Leading Stories

November 1st, 2010

Cough medicines to stay available

By Nan Shnitzler

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted 15 to nine to continue to allow cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to be sold over the counter despite recreational use that sends thousands of people to emergency rooms every year. Approved by the FDA in 1958, DXM is found in more than 120 over-the-counter cough medicines like Robitussin, Coricidin, Dimetapp and generics. Taken at recommended doses, DXM can occasionally cause a mild high. But abusers consume it in doses 10 to 20 times higher for euphoriant and hallucinogenic effects, referred to as “robo-tripping” or “tussing.” The DEA, which requested the FDA’s [More]

November 1st, 2010

Q&A: Spotlight shines on investigative psychology

By Catherine Robertson Souter

A brutal murder. An overwhelmed and understaffed police force. A vicious killer that no one can pinpoint. No one, that is, until the investigative psychologist comes on board. Then with a perusal of the case files, she points out a seemingly innocuous piece of evidence, one that nobody had paid much attention to and suddenly the case is solved. Of course it was the boyfriend. Flip the channels on television any night of the week and you will find some version of this scenario playing out. But is it realistic? Art does imitate life in some ways. Just like in [More]

October 21st, 2010

Ambushed by insight

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Metaphors abound in everyday speech but psychologists use them mindfully, most often to clarify something that we think is important for our audience to remember. We like to think we are the masters of our metaphors but, once expressed, they have a way of doubling back and sneaking up on us with an unexpected lesson. Setting ourselves up to be ambushed by insight, my wife and I recently boarded a westbound train in a Boston suburb and traveled to Seattle and back home again. Having done something like this before, we had an idea of what to expect and no [More]

October 20th, 2010

Q&A: Human trafficking is focus of cross cultural work

By Catherine Robertson Souter

It shouldn’t happen but it does. Human trafficking is one crime that we imagine happens in the shadowy alleys or dirt poor towns of third world countries, where local police turn a blind eye or, worse, participate in the enslavement of millions. Men, women and children are kidnapped or, more commonly, enticed into traveling with the traffickers and find themselves being forced into prostitution or labor far from home with no options and no way of escape. While it may be worse in other countries, it does, sadly happen here as well. With a promise of a job in the [More]

October 1st, 2010

Fire-setting: an under-addressed issue

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 2008, 30,500 fires were set, resulting in 315 deaths and $866 million in loss, according to the United States Fire Administration (USFA). Even more alarming, Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics from the same year report that 47 percent of intentionally set fires were done by individuals under the age of 18; three percent of those arrested were younger than 10. Paul Zipper, sergeant with the Massachusetts State Police, explains that the literature on juvenile fire setting behavior identifies four motives: curiosity, crisis, delinquency and pathology. Younger children who have access to matches and/or lighters tend to experiment out of [More]

October 1st, 2010

Arts programs make inroads with DYS students

By Jennifer E Chase

The Mass. Department of Education holds youth who are serving time in juvenile detention centers to the same state-mandated compliance standards as their counterparts “on the out.” So when their sentences for convicted misbehaviors are completed, they must be prepared to integrate back into whatever school setting from which they came. Middle and high school is difficult on kids – and that’s barring the emotional and situational obstacles that land youth in court-appointed facilities in the first place. Coupled with the state’s Department of Youth Services’ (DYS) Education System factoring in special needs that can make their learning more difficult [More]

October 1st, 2010

In Practice: “Genuine Voices” heals as it teaches

By Jennifer E Chase

After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Berklee School of Music Senior Juri Ify Love chose a community service-based senior project that would change her life as much as those she sought to help. After reading an article about a Los Angeles program that brought journalism to detention center students as a way for them to express themselves, Love took her own background in music to Boston-based youth who were incarcerated and living in small spaces. “I started thinking about their small cell and came up with the idea of beat sequencing – making small beats in a small space,” says [More]

October 1st, 2010

Special education and residential schools gradually disappearing

By Phyllis Hanlon

As states across the country continue to seek ways to reduce costs, services and programs relating to mental health issues often suffer the greatest cuts. In New England, the fiscal picture is no brighter. While many services have shifted to community-based programs, there still remains a need in some cases for residential treatment. However, in the last year, a few more facilities have closed their doors. Peter Mendelson, director of Behavioral Health and Medicine at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, confirms that High Meadows in Hamden has ceased operations. This residential treatment center, the state’s smallest, had been the [More]

October 1st, 2010

APA Ethics Code Commentary and Case Illustrations

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

‘Invaluable’ resource looks at ethical dilemmas “APA Ethics Code Commentary and Case Illustrations” By Linda Campbell, Melba Vasquez, Stephen Behnke and Robert Kinscherff American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2010 Reviewed By James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D I suspect that, at some time, every psychologist has confronted or been made aware of an ethical dilemma. Ethics are principles that define standards of professional practice and inform enforceable codes of conduct. A commitment to behave ethically should be a lifelong pursuit. The premise for this book is that “ethics is better described as a process than as a set of rules.” [More]

October 1st, 2010

New Hampshire wants new women’s prison

By Catherine Robertson Souter

As far back as 2004, a report by the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women detailed issues with the state’s services for female inmates including overcrowding and a shortage of space to provide programs to help reduce recidivism. Compared to programs offered to the state’s male prisoners, the women are provided with fewer options for rehabilitation programs including vocational training. In June, the state’s corrections department made a plea to change that situation with a proposal for construction of a new $37 million facility to house female prisoners and a halfway house for those nearing release. If approved, [More]

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