Prescription for Danger

Marijuana for Kids?
Medical marijuana has been used to alleviate pain, nausea and other symptoms of serious ailments in adults, but some doctors are now prescribing the drug to children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.

Updates on Derek and Saul

• Eight months ago, 21-year-old Derek appeared on The Doctors to talk about his struggles with substance abuse. At the time, he was in a treatment center and had vowed to stay clean. But in a tragic turn of events, Derek slipped back into drug use and died of an overdose in September.

Saul joined The Doctors a year ago as a 17-year-old who used salvia, crack, heroin, ecstasy, acid, meth, alcohol and marijuana. See how he is doing now!

"I would estimate there is probably between 100 and 200 ADD and ADHD children in California who are eating marijuana cookies with great benefit," osteopathic physician Dr. Phil Leveque says. "Comparing this with Ritalin, which has been used for years, Ritalin has killed over 300 children that I know of; it's probably greater than that. But marijuana, cannabis, has never killed anybody, ever. It's one of the safest drugs ever found."

Children with ADHD are four times more likely to develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol later in life, psychiatrist and CEO of Promises Treatment Center, Dr. David Sack, explains.

"The last thing we want to do is to give them drugs as children, which are going to set them up for later addictions" Dr. Sack says. "When kids with ADHD do become addicted [to drugs], they have a much harder time quitting. They use the drugs at a much earlier age and they're much more likely to wind up in jail, in detox centers and medical emergency rooms because they go at it with such fervor.

"When I heard about using marijuana in children, I was shocked," Dr. Sack adds. "There's no safe way to dose a child with marijuana. We don't know anything about the safety [of
marijuana] in children.

"I believe this is the worst thing in the world that could possibly happen to these children," Dr. Sack says.

Thirteen-Year-Old Drug User
Marranda, 13, has type-1 diabetes and is abusing drugs. Even though her father died of an overdose, Marranda admits she uses ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes, with no regard for the dangers and the damage they are causing to her body.

Teen Drug Use

Could your teen be on drugs? If so, what can you do about it? Cary Quashen, a certified addiction specialist, offers invaluable insight. See a checklist on the characteristics of teen drug use and drug-prevention resources.

• Watch this public service announcement by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. 

Internist and addiction specialist Dr. J. Keller Wortham shows Marranda how substance abuse affects organs with a mock autopsy, and E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork shows the teen how drugs will affect the outside of her body.

Certified addiction specialist and founder and president of ACTION Family Counseling Cary Quashen stages an intervention for Marranda and takes her to a rehab program.

"You're an amazing person, but you've got to hear all this and believe all this," Cary says to Marranda. "She's such a great kid. Isn't she great? And that commitment, it needs to come from [your head] and [your heart]. You need to feel it.

"But I'll tell you what," Cary adds. "If I'm going to have to move her into my world for the rest of her life, she's going to make it. This kid is going to stay clean, whether she likes it or not. We have a lot of people that are here to support her. And you know what? She really does want it. You know what she told me? [She said] 'When I grow up, I want to be a drug counselor.' Isn't that cool?"

While sitting in the audience, Marranda says goodbye to drugs and hello to life.

Century Club
Binge drinking is a dangerous problem, especially among college-aged students. The Century Club is a popular drinking game that consists of drinking 100 shots of beer in 100 minutes, which comes out to nearly nine beers in less than two hours.

"You're talking about college-aged women who are doing this, and they are only about 140 pounds," OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "And if you do this, you're going to be way over [the safe blood-alcohol content level] if you are in the eight-beer range. A woman can only drink about two to three drinks, and then she's even still going to be over the legal [limit] for driving. If you do eight, you are in the danger zone.

"But the other thing for this about women and college drinking is not only what it's going to do to your health down the line," Dr. Lisa adds, "but I can't tell you how many women I see in my office who have blacked out, who have had sex with people they didn't know, who wind up with STDs or an unintended pregnancy from binge drinking."

Find out more about the dangers of binge drinking.

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OAD 11/11/09