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

Tag: drugs

Dec 16

Red Bulls® on Monsters® On Red Bulls®: Filling UP your tank with other things.

Posted By iamincontrol | December 16, 2014

Red Bull-gives you wings®? Monster-Unleash the Beast®? These are some of the slogans that the energy of the energy drinks use to their drinkers. Energy drink consumption has increased over the years especially among teens. But more and more information is coming out about its effects. These “uplifting” drinks are actually linked to depression. So, when they say it is bringing you up, FALSE ADVERTISING. According to Poison Control, in three months June-August 2014, over 700 cases of energy overdose occurred in teens—that’s a whole lot.

Here’s what one person had to say about their need for caffeine:

“What I soon began to notice is that when I actually ate my fruits and vegetables, I had a lot more energy than when I grabbed chips and dip with pop. Looking back I never figured out why the vegetables worked better than the pop; we all know that pop contains caffeine and that should give us energy, right? Wrong! The nutrients in fruits and vegetables are so important for endurance, performance, and stamina. Turns out everything I thought Gatorade was doing for my recovery, fruits and vegetables actually do. Too bad no one tells us this in commercials or something we see every day, otherwise I probably would have paid attention more to what I was eating.” -Danielle

Five servings of fruits and vegetables is the recommendation. That may seem like a lot, but there are so many ways to sneak in all kinds without even noticing. Homemade fruit smoothies jam-packed with as many fruits and vegetables you can fit could satisfy the guideline in just one meal. When mixed with everything else, you might not even notice you are eating them. So next time you go for that Red Bull®, think twice about what it is actually doing, it’s not giving you wings.

Nov 6

E-cigarettes or a Magical Harry Potter Wand?: A Deeper Look

Posted By iamincontrol | November 6, 2014

On my morning homage to the local coffee house, I noticed a man standing outside on the street with a strange looking mythical pencil. At first glance, I thought this man was carrying a wand from Diagon Alley ready to cast a spell on anyone who mis-stepped. But rather than raising his wand as I neared, he put the thing to his mouth, inhaled, and let out a puff of fog. What the what?! I realized that this man was actually smoking with what I now know as an e-cigarette. I had to find out more about these half-wand/half-electronic cigarettes!

So, there is a cartridge that contains nicotine and long chemical names like, glycerin or polyethylene glycol. Both these chemicals can be found in anti-freeze, which belong in cars– not human bodies. Basically, something heats the liquid in the cartridge (often called “e-juice”) to its boiling point and that becomes vapor you can inhale. That is why smoking e-cigarettes is often called “vaping.” Remember the cheesy fog machine you had at your homecoming dance this fall? It’s the same principle.

Still, what are the effects of such wands on Muggles like us? After a deeper look, the companies that put these e-cigs out do not even tell people what’s in the e-juice. So basically that gives us about the same knowledge as ripping off the label of your mother’s favorite bathroom cleaner and saying it’s e-juice.  In addition, in the first big study of e-cigs, researchers found out that e-cigs do not help people quit smoking and that the vapor has harmful effects on your lungs. So after a deeper look, e-cigs are indeed  magical wands made to cast a spell on people to ensure addiction to their harmful effects.

Oct 9

Changing Friend Groups

Posted By iamincontrol | October 9, 2014

teenage friends
By Anonymous

When I was in high school, I had a good group of friends my freshman and sophomore year. We would do everything together and would always hang out on the weekends. However, once we hit junior year, some of my friends started drinking, experimenting with drugs, and hanging around older guys. I did not want to do this because it wasn’t an interest for me, and it went against my morals. When my friends started doing these things, they would encourage me to do the activities as well. At first I would just go along with them to the parties and kind of be the person who would look after them and be a sober driver. After a while though, I got so tired of doing this and was not having any fun going out. I felt like my friends had changed. They slowly stopped calling me because I did not want to engage in drinking alcohol and doing drugs. I felt very hurt, lonely, and just lost. I felt like I had lost all of my good friends.

My mom noticed that I wasn’t hanging out with the same girls anymore and encouraged me to meet other girls by getting more involved in clubs at school. I took her advice and joined the choir at school. I met many great people through the choir, and I ended up being best friends with some of the girls I met. I also reached out to other people at my school who I had never talked to. I had more friends than I had before, and I was a lot happier. I felt renewed and felt like a better person overall. Even though losing some of my good friends from earlier in high school was hard, it made me a lot stronger. I realized that they were not the right friends for me. The friends I made in my junior and senior year are still some of my best friends to this day, and I am very glad that I met all of them! They made my life so much better.

