The Drug Guys Tell All – Miles To Go -Episode 3 – Spice Update 2012

Hello and welcome to the Miles To Go Drug Education radio show where the Drug Guys tell all to simplify a complex subject. On this show, we report the news about prevention research, parenting, pop culture, and education all to raise healthy, happy well-rounded kids.

This week Jonathan is going to discuss the issues and new laws pertaining to the synthetic drugs known as fake marijuana. This excerpt came from a recent parent meeting discussing the new laws in California specifically regarding the New Penalties for Possession of Synthetic Cannabis Products

We’ve been getting many questions from schools and parents regarding this subject, so to give you more information on this subject, we’ve included a pdf of articles, news and links on our teacher’s page of our website at 

Thanks for listening; you can find us at or email us at

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Title: The Drug Guys Tell All – Miles To Go -Episode 2

Episode 2: Drug Fact Updates, Book Chats, Listener Questions

 Hello and welcome to the Miles To Go Drug Education radio show where the Drug Guys tell all to simplify a complex subject. On this show, we report the news about prevention research, parenting, pop culture, and education all to raise healthy, happy well-rounded kids.

 Favorite stories

  1. Gummy bears in vodka/alcohol
  2. Athletes challenge: Surfing association joins
  3. Opposite problem with New Zealand grandparents


Book chats: How to use twitter & where to find it on our website

Listener question: I’m a recovering addict, when do I tell my children about their family history?

  • Don’t over-answer
  • Early, but keep the conversation going
  • Be age appropriate
  • Don’t lie
  • Look for opportunities
  • Be honest
  • Look for opportunities to continue the conversation without lecturing
  • Educate yourself a bit everyday – use our twitter


Thanks for listening; you can find us at or email us at

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How do we explain celebrity meltdowns (i.e. Charlie Sheen) to our kids? A conversation to have with our children.

My classes (4th – 6th graders ) have now been spending an average of 7 minutes of my precious 90 minutes of class time asking questions about Charlie Sheen. Which drug is he on? What has happened to him? Why does he look so bad? He is my neighbor and the helicopters have been driving my parents crazy – will he get arrested for using drugs?

We at Miles To Go (Jonathan and Kelly) have to this point chosen to stay silent about Charlie’s behavior because we do not think that bad celebrity behavior in the name of media attention should be rewarded. We have spoken many times about rewards and consequences in our parent meetings and in our book. Reinforcing bad behavior with a job, press, money, fan letters, sold out shows, and, worst of all, non-stop news coverage only encourages that person/child to repeat that behavior. In his current “show??? touring the country, the news clips have shown Charlie becoming a parody of himself, repeating lines like “I’m on a drug, it’s called Charlie Sheen.???

If we stand in his shoes, there are no signals telling him NOT to repeat his behavior. He is getting support from everyone who wants to see someone implode publicly for the chance to laugh at them. He is getting support from all the drug users who want to support their party life style as “cool.??? He is getting support from everyone who wants to ogle at his free-wheeling sex life as he calls Hugh Hefner “an amateur.???

Let’s now stand in his parents’ shoes for a moment. I can speculate that they are heartbroken. No parent, no matter how old the child is, can easily stand by and watch their child be in an unhealthy mental state and physical danger from their behavior. As with every drug user, there are others who must share the pain caused by that use. These people are shut out of the user’s life and are forced to stand by and watch a public destruction. I’m sure this is not what Charlie’s parents thought would happen when they first held their baby in the hospital 45 years ago. Reports say that his family has tried repeatedly to help him in every way possible, but he is an adult with limitless money who is not ready for help. A person doesn’t reach out for help with drugs or mental issues until they have the ability to recognize that they are in trouble or danger. He may not be receptive to help until he is caught doing something illegal and is arrested; and if history is any indication, not even then! If Charlie is arrested or institutionalized, he may be able to detox, or at the very least get a mental health evaluation. Drugs or mental illness appear to have robbed him of the ability to be introspective.

Now let’s stand in our kids’ shoes. Public spectacles like this can be confusing to kids. Some of them are scared for Charlie and his children. Some are wondering why people are laughing and why nobody seems to be helping him. The exact same thing happened when Brittany Spears was the media target of bad behavior, when Anna Nicole Smith had her own reality show. Every time Lindsay Lohan goes to court, my child is heartbroken. The kids in my class will all blurt out their analyses about him all at the same time, and we now we have 20 kids spreading misperceptions to each other like the old telephone game. I stop this immediately, because I have a strict rule in drug education classes: when someone asks a question in my class, the kids are not allowed to teach each other by blurting out everything they know about the subject/person. They learn from me, not from each other. The unfortunate part about this is that it seems there will be another Charlie, Lindsay and Anna Nicole coming in the future.

