The Skittles Party

The Dangerous Trend of Skittles Parties

With the surge in prescription drug use in America in recent years, teens have discovered ways of capitalizing on the abundance of drugs right at their fingertips (in their parents’ and grandparents’ medicine cabinets).  Among the latest trend is “Skittles Parties,” where kids pilfer drugs like Vicodin, Oxycontin and Tylenol with Codeine from their parents’ medicine cabinets and find a place to gather with friends. They combine all the drugs into a bag and take turns swallowing pills at random, like a dangerous bag of skittles.

For most parents the idea of their teen kids taking mind-altering drugs at random at a “Skittles Party” sounds terrifying.  It’s important not be apathetic about the realities of peer pressure — even the most focused kids can cave in when it comes to experimenting with drugs in the face of pressure from friends.

Here’s how to protect your kids from the Skittles Party:

  • Lock away all your prescription drugs, even if you believe your teen would never take them much less attend a Skittles Party.
  • Keep an inventory of your prescription drugs, even if they’re locked away.  Count pills if necessary to avoid becoming an inadvertent Skittles Party supplier.
  • Familiarize yourself with your kids’ friends, and be on the lookout for suspicious behavior.
  • Know where your kids are at all times and keep in contact with the parents of your kids’ friends.

Here are some statistics about teenage drug abuse from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

  • In 2009, 16 million Americans aged 12 and up had taken prescription drugs for non-medical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  • The NIDA-funded 2010 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 2.7% of 8th graders, 7.7% of 10th graders, and 8.0% of 12th graders had abused Vicodin and 2.1% of 8th graders, 4.6% of 10th graders, and 5.1% of 12th graders had abused OxyContin for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.

These alarming statistics highlight the importance of protecting kids from prescription drug abuse. A Skittles Party is the last place you’ll ever want your teen to be. If your teen has a problem with drugs or alcohol, the professional clinical staff at Gatehouse Academy can help.  We tailor programs to the meet the unique needs of teens and young adults battling addiction. Visit our website for more information about our treatment programs.

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Physiological Interventions on Addiction

An article released today by Science Daily summarizes the results of a recent study on mice with implications toward addiction. 

Science Daily quoted the following findings:

“A single injection of cocaine or methamphetamine in mice caused their brains to put the brakes on neurons that generate sensations of pleasure, and these cellular changes lasted for at least a week, according to research by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies”

These are interesting findings for addiction science.  The findings seem to raise further questions.  Would the brains of the mice have a similar reaction to other drugs like Opana, Percocet, Dilaudid, Roxys, Oxys, marijuana, and other drugs?  Does the human brain have the same protective capacities?  Is this protective capacity somehow missing in people with a greater propensity for addiction?  Could there be a way to learn from this innate capacity in order to devise medical strategies that would block the effects of addictive drugs such as cocaine, meth, Oxycontin, Roxys, marijuana, pot, and others?  Is this wise and ethical?  Would this actually be effective?  Is there more to addiction than just brain physiology?  Is addiction treatment and dual diagnosis drug rehab also about a greater spiritual development process that includes body, mind, and spirit? 


According to the article, “the number of deaths due to drug abuse now exceeds those due to car accidents, with more than 37,000 people dying from drugs in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”


We here at Northbound Academy, a long term drug rehab for young adults in Southern California, know all too well these disturbing facts.  We wonder if lengths toward curbing the addictive responses of addictive drugs to the brain would diminish the potentiality of addiction and subsequent deaths each year?  Would addiction manifest in other ways?  This article is very interesting and raises numerous questions about drug treatment.  From our long term rehab in Southern California, Northbound Academy, we admire the work of these scientists and look positively to the future.

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Teen Mom, Amber Portwood, pushes limits by failing required Drug Test

Some wonder, how you could screw it up all over again after you were given another shot. Teen mom, Amber Portwood has achieved that by failing a required drug test. She now faces a 5 year sentence that she avoided a few months back. To answer the question why would someone screw up a lucky opportunity is simple for an addict to answer but difficult for everyone else to understand. For the addicts who are addicted to drugs such as Oxycontin, Opana, Vicodin, Percocets, Methadone, and other opiates, most will tell you how difficult it is to stop on your own and how many times they have tried. People like Amber Portwood would benefit from a long term residential treatment center in Southern California as well as many addicts and alcoholics.


