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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality

Topic: Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs

May 10

Study Drugs

Posted By iamincontrol | May 10, 2018

You have a big test coming up, but no time to study for it. Maybe you are involved in several extra-curricular activities like band and student council. Or maybe you were busy catching up with friends all spring break so you put off all the studying you should have done.

In this situation, some students consider cramming all the material in one night and hope for the best. Others may use stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, that are often referred to as “study drugs”. These stimulants are often used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), to help them concentrate, but individuals without ADHD often experience the same focusing effects.

Misusing prescription drugs can result in addictive behavior and harm to your brain and body. These stimulants can alter the communication between cells in your brain as well as disrupt sleep and eating patterns.

There are other methods you can use to get your “A” on that exam in the limited time you have. For example:

  • Turn off and put away your phone, tablets, and television. This will help keep you from becoming distracted.
  • Find a buddy. There could be a classmate or friend who is equally as stressed and may be able to help you study.
  • If you are truly losing energy, consider taking mental breaks to do some stretching. If that fails, eat something that give you a boost like blueberries or and energy bar.

For more information about study drugs and the harm they can cause, check out

If you feel like you may be addicted to a study drug or any other drug. Call the TeenLine at 1-800-443-8336 for help and resources.

Mar 29

Coping with an Alcoholic Parent

Posted By iamincontrol | March 29, 2018

When a parent is abusing alcohol, home can feel very chaotic and sometimes scary.

It might be hard to tell what kind of mood your parent will be in, or they might suddenly snap and get really angry. Learning how to deal with this kind of instability is hard, but there are some things you can keep in mind that will help you cope.

  1. It’s not your fault

It is important to know that your parent’s alcoholism is a mental health disorder, and it has nothing to do with you. You didn’t do anything to cause it. It might feel like it is your fault, and some parents even try to blame it on their children. But remember that this isn’t your fault and that your parent has a mental health problem that they can’t control.

  1. It’s not your job to fix them

It can be easy to feel like you should try to help your parent stop drinking. It makes sense because you care about them and want things at home to be better. But, it’s not your responsibility to fix your parent. That’s something that only a person with training and experience can help with. Your only job is to do the best that you can, even when things get rough.

  1. Take care of yourself first

When things get out of control, it is really important to take yourself out of the craziness. The best thing to do is remove yourself and go do something that makes you feel happy. Maybe that means watching TV, talking to your friends, or reading a book. No matter what happens, never feel guilty for putting yourself first and making sure that you feel okay.

Another thing you can do is check out this website about an organization called Alateen, which is a support group for teens who are affected by another person’s alcoholism. Even if they don’t have group meetings near you, they have some online resources to check out.

Mar 20

My Life is More Valuable

Posted By iamincontrol | March 20, 2018

My sophomore year of high school I met the coolest person ever. She was a senior in high school, had so many friends, and was on the varsity volleyball team. I wanted to be just like her. After she befriended me, we started hanging out more. Sometimes she would not tell me what she was doing or where she was going. I was really upset about her not being upfront with me so I asked her what she was hiding from me. It was drugs. When I first found out she was addicted to prescribed medications I didn’t know what to do. She was my idol; I couldn’t let one little flaw change my mind.

One day she offered me a pill. I took it. After that I stopped going to class, volleyball practice, and hanging out with my other friends. I just wanted to take a pill again and feel good. One day my friend never texted me back. I didn’t think anything of it. It was going on three days at this point and still, nothing. I was starting to get worried because I didn’t know if something had happened to her. On the fifth day of that week, she texted me and told me she was hospitalized and had to get her stomach pumped.

That’s when I knew I needed to change. My life was more valuable then drugs. I started talking to my counselor at school and she gave me this website: It has some good facts and stories on there that people can relate too and help people get over drug addictions. After I stopped taking pills, I got my life back on track and it was the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Feb 22

What is Medical Amnesty and Why is it Important?

Posted By iamincontrol | February 22, 2018

Picture this: some friends are drinking alcohol.

All of them are underage. One of their friends drinks too much, and someone says that they should call 911. Someone else says that if they call, they’ll get their friend in trouble for drinking. Another person agrees and is worried that they will get in trouble themselves. Suddenly, they’re not sure who to call or what to do.

