Synthetic Drugs Part 1



     If you’re feeling intense stress from school, work or life in general, you are probably looking for a way to decompress from the stress. Say a friend finds out about your stress, and offers you an interesting looking tea bag, and they tell you it will make everything alright. They have most likely just handed you a bag of ‘bath salts’ A.K.A. synthetic cathinone. Synthetic drugs can mimic the effects of natural drugs, such as energy and mood elevation, and can come in packaging that have the appearance of being legal, making them seem acceptable. Synthetic drugs have become increasingly popular with young adults, especially high-school age students. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, 1 in 9 high school seniors reported using synthetic Marijuana in the last year (Monitoring the Future survey, 2012). Other forms of synthetic drugs are Spice/K2 (synthetic marijuana), Ecstasy, LSD, and Methamphetamine.

It has been reported that synthetic drugs are more dangerous and more addictive then natural drugs. According to, on their Drug Facts page about synthetic cathinones (bath salts), one study found that a common synthetic cathinone (MDVP) affects the brain like cocaine does, only the effect of MDVP is 10 times stronger (Bauman et al., 2013). There is no way to know what is in synthetic drugs because of how and where they are made. The synthetic drugs could be made up of many dangerous ingredients that can cause harmful side effects. Many new synthetic drugs are introduced each year to the public, making it hard to create regulations against certain ingredients. For the next few weeks we will be talking about several different synthetic drugs and their effects on our bodies, so stay tuned! If you’re struggling with drug use or have other questions stop by or call us to chat with someone about your situation; 1.866.538.8023.


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What is a Healthy Relationship?  People have differing opinions on what a healthy relationship looks like however, one thing everyone can agree on is that a healthy relationship is not abusive in any way, shape or form.  According to the website these are signs you are in an unhealthy relationship:

Lack of respect

You “go along” with something even if you think it is not right. You feel bad about what happens when you are together.

Being held back

Your partner does not let you succeed in school, or you are made to feel guilty about doing things that interest you.

Controlling behavior

You may hear, “If you love me, I need to know where you are.” Your partner does not care about your friends.

Feeling “crazy in love”

One or both of you calls the other all the time. You feel your partner is possessive and smothering.

Getting blamed for your partner’s problems

You hear, “This is all your fault.”

Feeling jealous most of the time

A little bit of jealousy is normal. A lot of jealousy, or allowing jealousy to control what goes on between the two of you, will hurt the relationship.

Trying to change the other person’s behavior

One of you tells the other, “My way or no way.”

Unhealthy relationships can become healthy ones with mutual respect and communication. But, if you can’t have respect for each other the relationship may need to end. Sometimes these problems increase into more severe issues. If that happens it may look something like this:

Verbal Abuse

Screaming, swearing, bullying, or calling each other names is never okay.

Physical Abuse

Pushing, Shoving, Hitting, or Kicking

Trying to Control the Other Person’s Behavior; Forced Sex

You always have the right to refuse attention or affection.


If one of you does not get your way, a threat is made to hurt either the other person or yourself.

Breaking or Hitting Objects during an Argument

If your relationship is crossing the line, the behavior needs to stop right away or the relationship needs to end. If you are having trouble ending a relationship, seek the help of an adult who cares about your well-being.

We now know what an unhealthy relationship looks like, as well as signs of something more severe. According to this is what a healthy relationship is about:

Respecting each other

Knowing that you make each other better people

Sharing common interests, but having outside friends and activities too

Settling disagreements peacefully and with respect

Both people in a relationship should be happy and supportive of each other. If you would like to learn more about healthy relationships, dating and other topics of interest, visit  Are you having problems in a relationship and would like someone to talk to? You can call or stop by Youth Outreach to chat with someone about your situation; 1.866.538.8023.


E-Cigs: Why They Aren’t Okay

480,000: the number of deaths in the United States per year.  The cause: smoking cigarettes.  Smoking cigarettes is still the single leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The good news is that cigarette smoking among teens did not increase, but it also did not decrease either. Today I’m here to talk about E-cigarette use, also known as e-hookahs and vape pens.  Some of you may not think you’ve ever had an e-cig but if you’ve tried any kind of a vape pen, or anything that ever looked like this then you have:


The top one is of course a cigarette but everything underneath it is a type of e-cig.


E-cig use for high-school students is trending up, with 16 percent reporting using the devices in 2015, up from 13 percent in 2014 according to the Centers for Disease Control. The important thing to note is that using e-cigs or any kind of tobacco product is dangerous. As a teenager your brain is still developing and the nicotine along with other chemicals in e-cigs can have an effect.

  • E-cig vapor is not harmless water vapor. In addition to nicotine, e-cig vapor can contain heavy metals, ultrafine particulates that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, and cancer causing agents.
  • E-cig vapor also contain propylene glycol or glycerin and flavorings. Some e-cig manufacturers claim that the use of these ingredients is safe because they meet the FDA definition of what is known as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). However, what the FDA calls GRAS applies to ingestion of these ingredients (i.e., in food), not inhalation. The health effects of inhaling these substances, including from an e-cig, are unknown but considered unsafe.
  • Inhaling e-cig vapor directly from the device or from secondhand vapor that is exhaled by users is potentially harmful to health. So just as inhaling second hand smoke from cigarettes is dangerous, so is inhaling secondhand vapor from an e-cig.

If you have tried to stop smoking cigarettes or e-cigs and have not been successful, stop by or call Youth Outreach. Did you know we have a Prevention Specialist as well as others that can help you achieve your goals? You can call us day or night: 1.866.538.8023.

