Friday, January 30, 2015

Teens And Drugs

Teens experiment with drugs for many reasons.

It could be for fun, curiosity, socializing, boredom, being different from others, relaxation or from pressure from their friends. The drugs that teenagers commonly use are tobacco and cannabis (also known as marijuana, pot, or hash). According to statistics that have been released by and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (SAMHSA) reports, cannabis (pot) is the most favored illicit drug around, and one out of five teens have tried marijuana / cannabis at least once.

Many youngsters usually try drugs during some stage in their life, with statistics showing that as many as nearly 45% are tempted to dabble in illicit drugs during their teens. Although there is no guarantee that your teen will never do drugs, there are however many methods to reduce that possibility.

Parents worry about their child becoming dependent on illegal drugs such as speed, ecstasy, acid, cocaine and heroin. However, they fail to understand that they face a bigger threat in the use of drugs such as tobacco and alcohol. Parents should understand that adolescence is a period of experimentation despite the best of parenting skills. However, parents can always reduce the risk of their teen doing drugs with some clever strategies.

Some tips include
  • Encourage a trusting and open relationship with your teen from an early age.
  • Try to model an appropriate conduct such as moderate drinking, no tobacco, and no illicit drugs.
  • Educate them frankly on the dangers that accompany drugs.
  • Establish guidelines on what is acceptable and what is not, viz., alcohol, and drugs.
  • Practice a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, good food, and sports.
  • Encourage social behavior and allow your teen more than one friend circle.
  • Help them develop responsibility and good decision-making skills from a very young age 
  • Despite the above and should they still get into the drug cycle, check for these warning signs;
  • Emotional – sudden personality changes, low self worth, mood swings, gets easily irritable, irresponsible behavior, depression and a general lack of interest in activities.
  • Physical – Tired, glazed and bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, sudden weight loss, change in appetite, tremors, impaired co-ordination, and an irritable cough.
  • School – Reduced interest in school activities, drop in grades, disciplinary problems, unexplained absenteeism, and gets into fights easily.
  • Family- Withdrawal from family members, getting into unwarranted arguments, breaking of family rules and may steal money.
  • Social – New social circle, friends who are not interested in school and home activities, change in dress code, grooming, hobbies, unusual smell in body and breath, and even problems with the law

Warning Signs of Abused Drugs
  • Marijuana/ Cannabis/ Pot - glazed bloodshot eyes, loss of interest, weight loss or gain, sleepiness, depression, lack of interest, loud laughter and loud voice while talking.
  • Depressants (Xanax, GHB, Valium) - dilated pupils, poor judgment, difficulty in concentrating, drunk like state, clumsiness, tremor, poor judgment, and sleepy state.
  • Stimulants (amphetamines, cocaine) - euphoria, dilated pupils, anxiety, hyperactivity, irritability, excessive talking, depression, excessive sleeping at odd times, going long periods without eating or sleeping, dry mouth and weight loss.
  • Inhalants (aerosols, glues, vapors) – anxiety, watery eyes, nose secretions, rashes around the nose and mouth, impaired vision or memory, nausea and headache, drowsiness and an appearance of intoxication, poor muscle control, irritability and presence of lots of aerosol cans in the trash.
  • Hallucinogens (PCP, LSD) – bizarre behavior, paranoia, dilated pupils, aggression, mood swings, hallucinations, lonely, detached, egoistic, confused and slurred speech.
  • Heroin – needle marks, sweating, coughing, vomiting, sleeping at odd times, sniffling, contracted pupils, twitching, no response of pupils to light and a loss of appetite.

If you suspect your teen is using drugs:
  • Don’t panic or react on your first impulse – be calm and think it over.
  • Don’t snoop or search your teen’s room for any evidence, especially without their knowledge.
  • After establishing the facts, discuss the issue calmly with your teen when you both are relaxed.
  • If your teen acknowledges that they are doing drugs, don’t issue an ultimatum, but instead try to help.
  • They might need help and not a lecture on the risks of drug usage.
  • Nonetheless, if they are very young and are new users, try and educate them.
  • There is the risk that an older teen may not stop using the drug, despite what you say.
  • Discuss the possibility of seeking professional help.
  • If your teen is in trouble with the law, help them but be stern that they may have to pay for any penalties and fines levied.
  • Lay down the rules. Your teen should be aware that doing drugs comes with specific consequences.
  • Monitor your teenager’s activity and whom she hangs out with.
  • Routine check for potential hiding places. Common places are between books on a shelf, backpacks, make-up cases. Your teen must be clearly aware that this is the consequence for them using drugs.
  • Introduce them to new social activities, hobbies, interests, and clubs.