Medical amnesty laws, also called Good Samaritan Laws, Medical Immunity, or 911 Lifeline Laws are made for situations just like these. They were made because people are less likely to call for help if they think that they will get in trouble. In places with medical amnesty, someone who is drinking underage, for example, won’t get in trouble for calling for help on behalf of a friend.

While Iowa doesn’t have this law, it might be soon!

You can read more about medical amnesty here:

Dec 19

What’s the Hype with Hookah?

Posted By iamincontrol | December 19, 2017

Traditional hookahs are a type of water pipe that burns tobacco. The smoke from the tobacco is then inhaled by the user. There are common misperceptions about how safe smoking hookah really is. The tobacco used in hookah can often come in a variety of flavors that sound appealing and may cause the user to believe what they are inhaling isn’t that bad.

Hookah has been around for centuries in places like Persia and India that have cultural roots, which may cause people to believe that it must be safe to do. Many people believe it is safer than cigarettes despite still containing addictive nicotine that cigarettes still have. The confusion may be caused by the fact that cigarettes contain other toxic chemicals like tar, formaldehyde, arsenic, and DDT.

Like vape pens, there are now electric powered hookah pens that allow users to smoke-on-the-go. Instead of solid tobacco, these pens contain flavored liquid with nicotine and other chemicals which is turned into a vapor and inhaled.

Smoking hookah can cause:

  • Cancer
    • Oral, lung, stomach and esophageal
  • Reduced lung functioning
  • Decreased fertility

What should you do about hookah?

  • The best thing you can do is not participate in hookah smoking
  • Remove yourself from spaces where others are hookah smoking – second hand smoke is still a threat
  • Recognize that hookah may not be right for you, but hookah has its place in many cultures
  • Spread your knowledge to others if they are unsure about the effects of hookah smoking

Visit the following website for more details!

Dec 7

Opioids in Iowa

Posted By iamincontrol | December 7, 2017

The opioid crisis is a trend seen across the United States and Iowa is no exception. Opioids are considered pain relievers. They can often be prescribed by physicians as OxyContin and hydrocodone or created illegally like heroin. If you have ever had surgery like having your wisdom teeth removed, you may have been given a prescription for opioids to help with the pain. Even when used properly, opioids can lead to dependence or need of the drug and when misused (either on purpose or accidently), opioids can lead to death. Misusing prescription opioids can include taking more pills than your doctor recommends or taking someone else’s pills. Here are some stats from the University of Iowa’s Injury Prevention Research Center:

  • Opioid abuse is one of the fastest growing forms of substance use in Iowa
  • In Iowa, there were 1,239 prescription opioid deaths from 2002-2014
  • In 2015, over 33,000 people in the United states died from an opioid-induced overdose, with 50% of these deaths caused by prescriptions

What is currently being done across the United States?

  • There are programs that track opioid prescriptions. They let doctors and pharmacies learn if people have drugs from other places. This stops people from getting too many drugs.
  • Programs in which opioid users and non-users can receive Naloxone from pharmacies, which can be used to stop opioid overdose deaths.
  • Drug disposal or take-back programs let people with unused prescription opioids to dispose of their drugs safely, instead of leaving them in their easily accessible cupboards or medicine cabinets.

If you want to learn more about what misuse is and the major dangers, check out To read more about what an opioid overdose looks likes and how to get help, visit

Oct 5

National Lung Month

Posted By iamincontrol | October 5, 2017

October is National Lung Month! We’re raising awareness not only about the negative effects of tobacco, but also about how you can take back control by saying ‘no’ to tobacco products. These products include cigarettes, cigars, vapes, e-cigarettes, bidis, pipes, and chewing tobacco.

Companies that advertise tobacco products, known as Big Tobacco, try to control what people do and what people think about tobacco through their advertising. Each year, Big Tobacco spends $9billion in the U.S. alone to market their products. They use TV, billboards, tobacco placement in movies, and social media such as Facebook and YouTube to promote smoking as glamorous, exciting, and cool. Does this seem right, given the unpleasant things that are noticeable about people who smoke even a few cigarettes such as bad breath, stained teeth, smelly hair and clothes, faster aging, reduced ability during sport, and addiction to nicotine?

