevent preterm births and low birth weight by the year 2065. The new study authored by David Levy showcases the effectiveness of graphic images on cigarette packages. David Levy is a professor of oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC.

According to the study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has incurred the cost to effectively study and develop the cost of the warning labels. The tobacco control policy model depicts an estimate that photographic warning labels in cigarette packs can reduce the smoking prevalence in the United States by 5 percent in the short-term perspective and around 10 to 12 percent in the long run.

There are various and differing opinions on the tobacco labels and packages. Some find it odd while find it extremely disturbing. The impact and effectiveness of the graphic warning labels highly depends on the perspective of the smokers and if they want to lessen the cigarette sticks they consume.

[Photo by Skirtick via Wikimedia Creative Commons]



Study: Dogs Like To Receive Praise More Than Food

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Evidence from a recent study showed that dogs prefer to be praised by their owners rather than being offered food.

In the study, fifteen dogs were tested by brain imaging to assess their reaction to different treats. The study focused on behavioral experiments on dogs to gauge what they value more: food or words of praise.

Gregory Bern, a neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta, said in a news release that the study aimed to understand the bond between dogs and humans. The study concluded that out of the 13 dogs that completed the test, most of them prefer praise from their owners over food.

Emory University’s “The Dog Project” focused on investigating the evolution of dogs. The previous research project was designed to show that dogs respond more to scents of familiar people than to other people’s odors. Meanwhile, the latest research study of the team is now focusing more on identifying the dog’s ability to understand human language.

The research is indicative that dogs are hypersocial with humans, thereby creating a unique cross-species social bonding. So the next time that you and your dogs are spending quality time together, you might want to consider giving them some praise rather than giving them snacks.



All You Need to Know About Urine Drug Testing Cheating: Tips, Tricks, Facts, Myths

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Drug testing has become a standard procedure to ensure safety in the workplace and the assurance of healthy living. More than merely identifying the use of drugs by a person, drug tests are now used to check for drug use of job applicants, students who engage in extra-curricular activities, workers in highly sensitive jobs, and family members living in one household.

To understand the importance and value of drug testing in society, we need to discuss some of the important facts about drug abuse and drug testing.

  • According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), close to 68 percent of identified illicit drug users are under employment.
  • The annual report entitled Monitoring The Future revealed in 2015 that 34.9 percent of 12th graders were engaged in marijuana use within the past year.
  • Here’s a very convincing figure: Roughly 95 percent of companies that conduct drug testing use urine as the test sample, based on the results of this survey.

In this age of widespread drug abuse, the need for fast and accurate drug testing has become significant, and this has led to the development of a wide variety of drug testing methods:

  • Urine drug test
  • Hair drug test
  • Blood drug test
  • Saliva drug test
  • Sweat / perspiration drug test

Urine Drug Testing: Most Common Drug Identification Method

To date, urine drug testing has emerged as the most popular drug testing method. Many individuals, companies and schools have turned to this kind of drug testing because of its various advantages:

  • Non-intrusive: Other drug testing methods require human body samples that are extracted through painful or intrusive methods. Taking a urine sample is absolutely painless.
  • Wide scope: Urine is a bodily fluid that contains a cornucopia of compounds, including drug metabolites such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, opioids, and alcohol.
  • Reliable: Most drug compounds stay in your urine for a fairly long time. This guarantees the drug test laboratory that the contents of the urine sample won’t change over time. Of course, this happens under the assumption that the sample is properly stored and free from tampering.

Process of Urine Drug Testing

Using urine as a basis to identify drug metabolites follows a fairly easy procedure. If you’re the sample donor, here’s the basic process of how urine drug testing is conducted:

  1. You will be asked to visit a pre-assigned collection facility or sample collection area. You will receive a specimen cup, into which you will put your sample of fresh urine.
  2. For precautionary measures, the people in-charge of administering the drug test will check your bags and pockets. They may require you to leave your things in a separate room, and ask you to change into a hospital gown. Don’t be surprised if someone will be present in the bathroom with you as you take the urine sample – they will simply ensure that you’re not going to cheat the test.
  3. The collection agency will probably advise you to take the middle part of the urine stream and discard the initial and final streams. The urine is to be placed into the cup provided, which you will seal with the accompanying cover.
  4. The urine sample is labeled for proper identification and taken by the collection agency, which will then turn it over to the drug testing laboratory.
  5. The drug testing lab prepares the urine sample and determines the presence of drug metabolites using chemical analysis.
  6. After the tests are completed, the drug test results are sent to the entity who requested the testing (i.e. individual, school, or company). Depending on the situation, you might just need to wait a few moments for the results to come out.
  7. Results are usually expressed in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), and will be compared with a cutoff point. Any value above this cutoff point is a positive result, while a value lower than the cutoff is considered negative.