The below information are the results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (SAMHSA) reports.

Use of Selected Illicit Drugs among Persons Aged 12 or Older: 2002-2009

Reasons for Not Receiving Substance Use Treatment among Persons Aged 12 or Older Who Needed and Made an Effort to Get Treatment But Did Not Receive Treatment and Felt They Needed Treatment: 2006-2009

Perceived Need for and Effort Made to Receive Specialty Treatment among Persons Aged 12 or Older Needing But Not Receiving Treatment for Illicit Drug or Alcohol Use: 2009

The good side is that with the right counseling and treatment and proper support, you can thwart the disruptive effects that the drug has on your teen. The first obstacle for your teen is that they should realize that they have a drug problem and that they need help.

Seeking counseling will be the best thing that has happened to them...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Outsourcing And The Desi Dream

When Gautam had come to US to do his Masters in Computer Science he had the standard immigrant dream - dollars, a house, two cars and two kids. Well not quite. Sure he wanted all these things but what he wanted most of all was to live his fantasy nurtured through years of watching MTV and Channel V. In his dreams, life in US was a never-ending hedonistic pleasure-trip of bikini-clad girls dancing on the beach and partying the night away in a psychedelically lit disco. And so the day he got admission into graduate school in US he thought that the gateway to heaven had finally opened.

However the educational system brought him back to reality with harsh lashings of its whip. He found out soon enough that the only thing he could play around with was the Linux kernel, the only promiscuous mode he would ever see would be in computer networks.

Infact, he and a couple of his friends took the campus bus and went to a bar to pick up some chicks. All that happened was that they sat there, drank alone, stared at each other, ogled the ladies who did not seem to even look at them through their cascading locks of gold and came back even more frustrated than before.

His friends still went to bars regularly; one of them even took the phone number of a girl he danced with on New Year's but well that was all they could do. Gautam after the few days had stopped frequenting bars and pubs as there was no way he could ever get noticed. Sadly, he realized that when it comes to hitting on chicks in bars, it does matter if you are brown.

And so Gautam stayed in a loft with 2 other desis while the American students downstairs would start partying from Thursday night he had to be contented with peering down at the girls making out with the guys on the porch and listening to the cries of passion emanating through the thin wooden walls while he ate his vegetable chow-mein from his small white bowl.

He had tried chatting with girls on the Net but he could not trust anything on chat as it was obvious that the girls who wanted to talk hot were not really girls at all. And the girls, the very few that there were, would be immensely boring and trying to make a friendship of the long term variety - something that Gautam did not have the time for.

I mean after nights of endless coding he reasoned that talking about his family, his hobbies and his zodiac sign was a waste of effort when all he wanted was to get down to business.

One night he had returned from school at 2:30. The code had core-dumped without any explanation, his advisor was breathing down his neck, and the Chinese TA had put a B on an assignment unfairly. A night like any other night he thought as Gautam threw his head back on the torn couch and tried to collect his thoughts. His apartment mates Ajay and Vikas had gone shopping in the evening and God knows where they were so late maybe sleeping.

In a reflex action, he started surfing the channels on his TV - was there anything good on?

All infomercials, the fat burning grille, the get-rich-by-selling-real-estate, the amazingly loaded laptop that will be sold out in 10 minutes - Nothing new and then something caught his eye.

Are you tired? Asked a blonde and that too a gorgeous piece of work.

Yes he was Gautam thought. Most definitely.

She was then joined by another bountiful babe who pouted: Are you lonely?

Oh Yes, tell me about it.

Another brunette with a generous display piped in: We are waiting for your call big boy.

Then a voice-over said encouragingly: We have real girls in your area who want to meet you and have a good time. Call 1-900-HOTTIES to blow your mind.

A cut to the three girls now slithering among themselves: What are you waiting for? Call 1-900-HOTTIES

the phone lay on the adjoining couch. Gautam looked at it longingly. Was this the real way to meet local girls? Of course not, this is a phone sex line; he knew all about them. He flipped the channel again - a Discovery channel special on the mating habits of the Siberian bear. Why not give it a try?