Sep 4

Just Think Twice

Posted By iamincontrol | September 4, 2014

just think twice

Today we’re sharing a great resource called Just Think Twice.  This site is dedicated to giving you the facts on drugs and what their consequences could be.

Some of the cool features of the site include:

  • Facts & Fiction – Some of the things you may think are “facts” about drugs are actually myths, and they get busted here.
  • Consequences – Learn about what some of the consequences of using drugs could be, and read some true, tragic stories about their effects.
  • Teens to Teens – Members of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education’s (D.A.R.E.’s) Youth Advisory Board blog each month about a new topic.

Visit the site to find more resources and features.  Also, check out the IAMincontrol blog posts below to read about more real-life experiences with drugs and alcohol.

Alcohol: Not a Game
How Marijuana Affected My Relationship
Out of Control
DRUGS! They Determined My Life

Jul 3

Conflicting Values: Marijuana

Posted By iamincontrol | July 3, 2014

By Jamie

When I was in my junior and senior year of high school, I dated a guy who smoked a lot of pot. I hated this because I was against drug use. I didn’t like it because it was illegal and it is bad for you. Why would you intentionally get high on a regular basis if you didn’t need to for medical purposes? It directly affected me because I was worried about him. I knew he had random drug tests at work, and I didn’t want him to get in trouble with the law. I also didn’t like being around him when he was high.

Even though I wasn’t the one smoking marijuana, I was still affected by it. He knew it bothered me when he smoked, so he started hiding it from me. That led to trust issues because I knew he was lying to me when he would say he “quit” or hadn’t smoked in days. I knew when he was lying, and that led to other issues. Even though he was trying to keep me happy and just keep me out of the loop from his drug use, I didn’t appreciate all the sneaking around. Because of this, I learned that there is only so much you can do as a friend and a loved one.

If there is something that is really affecting someone you love, you may need to get help from other people. I learned that addiction is hard. Just because he didn’t quit for me doesn’t mean he didn’t care about me. Luckily, he doesn’t smoke on a regular basis anymore. We are no longer dating, but I like to keep in touch and remain good friends.

I would recommend visiting the following website about how to help a friend with their substance use. You may also be interested in how to help a friend quit smoking.  It’s about tobacco, but some of the recommendations apply to quitting other things too.

May 29

Surviving Sexual Assault

Posted By iamincontrol | May 29, 2014

serious teen girl
By Jessica

The summer before my junior year was when my life changed forever. I was raped by someone that I had trusted with my most precious memories. My two-year relationship ended because my boyfriend couldn’t look at me the same. When school started back up in the fall, I ended up having two classes with my rapist. I still remember when he ran into me in the hall and told me to “Smile.” My friend who had been in the other room when it happened started telling kids in our high school. People would whisper behind my back, and I knew I was being judged. Even around my few true friends I felt different. I started pulling away from everyone. Friends, coworkers, even family. I kept falling deeper into this black hole that I didn’t think I could ever climb out of. That’s when I started drinking and experimenting with drugs. There wasn’t a day that went by that I stayed sober, and I couldn’t differentiate between school days, work nights, or weekends. There was no difference to me. I started cutting my ankles. Then I got arrested for driving while intoxicated.

To be able to get this incident expunged from my record, part of my agreement with the courts was to talk to a therapist. For the first few sessions I wouldn’t speak, and then I began to open up. We talked about school, my family, my feelings, my substance abuse and finally the rape. My counselor helped me realize that I was not alone. I had friends and family that I could talk to and that could help me get through what had happened to me. I quit drinking and I quit all the drugs that I had tried. It was hard but by the time I turned 18, I had beat my substance abuse.

What I learned was that I was NOT alone, and if I had realized that earlier, maybe I could have avoided everything that had piled up after the rape. Always remember that no matter what happens, you are never ever alone, and you ARE a survivor. Today I look at my scars and I know I AM A SURVIVOR. I am now in control.

Jan 9

How Marijuana Affected My Relationship

Posted By iamincontrol | January 9, 2014

Unhappy teen couple
By Brianne

When I was a sophomore in high school, I started dating my first boyfriend. He was a grade above me and we got serious pretty quickly. Everything was amazing at first. He was the perfect boyfriend, and when we would fight, things always got resolved quickly and easily.

Things started changing the summer before my senior year. He was getting ready to go off to college and he was unsure of what to expect from the coming year. One night that summer, he was with his friends and decided to try smoking pot for the first time. He knew that I would not approve so he tried hiding it from me, but he could not keep secrets from me and ended up spilling the beans. It started to cause issues in our relationship very quickly. I had told him that I wanted to know when he was smoking so that I could be aware, but every time he told me; I would get angry with him immediately.

