Role of parents in keeping their teens from drugs

The role of parents is crucial in shaping their children’s character and lifestyle amid the threats of drug abuse.

Drugs - Pimp C 2

Who is still familiar with Pimp C?

To recall, Pimp C was the rapper, singer, and producer, who died of drug overdose involving DXM in December 2007. He was quite vocal about the use of “Sizzurp”, or the abuse of cough syrup to obtain a different high, in some of his music.

DXM, short form for Dextromethorphan, is an antitussin or cough suppressant that works by dropping the sensitivity of the brain’s cough control center.  It is one of the basic ingredients in more than a hundred over-the-counter cough medicines, and cold and flu tablets. Particularly, any medicine bearing “tuss” in its name contains DXM, like Robitussin, Pertussin, and Tussafed.

Sadly though, DXM has become the common substance of abuse among teens. Studies show that more than three million teenagers abuse DXM because of its hallucinogenic effect, which they seek for. Its effects vary according to the user’s body size and genetic makeup, and depending on the amount ingested, and on his level of drug tolerance.

Two of the reasons teenagers use and abuse drugs are peer pressure and media influence. But parents can save their children from such control. They have a crucial role in shaping their children’s lifestyle away from drugs during their formative years.

Here are some useful pointers for parents to help keep their children from the temptation of drug use.

Be there for your teen when he needs to get out of a bad situation. It is important to set an atmosphere where your children feel secure knowing that he has someone to lean on and confide his problem to.

Drugs - DXM

Take time to know your teen’s friends and their parents on a first name basis.  This way you would know the kind of friends he or she has.

Be sure to interact or connect with your teen in the after-school hours.  If you are unable to be there when your teen gets home, call him or leave notes.  You may assign another adult to supervise him when you are away, or sign him up for an after-school program that may be of interest to him.

Discuss with your teen the harmful effects of drugs in a manner that does not sound like you are delivering a lecture.

Encourage your teen to get involved in extracurricular activities and/or sports.  This would keep him busy and develop a sense of responsibility, aside from molding his identity.

Be a role model. If you do not want your children to drink, smoke or take drugs, then do not do it yourself.

The role of parents is very important in molding the character of a growing child, particularly in this generation where drug abuse and antisocial behaviour are rampant.

Health benefits of spirulina

Spirulina is a dietary supplement now popularly known as a “super food” because of its massive nutrient content.

spirulina capsule
Spirulina in capsule form

Scientifically, spirulina is a simple one-celled blue-green microalga that flourishes in warm alkaline fresh water. It is not a medicine, but since 1970, it has become increasingly popular that experts continually analyzed it chemically for its excellent source of over a hundred kinds of nutrients, such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

This water plant contains 4 to 7 percent lipids, and 60 to 70 percent high concentration of vegetable proteins in its dry weight with all essential amino acids in absolute balance. It is even considered better than beef, which contains only 22 percent protein.

Spirulina’s vitamin B12, or cobalamin, content is very high. Cobalamin is a rare vitamin packed with 250 percent more than what beef liver gives. Likewise, the food supplement’s eight essential amino acid contents include:

  • isoleucine, which is necessary for optimal growth, intelligence development, and nitrogen equilibrium
  • leucine, responsible for the increase of muscular energy levels
  • lysine
  • methionine
  • phenylalanine
  • threonine
  • tryptophane
  • valine

In addition, spirulina is suitable for sustaining the nutritional needs of different age groups, particularly for:

  • children who do not eat enough vegetable, or those who suffer from imbalanced food consumption
  • teenagers who need sufficient nutrients for growth
  • pregnant women who need more nutrients
  • the elderly who have trouble getting an average of three meals a day
  • athletes or sports-active individuals who need more nutrients to maintain their energy levels
  • career-oriented individuals who hardly find time to eat properly due to their constant juggling of work and appointments
  • patients who are recovering from ailment or surgery

Spirulina comes in the form of capsules, tablets, powder, flakes, or extracts, and may also be taken with chlorella, wheat, or barley grams.  Its dosage per person depends primarily on the form taken. And since it is a completely natural food, the dietary supplement is relatively safe to your health provided you follow the recommended dosage of less than 50 grams per day.