Standing in our own shoes doesn’t make the road much easier to navigate. For adults, parents and teachers this is a tough subject. Most of us are not mental health professionals, and those of us who are must remember not to assess a person from an edited television interview. What seems obvious to most adults is not obvious to kids, teens and young adults, so, as tedious as this next section sounds, every little detail needs to be explained. If you use business 101 and psychology 101, you’ll be surprised how children as young as 4th grade can understand this concept.

This is how I’ve been explaining it in my classroom: drugs are a business! Everyone is in it for the money, and everyone gets a piece of the pie. This is a subject that is integrated into my Myths Around the World class for 4th -6th graders. Charlie has multiple addictions: the first is drugs and alcohol, the second is fame. The liquor store makes money from his alcohol purchases. The drug dealer makes money from his cocaine purchases. The blogger makes money from the ads that people click on or the pop up advertising at their web or blog site. The cigarette company is thrilled every time he is seen smoking their product because it is free advertising for them on TV, where it is illegal for them to advertise. The news makes money by promoting Charlie Sheen latest antics, and then they sell advertising based on how many people watch their program.

Charlie then starts selling t-shirts, or is paid for an interview, sells tickets to a live show. He needs to keep generating money to pay for the drugs that his brain and body are craving. He needs to have fans on his side to encourage the television stations to give him a TV show or internet web show. He also needs to keep acting outrageously so that he earns enough money to pay the people around him to stay with him. For example, besides his obligations to pay for his house, food and children, he needs to pay for his manager, his t-shirt business partners who make, package and ship the t-shirts, a publicist to arrange for the press to cover his antics, accountants to manage his money, and lawyers to make the deals and sign the legal contracts for him to appear on the shows.

You also have to explain to your children what a “Yes Man??? is and how it works. People with power/money tend to keep “yes??? people around them. They are the people who always say yes to the person with power so that they can keep being paid in cash, paychecks, advertising or drugs. If Charlie’s girlfriend keeps telling him “Yes, Charlie, you are funny, popular and cool,??? then the girlfriend keeps getting clothes, drugs, a place to live and a party lifestyle with the cameras/press taking her picture. (Imagine what her parents think!) Does this mean that people with power and money are always right or should always be told yes? Of course not! Fair and clear thinking individuals will surround themselves with people who will tell them the truth. If someone tells Charlie the truth, will that person be fired? Probably, because Charlie is not a clear thinking person right now due to the drugs or mental illness clouding his judgment. At present, “yes??? is what Charlie wants. He appears to have reached the point where madness is normal and what the rest of us see as normal is, to him, the epitome of madness.

Many parents’ default position is to answer their kids’ questions with the statement, “He’s crazy.??? Unfortunately, this is not an answer; it’s a delaying tactic to avoid the real answer, because a considered answer is so difficult to explain. It is never appropriate to label a person as “crazy,??? no matter how easy it is and how quickly it slips out of our mouths. There has been much speculation about Charlie being bi-polar. This, of course, is very difficult to assess from our living rooms, but Charlie’s behavior does appear to be manic, and unfortunately, it may be followed by a deep and threatening depression that many have speculated could lead to overdose or suicide. This is not a topic suitable for young children. Stay where you are comfortable with the discussion and don’t get into heavier psychology than you are adequately ready to explain.

Here’s what I say to my students: “He is a man in trouble, with something going on inside his head that is very complicated and difficult to understand.???

First, it is the way the drugs are making him react and behave. Second, he is doing what we call imploding. Let’s go to Merriam Webster for this definition of Implode: 1.a : to burst inward b : to undergo violent compression 2.: to collapse inward as if from external pressure; also : to become greatly reduced as if from collapsing 3.: to break down or fall apart from within : self-destruct. Now kids hear this and picture in their heads that a brain is collapsing inside his skull (remember kids are literal thinkers). So, explain that inside his head the drugs can change the very sensitive chemistry and inner workings of the brain and his thoughts.

