Paste your Google Webmaster Tools verification code here

Archive for Drug Screening

What to do if your High School aged Child is smoking Pot in San Francisco or any City or County within 100 miles – 1st Step Interventions

“Panic sets in – uncertainty abounds and fear fills your head – you have just found Marijuana or pot hidden in your High School child’s room. Is it time for military school or do you say nothing and just watch”

The answer is neither and you don’t have to panic either. There are a few more stages to go through before that.

bag of pot

This can be every parents night mare – a bag of Marijuana, Pot, “The Kind”, Kush, what ever the word is in your child’s High School has just turned up hidden in their bedroom – and they are only in High School. Even if you as a Parent smoked a little growing up, you panic, we know so much more about Addiction and it is on TV everywhere. What do you do?

What I thought I would do is break it down into 2 segments for you – What we know about Marijuana today and how to handle the situation.What we know about Pot Today:

  • It is much stronger than the pot being smoked in the ’70’s and even through the 80’s. The average THC content (the active ingredient that gets you high) was about 6% then. Today it can be as high ( no pun intended) as 30% – 5 times stronger. And if you process it into Hash Oil – as high as 80% THC.
  • This is not the same drug you might have been smoking or they were smoking back then – but it is called the same drug so it is confusing. It’s like taking Beer and making it as strong as Whiskey but still calling it Beer.
  • The Brain of a Human Being does not stop “growing” or “Developing” until we are about 25.
  • Marijuana is not water soluble – in simplicity what this means is that the Body has a hard time getting rid of it. The Kidneys and Liver cannot dispose of it as well. This is how we normally dispose of drugs so they are gone in 3-5 day fully. Pot can last up to a month or longer and is stored in fatty cells, even in the Brain.
  • Introducing a drug like THC at such high concentrations to a young Brain can have profound negative results. In Treatment we often see 19 year old’s who have been smoking Pot regularly since they were 13 and they are not the same as other 19 years old’s and never will be. They are slower and have a flat affect. The definition of a Flat Affect is – Flat affect: A severe reduction in emotional expressiveness. People with depression and schizophrenia often show flat affect. A person with schizophrenia may not show the signs of normal emotion, perhaps may speak in a monotonous voice, have diminished facial expressions, and appear extremely apathetic. Also known as blunted affect.
  • We used to think that smoking Pot if you were predisposed to have Schizophrenia that it would bring it on – we now know you do not have to be predisposed for Schizophrenia to develop it from smoking pot – the strength and potency today is enough in the “right person” for it to develop, and we do not know how to tell who that is beforehand.

How to handle the situation:

  • The first thing you want to do is bring it out into the open. It doesn’t matter if Marijuana is legal in your State – it is illegal for High School aged Children. Therefore you are condoning illegal behavior if you say nothing. Not a healthy way to raise your child.
  • Explain the differences from above. Kids need to know even though the drug has the same name it is not the same “Mother Nature” “Harmless” drug of the Sixties Counter Culture.
  • Just because it is Organic and grown from the earth and natural doesn’t change the above – it is being grown as hybrids constantly to increase it’s potency – so imagine that being done with an Opium Poppy and getting Opium that is now the strength of Heroin and saying it’s OK it’s from the earth !. Somehow when you see it that way you can see my point and the ridiculousness of the argument.
  • Create a simple consequence and don’t yell and scream – this will shut your child down and they will not hear you nor take head of the consequence. Something like being grounded for a month worth of weekends.
  • Normal Humans will respond to consequence and change their behaviors. The simplistic definition for Addiction is ” Continued use despite consequences”. If your child does not respond then up the consequences. If you find the addition of harder and harder consequences is not changing their behavior around the drug then you have and issue.
  • Call an Interventionist or Addiction Services Company like 1st Step Interventions and begin to get an assessment of whether or not you need to look into Addiction Services. You do not have to just send you Child to Rehab (Treatment), there are lower levels of Care that can break the Addiction and give the Child tools for keeping it in remission and resisting peer pressure. If you call a Treatment Program they will probably say send them in, but in many cases this can do more harm than good as the problem may not be there yet and the consequence of sending them away may create other issues.
  • A good Intervention or Addiction Services Company will have other options that are less expensive and can provide the necessary help without creating the stigma of going to Rehab at 16. These will include Recovery Activities and good Drug Testing. Drug Screening can help as it is a yes or no and doesn’t lie. You do need to know what you are doing with Pot and Drug Testing because it does stay in the body so long.
  • A good reputable Intervention company like 1st Step Interventions will recommend the appropriate level of Care – if it is Treatment we will let you know, but we will probably start elsewhere and see if we can create the necessary change before that.
  • New models like Addiction Care Management are starting to appear. These Services can provide accountability for the necessary changes your child will have to make if your consequences are not working. They are also less expensive than Rehab.
  • You as Parents will be included in the Process and Educated as it goes along so you get the help you need to be supportive yet firm in what’s right and wrong or good and bad.
  • Call us today for a free assessment if you are in San Francisco, The Bay Area or anywhere near. 707-559-5146 or email:

take first step now

Why We Need Longer Addiction Care Management – 1st Step Interventions

What Detox, Treatment and 12 Step Groups miss in their honest attempts to help Addicts.

Patients have many other issues besides Spirituality that they are dealing with post treatment or after day  #1 of Recovery.

Examples of these are:

  • Divorce
  • Debt
  • Lost Jobs
  • Family issues
  • Stress
  • Shame
  • Failure To Launch Into Life
  • Codependents who Enable and don’t know how to stop

Detox, Treatment and12 Step Groups have proven that they have a place in the Addiction Care Continuum for People suffering from the debilitating and Chronic Disease of Addiction. However, they do not sufficiently address, in some cases even identify, severe issues that continually lead Addicts back to using for relief (remember to them using is their solution).