Nevertheless, just like any other dietary supplements, spirulina can also bring about side effects if taken beyond the recommended dosage. Most commonly known side effects are increased level of uric acid, which may eventually lead to kidney complications and damaged liver function due to the high content of vitamins and minerals.  Minor side effects include slight fever, nausea, thirst and constipation, stomach ache and other gastrointestinal symptoms, and skin itching.  But then, again, why would you take more than the recommended dosage, anyway?

Philippines commemorates 114 years of sovereignty

June 12, 1898 marks the day when the Filipino people experienced the taste of freedom! This year the Philippines commemorates 114 years of sovereignty.

Philippine flag

Exactly 114 years ago today, the Filipino revolutionary forces led by General Emilio Aguinaldo, proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands on June 12, 1898 from the colonial rule of Spain following the latter’s defeat in the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

This declaration, however, was not recognized by both the United States and Spain. But when the Spanish government later ceded the Philippine archipelago to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American War, the US granted independence to the Republic of the Philippines on July 4, 1946 in the Treaty of Manila.  Since then, July 4 was observed as Philippine Independence Day.

However, on August 4, 1964, upon the advice of historians and the urging of nationalists, Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal finally signed into law Republic Act No. 4166 designating June 12 as the country’s Independence Day, or Araw ng Kalayaan.

Moreover,  the Philippines celebrates National Flag Day on May 28 to commemorate the date when the Philippine flag was first unfurled after the Philippine Revolutionary Army defeated the Spanish forces in the Battle of Alapan in 1898.  The celebration, however, extends from this date until June 12, as mandated by Republic Act 8491, or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, where all Filipinos are encouraged to display the Philippine flag in all offices, agencies and instruments of the government, business establishments, schools, and private homes throughout this period.

I may not have experienced how it was during the Spanish era, but I had gone through a period when freedom was once curtailed in this country; when it was common to hear the words political prisoners, political detainees, desaparecidos, massacre, mass grave, and so many gruesome scenes.  It was the time when life was at the hand of a dictator – the period of rule that ended peacefully with flying yellow confetti and ribbons!

However, there is one thing I would want to be revived of that period, and that is, the Green Revolution.  Although, I never understood what it really meant, I can still remember that at my young age (I was about 8 or 9 years old then), we were taught gardening and eating green leafy vegetables for “sustainable development.”  I used to like that program because I enjoyed watching my pechay and ampalaya grow, and ultimately harvesting the fruits of my labor in our front yard, then.  I don’t know, however,  if that sustainable development they were trying to inculcate in us then share the same meaning as it is promoted today.

Anyway, had it not for the effort of our courageous ancestors and relatives, who put their lives on the line for freedom, we would never have known Independence Day.  Perhaps, I could only associate liberty with condensed milk (Liberty brand was a common sight in our home when I was young).

May we, the present generation, learn to uphold and protect the freedom that we have now. Let’s zealously guard that sovereignty against usurpers and people with malicious intent. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

June 5 is World Environment Day

June 5, 2012.  Today marks World Environment Day.
Forty years ago, at the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the United Nations established June 5 as the day of special dedication to Mother Earth in order to:
  • give a human face to environmental issues
  • empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development
  • promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues
  • advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.

Since the World Environment Day (WED) is a global event, it is one of the essential vehicles through which the United Nations effectively raise global awareness, encourages political attention, and motivate peoples from all walks of life to actively participate in the fight against the escalating environmental issues throughout the world.  Participated by more than a hundred countries, this year’s commemoration carries the theme,

“Green Economy: Does it include you?”

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) clarifies the meaning of the theme as,

“one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.”

World Environment Day 2012

Furthermore, according to a UNEP’s publication, a Green Economy is one whose growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

This year’s event is hosted by the Federative Republic of Brazil, and it is believed that the country is going to lead what promises to be the biggest ever celebrations in the WED’s 40 years history.  In fact, UNEP’s official site,, has already registered almost 8,000 activities, and still counting, across the world for June 5.

The global environmental issues concern you and me.  Every little gesture, and every little step towards sustainable development counts in this initiative, and World Environment Day relies on you and me to make this happen!  Let’s organize a neighborhood clean-up, refrain from using plastic bags, dispose of our garbage properly, plant a tree, walk to work, or start a recycling drive.

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