The pressure to make money and watch his career fall apart is causing him stress. I’m going to use Merriam Webster’s C and D definitions and I’ve listed the examples of stress below. Incorporate your own examples of stress to include something that may be stressful for your child that they can internalize the definition. From MW- Stress: c: a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation d: a state resulting from a stress; especially: one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium
Examples of usages of the term STRESS from Merriam Webster’s free online dictionary:
1. She uses meditation as a way of reducing stress.
2. Hormones are released into the body in response to emotional stress.
3. She is dealing with the stresses of working full-time and going to school.
4. He talked about the stresses and strains of owning a business.
5. Carrying a heavy backpack around all day puts a lot of stress on your shoulders and back.
6. To reduce the amount of stress on your back, bend your knees when you lift something heavy.
7. The ship’s mast snapped under the stress of high winds.
8. measuring the effects of stresses on the material

Ultimately, I think we want our children to strive for empathy and understanding. We can feel disgust and anger when important news stories are pushed aside and replaced with sensationalized headlines about another celebrity falling apart, but I still feel it’s important to talk to my students about understanding that something very serious is happening to another human being. We need to understand that Charlie is in trouble, but he doesn’t understand what is happening to his brain and body. For now, he has destroyed his legitimate career and business relationships, but most importantly, he has hurt himself and his family relationships. That doesn’t mean that his parents don’t love him, but that they are emotionally hurt, sad, disappointed and scared for their child. Charlie is an adult, but he is still someone’s child, and no parent wants to watch anything bad happen to his or her child. In the end, that is why we are talking about this today.

Post Script: there are ads on our blog page and website as well, but to date I think we’ve made about 90 cents in a year and we pay $60 per month for web and email service! We’re not the example of bloggers who make money, but I do see there is a contradiction.

Post Script 2: A big mommy-hug to Gayle King for vowing not to talk about Charlie Sheen or promote and sensationalize his behavior.

Post Script 3: Hopefully, there will come a day when the pendulum swings the other way and we will spend less time with the lurid details of the next celebrity self-destruction and more time strengthening the relationships with family and friends that really matter. (Pardon me if you don’t see me holding my breath.)

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National Pot Smoking Day, Powertalk 21, Walk Like MADD

Kelly and Jonathan from Miles To Go Drug Prevention Education have been long time supporters of MADD Mothers Against Drunk Driving. For the first time, we are creating a team for the Walk Like MADD 5K in Huntington Beach, CA on May 7th, 2011.We’re a little bit behind on our training, and a little bit out of shape, but Kelly is a 5Ker and would love it if you would join our team as either a live or a virtual walker. I’ve listed everything you need to know about MADD and Walk Like MADD below. You can join our team by clicking here: team Miles To Go Drug Prevention Education Team here.

Today is 420 Day, aka National Pot Smoking Day. Please make sure you know where your kids are between 2pm and 7pm today, especially at 4:20pm. A lot of marijuana is going to be smoked today, and adult supervision will keep your child safe and limit their exposure to this type of behavior.

Schools: Please watch your search engines today for 420 websites.


This Thursday, April 21st, is the first annual PowerTalk 21™, the national day for parents to start talking with their kids about alcohol.

Looking at research and talking to parents, we found that a lot of parents wanted to have a conversation with their children about alcohol, but didn’t know where to start…or how to answer the tough questions. Dreading saying the wrong thing, some parents said nothing at all.
So we wanted to create a national day for parents to start speaking with their kids about alcohol – that’s this Thursday. But more than that, we wanted to give parents the tools to protect their children from the dangers of drinking.

Since underage drinking kills about 6000 people each year, we want every parent to initiate a potentially life saving conversation with their children about the negative effects of underage drinking. But we can’t do it alone.

Please go to their website for more information and a free handbook to discuss this with your kids.

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Are You Serving Alcohol To My Kid During The Holidays?

Kelly & Jonathan From Miles To Go Drug Prevention Education
Wish You A Happy And Safe Holiday Party Season

Are You Serving Alcohol To My Kid During The Holidays?

Last Christmas an old friend and fellow mom called me because she was shocked to find out that another mom was serving alcohol to all the 8th and 9th graders from her school. This other mom obviously subscribed to the theory that kids can safely drink if they confine their drinking to someone’s home. My friend’s daughter then added her perspective, saying “Mom, all the kids drink–it’s really no big deal!??? Now doubting her sanity, my friend phoned me to ask, “Kelly, do all the kids drink? Is it really no big deal, and am I the only mom who isn’t letting this happen? Have I become the old, uncool mom????