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Jan 7


Posted By iamincontrol | January 7, 2014

The results are in!  Last month we asked you:

Are e-cigarettes safe to use?

You said:

  • Yes, definitely. (25%)
  • No, they are addictive. (50%)
  • Not sure. (25%)

Answers are pretty across the board, so let’s get the facts.  Turns out e-cigarettes are not safe to use.  Despite that, did you know that in one year, the use of e-cigarettes (aka electronic cigarettes) has doubled in teens?  In 2012, 10% of high school students surveyed said they used e-cigarettes, compared to 4.7% in 2011.  Seriously, 1 in every 10 students is using e-cigarettes?  What gives?

Maybe it seems like they’re a safe alternative to regular cigarettes. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine to your system in vapor form instead of inhaling the smoke from tobacco.

So why aren’t e-cigarettes safe?

  1. Even though e-cigarettes are said to generally contain fewer toxins than traditional cigarettes, they are still delivering toxins into your system.  The amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes can be as much or higher than the amount of nicotine in regular cigarettes.  They are still addictive.
  2. Since they don’t contain tobacco, e-cigarettes are not regulated by the government.  That means that manufacturers can put whatever they want into the e-cigarettes – more or less nicotine, along with other chemicals.
  3. Read More
Jan 2

Hotline Round Up

Posted By iamincontrol | January 2, 2014

You never know when you’re going to need to talk to someone.  Today we’ve put together a list of some numbers you might find helpful when you’re going through something.

Teen Line 1-800-443-8336
You can call the Teen Line 24/7 to ask any questions you have about your health or a problem in your life.  They will answer your questions or connect you with someone who can.  You can also chat online with a counselor 8AM-8PM Monday through Friday.

Your Life Iowa1-855-581-8111
This 24-hour, confidential hotline is available to anyone who wants to find information about how to identify and deal with bullying or the topic of suicide. You can also text 85511 3-11PM everyday or chat online.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
This 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Calls are routed to the nearest crisis center in a national network of more than 150 crisis centers.*

The Trevor Lifeline (for GBLTQ Youth)1-866-488-7386 (1-866-4-U-TREVOR)
Providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.*

National Sexual Assault Hotline1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673)
Sponsored by the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN). Online Hotline is also available (click the link).*

National Runaway Hotline1-800-786-2929 (RUNAWAY)
24-hour crisis line. It’s anonymous, confidential and free.*

Love is Respect: National Dating Abuse Helpline1-866-331-9474 (TTY 1-866-331-8453)
24-hour help for teens and young adults. Peer advocates are trained to offer support, information and advocacy to those involved in dating abuse relationships as well as concerned parents, teachers, clergy, and others.*

CDC-INFO 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or TTY 1-888-232-6348
Formerly known as the CDC National STD and AIDS Hotline, counselors at this hotline sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now respond to questions about personal health issues, not just HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Available 24 hours a day, in English and Spanish.*

National STD (STI) Hotline1-800-227-8922
The hotline is available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm EST. The American Social Health Association website offers information about sexual health, healthy relationships, STIs, and more. Check out – a site developed for teens and their parents.*

Always reach out to someone when you have a problem or just feel like you need to talk.  You are in control of your life.

*Hotline description from

Dec 5

Out of Control

Posted By iamincontrol | December 5, 2013

Teenage girl
By Gina

I’m writing this blog because for a very long time I was NOT in control.  I hope my story will help someone decide to not make the same choices which put me there.

When I was 18, I met the man who would eventually become my husband.  He was sweet and funny, and seemed to think I was amazing! He called me “Beautiful” and “Princess” and was nicer to me than anyone had ever been in my whole life.

For six months we were just friends, because I thought our relationship was so good as it was. I was scared to mess things up by becoming closer.  Eventually I took the plunge.  What I haven’t mentioned is that I really liked to party.  Alcohol tended to make me sick, so I mostly smoked pot.  A lot of pot. It started out just to have a good time, something to do to not be bored. When I was high, everything was interesting, and I could ignore painful emotions.  I used to be very shy, but with weed I was able to open up and share my thoughts, hopes and dreams. Eventually Tom and I moved in together, and I started college.  By this time pot was an indispensable part of my life.  Unfortunately, homework and pot didn’t mix well, and because I was high most of the time, I just didn’t care—I felt good NOW, why worry about later? I eventually got so far behind that I had to drop out.

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