What if the girls from his university were doing it for money? What if something happens and at the worst, there would be a real girl talking dirty on the other side - just the perfect arrangement. No aggravation of conversation, just jump to the good parts, no threat of rejection, total confidentiality and he realized that the rate on the ad was $1.49 per minute. Besides, it said that the first 3 minutes were also free. If he kept it down to 10 minutes then it could be a deal.

He had just been paid and come to thinks of it he owed something to himself.

He hesitated a bit and then his hand reached out to the phone. An automated husky voice greeted him and asked him to punch in his credit card number. Gautam thought again should he go ahead?

If he did so, there was no turning back. But it is said that one who hesitates, definitely loses. So he punched in his MasterCard. A reassuring voice told him that his card was being authorized and that he would not be charged till 3 minutes into a conversation with a real girl. Gautam liked the sound of that-nothing sleazy, full and fair business. In India sleaze means getting ripped off but here in US there is honor in smut. One of the many things he liked about the country.

A real female voice came on: Hi sir how would you like to be addressed?

Gautam asked: Am I being charged from now?

The friendly voice replied: No sir not yet. I am the pleasure facilitator (what a beautiful job Gautam thought). My job is to know a little bit about what you would like so that we can give you a fantastic experience. Yes sir how would you like to be addressed? Just the first name only sir.

Gautam thought of providing a false identity...but then he wanted to be addressed by his own name. It was more personal and heck who would ever know? But then again from his experiences in the bars he thought better of it and replied in his best American accent (which was pretty good)

Bob !

So Bob! What kind of girl would you like: Swedish exchange-student, Japanese schoolgirl, Russian dominatrix, Vietnamese submissive, all-American cheerleader or an ebony pleasure-queen?

Wow Gautam thought-a buffet of succulent ladies. He thought for a while and said: How about an all-American cheerleader?

Sure Bob. We aim to please at 1-900-HOTTIES. Please wait why we redirect our call to your dream date. Your 3 minutes begin after she picks up the phone. Again congratulation on your choice...and enjoy

Gautam waited with bated breath. This sure beats the hell out of hanging endlessly in places where none even looked back at you. Instant, hassle-free gratification. In a few seconds he would be speaking to an All-American cheerleader

Click...and then an undecipherable voice...apparently a unmistakable Southern accent...Gautam could only make out a howdy partner and the rest of her words were lost in a mumble. Gautam in his American accent kept on repeating... Could you please try and speak a bit louder? But he could make neither head nor tail of what the girl was drawling. And in the corner of his brain the clock was ticking - the free minutes would be over in a flash and he had not yet understood what the hell she was trying to say.

And then straining to hear he could make out the background sound...despite the very thick Texan accent there was something very familiar with the ambient noise which was also contributing to her voice being drowned out. And finally he realized that sound; the unmistakable drone of heavy traffic and riotous blowing of horns. In which country are horns blown like this?

India! The penny dropped. The cheats had transferred his call to India! Texan beauty indeed... Gautam's voice rose - Has his call been Outsourced to India?

The voice at the other end immediately changed. A beautiful voice spoke in clear English: I apologize sir, but yes, your call has been outsourced to India.

Actually to keep operating costs down, the company has had to globalize these calls. Sir this is just a fantasy-I hope you understand, our parent company, has no legal obligation to provide you with the all-American girl you asked for. I apologize for my accent: I normally do the Japanese and the Vietnamese girl, but the girl who does the all-American cheerleader has just quit her job and I apologize profusely on behalf of the company

She continued with an amazingly sexy voice...However truth be told I am from India - the land of Kamasutra where the girls are as lush as the mighty Ganga and know how to please - I can be quite a handful. So tell me sir have you ever heard of the “flying monkey” position? Allow me to enlighten you in graphic details!

Gautam's indignation had been replaced by sympathy. Poor Indian girl must be some college kid forced to do this because of financial constraints. Which Indian girl would ever do such things on her own? And the teary voice of the girl had aroused the man in Gautam - poor lady. It was not her fault that the Texas girl quit. If this was an American he would abuse the poor Indian and hang up. But not Gautam. Even though he wanted to settle in US, he still loved his country. And its girls. And something about this girl's helplessness also excited him. He wondered why.

Gautam put on his best chivalrous knight tone. Reverting to his own accent he said: Hi I am Gautam not Bob. I am an Indian student too so you need not tell me about the Kamasutra - I live by it (well a white lie but as she said this was all a fantasy!).

The girl laughed a beautiful cadence - This girl really had an amazingly sexy voice.

She said: Hi Gautam, I am Monica and am all excited to meet you...Now, if I may ask you, where abouts in India do you come from?