Listening to my friend’s dilemma on the other end of the phone, I was saddened. After 15 years of talking to parents about keeping their kids safe, I realized that one of my oldest friends was not benefitting from our parent lectures because she was on the other side of the country and never had the opportunity to attend. This open letter is not just to our friend Ann, but also to everyone who has not been able to attend our lectures, view our webinars, or read our emails and drug fact updates.

Dear Ann,
You are NOT the only mom who doesn’t want her child to drink, and you are certainly not alone! Here are a few thoughts for you, but this is only the beginning of this conversation. We will continue to talk about this in upcoming parent meetings and online book discussions scheduled for early 2011. Our goal will be to find out what other parents and communities are doing to battle the problem of adults providing alcohol to minors.

First: I’m reprinting a passage from our new book “Not All Kids Do Drugs??? for you. (Find it at the end of the letter.) It is such an important part of our presentation that we began our book with this subject. (Shameless plug: Anyone who would like to buy a copy of the book, click here:

Second: There are social host laws popping up all over the country specifically designed to stop parents from serving to minors. California has no state criminal law on social host liability, but many cities and counties do have local ordinances. Find out what your local statutes are, and if there are currently no laws in place, find out why not.

Social Host Liability defined: Social host laws are set up as criminal or civil actions against people who serve alcohol or drugs to their guests, especially if those guests are minors. Adults can be held responsible if this occurs on their property, regardless of who furnishes the alcohol. These laws vary depending on your city or state, and can include misdemeanor charges as well as fines and possible jail time.

MADD: Simplifies this explanation and provides a brochure:

NIAAA: Underage Drinking: Prohibitions Against Hosting Underage Drinking Parties

Model Programs: Excellent website from San Diego County Alcohol Policy Panel about Social Host liability and explanations

Third: What do you do if someone is hosting these parties? (A more extensive list is in Part 2 of our book)
1: Tell your child why these parties are off limits. You are allowed to say, “No.??? You are their parent, not their friend.
2: Saying, “No??? to dangerous activities begins as a pattern in preschool, not when they are in high school. Practice early.
3: Know your kids’ friends and their friends’ parents – this also begins early and lasts a life time.
4: Host the parties at your house. Keep them small and lock the bar.
5: Call ahead and ask the parents hosting the event for details about the party.
6: Alert other parents about these unsafe environments. Don’t assume they know what’s going on and are OK with kids drinking—they may not be aware of the danger these parties pose.

Not All Kids Do Drugs
Part 1

Answering The Big Questions
“All kids are going to do drugs,
so why don’t we teach them how to use safely?”

We might as well start with this common parental assumption—all kids will eventually try drugs, especially alcohol. Since this is our starting point, it’s also where we’ll make our first stand:

We can’t tell you how often a parent in one of our presentations announces that, “All kids are going to do drugs.??? Without fail, at least a couple of parents who stayed silent in the face of this all-knowing pronouncement approach us after the event ends and say, “I’ve never done a drug in my life,??? or, “I’ve never had a drink or smoked a cigarette. Does that mean I can’t teach my kid about this subject????

In our drug abuse prevention presentations for parents, we’ve always encouraged schools and parents to support the nonusers—because the users have the loudest voice and will drown out the voice of the nonusers. We are astonished that, despite all we know about the costs associated with teen drug use and adult drug abuse, large segments of our society still perceive users as the cool group. The party people are seen as popular and cool, and they reinforce this image with a language filled with terms nonusers might not understand. This special slang acts to bring the users together and exclude others. They also have an easy time finding like-minded others—they just go to a party, look around–and voila–instant peer group. The most vocal members of the party group, the ones that lord their drug knowledge over less exposed members of their class or school, are a special breed. We refer to them as drug bullies. Nonusers tend to be scattered among the chess players, the musicians, the athletes, the rock climbers, the actors. They don’t know each other, and they have a lot of difficulty identifying each other. These nonusers need encouragement to continue their conscious choice, and we need to actively encourage healthy alternatives to drug use.

A major problem, though, is that a few of these drug bullies don’t change when they reach adult age. The parent who stands up and says, “All kids are going to use,??? may well be nothing more than an adult drug bully. The parent that doesn’t stand up and insist, “No, they aren’t,??? is still being bullied and may still to this day feel uncool about their lack of drug experience. They have told us repeatedly that they don’t feel they have enough knowledge to speak up about the subject because they are not part of the supposed “in-crowd.??? They are the parents who don’t get invited to, or choose not to attend, the parties where binge drinking is happening. They also don’t attend parties where marijuana is smoked and everyone pretends it’s cool as long as their kids aren’t around to see it.