Also, a place like Northbound Academy, which is a long term young adult residential treatment center help people like this teen mother on a daily basis. Drug testing is just one of the added benefits to this program. It’s very hard for an addict to relate to someone who doesn’t do drugs and most don’t have other coping mechanisms to deal with certain everyday issues that the average person can deal with. That is why long term young adult treatment centers are a great start to helping people learn how to deal with everyday life. When the young adults are diving into Oxycontin, Opana, Vicodin, Percocet, Methadone, and other opiates, long term residential treatment is really the best and sometimes only option.

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British Pro Golfer, Rachel Connor, busted with DUI with NFL star in passenger seat

21 year old Rachel Connor was driving late this morning with retired well-known NFL star Eddie George when cops pulled her vehicle over and arrested her for DUI. For now, they are unsure what this mishap will do to her reputation on the LPGA. Eddie George was not arrested and it was reported that he took a cab home following the arrest.  Many celebrities get arrested for DUI that aren’t just for alcohol. In the recent past, other celebrities have been arrested for possession of OxyContin, oxycodone, Vicodin, Opana, and marijuana.

Many people including celebrities attend long-term drug treatment programs in Southern California after an arrest. A lot of them are of younger age and by their second charge most families will realize a young adult drug treatment center is necessary for their loved ones. Though it is scary to know that even celebrities drive around intoxicated and put many civilians at risk, there is a solution to help the ones who struggle with addiction. Oxycontin, Vicodin, Opana, Percocets are very highly abused drugs and when mixed with alcohol, a DUI is easy for the police to hand out. Thankfully no one was hurt but the reputation of these two stars after the reported incident.

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Better methods of PTSD treatment needed for Veterans than just risky opiates

In a recent story it was revealed that many veterans suffering from PTSD are being prescribed prescription painkillers with a high addiction potential.  This group already has a higher potential for addiction and so this is leading to various problems for this group.

Fox News revealed that “morphine and similar powerful painkillers are sometimes prescribed to recent war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress along with physical pain, and the consequences can be tragic.”  The other ”similar powerful” medications mentioned here could be Opana, OxyContin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, percocet, Dilaudid, and others. 

Furthermore, it was revealed by the government study that veterans suffering from PTSD were 2 times more likely to be prescribed these opiate medications that veterans suffering only from chronic pain. 

There seems to be something very problematic with this finding.  In some way, one could argue that the medications are being prescribed to compensate for mental pain.  Without really being able to critique the efficacy of such a use as I am not a Medical Doctor, it does still seem strange to me.  It seems as though these veterans are not getting access to more sophisticated forms of treatment, possibly residential addiction and dual-diagnosis treatment.  They are just being given pills to make them feel better because it is possibly all that is funded.

Therefore, it is the assertion of this author that more sophisticated treatments for PTSD are provided immediately to this important group of individuals who have risked their lives for our country. 

Our young adult rehab program, Northbound Academy in Southern California, has treated numerous young adult veterans who were needing dual diagnosis treatment for PTSD and addiction to opiates such as Percocet, Dilaudid, heroin, opana, hydrocodone, and others. 

Perhaps what is needed is more provisions for inpatient or residential dual diagnosis treatment for our veterans.  So many of them are young adults, so young adult long term treatment is probably also something that should be included in the military health insurance plans like Tricare.

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Reality TV Star headed to Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Reality TV shows star and My Space icon, Tila Tequila, agreed to enter rehab for substance abuse in addition to seeking rehab for psychological issues. Tila Tequila’s manager told reporters that she has agreed to go to dual diagnosis treatment after friends staged an intervention.


Long term drug treatment with a dual diagnosis component might be the best answer for Tila Tequila. Arizona’s Northbound Academy has provided a high level for young adults struggling with addiction and trauma since 2000. Sources say it’s unclear when Tila plans to enter a drug and alcohol treatment center but friends say they hope she enters into treatment soon.


Long term drug rehab and trauma treatment like Northbound Academy are specialized to deal with specific case like Tila. Northbound Academy has a long history and specialized staff to provide the level of care a young adult like Tila needs, located outside of Phoenix, Southern California.


