Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Health News

Teen Drug Treatment Jumps 65 Percent Over Decade, Federal Study Says

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The number of admissions to substance abuse treatment for adolescents ages 12 to 17 increased again in 2002, continuing a ten-year trend. These data were released today in the "Treatment Episode Data Set: National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services 1992-2002" by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The new data show that the number of adolescents ages 12 to 17 admitted to substance abuse treatment increased 65 percent between 1992 and 2002. In 1992, adolescents represented 6 percent of all treatment admissions. By 2002, this proportion had grown to 9 percent. This report expands upon data published in May in the "Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) Highlights 2002."
The increase in substance abuse treatment admissions among 12 to 17 year olds was largely due to the increase in the number of admissions in this age group that reported marijuana as their primary drug of abuse. Between 1992 and 2002, the number of adolescent treatment admissions for primary marijuana abuse increased 350 percent. In 1992, 23 percent of all adolescent admissions were for primary marijuana abuse. By 2002, 63 percent of adolescent admissions reported marijuana as their primary drug.
"The youthfulness of people admitted for marijuana use shows that we need to work harder to get the message out that marijuana is a dangerous, addictive substance," SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie said. "All Americans must begin to confront drug use -- and drug users -- honestly and directly. We must discourage our youngsters from using drugs and provide those in need an opportunity for recovery by encouraging them to enter and remain in drug treatment."
Forty-eight percent of all adolescent treatment admissions in 2002 involved the use of both alcohol and marijuana. Admissions involving these two substances increased by 86 percent between 1992 and 2002.
In 2002, more than half (53 percent) of adolescent admissions were referred to treatment through the criminal justice system. Seventeen percent were self- or individual referrals, and 11 percent were referred through schools.
The TEDS report provides detailed data on admissions to substance abuse treatment for all age groups. The 2002 data show that polydrug abuse (abuse of more than one substance) was more common among TEDS admissions than was the abuse of a single substance. Polydrug abuse was reported by 55 percent of all admissions for substance abuse treatment in 2002. Alcohol, marijuana and cocaine were the most commonly reported secondary substances. For marijuana and cocaine, more admissions reported these as secondary substances than as primary substances.
This new report provides information on the demographic and substance abuse characteristics of the 1.9 million annual admissions to treatment for abuse of alcohol and drugs in facilities that report to individual state administrative data systems. The report also includes data by state and state rates.
The report is available on the web at http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/.

SAMHSA, a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead federal agency for improving the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention, addiction treatment and mental health services in the United States.

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

CONTACT: Leah Young of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration, +1-240-276-2130

Web site: http://www.samhsa.gov/

Monday, August 30, 2004

source: jointogether.org

Most Crimes in Puerto Rico Linked to Illegal Weapons

Testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee of Public Integrity, Pio Rechani Lopez, the executive director of the Institute of Forensic Science, said most of the crimes in Puerto Rico are committed with illegal and stolen weapons, the Associated Press reported Aug. 27.

"There are illegal weapons arriving from other countries or the United States that enter the island as contraband that are more used for these types of crimes. The majority of the firearms used in murders and crimes are assault weapons, like the AR-15 or the AK-47," Rechani Lopez said.

Rechani Lopez said it's difficult to monitor the flow of illegal weapons into Puerto Rico because some assault weapons illegally entering the island are obtained legally in states like Kentucky and Texas.

Note: This article is online at http://www.jointogether.org/z/0,2522,574404,00.html

Visit www.jointogether.org for complete news and funding coverage, resource links and advocacy tools supporting community-based efforts to reduce and prevent substance abuse and gun violence.

Join Together Online (www.jointogether.org)
Join Together is a project of the Boston University School of Public Health.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Featured Site

Escape to Puerto Rico (there is a link to the site from the prsun.blogspot). But there is one more reason to visit.

Check out:

I am pleased to report that my photos are featured at
Escape to Puerto Rico as part of its Puerto Rico e-cards collection.