I am not in anyway minimizing the impact Detox, Treatment and 12 Step Groups have on Recovery. Had it not been for this Addict using them I would not be Clean and Sober today. However, I have engaged in other Clinical, Therapeutic, and Educational activities that have helped me deal with issues not identified by, or dealt with, by Treatment or 12 Step Groups – the only 2 Places I was told to go and deal with my Addiction. I suffered for years with my Addiction as a result.

The problem is that many of the issues above take a while to identify, in some cases, to deal with properly, and during that time the Disease may not be in remission enough for the Person dealing with the Disease not to pick up.

Therefore, Longer Addiction Care is called for, a longer and more meaningful period of time where the Addict and in many cases their Family, has Professional interaction. God bless those willing to give of their time as Sponsors in 12 Step Groups, but they are not trained, and in most cases Treatment is so cost prohibitive for long enough Addiction Care – The Chronic Nature of this Illness absolutely calls for more.

The argument being made, what is the answer; Professionals who can fill the gap Post Treatment or after the Addict has decided to get into Recovery that are not cost prohibitive. Places like Addiction Care Management™, where a Professional has been involved since day #1, when either the Family or Addict have decided it is time for change. Addiction Care Management is priced so that most Families can afford it. Here you have a way to extend the period of time that the Addict and Families are able to deal with, or identify issues like above and have help dealing with the issues until the Illness is in Remission enough for the Addict to have made it through the Red Zone, where the chance of Relapse is at its greatest. You also have a Professional who intimately knows the surface issues and can help through Education and other Clinical referrals, where necessary, to help the Addict and Family get to any other issues below the surface. Other addictions such as Drug Testing and Screening can be added for more support.

To wrap up – the 90% to 80% failure rate in early Recovery calls for more and the more has to involve Professional Recovery Places like Addiction Care Management. One thing I have not touched on but is obvious and that is the involvement has to be face to face, person to person, for the proce

Unregulated Addiction Drug tests purchased near Walnut Creek and Danville – 1st Step Interventions

Buyer Beware

At 1st Step Interventions, the leading choice by parents and the most successful Drug Addiction Intervention Company in Walnut Creek and Danville has noticed an unsavory trend recently – Home drug test kits that are unregulated by the FDA. These Tests  can be purchased at Dollar Stores.

Parents often worry about drug and alcohol use with their young children and teens. This time of year can be especially daunting with graduation, parties and summer celebrations. Sober graduation campaigns only go so far.

shoppers can buy home drug test kits, that are unregulated by the FDA, for only one dollar at the local dollar store in town.

We set out to track down one of these tests. It didn’t take long to find the blue and green box, complete with a picture of hemp leaves, stocked on the shelves.

Are these tests accurate?

The box says the test is “97 percent accurate” with results in five minutes of dipping the single-use strip into a urine sample. It shows a simple plus or minus to tell if the tester is positive or negative for having Marijuana, pot, hash, hash oil, or any other form of the drug  in the body.

The test says it is for “over-the-counter and prescription use” with a cutoff of “50ng/mL of Cannabis.” (Ng is the abbreviation for a nanogram.) Cannabis is just another term for Pot.

The package insert reads “Easy Screen test to Federal Guidelines for detection. Other drug test and methods may in fact test to standards and levels higher than Federal Guidelines.”

Dollar Tree corporate officials where contacted for comment about the Easy Screen drug tests but did not respond. The store manager was unable to provide comment.

Other drug store chains do offer home drug tests for marijuana, methamphetamine, opiates, Ecstasy and cocaine, but those tests run upward of $30 and the sample must be sent out in order to obtain results.

Jeff Soto of Teen Savers, a manufacturer of home drug test kits, says tests like Easy Screen are not generally reliable.

“Tests like Easy Screen are usually Chinese made. Many aren’t consistent and can vary in the levels they test from box to box in each lot produced,” he said. “A lot of the people buying these products are users themselves who are checking because they have a drug screen coming up at work or something like that.”

Soto says that accurate home drug test kits must go through a rigorous screening and process with the Food and Drug Administration in order to qualify for FDA approval.

Although  attempts to reach the FDA went unanswered, a search of their website shows that in August 2011, Greenbrier International, INC’s Easy SCREEN Marijuana Test Strip, for Cannabis or THC was waived from regulatory over-site.

According to the FDA website:

“Tests can be categorized as “waived” from regulatory over-site if they meet certain requirements established by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) law. By selecting a Test System Name, you can view the CLIA data for that Test System, including the corresponding 510(K) record, if applicable.”

In order to be considered for Waivers per the FDA:
1) Any test listed in the regulation must be included.
2) Any test system for which the manufacturer or producer applies for waiver if that test meets the statutory criteria and the manufacturer provides scientifically valid data verifying that the waiver criteria have been met
3) Test systems cleared by the FDA for home use.

A call to the manufacturer’s customer service department went unanswered.

“The cheap tests can give a parent a false sense of security,” said Soto.

We at 1st Step Interventions use Drug Smart tests. These tests have been tested and a white paper published. We present our clients with the white paper before we start a Drug Screening process on any of our Patient’s under our Addiction Care Management™ Service. We have found that the Patient’s we work with whose Parents or Spouse or Family sign them up for this Service do much better in their Recovery. In fact every Patient who had at least 9 months if not longer of drug testing along with our services are all still Sober and in Recovery today. How do we know this, because the relationship we form with them becomes so strong that they themselves stay in touch with us.



** Idea for this Blog taken from an article written by (Editor) ,