Long term young adult treatment in Southern California, Northbound Academy (888.730.0905) Their long term structured program has helped thousands of struggling young adults start to lead healthy and productive lives. Please give us a call so that we may help your loved one get the help they need.

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Demi Lovato documentary on MTV raises awareness about addiction recovery

A new documentary on MTV with a more serious side than the usual fare, takes a look at the life of a young woman who has completed inpatient drug treatment and is now facing “life on life’s terms” while trying to recover and avoid destructive behaviors.

The person of interest in the documentary happens to be Demi Lovato, a popular teen actress who entered drug treatment some time ago for issues with body image, depression, and drugs. 

It is unknown which drugs Demi Lovato specifically abused.  Young people today are abusing all types of drugs including OxyContin (Oxy’s), percocet, Roxies, marijuana, cocaine, Xanax, heroin, and more.

The name of the documentary “Stay Strong” reflects these very same words that are tattooed on each of Demi’s wrists for personal encouragement.

Demi Lovato got her start with a starring role in the Disney Channel film’s Camp Rock” alongside the Jonas Brothers.   According to the New York Daily News,

In October 2010, after an altercation with a dancer while on tour with the Jonas Brothers, Lovato’s parents confronted her in an intervention. She agreed to seek help and entered a treatment facility.”

The show does a nice job of portraying the perseverance it can take post-treatment to succeed in recovery from various addictions.  According to Lovato, “There’s days where you’re going to struggle…….I cannot tell you that I have not thrown up since treatment. I cannot tell you I’ve not cut myself since treatment. I’m not perfect. This is a daily battle that I will face for the rest of my life”

This story also shows that interventions can be successful in getting someone to face their issues and go to treatment.  Although things are not perfect, Demi seems self-aware and steadfast on her new path that was started by a drug addiction intervention. 

Our professionals here in Southern California now how to structure and manage an intervention process.  We encourage you to reach out to us if you are thinking that this may be a necessary step for your loved one.

At our long term young adult treatment in Southern California called Northbound Academy (888.730.0905), we treat hundreds of young people every year that are in a similar position as Demi Lovato.  Our dual diagnosis young adult program has the advantage of being long term and transitional so that a young adult client can benefit from an experience that is safe, structured, transitional, and long enough to allow a person to really grow and change. 

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Lindsey Lohan demonstrates better behavior

This past Saturday night, Lindsey Lohan hosted Saturday Night Live and was very well received, earning high ratings for the event and outpacing other notable people who have hosted the show in the past.  There was also a seemingly auspicious turn towards the good as Lindsey was reported to have behaved very well after the event.

According to the Huffington Post: “Noone leave. Around 3:00 a.m., folks started to say goodnight after Lindsay worked the room, making it clear that she was back. Not drinking, but rather enjoying being back in the limelight doing something good, not bad.”

Could Lindsey, who had once abused drugs and alcohol, have finally taken a turn toward real recovery?  We sincerely hope so.  We hope that the promises of recovery are coming true in her life and she has some freedom from the constant interpersonal struggles and self-abuse that seem to go hand-in-hand with addiction.  Recovery can be a difficult journey with people sometimes needing inpatient rehab multiple times before they are able to stay clean and sober.  Differently than Lindsey, Most people who go through this process would not have all of their struggles broadcast in the media.  We have special sympathy for someone like Lindsey who is in the public eye and trying to get sober.  Here at Northbound Academy in Southern California, we have treated high profile clients and their children who were looking for a celebrity rehab or a luxury rehab but could probably and did benefit more from a basic and fundamental approach.   We operate a long term dual diagnosis young adult treatment center in Southern California.  We treat hundreds of young adult addicts like Lindsey Lohan at our long term young adult treatment center every year.    There are many young adults out there who are abusing dangerous drugs such as OxyContin, percocet, cocaine, marijuana, and others.  Many could benefit from long term drug treatment like we offer here in Southern California.  We hope that Lindsey Lohan can use her public image to inspire others into recovery.

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The Northbound Academy Family Workshop Program is Now Taking a Cutting Edge Approach Towards a Sometimes Unnoticed Form of PTSD in Families of Addicted Clients

The family members of addicted people sustain protracted trauma over the course of years. This needs to be addressed to build total family recovery.