Cheating in Drug Tests

Nearly all companies require drug tests before hiring job applicants. Pre-employment drug testing has become one of the most controversial requirements in job hiring, because it has led many applicants to get rejected from work. As a result, some applicants – especially those who know that they just took drugs – resort to cheating their way out of drug tests.

Below are three of the most popular ways to cheat a drug test:

1. Sample dilution

Diluting a urine sample – by directly adding water to the specimen – is done to increase the proportion of water in the urine to minimize or dilute the presence of any drug metabolite. Most sample collection stations put dye in toilet bowls and shut off faucets to prevent any attempt to dilute the urine sample.

2. Ingestion of detox drinks

Flushing the body of toxins to get a negative result in drug tests is another popular trick. Manufacturers of special drinks – commonly known as detox drinks – claim to help in the process of getting rid of drug compounds by making a person urinate frequently. Some products of this kind take effect after an hour or two, and the effects usually don’t last long.

There’s reason to doubt that these detox products work, but some people vouch for its effectiveness. Of course, the secret behind these products is that you’re supposed to drink lots and lots of water for the detoxification to work. In truth, it’s the water that’s flushing out the drug compounds from your system, and not the so-called detox drink.

3. Use of synthetic urine

Synthetic urine was originally designed to calibrate drug testing equipment in preparation for testing real human urine. Unfortunately, this substance is now widely used to replace real urine in order to “hide” the drugs in a person’s body. According to synthetic urine manufacturers, the strategy works because most testing centers hardly conduct genetic analysis on the specimen.

However, what potential cheaters don’t know is that synthetic urine is not easy to sneak in. Some of the reasons include the following:

  • Strict surveillance: Collection agencies are stringent in terms of checking up on sample donors. Some centers require you to open the door while you’re dispensing the sample into the collection cup, while others inspect pockets and bags to check for fake urine.
  • Urine temperature: Freshly dispensed urine is normally between 90 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit, close to human body temperature. Unless you bring a heating device and achieve the perfect urine temperature, you really cannot get away with synthetic urine.

Drug Test Cheating Myths Debunked

Due to the wide implementation of drug tests in many areas of society, it’s not surprising that a lot of hearsay and beliefs may muddle the truth. Let us discuss some of the most common myths surrounding drug tests, and the real score behind each of them.

Myth 1: Passing a drug test is required in all companies that you plan to work in.

Probably due to the global emphasis on the importance of drug tests, one popular misconception is that all companies require their workers to undergo and pass a drug test. In a sense, the truth comes in terms of some companies requiring a drug test from job applicants and new employees.

However, the operative word here is “all”. Not all companies treat drug testing as a requirement. Most business owners in the field of medicine, engineering and construction may implement this, but companies in other fields of specialization may not be that strict when it comes to drug use. Of course, their general leniency comes with the assumption that you’re not going to use drugs during office time.

Myth 2: You can use homemade remedies that can guarantee a negative drug test result.

The Internet is a rich source of information about drug testing, but some of the online content may not be accurate or even true. If you read somewhere that drinking cranberry juice or increasing your intake of certain vitamins can affect the integrity of drug test results, think again. Many of these “truths” are merely tall tales of people who claim to have the secret homemade formula to cheat a drug test.

To date, there has been no concrete research on the effectiveness of homemade remedies to render a drug test result inaccurate. Relying on this kind of fallacy could spell disaster on your next drug test.

Myth 3: Drink lots and lots of water in order to hide and dilute drug metabolites in your urine sample.

Let’s be clear: Diluting the drug compounds in urine by drinking lots of water is actually true. Drinking water in excessive amounts can effectively reduce the concentration of drug metabolites (such as THC from marijuana). However, this strategy also dilutes the natural components of your urine, which the testing lab can detect. For instance, an extremely low concentration of creatinine in urine is considered a warning sign of drug test cheating.

Myth 4: Intense physical activity can increase your chances of passing a drug test.

Attempting to cheat a drug test is really a gamble, and this particular strategy is like playing a poor set of cards in a game of poker. Exercise improves the normal circulation of the body and enhances the removal of toxins – and drug compounds – from the body. However, this will work only if the drug test is roughly a month away.

Unfortunately, many of the drug tests in companies are unannounced and unscheduled. You may not be able to predict when the next drug test would be conducted, and so you wouldn’t know exactly when you should start exercising intensely. Would you really risk the chance of getting caught?

