Category Archives: Cocaine Abuse

Lecture: Pain and Addiction: Challenges & Controversies

Past Lecture: Frontiers in Addiction Lectures Series

Presented by Thelma McMillen Center

Pain and Addiction: Challenges & Controversies

May 19, 2015

Hoffman Health Conference Center, 3315 Medical Center Drive, Torrance, CA

8:30 AM Breakfast

9:00 – 11:30 AM Lecture


Mel Pohl, M.D. Medical Director
Las Vegas Central Recovery
Las Vegas, Nevada

Attendees Will:

  • List examples of the complicated co-occurring diagnoses of chronic pain and addiction when they both occur in an individual
  • List implications for treatment interventions with chronic pain with specific discussion of central pain syndromes
  • Describe and show brain mechanisms for the experience of pain and suffering

FREE Continental Breakfast Provided

RSVP not required.
Call (310)-257-5758 for further information.

Torrance Memorial’s Health Conference Center
3315 Medical Center Dr. Torrance, Calif. 90505 (off Skypark Dr; between Hawthorne & Crenshaw)

(off Lomita on Hospital & Technology Dr.), near the Emergency area. SHUTTLE AVAILABLE.

Target Audience: MDs and Psychologists (*), RN (BRN Provider #300), LCSW & MFT (PCE #1881), CAADAC (2S-02-489-0716), CAADE (CP20955C0816) and allied health professionals.

Torrance Memorial Medical Center is accredited by the Institute for Medical Quality/California Medical Association (IMQ/CMA) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Torrance Memorial Medical Center designates this live activity for a maximum of 2.5 AMA PRA Category I credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This credit may also be applied to the CMA Certification in Continuing Medical Education.

Click here for Torrance Memorial Medical Center events.

Legalizing Drugs Won’t Make Organized Crime Disappear: Kerlikowske

U.S. National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske told an international meeting this week that legalizing drugs will not be a “silver bullet” that will make organized crime disappear.

Instead of arresting more users and building prisons for them, Kerlikowske said governments should focus on “a science-based approach to drug addiction as a disease of the brain that can be prevented, treated and from which people can recover,” Reuters reports.

Kerlikowske told the meeting that the U.S. federal government now spends more on drug prevention and treatment than domestic law enforcement. However, the United States is continuing its efforts to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations around the world, he added.

Some Latin American countries are considering relaxing penalties for personal drug use. Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina favors legalization as a way to reduce crime and violence. Uruguay has considered a proposal to legalize marijuana.

On Wednesday, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Yury Fedotov said the agency’s new drug report found a decline in the use of traditional drugs such as heroin and cocaine in some parts of the world, and an increase in the use of prescription drugs and new psychoactive substances.

Source: Join Together

Parenting 101

April 2011

1. My 14yo son has always been a good kid – good grades, well-behaved, active in sports, etc. Lately he’s been spending a lot of time alone in his room on the computer – becoming withdrawn and secretive and gets fairly agitated when I come into his room. How much privacy should I allow him? And should I worry about other issues like drugs? Thank you.

Age 14 is a typical age when young adults need more privacy. Most often they are dealing with their own emerging sexuality. Your son sounds like a child of great parenting. A rule of thumb about privacy is that everyone should be given the privacy they ask for. However, privacy, like privileges, must be earned. We would suggest you regularly check the websites visited by your son. This is different than directly reading your son’s e-mails or journal, a level of privacy invasion that would need very, very serious circumstances to justify. (If you’re not sure how to do this, computer experts at Office Depot, Best Buy, etc. should be able to give you a quick lesson on the phone.) Knowing what sites are being visited is appropriate information for a parent to review, and really all parents who allow their children internet access should monitor this. The content your son chooses to view may help guide you to some of the issues he is struggling with.

His being withdrawn, secretive and agitated when you come into his room is definitely cause for concern, but does not in and of itself point to drugs. If it is determined that your son is not viewing inappropriate web sites or engaging in irresponsible behavior then allow him the privacy he asks for. It is your responsibility as the parent to make sure his behavior in his room is appropriate. A good adolescent family counselor may be in order either way.

2. My 12yo daughter is a late bloomer – most of her friends are already interested in boys, clothes, and make-up. Because my daughter isn’t, some of her “friends” are starting to call her names and imply that she’s gay. She is becoming very stressed and now she dreads going to school. I need advice on how to handle this situation.