Who Moved My Cheese? Part 2

So maybe you’re thinking about change and wondering what the process of change looks like. The professionals have broken change down into stages to help explain what change looks like as we travel through the process.


Stage 1: Pre-Contemplation. This means that the person doesn’t realize he/she has any kind of a problem. Some people would also call this denial. The person doesn’t want to listen to anyone when the idea of change is talked about.

Stage 2: Contemplation. At this point the person may be on the fence about something needing to change. He/she is beginning to at least think about the idea of change and what should happen next.

Stage 3: Preparation.  At this stage of change, the person has made the decision that change needs to happen. It is in this stage that decisions are usually made about what to do next and how to apply the changes. I would also use the word planning to describe the stage. He/she is planning out how to make the change happen.

Stage 4: Action. The person has decided change needs to happen; a plan has been made, so now it’s time to act. This is where the person tries to make the change happen. The person has put that plan to work.

Stage 5: Maintenance. The person has successfully changed and has kept that change going for some period of time.  This doesn’t mean the person won’t face challenges, but he/she has been successful at changing something and has maintained that change. Part of maintenance is also relapse. With relapse it means that while change happened and has been successful, the person has returned to old ways prior to the change. I think here it is important to point out that not all people experience relapse, but it does happen. Relapse is a normal part of changing things about you.  Relapse is in no way considered a failure.  Relapse means that the person just has to try again.

We’ve talked about the stages of change so let’s apply these stages to someone that’s trying to quit smoking as an example.  Let’s say you have a friend that should really stop smoking cigarettes.

Stage 1 is Pre-Contemplation so the friend at this stage is saying “what problem? I don’t have any kind of problem. There’s nothing wrong with smoking cigarettes. “

Stage 2 Contemplation: the person is starting to realize that he/she may have a problem with their smoking but still isn’t completely convinced that a problem exists.

Stage 3 Preparation/Planning: the person has finally realized that change is needed and he/she needs to stop smoking. At this stage your friend would be planning out how to make that happen: does that look like quitting smoking all at once? Cutting down how many cigarettes are smoked daily until eventually none at all? Or reaching out for professional assistance?

Stage 4 Action: That friend has taken his/her plan and is trying it to see what’s going to work. The person is actively working on making a change which would also mean trial and error until he/she figures out what is working. The person may realize that trying to quit all at once just isn’t working and then readjusts the plan to try something different.

Stage 5 Maintenance: the person has successfully quit smoking for a while now and has been able to maintain the change.

Relapse: let’s say that friend made a mistake while at a party and smoked a couple cigarettes. Yes the person made a mistake but that’s okay, it happens. He/she now has to go back to the action stage and try again if the plan has been working until now.

If you’re thinking about changing something and you want someone to talk to about it, come see us here at Youth Outreach or give us a call day or night at 1.866.538.8023.

Who Moved My Cheese?


Growing up I was always told that you cannot escape from death and taxes. I think my parents’ weren’t all that happy about taxes, but I believe one thing we cannot escape from is change.  The dictionary defines change as the act or instance of making or becoming different. Sometimes change can surprise us like maybe a family tragedy, or loss of a job. Change isn’t always a bad thing either and can be good like getting a better job, graduating high school, or getting help with some type of problem you’re facing. Dealing with change can be tough for a lot of people.  A book about change has become super popular because it talks about how to cope with change. The book is called Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. In the book the cheese is a metaphor for what you want in your life, whatever that is. Here are 12 life lessons about change from Who Moved My Cheese:

  1.  “If you do not change, you can become extinct”

Meaning: When things change, you should change as well. Adapt yourself accordingly otherwise you will be left behind.

  1. “What would you do if you were not afraid?”

Meaning: Sometimes some amount of fear can be good because you think about it and will take action. It’s not good when you are so afraid it keeps you from doing anything. You should not be afraid in taking risks in your life, when it’s necessary.

  1. “Smell the cheese often, so you know when it is getting old”

Meaning: Monitor change in your cheese and prepare yourself accordingly, so when change in your cheese happens, you will be ready for it.

  1. “When you move beyond fear, you feel free”

Meaning: You have to let go of your fear, and shift your focus from what can go wrong to what will go right and only then will you be able to give 100%.

  1. “Imagining myself enjoying new cheese even before I find it leads me to it”

Meaning: Dream about those things which you want in life, because when you imagine having your cheese then it will lead to your cheese quickly.

  1. “The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese”

Meaning: Don’t hold on to things in your life when change happens that will only waste your time, energy and you will feel disappointed. Instead take action to move on and again make yourself busy in searching of new cheese.

  1. “It is safer to search in the maze, than remain in a cheese less situation”

Meaning: You have to keep moving in life, searching for your cheese instead of worrying about what you lost.

  1. “Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese”

Meaning: Old methods will not give new results. In order to get new cheese, you need to change your old routine and modify it to get new cheese.

  1. “When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you change course”

Meaning: When you obtain new cheese and you realize that you can really achieve it, you will decide that change can be good.

  1. “Noticing small changes early helps; you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come”
  2. “What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists”

Meaning: Sometimes in our minds we make a situation much worse than what is actually going on in a situation.

  1. “Move with the cheese”

Meaning: Life moves on and so should we.

Do you struggle with change or is there something going on in your life that you want help with changing? Maybe you don’t know where to start or how to change? Here at Youth Outreach we have people that can help you with that. You can visit us at Youth Outreach or call us day or night with questions or assistance 1.866.538.8023.