ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) refers to traumatic incidents in childhood. They were identified in the epidemiological CDC-Kaiser ACE Study that surveyed 17,000 participants. The Study looked at how 10 types of childhood trauma (ACEs) affected a person’s long-term health. They included:
- physical, emotional or sexual abuse;
- physical and emotional neglect;
- living with a family member a problem drinker or alcoholic or used street drugs
- was in a household with a family member who was depressed or mentally ill or attempted suicide;
- having parents who divorced or separated
- having a family member who was incarcerated
- witnessing a mother or step-mother being physically abused.
Secondhand drinking refers to the negative impacts a person’s drinking behaviors [or other drug use behaviours] has on others.
Drinking behaviors are typically unintentional (unless they are the behaviors a person exhibits when not drinking). They are the result of the ethyl alcohol chemicals in alcoholic beverages interrupting the brain’s normal cell-to-cell communication system while “waiting” to be metabolized by enzymes in the liver. This occurs at an average rate of 1 hour for each “standard drink,” which is defined as 5 ounces of table wine or 12 ounces of regular beer or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof hard liquor. Drinking patterns that cause drinking behaviors include binge drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism.
Common drinking behaviors include: verbal, physical, emotional abuse; neglect; blackouts; sexual assault; breaking promises to stop or cut down; shaming, blaming, denying; domestic violence; unpredictable behaviors; alcohol-induced crime; and driving while impaired, to name a few.
Coping with these drinking behaviors causes serious physical and emotional and quality of life impacts – especially for the family and within that, especially for the children. These impacts are the consequence of toxic stress. Toxic stress changes brain and body health and function, which can cause a person to experience migraines, anxiety, depression, stomach ailments, sleep disorders, autoimmune disorders, changes in eating habits, and so much more. Toxic stress also causes a person to adopt unhealthy, toxic stress-related, reactionary coping skills (explosive anger, physically lashing out, shutting down emotionally, as examples).
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Click here for more on the Harms of Second-hand Drinking
There is no such thing as a “safe” level of drinking, with increased consumption of alcohol associated with poorer brain health.
Conclusion: No safe dose of alcohol for the brain was found. Moderate consumption is associated with more widespread adverse effects on the brain than previously recognised. Individuals who binge drink or with high blood pressure and BMI may be more susceptible. Detrimental effects of drinking to be great than other modifiable factors. Current ‘low risk’ drinking guidelines should be revisited to take account of brain effects.
(Along with increasing risk of cancer, liver disease, road toll and family and domestic violence, it’s time to ‘rethink the drink?’ No Brainer)
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Earlier age at drug initiation has been shown to be associated with faster transition to substance use disorder (SUD).
Discussion | Using nationally representative data, we observed higher prevalence of SUD within 12 months of cannabis and prescription misuse initiation among adolescents than among young adults (e.g., cannabis use disorder: 10.7%vs 6.4% within 12 months; 20.1% vs 10.9% at more than 36 months), consistent with the association of faster transition to SUDs with younger age at drug initiation. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for substance use among adolescents, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends such screening in primary care settings only among adults. Our results underscore the vulnerability of adolescents to SUDs and the importance of screening for substance misuse among adolescents.
Dr Nora Volkow et al – Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Demand Reduction, Prevention and Early Intervention, including drug screening of teens is good public and personal health practice.
Brisbane mother Peta Rickard used to drink three bottles of champagne a night, but is now part of a growing sobriety movement.
New figures have found there has been a large increase in Australians drinking in isolation, with some drinking daily.
The boozy mum culture is starting to wear thin, with women shunning cork-popping social circles in favour of a healthier life.
The Queensland Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies reports that “sober curiosity” is beginning to take hold.
Data released last month by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that the proportion of Queenslanders aged 30 to 39 who drank daily halved from 2001-19.
The proportion who drank weekly dropped from 42 per cent to 38 per cent in the same period.
The network’s chief executive Rebecca Lang said: “We are seeing the positive side of social media, where sober Facebook pages are popping up offering mums the chance to chat and enjoy social interaction without the need to consume alcohol at the same time.
“Women are finding a new kind of community.”
“I wine because my kids whine” and “Mummy’s special juice” are just some of the memes that have flooded social media in recent years, promoting the drinking culture and suggesting that consuming wine is the only way to cope with raising kids.