We’ve been teaching drug abuse prevention education in schools for a long time, and one of the things we are sure of is that not all kids do drugs. We’ve had many students get in touch with us years after they saw our program to tell us they still haven’t used drugs. Many are now married and starting families and careers of their own, and they did it without falling prey to the silly notion that all kids are supposed to use drugs as a part of growing up.

Of course, it would be foolish for us to think that out of the 10,000 kids we teach each year not one would drink or get high—far from it. We have also heard from some of those who did choose to drink or use drugs. Several of them told us that they stopped before they got into serious trouble; several others went into rehab sooner than they normally would have because of their knowledge that help was available. Many had friends in trouble and were able to help them find their way out of a bad situation. Unfortunately, there are some students we are no longer able to hear from, but that we hear of—they are the ones that didn’t make it out the other side of the decision to use. They are the ones who died.

Let’s Look At A Few Common Variations Of The Original Question:
1. “All kids will eventually use, so why not let them do it in the safety of our home????

First, it is impossible to monitor a group of kids who are drinking and using drugs in your home unless you are a trained drug specialist or an ER doctor with all the meds and tools you’ll need in your bathroom medicine chest. If you think you will stop them from drinking and driving by taking away their car keys, we can tell you from experience that some of the kids are smarter than you are—they bring a second set of keys. If drunks want to drive, they will drive. Before you have your “safe??? party, ask yourself these questions: “Can I tell the difference between a drunken, passed out teenager and a teenager who is in a drug-induced or alcoholic coma???? “How do I know if that teenager has alcohol poisoning???? “Do I know the complete health and addiction history of these people and their families???? “Do I know what other drugs and medications they may have used tonight???? If you don’t feel 100% confident about everything mentioned above, then you are not capable of taking care of a group of teen drug and alcohol users.
Actually, if you think about it, even if you are confident about all of the above, you are still not capable of taking care of a group of using teens—there are just too many variables to deal with effectively. With so many balls in the air at the same time, even a pro can miss something important.
A tragic story we heard while back east illustrates this point exactly. Some parents felt confident they could manage the mayhem associated with a teen drinking party, so they allowed the party to take place at their home. As expected, some of the teen attendees got really drunk, and a few even ended the evening getting sick all over themselves, but hey, that’s what it’s all about, right? Unfortunately, nobody thought to monitor the little sister of the teen host and the daughter of the parents allowing the party. She, in her effort to emulate the behaviors of the teens she so much wanted to be like, drank alcohol also. When she got drunk enough to feel ill, she went upstairs and lay down on her bed, where she proceeded to lapse into a coma.
We weren’t able to follow this story to its conclusion, but it does beg the question: Are you confident that these parents would act in a timely and responsible fashion if your child was the one passed out and possibly lapsing into a coma? They would certainly be aware that their participation in and sponsorship of illegal teen drinking would be frowned upon by the very authorities they would be calling. They may well fail to make the call in an effort to avoid the legal consequences that await them if they do. Their hesitancy may well cost your son or daughter their life.

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The Great American Smokeout – November 18th, 2010 — Integrating the discussion into your classroom

Please see this article on our website for active links:

The month of November brings us one of the most proactive topics of the year. The third Thursday of November (the week before Thanksgiving) marks an annual event called the Great American Smokeout. The American Cancer Society (ACS) challenges Americans to stop smoking for 24 hours to kick off what they hope will be a change in lifestyle that will last forever. It all began in the mid 70’s when Massachusetts, Minnesota and California presented public challenges for smokers to give up their cigarettes. In 1976, the California division of the ACS successfully encouraged nearly one million smokers to quit for the day. The annual event has flourished, and each year smokers choose this day to mark the beginning of the end of their smoking.

We encourage you to integrate this topic into your classroom discussions. We have provided several ways to do this below.

Here is our new favorite website. The California Youth Advocacy Network is designed for colleges, but we recommend that you scroll down to the bottom of the page where they show 2010 Sample Advertisements and Flyers.

Integrate the discussion: Create your own school advertising campaign to help others learn. Integrate this topic for the week in art, homeroom, health, advisors, technology/media class etc.

Here are some tips from the American Cancer Society (ACS) website:
In 2009 “The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” was signed into law and gives the FDA the authority to regulate the sale, manufacturing, and marketing of tobacco products and protects children from tobacco industry’s marketing practices.
On the ACS website they have a fantastic calculator that can tell a smoker how many cigarettes they smoke per day, month or year and how much it costs them to smoke.

