Posts Tagged 'alcohol'

Top Signs Your Child May Be Using Drugs or Alcohol

Drugs and Alcohol

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) 2008 “Monitoring The Future” study on illicit drug and alcohol use by teens and youth, drug use trends that concern both parents and schools reflect:


  • 10.9% of 8th graders, 23.9% of 10th graders and 32.4% of 12th graders use marijuana
  • 15.4% of 12th graders have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Vicodin continues to be abused at high levels.
  • 2.7% of 8th graders, 7.2% of 10th graders and 9.6% of 12th graders had abused Vicodin
  • 1.8% of 8th graders, 3.9% of 10th graders and 5.2% of 12th graders had abused OxyContin for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed

From peer pressure to looking for a way to deal with family and life challenges, drug and alcohol use by teens is a problem. More importantly, parents and schools may work hand-in-hand in monitoring and managing substance abuse.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of teen drug and/or alcohol use? The short list includes:

  • Behavioral issues
    • Changes in relationships with family members or friends
    • Mood changes or emotional instability
    • Withdrawn or depressed; uncommunicative
    • Periods of sleeplessness or high energy, followed by long periods of sleeping
  • Absenteeism or loss of interest in school or extracurricular activities
  • Failure to fulfill responsibilities at school or home
  • Disappearance of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as alcohol or money
  • Personal appearance, habits or action changes
    • Poor hygiene and personal care
    • Track marks on arms or legs
    • Frequently breaking curfew
    • Using over-the-counter eye reddening washes and/or breath mints and gum more frequently

ExperTox supports both parents and schools through its drug and alcohol testing services designed to target those most vulnerable areas of substance abuse by youth and teens. Alternative specimen testing options allow for drug detection over varying time periods, from recent use to six months or more, including oral fluid, blood, urine, hair and nails.

These tests include:

  • Drug Tests
  • Alcohol Tests
  • Synthetic Opiates such as Hydrocodone and Oxycodone (OxyContin)

Natural Healing for Alcoholics

As you can imagine, alcoholics have several nutritional deficiencies in their bodies. According to Mark A. Stengler, NMD with Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine, he believes that nutritional approaches to treat alcoholism are vastly underrated but very effective in the alcohol recovery process.

The Problems

A study was done by the late Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, one of the pioneers in the use of vitamins to treat psychiatric disorders and coauthor with Andrew W. Saul, PhD, of The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism, testing the blood sugar levels of more than 300 alcoholics. Like you can assume, none were normal. The people in the study were pre-diabetic, diabetic or hypoglycemic. Cravings for sugar and carb-rich foods become more pronounced when a person’s blood sugar is imbalanced. Foods rich in sugar and carbs raise blood sugar fast, but the body’s insulin response lowers the blood sugar and creates a roller coaster effect, which simulates an addiction and withdrawal cycle. In turn, this rise and fall intensifies alcohol cravings.

Alcohol also tears the lining of your stomach. It lowers digestion and absorption of B vitamins and other nutrients, which leaves the stomach vulnerable to inflammation.

The Solutions

Similar to the solution for weight gain, the key to success for people with alcoholism is to follow healthy dietary guidelines with the combination of the right supplements.

The recommended diet contains fresh foods, healthy proteins and high fiber vegetables. These foods help to stabilize blood sugar swings. When people make the switch to a healthier diet, it is not uncommon to have withdrawal symptoms like sweet cravings.

Below are the supplements that can help. Side effects are noted. These supplements can all be taken indefinitely, according to Stengler, which is helpful because alcoholism is a lifelong illness.

  • B-complex. A high-potency B-complex vitamin can help restore normal liver function and ease alcohol cravings. By high potency, I mean a B-50 complex, which delivers 50 milligrams (mg) each of vitamins B-1, B-2 and B-3, or a multivitamin with at least 50 milligrams (mg) each of these vitamins.
  • Vitamin B-1. Alcoholics often are deficient in this vitamin because it gets used up breaking down alcohol, sugars and carbohydrates. Take 100 mg of vitamin B-1 daily (in addition to the B-complex mentioned at left).
  • Vitamin B-3 (niacin). High doses of vitamin B-3, or niacin, are helpful in reducing alcohol cravings, stabilizing mood and reducing the effects of alcohol toxicity on the brain. Start with 500 mg three times daily, and work up to 1,000 mg three times daily. Note: Niacin can cause intense facial flushing that lasts for about one hour. If you take vitamin B-3, have your liver enzymes monitored. Enzymes can be elevated, an indication of inflammation.
  • Vitamin C. Healthy brains have high concentrations of vitamin C, which might alter the activity of opiate receptors in the brain and reduce interest in drugs, including alcohol. Take 3,000 mg to 5,000 mg daily in divided doses. If this amount results in stomach upset or diarrhea, cut back the dosage.
  • Kudzu. A Harvard Medical School study found that the herb kudzu (Pueraria lobata) decreased the desire to consume alcohol. The effect was rapid — within 90 minutes of taking kudzu extract capsules. Take 1,000 mg three times daily.
  • Silymarin. This antioxidant is the active ingredient in extracts of the herb milk thistle. It improves blood sugar and liver function, both of which may be impaired after long-term alcohol abuse. Take 100 mg to 300 mg daily.
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC). This is one of the most promising supplements for alcoholism. Several human studies have found that it reduces the desire for cocaine in those who are addicted to the drug, and animal studies suggest that it may have a similar benefit in countering the desire for alcohol. Try 1,000 mg to 2,000 mg daily.