My work is located under the categories:

Old San Juan




Friday, August 27, 2004

Latino/a Literature: A Resource for Standardized Testing

Originally uploaded by Manny.
By Manny Hernandez

Manny, who regularly contributes to Puerto Rico Sun articles on education and Latino issues, is the author of the Latino/a Literature book, a resource for young adults and standardized testing in America.

The Latino Agenda in the Upcoming Elections: Education

By Manuel Hernandez

There has been a lot of talk that Latinos are now the largest minority in the United States. According to recent projections, close to half of the population will be Latino by half of the 21st Century. Hispanic Magazine describes the phenomenon as the “Minority Nation.” The Latino population growth has surpassed all predictions and continues to baffle census specialists. There are many Latino issues on top of the electoral table, but the following seem to be the most relevant: home ownership, immigration, health insurance, economic growth, security and education. As a hard-core believer in the power of education, all of the issues served on the electoral table are appetizers of a quality education.

It was in 1967 with the publication of "Down These Mean Streets" that the legendary pioneer of Latino letters, Piri Thomas, made “El Barrio” in Manhattan a household name. The classic autobiography portrayed and depicted the issues of the late 1960's: identity, survival and racism.

But in 2004, the climactic point in the Latino drama is education. With an approximate 25 percent high school dropout rate average and merely 6 percent registration rate at the graduate level in colleges and universities across America, the numbers speak for themselves and have been thrust around at will by those who have all kinds of interests.

Despite the good intentions coming from one party and another, a sound and solid based educational plan has yet to be designed and created. How will the National Latino high school dropout rate be attended? What academic plan will be drawn to ensure that Latino teens entering high school in 2004-2005 will not drop out tomorrow? How will those young adults graduating from high school receive motivation, information and support to pursue graduate studies? The answers to these and other educational questions remain tied up in the “language of ideas” discussed by politicians at all corners of the electoral table.

Under President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Law, there is renewed accountability, enhanced flexibility and community control. At the same time, there is an emphasis on teaching strategies that have worked in the past. But there are no specific, concise and detailed suggestions on how states should tackle the desired educational outcomes. Senator Kerry’s people are talking about providing quality education and recognizing that “children need good schools” (Hispanic Magazine, page 84). The good intentions are undeniable, but the ideas do not fulfill the academic demands of a population that continues to impact, influence and redefine America.

The academic demands cannot be taken lightly and should provide immediate intervention, pre-planned prevention and long-term planning. The highest high school dropout rate amongst minorities is preventing Latinos to attain a higher education degree. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a college graduate will earn more over a lifetime period than a high school graduate. However, in the traditional age group, only 25 percent of foreign-born Latinos who graduated high school are enrolled in an undergraduate institution. On the other hand, 40 percent of second generation Latino high school graduates attend college.

If Latinos are less likely to graduate from high school but continue to grow in population, the United States has an economic situation that needs serious attention. Why not make it a national priority to work with states to develop a vision in tune with the necessities of the Latino teen?

Latino teens are scoring poorly in city, state and national testing requirements. Teens have difficulties reacting and responding to literature that is far away from their immigrant experience. The literary text possesses no fixed and final meaning or value; there is no one "correct" meaning. According to Louise Rosenblatt, a poem is "what the reader lives through under the guidance of the text." If Latino teens cannot make a connection with the text, there will be little possibility of an interpretation. As a consequence, the possibilities of better scores in these exams are reduced to a minimum.

Latino teens today are open to options. It is the responsibility of government, teachers, administrators, parents and educational advocates to provide them with the keys to their educational experience. I strongly believe that education should be highlighted as the core issue once and for all -- not only by Bush and Kerry but by Latino leaders and academics alike. There are so many of us, but we have not decided on the best interest of our future generations: education.

Manuel Hernández contributes education essays to Puerto Rico Sun. He is the author of Latino/a Literature in The English Classroom. If you would like to publish the article in your local newspaper, call his editor at 787-355-0099. Feel free to visit his page at www.puertoricans.com.