Myth 5: Compounds from marijuana stay in your body for a predetermined time, regardless of the cannabis variety

In the same manner that equal amounts of skimmed milk and full-cream milk have different fat contents, marijuana varieties also differ in THC concentration. Don’t think for a second that all marijuana products are created equal, because that will affect how you face drug tests.

Abstinence is still the best way to ensure a negative drug test. However, if you really have the urge to use marijuana, make sure that you know how strong it is.

Precautionary Measures To Prevent Cheating In Drug Tests

Drug testing has become a norm especially in the corporate world. Most companies conduct drug screening to ensure that the workplace is safe and that the business is being run by competent people as they make critical decisions for the company.

Since more companies are now implementing drug testing policies, cheating is a natural response by some employees. However, even though people have developed several ways to cheat, company owners should be alert and one step ahead of drug test cheaters.

Here are some tips to protect companies from potential cheating in drug tests:

  1. Follow a random and unannounced drug testing schedule. Surprising employees with a drug test will not give them room to use tricks such as diluting their urine samples with water or taking detox drinks (which need an hour or so to take effect). On-the-spot drug testing is a good and effective way to catch drug users off guard.
  2. Monitor check in times at collection sites. As the superior or the HR representative, you should be aware of the distance of the collection site from the employee workstations, as well as the duration of travel to and from the testing site. You can look into these things to check if there is dishonesty in your employees, because any delay gives a hint that they’re doing something malicious within the long time delay.
  3. Use different testing methods. Sticking to just one kind of specimen to test for drugs can give employees the opportunity to cheat. Feel free to use different drug testing sample specimens such as urine, hair, saliva and blood. This way, employees would be cornered from doing anything to fake the drug test.
  4. Invite collectors to come on site. Restricting the employees to go outside the company premises for drug test sample collection can reduce the incidence of cheating. Arrange the collection agency to visit your workplace instead.


Because of the stringent measures that drug testing entails – and the stigma that people experience when they test positive for drug use – many people resort to cheating. Whatever your status is – a company owner or an employee, a school administrator or a student, a parent or a child – it is important to note that there is no easy way to cheat a drug test. In fact, we can all say that cheating a drug test is a futile endeavor.

The best way to pass a drug test is to not take drugs. Period.


Employees With Economic Instability More Prone to Drinking After Work Hours

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Many studies in the past have revealed that people who lose their jobs have a higher risk of engaging in alcohol consumption. However, new research sheds light into a possibly similar trend with those who have kept their jobs but during economic instability.

Based on a recent study by researchers from the Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo in New York, alcohol consumption increased in employees during a time of economic recession. The study by Michael Frone and colleagues conducted surveys of more than 5,000 U.S employees, close to half of which were asked before the recent U.S. recession, and the rest asked after the economic downtrend. The survey was conducted over the phone.

Results showed that people who had work during and after the recession had a higher likelihood to drink alcohol outside work hours than those working prior to the economic struggle. “Despite the increased stress at work that came with the recession, employees decreased their alcohol use during the workday to avoid putting their employment in jeopardy… But perhaps to reduce stress, they increased both excessive alcohol use and drinking right after work,” Frone said in a news release.

The figures were most prominent in middle-age workers, who drank more frequently than the younger generation of employees.

The research team believes that the results of their study reveal a disturbing and vicious cycle for employees working during an economic crisis. “Excessive drinking can lead to absenteeism or coming to work hung over, which can affect productivity. Also, increased drinking after work may lead to family problems, which can affect performance at work,” Frone added.

The study was published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.



Kids who take Medication for ADHD Twice as Likely to be Bullied

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As if they didn’t have enough problems dealing with their disorder, middle and high school students who have been diagnosed with  attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are twice as likely to be bullied as those who have not been diagnosed with the disorder.

A University of Michigan study has found that students taking medication like Ritalin and other stimulants were twice as likely to be bullied as students without ADHD while those who sold or shared their medications were four-and-a-half times likelier to be victimized. This was true for both genders.

For the study, research assistant professor Dr. Quyen Epstein-Ngo and her colleagues surveyed nearly 5,000 middle and high school students over four years. About 15% had been diagnosed with ADHD while nearly 4% had been prescribed Ritalin or another stimulant within the past year. Of those who took pills, 20% said they’d been asked to sell or share them, and about half of the students did share or sell their pills with others.

The University of Michigan researchers recommend a closer collaboration between parents and doctors to ensure effective treatment of ADHD children without increasing their risk for victimization.