How can you not be targeted by Big Tobacco and the way they try to control people? Next time you see a tobacco product in an ad, a movie, a YouTube video, or Facebook post – STOP. Take a moment to think about what Big Tobacco is trying to make you do or think about their products. Do they want you to see products as fun, safe, edgy, or rebellious? If yes, ask yourself why they might want to do that. You can take back control by saying ‘no’ to buying or trying their products, and encouraging others to do the same.

To learn more about how Big Tobacco controls what people do and what they think about their products visit

Apr 11

Drinking & Driving Charges

Posted By iamincontrol | April 11, 2017

There are a lot of pressures to drink while underage, but one thing that teens don’t often consider are the results of driving while under the influence. Even one drink can cause cognitive and physical impairments, meaning that you are not safe to be behind the wheel of a vehicle even if you don’t feel affected. There are different state and local laws depending on where you live, but if you are under 21 years of age and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .02% or above while driving you, can be charged with an OWI in the state of Iowa. An OWI stands for “Operating While Intoxicated”. Here is a chart to show the penalties of an OWI:

Aside from these repercussions the judge could assign community service, require a drinking drivers course, or substance abuse treatment. These repercussions do not include the possibility of having a car accident and harming yourself or others. The best way to avoid receiving these charges or worse is to not drink and drive. Although peer pressure can be difficult, saying “no” can make the difference between making it home safely or not.

To learn more about the consequences of drinking or driving visit:

Mar 16

St. Paddy’s Day Binging

Posted By iamincontrol | March 16, 2017

St. Patricks day, lucky charmsSt. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that is observed in many places around the world on or around March 17th. This holiday celebrates Irish culture and usually features parades, dancing, and the color green, but is also associated with a lot of alcohol. According to previous research, St Patrick’s Day is the 4th most popular drinking holiday in the United States behind New Year’s Eve, Christmas, and Fourth of July. For many people across the globe, St. Patrick’s Day is associated with binge drinking, defined as consumption of large amounts of alcohol over a short period of time.

Binge drinking on St. Patrick’s Day can lead to many health and legal issues, but teens and adolescents often don’t realize the negative effects of this behavior. Memory lapses, weight gain, mood changes, difficulty concentrating, and alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning is one of the most life-threatening effects and can include seizures, vomiting, low body temperature, bluish or pale skin, extreme confusion and or unresponsive.

If you believe anyone has alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately.

Besides health concerns that can occur with binge drinking, it can also lead to fines, community service, and/or other citations due to underage drinking, public intoxication, operating while intoxicated (OWI), or using fake IDs.

Just remember that there are plenty of St. Patrick’s Day festivities that you can take part in besides drinking:

For more information about binge drinking repercussions visit:

Jan 31

Prescription Drug Abuse

Posted By iamincontrol | January 31, 2017

Dozens of Prescription Pill Bottles“My drug dealer was a doctor, doctor/Had the plug from big pharma, pharma/He said that he would heal me, heal me/But he only gave me problems, problems”

That is part of the chorus of Macklemore’s song, “Drug Dealer” featuring Ariana Deboo. Prescription drug abuse has been a big topic over the past few years as people all over the country have been crying out for better alternatives. In fact, people are calling the current situation an “opioid crisis” because prescription drug abuse has become widespread across the nation.

What is it?

Prescription drug abuse is when someone takes drugs that were prescribed by a doctor for someone else or takes their own prescription for reasons other than what the doctor intended- like to get high.

Why is it important for teens?

  • Prescription drugs are the most commonly used substance by American teens if you don’t count alcohol and marijuana.
  • Teens abuse drugs to get high, to numb pain, or because they think it will improve their schoolwork.
  • Most teens get prescription drugs from their family or friends, sometimes without their knowledge.
  • There is a difference in how boys and girls use drugs. Boys are more likely to use them to get high, and girls use them more often to stay alert in school or to lose weight.
  • What types of drugs are there?

There are three main types of drugs.

  • Opioids: painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, or codeine
  • Depressants: help relieve anxiety or help someone sleep like Valium or Xanax
  • Stimulants: can treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) like Adderall or Ritalin

To learn more about prescription drug abuse, visit: