Leading Stories

November 1st, 2010

Introspection, respect, heals youth drug addiction at CASTLE

By Jennifer E Chase

Self respect, and the respect we elicit from family and peers, is often the common missing denominator among kids who use drugs to salve pain. A program in Brockton, Mass., with a regal-sounding name is teaching patients to restore the missing tenet of respect as the first step toward healing from drug addiction. CASTLE stands for “Clean and Sober Teens Living Empowered,” and its foundation is based on a model that combines neuroscience with familial therapeutic practices to build the self esteem adolescents typically fill with drugs’ euphoria. Two years ago, this short-term residential rehab program opened for patients ages [More]

November 1st, 2010

Learn to Cope becomes addiction‘school’ for parents

By Jennifer E Chase

She’ll probably downplay the whole thing by saying it started by accident. She’ll probably tell you that the majority of the site is written by her only because she likes to write. But, the picture gets bigger when you learn what started as a one-woman support group for parents with kids addicted to opiates now has five chapters that meet as many days each week or that her Web site learn2cope.com has a 1,700-member online forum. And when she tells you she was trying to help her son find recovery, but she ended up finding herself, you don’t need to [More]

November 1st, 2010

Early detection equals improved outcomes even for psychosis

By Nan Shnitzler

At Massachusetts General Hospital’s First-Episode and Early Psychosis Program (FEPP), they like to say, forget what you know about schizophrenia. “People think about schizophrenia as this awful thing,” says Corinne Cather, Ph.D., a FEPP clinical psychologist. “It’s not a great thing, but we can improve the trajectory of schizophrenia where people can get better.” FEPP helps patients and their families cope with a first episode of psychosis by providing comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis, psychological treatment and medication and psycho-education for families. The idea is that early diagnosis and intervention can keep an initial psychotic break from becoming full-blown schizophrenia. “We [More]

November 1st, 2010

Report shows that older adults are abusing drugs

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Drug addiction is often thought to be the scourge of the young. A new report, however, shows that substance abuse is becoming a greater concern among Americans over 50 years old. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 118,495 emergency room visits in 2008 involved illicit drug use by older adults. Cocaine was the most common drug (63 percent), followed by heroin (26.5 percent), marijuana (18.5 percent), and stimulants (5.3 percent). In a recent report, SAMSHA said that the number of admissions for substance abuse treatment in older Americans has more than doubled since the [More]

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 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]