Integrate the discussion as a classroom project for math, health, homeroom etc. One of our schools made a spinning wheel of death using cigarette smoking as a basis for mathematical calculations.

How To Quit
? Make the decision to quit
? Set a quit date and choose a help plan
? Learn how to handle withdrawal
? Staying quit (maintenance)

Research shows that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have some means of support, such as:
? nicotine replacement products
? counseling
? stop-smoking groups
? telephone smoking cessation hotlines
? prescription medicine to lessen cravings
? guide books
? encouragement and support from friends and family members

How To Help A Friend – Many People say “It Is One Of The Hardest Drugs To Quit!???
As a friend or family member of a smoker, you are in an uncomfortable situation. Tobacco smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body, is linked to at least 15 different cancers including: lung, larynx (voice box), oral cavity (mouth, tongue, and lips), pharynx (throat), esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, bladder, acute myeloid leukemia.

You should know that it may take several attempts to quit and relapse is part of the process for some people. Each time they quit they will feel bad about failing. Encourage them to set another date to quit. The sooner they try again and the longer they remain smoke-free each time will ensure their confidence and success.

Integrate the discussion Have a classroom discussion about how difficult it is to help someone to quit. Practice how to use “I??? statements and research available methods of quitting in your community. Does your library, counseling or health/nurse office have available information?

Secondhand smoke – “A known human carcinogen (cancer causing agent)???
If the smoker claims they aren’t concerned about their own health, they should consider here is what family members are up against as a consequence of living with a smoker. Secondhand smoke comes from sidestream smoke (smoke that comes from the end of the lit cigarette, pipe or cigar) and mainstream smoke (smoke that is exhaled by a smoker).

In the United States alone, each year it is responsible for:
An estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers.
About 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults.
Other breathing problems in non-smokers, including coughing, mucus, chest discomfort, and reduced lung function.
Up to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age, which result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations.
Increases in the number and severity of asthma attacks in about 200,000 to 1 million children who have asthma.
More than 750,000 middle ear infections in children.
Secondhand smoke may be related to breast cancer.
Integrate the discussion: Make a list of all the ways that people can accidentally be around secondhand smoke and a list of all the ways to avoid it. Work as a group to find polite ways to excuse yourself from a smoking person, room or area without insulting the smoker or hurting their feelings.

Pets and cigarette smoke
It’s not just the humans that smokers should worry about; their pets are inhaling the smoke as well. ( has a page explaining the toxins that our pets are exposed to.

Cats are known to get cancer from licking the tar off of their fur when cleaning themselves.

Californians Unite
California proudly has the second lowest smoking rate (12.9% of adults smoke – CDC 2009) in the country. With positive and gentle encouragement we could be the leaders of the nation in smoke free communities. If you have a loved one who is not ready to quit, plant the seed and put it on the calendar to quit the next time the Great American Smokeout or World No Tobacco Day comes around.

If you have a loved one who is ready to quit smoking, they don’t have to wait another year to quit. In an attempt to reduce the 5.4 million yearly deaths from tobacco-related health problems, World No Tobacco Day (sponsored by the World Health Organization since 1987) is observed around the world on May 31st.

Other references for help:
American Heart Association – Telephone: 1-800-AHA-USA-1 (1-800-242-8721)
Internet Address:
American Lung Association – Telephone: 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872)
Internet Address:
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -Internet Address:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Office on Smoking and Health
Internet Address:
National Cancer Institute -Telephone: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
Internet Address: -(Info on state phone-based quitting programs)
Telephone: 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669) – Internet Address:

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How Do We Explain Prop 19 To Our Kids?

As the California election approaches on November 2, 2010, we’ve had a lot of questions about prop 19. Miles To Go tries very hard to not discuss politics and legalization of drugs in the classroom, but we’re overwhelmed with questions about proposition 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010. Many teachers and parents are confused about what to do, and their students and children are just as confused, so in this blog we will attempt to explain what we know about the proposition. We must urge you, however, to keep this in mind: We are drug PREVENTION specialists, not legal specialists, and WE ARE BIASED.

Proposition 19 wants to legalize marijuana to help with California’s budget problems, and its proponents believe it will cut off funding to violent drug cartels and redirect law enforcement resources to more dangerous crimes. Proponents also say that it will control cannabis like alcohol. The proposition allows local governments to regulate marijuana related activities; it permits local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes; and it authorizes various criminal and civil penalties.

The “No on 19??? organization argues that the proposition is filled with gaps and flaws that will cause serious unintended consequences with public safety, in the workplace, and with federal funding since marijuana use remains illegal under federal law. We wanted to give you an idea of who is against this proposition, but the list was so long that is took up over 50 pages, so here is the link:

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana:We often get the question, “Which is safer: driving high or driving drunk???? Of course, neither is safe. Driving under the influence of marijuana is not safe, because a person’s response rates are slower and impaired. The list of Police and Highway Patrol organizations against this proposition is extraordinarily long. Patrol officers lament the fact that there are currently no field sobriety tests that can effectively demonstrate operational impairments caused by marijuana use; and since current drug tests for marijuana only reveal past use, not current intoxication, there will be no way for them to effectively remove stoned drivers from the roads the way they do drunk drivers via the use of breathalyzer testing.

The questions we raise are:
Do you want people under the influence of marijuana driving on the road with the rest of us?”

NIDA link about drugged driving:

ABC news and Good Morning America recently put this idea to the test – watch/read the report here:

From the NO on 19 FAQ:

The initiative expressly omits any definition of what constitutes being “under the influence??? of marijuana. No driver over 21, including bus, taxi, light-rail train operators, and everyday commuters can be required to be drug-free while operating a vehicle. Although the initiative says you cannot use marijuana while driving, it appears completely permissible to use marijuana just prior to getting behind the wheel. This also opens up a tremendous liability question for employers who operate transportation companies or have company vehicles. They will no longer be able to require employees operating these vehicles be drug free.

Marijuana for 21 and older:Proponents of Yes on 19 argue that like alcohol, marijuana will not be available to anyone under the age of 21. We can barely keep a straight face at this argument–we all know that kids can get alcohol!

Yes on prop 19 says in their FAQ’s that “(marijuana) has fewer harmful effects than alcohol and is not physically addictive with no long term effects on the body.??? We feel it would be better to say that marijuana has different detrimental effects, as it seems to be a matter of opinion which detrimental effects are worse. Unfortunately, saying that marijuana is not “physically addictive??? is nothing more than lying by omission, and a pure misstatement of the science. Marijuana addicts approximately 9% of its users, unless they start smoking in their middle teens, when the addiction rates almost double, to 17%. Whether the addiction is physical or psychological hardly seems to matter if it is your child entering drug treatment for their addiction to marijuana. Finally, “no long term effects on the body??? seems to ignore the European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery when it says that “known consequences of habitual marijuana smoking include an increased prevalence of chronic cough, sputum production and wheeze, as well as a higher frequency of acute bronchitis.??? We guess that no “long term effects??? as it is used here means that if you STOP using marijuana, they will go away, and yet nowhere do they seem to be suggesting that their intention is that people actually stop.

The questions we raise are:
Will legalization for people over 21 increase the usage rates of people under 21?

Here is a link to Lance Armstrong’s website Livestrong that has a series of simplified articles on the subject:

NIDA’s series on addiction:Science of Addiction:

Marijuana Research Reports:

Info Facts: Marijuana (scroll down to addictive potential)

Tax MoneyCurrently, the polling shows that most voters are opposed to proposition 19, and the majority of California’s newspapers are against the proposition. The Sacramento Bee conducted an Ad Watch analyzing the current Yes on 19 commercial which concluded that the commercial was “Mostly misleading.??? According to the Bee, it would not generate the “billions??? of tax revenue dollars claimed because the math was based on inaccurate per ounce tax numbers.

A Rand Corporation study said, “Legalizing Marijuana in California Will Not Dramatically Reduce Mexican Drug Trafficking Revenues.???

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, “The federal government will ‘vigorously enforce’ federal marijuana laws and that any retail establishment selling recreational pot would be admitting to a federal crime by the very act of paying taxes.???
‘Let me state clearly that the Department of Justice strongly opposes Proposition 19. If passed, this legislation will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens.’???
Roger Salazar, No on Prop 19 spokesman stated, “Let’s take stock of where we are:
• No revenue guarantees: The California Board of Equalization says that it cannot determine how much, if any, revenue would be generated by Proposition 19 because it neither establishes a regulatory framework nor does it impose any taxes on marijuana.
• No controls: Prop 19 contains no prohibition against driving after smoking marijuana meaning anyone, even school bus drivers and heavy equipment operators, can smoke up right up until they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
• No reduction of illegal drug trafficking or violence: The Rand report released earlier this week notes that legalizing marijuana in California would not appreciably influence the Mexican drug trafficking organizations and the related violence.
“This sets up a situation where the Feds could withhold billions in federal education funds while cracking down on California’s marijuana industry. It begs the question: Why would anyone vote for this mess of a proposition????