Stengler recommends that his patients who are struggling with alcoholism to take these supplements and participate in an established recovery program. Spiritual support is also recommended. Patients who have been sober after following Stengler;s treatment plan say that they make the decision no to drink each day. By reducing cravings, a healthy diet and supplements can make that decision a little bit easier.

Mark A. Stengler, NMD, is a naturopathic medical doctor and leading authority on the practice of alternative and integrated medicine. Dr. Stengler is editor of the Bottom Line Natural Healing newsletter, author of The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies (Bottom Line Books), founder and medical director of the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine in Encinitas, California, and adjunct associate clinical professor at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about his work, visit


Fun Non-Alcoholic Drinks to Serve this New Years Eve

Non-Alcoholic “Mocktails”

Designated Driver’s Delight

  • ‚ 2 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • ‚ 1 1/4 oz. pineapple juice
  • ‚ 1 1/4 oz. cranberry juice
  • ‚ 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • ‚ 3-4 frozen strawberries

Mix in a blender until smooth. Serve in a hurricane glass with an orange slide and a strawberry.

The Enforcer

  • ‚ Fresh brewed coffee
  • ‚ Whipped cream
  • ‚ Chocolate sprinkles
  • ‚ Sugar cubes
  • ‚ Cinnamon

Pour coffee into a mug and stir in two sugar cubes and a dash of cinnamon. Top with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

Citrus Collins

  • ‚ 2 oz. orange or grapefruit juice
  • ‚ 1 oz. lemon juice
  • ‚ 1 oz. simple syrup*

Fill a 10-12 oz. glass with ice. Add ingredients above and then fill with club soda. Garnish with ½ orange slide and cherry.

* HINT: Simple Syrup — In a saucepan, combine 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil gently for 5 minutes. Makes about 2 cups. Will keep 6 months in the refrigerator.

Pink Mist

  • ‚ 5 oz. grapefruit juice
  • ‚ 1 oz. grenadine
  • ‚ 2 oz. pina colada mix
  • ‚ Splash of seltzer

Blend ingredients, serve over ice, garnish with pineapple and cherries.

Coffee Eggnog

  • ‚ 2 eggs, separated
  • ‚ 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ‚ 1/3 cup sugar
  • ‚ 1/3 cup instant coffee
  • ‚ dash salt
  • ‚ 2 cups milk, chilled
  • ‚ 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • ‚ shaved, unsweetened chocolate

In a small bowl with electric mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar until stiff peaks form. In large bowl, beat egg yolks until lemon colored. Gradually beat in coffee, salt, vanilla, milk and 3/4 cup water. Stir in egg-white mixture and whipped cream. Mix well. Serve well chilled, with chocolate sprinkled over each serving. Makes 12 servings.

Red Delicious Punch

Pour 2 bottles of nonalcoholic sparkling cider into a punch bowl. Mix in 1 quart of cranberry juice. Float a frozen ice ring and garnish with sprigs of mint.

Kaux Kir

For each serving, half fill a large wine glass with chilled white grape juice. Stir in 1 tbsp. nonalcoholic grenadine syrup. Fill with cold raspberry ginger ale.

New Year’s Eve Kiss

Pour 2 oz. passion fruit juice in a champagne flute. Fill with club soda.

Top Tips for a Safe New Year’s

No matter if you are the party host or guest this New Year’s Eve, below are the Top Tips for having a fun time and staying safe.

The mix of New Year’s Eve parties and alcohol can be a deadly combination. Here are the top tips to follow if you choose to drink.

  • Set a limit and stick to it!
  • Eat before you drink because food will slow down the absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream.
  • Drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
  • Remember only Time will free the body from the effects of alcohol. Coffee, cold showers and exercise don’t speed up the process to sobriety.