It’s good to see you put “friends” in quotations as their behavior clearly shows that they are not performing that role in your daughter’s life…which doesn’t mean that your daughter does not consider them friends or that leaving them for new ones would be an easy and/or simple transition for her. School authorities do need to be made aware of what is going on as this falls under bullying behavior which is beginning to be taken more seriously by schools. Reassure your daughter frequently that she is just fine and that her lack of interest in boys, clothes and make up at age 12 is perfectly normal and healthy. Try to find ways to increase her interaction with other girls who are aging appropriately. Proactively seeking out positive interaction is usually a far easier task than cutting off negative interaction. If her level of ongoing emotional distress warrants it, seek professional counseling or therapy for her.
It is one thing to be drawn to others who are most similar to you, so it is part of the natural path of teens that they shift friends due to changing interests. However, it is not natural, okay, or acceptable to attack others who are different (or you perceive to be different) from you. Definitely seek some help from the school guidance team.

The questions above are from parents who live in the South Bay. The responses have been provided by members of the South Bay Coalition whose expertise and experience lies in parenting, counseling, and/or substance abuse prevention. The South Bay Coalition is a non-profit partnership of agencies working to prevent substance abuse among our community’s youth. For local resources or more information, please visit our website or contact:

Parenting 101

March 2011

1. My 16yo son is close to getting his driver’s license. We can’t afford to buy him a car (like many of his friends) so I need help with appropriate boundaries for his use of the family car. He’s basically a good kid, but does bend the rules now & then. Thank you.

When it comes to your teen’s use of the family car, it is best to make a clear agreement (in writing might be a good idea) on when it can be used. This would usually involve the times it is not needed to get you to work or run errands. But more importantly, an agreement must include sharing of the responsibility for the use of the car. This includes maintenance of the car, such as washing the car, keeping it filled with gas, and helping to take it in for service. Perhaps your son can help with household errands like going to the store or picking up dry cleaning. This will be critical training for the day when he does have his own car.

Make sure to spell out consequences should he break the law (i.e. speeding, driving friends when not legally allowed to) or for failure to return home on time etc. Avoid situations where he is scheduled to come home after you are asleep, for a kid who does bend the rules occasionally, this is a prime set up to do so.

It must be made clear that the use of the automobile is strictly a privilege that must be earned, and not a right. Explain that each and every infraction will result in a loss of this and/or other privileges. Because you have complete control over the use of your car, you have a great deal of leverage in teaching your child to earn their privileges like all adults.

Finally, parents should never feel badly if they’re not able to buy their child a car, even if they believe all of their friends parents are buying cars for their children. There are far more parents who can’t afford to buy their children cars than those that can. The important thing to remember is that this has never been a factor of good parenting. Good parenting involves teaching your children to appreciate what they have and to share in responsibility.

2. We have a 4 year old daughter who is quite precocious. Unfortunately, we have spoiled her rotten. Now she’s throwing tantrums and misbehaving to the point of embarrassment. How do we fix this?

You begin by rethinking your philosophy on raising children. It is not ‘spoiling’ that is the problem with your child, it is what we call ‘enabling’. Spoiling is the act of providing them with more than they need, enabling them is the act of not holding them accountable for their behavior and actions. We hold young children accountable in the same way we hold adults accountable, by having them earn their privileges. The act of holding someone accountable involves consequences and not punishment. While there can be a fine line between punishment and consequences, the main difference is that individuals are able to avoid consequences by making the right choices.

For example, your young child can avoid having her favorite toy being put in time out for a day if she picks up her toys before dinner time. She can watch her favorite TV program if her chores are completed or she has shown good behavior all day. She can wear her favorite outfit if she is ready for school on time. The key to good parenting is the effective and proper use of appropriate consequences. The only purpose of consequences is to get your attention, not to cause suffering. Like parking tickets – they don’t hurt you or punish you, they are a fine that you wish you did not have to pay, but you can only blame yourself for having to pay it. Remember, you do not control your child, or anyone else, however, you do control each and every privilege your child earns – and earn they must or you risk raising a child who believes the world owes them everything.

The questions above are from parents who live in the South Bay. The responses have been provided by members of the South Bay Coalition whose expertise and experience lies in parenting, counseling, and/or substance abuse prevention. The South Bay Coalition is a non-profit partnership of agencies working to prevent substance abuse among our community’s youth. For local resources or more information, please visit our website or contact: