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Parent Drug Education Talk. Maybeck High School February 23, 2010 Parent Presentation Ralph Cantor. Statistics CA v. Berkeley. Adolescent Brain. Adult Brain. PreFrontal Cortex. Parents’, therapists’ and our task:

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parent drug education talk

Parent Drug Education Talk

Maybeck High School February 23, 2010

Parent Presentation

Ralph Cantor


Adolescent Brain

Adult Brain

prefrontal cortex
PreFrontal Cortex

Parents’, therapists’ and our task:

“Sometimes need to act as though they are their teenagers’ “frontal cortex . . . talking through possibilities and options. They have to function like a surrogate set of frontal lobes, an auxiliary problem solver.”

dopamine vs serotonin
Dopamine vs. Serotonin
  • Dopamine produces a feeling of pleasure
  • Serotonin produces a feeling of well being
  • Difference between pleasure and happiness (short lived vs big picture)
  • Developing skills, interest, relationships, meaning (“getting a life”)
  • Resiliency
developmental tasks
Developmental tasks
  • Boredom/ Developing Interests
  • Good times
  • Stress
  • Social Skills
  • Academic Skills
  • Answer the question “Who am I?”
marijuana cannabinoid sites
Marijuana Cannabinoid Sites

Nucleus Accumbens





It ain’t like eating donuts

Or how we trick the brain

marijuana receptor sites

Memory, memory, say what, memory


Novelty Threshold

Attention effects


Sensory input

Noticing differences


Motor Coordination

Flow, time & ADD

Basal Ganglia

Reward system

The final common pathway for drugs

Marijuana Receptor Sites
increased thc potency
Increased THC Potency

Hippies ‘60’s 1 - 3% Cannabis Sativa

Vietnam trans 5 - 10% Cannabis Indica

Growing females 10 - 15% Sensimilla

Horticulture of Northern California Indoor growing 15 - 20%

Weed, purple, pipes, bowls, buds, blunts, bongs, vaporizers

  • Gateway between short term and long term memory
  • Draws information from long term memory
  • Discriminates relevant new information
  • Trashes unimportant information
  • Stores new information in long term memory
what s the big deal about kids drinking anyways
What’s the big deal about kids drinking anyways???
  • Kids Binge Drink
  • Demeaning behaviors
  • Sexual behaviors
  • Risk taking behaviors
  • Accidents
  • Learned behavior for partying and stress
  • Damage to the developing brain- pre 18
alcohol and teenagers
Alcohol and Teenagers:
  • Date Rape – one to two-thirds of teen sexual assaults involve alcohol
  • 18% of Females/ 39% Males say it is acceptable for a boy to force sex if the girl is stoned or drunk
  • 40% of children who start drinking before age 15 will become alcoholics
  • In television 9 out of 10 drinkers are portrayed as having no effects or only positive outcomes from their alcohol consumption
are adolescents more susceptible to alcohol than adults
Are adolescents more susceptible to alcohol than adults?

Most certainly YES

  • Reduced sensitivity to intoxication
  • Increased sensitivity to social disinhibitions
  • Greater adverse effects to cognitive functioning
notes for alcohol
Notes for alcohol

*Extent of binge drinking

*The alcohol industry

*Integrated in society

*Shifting gears, events, stress – substitute


reasons for a delaying message
Reasons for a delaying message
  • Safety
  • Prefrontal cortex less involved
  • Pruning and myelination
  • Altering the pleasure center
  • Short circuiting developmental tasks
  • The research
recent ama report on brain damage risks under 18
Recent AMA Report on Brain Damage Risks Under 18

“The brain goes through dynamic changes during adolescence, and alcohol can seriously damage long and short term growth processes…Short-term or moderate drinking impairs learning and memory far more in youth than adults.”

risk of addiction
Risk of addiction

How well does the drug work?

Positive and Negative Reinforcement

If, in addition to producing pleasure (positive reinforcement), a drug is more addicting, if it relieves negative states: boredom, anxiety, depression or stress (negative reinforcement).

pleasure scale





“I feel negative”

“I feel good”

Pleasure Scale




prevention factors
Prevention Factors
  • Supportive family (tuned in, time together, supervision, fair rules/boundaries)
  • Interests and exercise
  • Youth are connected (school, activities)
  • Social Skills
  • Resiliency (coping with stress, celebration)
  • Teen Proof your home
  • A clear message – NOT NOW
talk to your child
Talk to your child
  • I care, I see, I feel, Listen
  • Clear expectations and consequences
  • Communication & Monitoring
  • Integrity & Self Assessment – Modeling
  • Teen-proof your home
your toolbox
Your toolbox
  • Internal
  • Self Self Care
  • External
  • Talk to other people
our child s struggles our pain
Our Child’sStrugglesOur Pain

What role do we as parents play with our child’s struggles with:


Delayed gratification

No involvement Rescue

get your act together
Get your act together
  • Have a few discussions with a friend or spouse exploring the impact of your own use.
  • Andrew Weil – Unhealthy relationship
    • Ignorance that the substance is a drug and what it does to the body
    • Loss of desired effect w/increasing frequency
    • Difficulty separating from the drug
    • Impairment of health or social function
important website
Important Website
  • Partnership for Drug Free America
  • What to do if you suspect or know that your child is using drugs or alcohol?
bibliography references
Bibliography / References
  • Marijuana: What’s a Parent to Believe? Tim Cermak 2003, Hazelden
  • Uppers, Downers, All Arounders Darryl Inaba 1997, CNS Publications
  • Alcohol: What’s a Parent to Believe?

Stephen Biddulph, 2004, Hazelden

  • Alex Stalcup : New Leaf Treament Center

Am I encouraging open dialogue? If your teen believes she can’t tell you how she’s really feeling, she’ll be more likely to turn elsewhere for comfort and relief. Even if you’re afraid of what you’ll hear, remind your child that she can always talk to you (or another caring adult) about anything – without judgment.


Am I setting aside one-on-one bonding time? If your whole family is going through a stressful transition, such as a move or divorce, your teen may feel neglected. Show your kid you love him by taking him shopping, bowling or out for ice cream – without any siblings tagging along. This special attention will remind him that you’re still interested in what’s going on in his life. It will also remind him that despite your preoccupation at the moment, you are going to pick up on problems or changes in his behavior.


Am I discussing the dangers of drugs and alcohol? Even if they’ve heard it a million times before, it never hurts to talk to teens about the consequences of drinking and drug use. Try prompting your teen to talk to you honestly about his experience with different substances by asking, “So, have you heard about any kids at your school smoking pot?” or “What’s your opinion on teens trying prescription pills?”


Am I monitoring and communicating more?* Asking nit-picky questions may annoy your teen, but it can also keep her safe! If you get an unexpected or nonsensical response, it can immediately alert you that something is off. You have every right to ask your child which friends she’s hanging out with, what they’re planning on doing, and where they’re staying – and you have the right to check her story or call her cell phone halfway through the night. Kids who are not monitored are 4 times more likely to use drugs than those whose parents monitor their activities.

contact information
Contact Information

Ralph Cantor

(510) 653-9410