    The questions we raise:

Kelly is concerned with the long term repercussions of addiction, brain and lung damage. Who will pay for the costs of health care in the long run? It seems that while other countries have shown successful models for decriminalization and taxation, there are still no long term studies on health care costs. Here are several links to the annual cost of alcohol abuse in California, which runs in the billions of dollars.

Jonathan is concerned that Proposition 19 will add to our confusion, not reduce it. The current war on drugs is a money burning mess, but this proposition does nothing to change that. Our ultimate goal is to keep drugs out of the bodies of adolescents and teens, but nothing here will move us closer to that goal. The legalization of marijuana in some form or another is probably a foregone conclusion in the long run, but we worry that it will lessen in the teen mind the perceived risk of using the drug, and further open young people up to the questionable role models some adults currently provide with their unhealthy use of tobacco and abuse of alcohol in front of seriously impressionable kids.

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Welcome Back to the 2010-2011 School Year

Miles To Go
News For Your Classroom
Simplifying a Complex Subject

    Welcome back to the 2010-2011 school year!

    We spent the summer working on 2 things
    1: Our book is finished and will be officially released next week, so watch for the next email.
    2: We’ve created News For Your Classroom Discussion – Simplifying A Complex Subject.

    You can find us at at our twitter news page.

    Each day we simplify current scientific news reports and studies about drugs, drug abuse and prevention on our twitter news page. These 140 character tweets are available below with their links.

    Several times per month we will provide you with these drug fact updates as an audio podcast and blog which will be available on our website as well as itunes and podbean.

    When you log on to this page you can view our daily tweets that we call daily drug fact updates. Use these real articles and studies as topics of discussion for your classroom, advisors’ group, mentors’ activities, health class, debate, homeroom, science, biology, human development, psychology, home school discussions, family conversations, faculty meetings, etc.

    Substance abuse is one of the few subjects that involves many different disciplines.

    a. For example it is social, cultural, biological, spiritual, psychological, medical, and historical.

    b. This is why it can be integrated into many different subjects.

    We think that drug prevention education should be about:
    ? Communication,
    ? Decision making,
    ? Problem solving,
    ? Family and general life skills.
    On our website you can subscribe to itunes, podbean, twitter and our blog sites to have it sent directly to your email box or your ipod.

    In addition to these free subscriptions an MP3 player will be available on our website located on the twitter news page. All you need to do is click and listen to get your news for discussions in your classroom.

    Our expanded subscription service extra tweets, questions, and expanded discussion from Kelly & Jonathan about the subject and tweets that are not included in our free service. It’s like getting a mini lecture for your classroom. You can sign up for it on our web site’s twitter news page at

    Be sure to send us an email to let us know how you use this service.

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News For Your Classroom Podcast Episode #4

Hi and welcome to the podcast where we simplify a complex subject while giving you News for your classroom.

Each day we simplify current scientific news reports and studies about drugs, drug abuse and prevention on our twitter news page.

Several times per month we will provide you with these drug fact updates as an audio podcast and blog which will be available on our website as well as itunes and podbean.

QuitNet found that online social connections are helping people quit smoking when using cessation website.

Am. Heart Assoc. finds the 13 states w/o indoor smoking bans could drop thousands of heart attacks & millions of $ would be saved.

SAMHSA: Memorial Day weekend-youth alcohol ER visits up 11%-577 daily for alcohol & 199 daily for combined use drugs&alcohol.

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News For Your Classroom Podcast Episode #3

Hi and welcome to the podcast where we simplify a complex subject while giving you News for your classroom.

Each day we simplify current scientific news reports and studies about drugs, drug abuse and prevention on our twitter news page.

Several times per month we will provide you with these drug fact updates as an audio podcast and blog which will be available on our website as well as itunes and podbean.

SAMHSA study shows Asians born in the U.S. more likely to use drugs and alcohol than Asians born outside the US.
SAMHSA study shows that Japanese Americans 3x’s more likely to use illicit drugs than families from India.
SAMHSA study shows that Asian American binge drinking patterns vary by country and birth place w/ Korean highest.

A small study from Geneva, Switz. Electronic Cigarettes used to quit smoking helpful, but urgent studies needed for toxicity.

UCLA: small study-sensitivity to the dopamine reward system of the teen brain makes it more prone to risk taking & reward seeking.

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