“I was one of the mums that were posting those memes,” Peta Rickard told The Courier-Mail.
“I’d put up a picture of a glass of wine and say, ‘I deserve this.’ ”
The Brisbane mother of two at her worst was drinking three bottles of champagne at night to cope with losing her parents, raising children and holding down a job.
“I’d wake up in an awful state, but had to get the kids to school and get on with my day,” she said.
“I was lost in the habit and could see no way out.
“I’m speaking out to help other mums. There is so much pressure on mothers to hold everything together.
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In a recent article in Queensland’s Courier Mail, It literally melts kids’ brains the issue of ‘chroming’ or inhalant use has been put back on the public radar. Whilst this issue has never disappeared, it does come to public attention when harms grow.
Hospitalisations for teenagers suffering from chroming sickness have increased for the fifth straight year as a teacher’s call to ban an aerosol deodorant linked to the devastating habit goes unheard.
Hospitalisations have increased by 40 per cent among people under 19 and are up 11 per cent overall from the 2018/19 to 2019/20.
There were 115 people put in Queensland hospitals 157 times due to chroming, 63 of them were 19 years and under.
Queensland Children’s Hospital Emergency Physician Dr Daniel Bodnar has seen the increase first-hand with children as young as 12 hospitalised for chroming related illness.
“What really worries me is the long-term effects, these solvents are like paint strippers, and much like a paint stripper melts the paint off a paint brush, that’s what it does to people’s brains,” Dr Bodnar said.
“It literally melts the special lining of the nerve cells in the brain which leads to major problems down the track like they can’t think properly and their IQ goes down,” he said.
“The brain is very slow to heal and the idea is the more exposed to it the more likely long term damage will be done,” he said.
“It’s just horrible, you can actually see evidence of it on scans.”
Inhalant issues can come and go, depending on several influencing factors and their potential influence on use. For example, the 2007 ‘Graffiti Prevention Act’ (Victoria that came into effect in 2008) saw the restrictions on sales of spray paint to minors. The term ‘Chroming’ was synonymous with inhalant activity with spray paint products being the primary, but not sole source of inhalant activity.
Dalgarno Institute staff have had firsthand experience with young people who used inhalants extensively prior to this injunction, and the fatal capacity of inhalant use, with one young 16 y.o client dying on a train station platform after a single inhalant episode.
Other factors can contribute to decline in use, such as easier access to other illicit drugs or cheaper and easily accessible alcohol. If other substances are either more readily available, cheaper, or easier to access, this can divert from inhalant use.
Of course, determinants of engagement with inhalant or another our mood/mind altering substance remain many and varied.
Whilst trauma, neglect and abuse can be key social determinants of use, so are other factors such as tacit permission modes for substance engagement that pro-drug advocates are promulgating via ‘inevitability’ and even ‘right’ messaging on substance use. Also underlying much of the substance engagement issue remains, meaninglessness, purposelessness and the boredom and hedonic activities these can precipitate.
‘Grown Ups’ and Inhalants.
Inhalant use is not the purview of the hapless teen alone. There are more ‘sophisticated versions’ of inhalant use in the marketplace parading as psycho-social and psycho-sexual enhancement vehicles. One common genre is ‘Poppers’.
This chemical amyl nitrite has been prescribed by doctors in the past to people with heart conditions. Whilst currently it is used to treat cyanide poisoning.
Yet, this inhalant may also be ‘embellished’ with various chemicals and can be cryptically marketed as a ‘room deodorizers’ or ‘leather cleaners’. However, in certain jurisdictions, it can be sold as a ‘party supplement’ such as Jungle Juice Platinum or Double Scorpio Honey.
In the summary of a 2020 Medical News Today Article, the risks of harms from this substance are very concerning;
Poppers can cause serious side effects, and some reactions can be fatal. Considering the possible adverse effects, the best option is not to use poppers. The risks outweigh the short-lived high of the drug.
Personal stories of short and long-term harms of this inhalant are real, growing, and disturbing.
One website dedicated to warning against this inhalant use is The Truth About Poppers and is aimed at not only creating awareness but providing a forum for those who have experienced the harms of this dangerous practice and want to warn their friends and loved ones of the harms of this substance.
For further information on inhalant use and its harms to children and families