“Most families have some form of PTSD. A parent who found their child collapsed in the bed or bath nearly dead from an overdose, who experienced a surge of adrenalin to handle the emergency” – Bonnie A. DenDooven MC, LAC

(PRWEB) February 24, 2012

Parents of children with addictions suffer in numerous ways. Family therapist at Northbound Academy, Bonnie A. DenDooven MC, LAC, has developed a cutting-edge approach to working with the families of young adult drug addicts that understands the difficulties of these family members to be as a result of a varied form of PTSD, cPTSD.

According to BenDooven; “All previous family models for working with addiction have approached the family system from the point of view as if addiction began with adults and was passed down generationally. Today we are seeing a very high percentage of first-generation addicts, and the devastation to relatively normal parents when their children turn to drugs is incomprehensible.” – Bonnie A. DenDooven MC, LAC

Northbound Academy’s clinical team is taking a progressive approach towards addressing the families of first-generation addicts. This approach involves the identification and treatment of a specific form of PTSD, identified as cPTSD, that can arise more slowly over the course of time. The concept of cPTSD was originally advanced by Judith Herman through her groundbreaking work, Trauma & Recovery. cPTSD is a protracted form of trauma resulting from years of overt or covert abuses, betrayal, distrust, and “gaslighting”, wherein a parent or family member is led to believe they are going crazy through deception and manipulation. All of these forms of trauma may occur in the parents of a young adult dealing with drug addiction. Increasingly, BenDooven and the other Family Workshop facilitators at Northbound Academy have witnessed more and more families that are experiencing addiction for the first time through their children. This lack of prior understanding of addiction can lead to prolonged engagement with the addict and can result in protracted trauma. The Northbound Family Workshop team aims to begin identifying this form of protracted PTSD earlier in the process with families, allowing them to engage treatment that will afford them better lives and relationships in the long term and may indirectly improve outcomes for their addicted family members.

Each of Northbound Academy’s Family Workshop staff is highly trained. Northbound Academy strives for excellence in the leading and most progressive modalities of therapy. It is a unique program that includes a world-class therapeutic treatment process within a larger residential context that is designed to enhance the lives of young adults by helping them to develop life skills, experience the 12 Step Program, enjoy themselves in extracurricular activities, and finally, to move closer to accomplishing their academic and career goals.

About Northbound Academy

Gatehouse Academy is a co-educational long-term residential program exclusively for young adults age 17 to 28 with chemical dependency and co-occurring disorders. Their centers proved the necessary clinical, residential, educational, recreational, and family communication support system for everyone admitted. Their mission is: “We absolutely insist on guiding young adults towards a life of excellence, leadership and service.” Northbound Academy operates its main campus in Wickenburg, Southern California. Other Southern California drug rehab campuses include Sober University, conveniently located in Tucson Southern California, and Northbound College Campus located in Prescott Southern California. It has an extended campuses also located in Prescott Southern California.
For more information about Northbound Academy call toll free 1-(888) 730.0905


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UCLA Basketball Program under scrutiny for allowing Drug and Alcohol use

UCLA Basketball Program under scrutiny for allowing Drug and Alcohol use

Sports Illustrated has reported that current UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland has let players slip through the cracks on rules and it was even reported that drugs and alcohol has been used throughout the players season and sometimes even before practice. Over the years, a lot of young adult athletes especially in college have been punished and kicked out of school for using drugs, such as Oxycontin, Percocets, Opana, Vicodin and especially the abuse of alcohol. All of these drugs are very habit forming and most show warning signs of addiction when using these drugs.

Long term drug treatment such as Arizona’s Northbound Academy, is a realistic solution when family members are forced to intervene and find help for their loved college students. Residential drug treatment is an effective form of confronting the disease of addiction as well as laying a foundation to help families loved ones start getting back on track to living a productive life. Ben Howland, basketball coach for the University of California at Los Angeles seems to be setting a terrible example for the young, new, college students as well as the entire NCAA collegiate programs.


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For a free consultation, call us now at 888.730.0905.  We will be happy to assist in any way as you determine an appropriate treatment placement for yourself or a loved one.



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