If you are hosting a New Year’s Eve Party with alcohol follow these tips to help your guests have a fun and safe time:

  • Always serve food that is protein-based like cheese and meat verses thirst-provoking appetizers like chips or other salty snacks.
  • Make it easy for guests to make frequent trips to the food table or pass around trays.
  • Plan the party to focus on people and events, not the drinking.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and make them readily available for all guests.
  • If preparing an alcoholic punch, use a non-carbonated base like fruit juice instead of a carbonated base because the alcohol will be absorbed slower.
  • Shut down the bar an hour before the end of the party and have non-alcoholic beverages available at that time.
  • If a guest has been over served, offer to drive them home or call a cab.
  • Recruit friends ahead of time who will not be drinking to help you make sure everyone has a safe ride home.

The choice is yours to drink on New Year’s. If you choose to drink, pay attention to the amount of alcohol you drink and set a limit. Here’s the low down on alcohol consumption.

A 12-ounce can of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine and a 1.5 ounce shot of 80 proof liquor all contain the same amount of alcohol. Each one-half ounce of alcohol takes the average body about one hour to process and eliminate. The Texas limit for blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) when you’re driving is 0.08%.  Texas is also a zero-tolerance state for underage drinking; any detectable amount of alcohol in drivers under 21 is a crime.

While a DWI conviction requires a BAC of 0.08% or above, any driver can be cited for “driving while impaired” by drugs or lower concentrations of alcohol. For more information about the penalties in the state of Texas, please visit

According to Kevin B. Lewis, chief executive officer of Southwest Florida Addiction Services. “A person who weighs 140 pounds will reach that limit (0.08%) with three drinks in an hour. Because a person may not feel drunk, they may not realize that their reaction time and driving skills are measurably impaired. Not eating properly, prescription and over the counter medications and fatigue can all enhance the effect of alcohol on an individual.“

Waiter, One Bottle of Hand Sanitizer, Please

Unless you are a seasoned connoisseur of fine Scotch or whisky, drinking a proper alcoholic beverage may be a scorching experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.  Now, can you just imagine drinking a few pumps of hand sanitizer?

It appears to be one of the drinks of choice for young people in middle school through college.  When the H1N1 “pandemic” erupted last year, many public facilities were placing hand sanitizer dispensers within their facilities to reduce the chances of spreading germs.  However, many had to take them out as quickly as they put them in.  Why?  Because people were stealing the hand sanitizer bottles and bags for consumption.

There is a word of warning on every bottle of hand sanitizer, “for external use only”.  This has yet to stop someone looking for a quick feeling of intoxication.  Hand sanitizer contains may contain ethyl alcohol and/or isopropyl alcohol, ranging from 60% to 95% alcohol content.  Purell’s website reflects a 65% alcohol content in its hand sanitizer, and GermX shows 62%.  Ethyl alcohol is the same alcohol found in drinking alcohol; however, it is also found in perfumes, shaving lotions and mouthwash.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, including our friend, the Southeast Texas Poison Control Center, there were nearly 12,000 cases of hand sanitizer ingestion poisonings in 2006.

Besides ingesting in a liquid form, hand sanitizer is also abused as an inhalant.  Young people are coating their hands with the hand sanitizer, covering their nose and mouth, then “huffing” deeply.  This is similar to inhaling spray paint or fingernail polish remover (see our prior blog on Substance Abuse In A Can – Inhalants).

Are you still having trouble believing this, knowing just the smell of hand sanitizer is bad enough, let alone the taste?  Check out these videos posted on YouTube – your eyes may be opened.

If you have experienced a situation involving hand sanitizer abuse, please share how you figured out what is going on.

Do What Your Mother Says…

In Honor of Mother’s Day

Breastfeeding? Milk Screen™ may be the test for you.

Welcome our guest blogger this week, Julie Juminillo, Founder and Chief Product Officer with UpSpring Baby.  UpSpring Baby’s Milk Screen™ , a home test for alcohol in breast milk gives mothers that are breastfeeding peace of mind, while giving them the freedom to have occasional drink to celebrate, enjoy during dinner, or on girls night out.  Now moms have a way to ensure their breast milk is safe for their child, even if they have one or two drinks.  Watch this amazing video to learn more in celebration of Alcohol Awareness Month:

One Source…Numerous Options…Differences That Matter!

ExperTox® is a recognized forensic toxicology laboratory, combining advanced technology and science with a human heart.

We use our scientific expertise to provide our customers answers to their substance abuse, use and exposure questions.

We focus our personal character on supporting, caring for and understanding what our clients are going through as they contemplate and proceed through the testing process.

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