Gautam glanced at the watch. Goddamn this was costing him plenty and they had not even talked a bit of what he had paid for. But he liked this-actually this conversation was much more exciting than a few minutes of mechanized huffing and puffing that he would have hoped to get.

Baroda, he replied.

Hey Baroda - that's cool I am from Baroda too, her voice rose a level. They have found a common ground, a connection source. You must be one of those geniuses who go to US after their engineering. Gautam smiled self-contentedly.

Gautam then launched into a rant about how lonely he was. At least that would serve as a justification for dialing a sex chat line. The girl was more than understanding about Gautam's loneliness. So don't you have a girlfriend there? Some hot blonde in US who can look after your needs?

Gautam sighed. Of course not, or why else would he be calling here?

Well no Monica. I prefer brown skin - fairness turns me off.

The musical voice cooed. So Gautam do you have any girlfriend in India?

Gautam was feeling exceedingly honest. Somewhere subconsciously he was falling in lust with this goddess of love. And he needed to start this relationship by making a clean breast of things

No Monica I do not. There was a girl in my locality I used to love and lust.

Monica giggled: Tell me about her.

Gautam was breathing noticeably heavier now. Oh god he thought, this lady knew how to press the right buttons. He then launched into a lurid description of a girl who lived in the same housing society and whom he had spent countless nights thinking about and was soon lost in explicit details of her anatomical attributes. Gautam thought of how delectably perverted this conversation had become but what amazed him was how accepting and understanding this Indian girl was. It was another matter that he was doing All the hot talking, the girl was merely encouraging him to go on and in the end he would have to foot the bill. Which Gautam realized must be quite high now. But he was no longer thinking with his head.

Wow Gautam. Your dream girl seems to be right out of the Khajuraho temple so is she the only one?

Gautam was talking in an impassioned whisper by now. She had an even hotter elder sister I have often fantasized about both of them together.

The girl giggled again: So what were their names? And tell me about the fantasies involving both of them? Shweta and Anila - Well there was this one time when... The girl's tone changed a bit: Shweta and Anila Gupta

Was this one of them? Gautam's head was now turning cartwheels. Could it really be that one of the two goddesses was actually a phone sex operator? And that he had been talking dirty to one of those unattainable fairies for so long? Gautam excitedly replied: Yes, yes, do you know them?

Suddenly the line became silent. Had he been disconnected or had the girl been so ashamed of being found out that she had disconnected? Oh no! Please no! As he yelled...Hello! Hello! Are you there?

The voice had now undergone a metamorphosis. Bastard...she shouted...I know you... You are that potbellied idiot who used to stay in No 24 and would try to peek into our house...Go tell your dirty ideas to your own sister you bastard...Shameless idiot... One more thought about the two of them, I shall gouge out your hungry eyes and feed them to the crows and twist your little thingie out and leave it among the green chillies to dry... You got that! Scumbag?

Your parents sent you to US to study and this is how you spend your time there - Shameless Monkey.

A click of the telephone disconnecting and another automated voice... Thank you for using 1-900-HOTTIES. Your credit card has been charged $98.78 including call time, tax and state surcharges. Thank you once again and we hope to do business with you in the future.

Ninety Nine Dollars - that was almost what he spent on a month's grocery. But cash was the last thing on Gautam's mind as he sat on the couch- His head in his hands. He had recognized the voice that had berated him in the end. It was Kokila Aunty, the mother of Shweta and Anila, roly-poly and the local gossip server who offered Pujas three times a day. Now how on earth could she be a sex-phone operator? Well evidently she was and Gautam had just spent $98.78 unloading his fantasies onto a lady pushing the wrong side of 50 and if that was not bad enough, his reputation in the housing colony was toast.

He knew very well that if ladies like Kokila Aunty wanted to take down a reputation she could do that effectively without getting herself scorched. He remembered the case of an uncle, an old bachelor who he found nice enough but who was whispered to be a gay pedophile. Now the rumor mill had a new goat on the block - Gautam the local pervert. How was he ever going to return? With his hands shaking he reached for his laptop. So much code still needed to be written. At least no one here in US knew of this, that was the only saving grace.

Dude.....Gautam looked up and his apartment mates were standing in the corridor. Ajay was doubled up on the ground laughing and Vikas was staring at Gautam his mouth agape.

And then it suddenly came to him. They had been to Wal-Mart’s that evening and bought an extension handset.

Suddenly everything went blank !!!!!