Tag Archive | "Addiction"

Addicts and Addiction

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Addicts and Addiction

Posted on 09 September 2011 by Patricia Gras

By Kristen Khalaf and Patricia Gras

Addicts. Addiction. Approximately 30 million people in the United States are addicted to drugs or alcohol. That’s roughly 1 out of 8 people.  Yet, when we hear ‘addict’ or ‘addiction,’ we don’t imagine a young child as an addict, specifically a 10 year old.

Derek Steele’s first encounter with an addictive substance began when he was an elementary school child. At 8, Steele had his first taste of tequila. By 10, his first joint. Normally, a 10 year old is busy playing on a bike or a game station–not smoking pot. The rest of his adolescent time line goes like this: 13 years- acid; 14-coke; 15-unknown. Steele meddled with so many drugs and alcohol that there is no way of knowing which substance he was using. Growing up, his life was anything but typical. You can watch this program online on www.houstonpbs.org/livingsmart.

“Imagine the hopelessness of knowing within a year you’d be in jail or dead,” says Steele.

Alcohol takes total control of your brain and spinal cord, both of which virtually control everything. According to www.abovetheinfluence.com, “alcohol actually blocks some of the messages trying to get to the brain.” The Web site lists statistics such as 1 in 6 fatal traffic accidents in 2006 involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

  “The truth is that people have to get to the point to where they’re ready to change. Sometimes it has to come from that person themselves in the position that they’re in,” says Steele.

Forever will March 17, 1993 be the day that Derek Steele was saved. He checked into a treatment center and managed to change his life. Within a year, he was sober and was a partner in a successful construction company. Steele’s timeline is now a happier one: in 1997, he co-founded a software company that would gross over $5 million dollars a year; 1999: wedding bells rang for him; and at 35, Steele became a multi-millionaire.

Derek is no longer suffering. His story is one of second chances and truly that miracles do happen.

To learn if someone has an addiction, Steele has a few signs to keep out for.

1. Abnormal behavior: “When you see abnormal behaviors, don’t dismiss it. It doesn’t hurt to investigate. Parents get in denial just as much as addicts do.”

2. Change in friends: “performance at school or in certain things is not inline with what you think it should be, then that’s a pretty good indicator that that group is having a negative influence.”

3. Physical and emotional changes: “This one is a little bit harder to see, but, once again, you just have to be in tune with what seems to be within your range of healthy behaviors associated with somebody of that age.”

4. Genetic disposition: “If you know that that is something that runs in the family, then you should be extra vigilant in keeping an eye out for it.”

5. Obsession with drug-using culture: “If I’m interested in drugs and alcohol and high risk behaviors, then a lot of times that will be displayed in the things that I’m watching or that I’m focusing on. It’s typically a good indicator of where my interests lie.”

To spread the word of how damaging addiction is, Steele is now a board member and director of a community outreach of Teen and Family Services in Houston and volunteers at Covenant House.

“I’ve asked myself a thousand times, ‘Why me?’ A million guys who were like me are dead or in prison.”

Check out Steele on September 21, 2011 at 11: 30 p.m. on “Living Smart with Patricia Gras,” which airs on Houston PBS, where he will share his story and his novel, Addict at Ten.






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Living Smart: Addiction featuring Derek Steele

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Living Smart: Addiction featuring Derek Steele

Posted on 20 July 2011 by Michelle Reed

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Overcoming Addiction This Sunday at 3pm on Ch. 8

Posted on 03 April 2011 by Patricia Gras

Be sure to watch the video on addiction by the Hightower Highschool’s Media Academy.


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College Smart: Addiction

Posted on 03 April 2011 by Michelle Reed

As we approach the 7th Season of Living Smart our first show deals with addiction. In this premier episode of the newest College Smart web series, Intern and senior at the University of Houston Michelle Reed and Shooter and Editor  DePauw Graduate Christina Rivera explore the issue from a college student perspective.  Follow their  journey as she gets to the core reason many college students choose to drink alcohol, and use drugs.

Our Living Smart episode on Addiction with Derek Steele will air on Sunday April 3rd at 3pm on HoustonPBS Ch. 8 and repeat Friday Night April 8th at 10pm. He will be talking about his own experience with addiction and how he overcame it.

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New website dedicated to helping addicts in recovery

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New website dedicated to helping addicts in recovery

Posted on 28 March 2011 by Michelle Reed

Be sure to watch overcoming addiction with Derek Steele This Sunday April 3rd at 3pm on HoustonPBS (repeats Friday at 10pm)

Watch the video on this page on the Science of Addiction with Dr. Tom Kosten the creator of the cocaine vaccine.

By: Patricia Gras & Michelle Reed, Production Assistant

In today’s generation, social media plays a pivotal role in most young adults and teenager’s lives. From checking what our friends are doing on Facebook to Twitter, teens are connected to the digital world 24/7. And with a connection to outside resources, and friend’s lifestyles, some teens can be introduced to drugs and alcohol.

Since 2008, a steady decline in drug use has been shown among 10th to 12th grade high school students according to NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse). In NIDA’s study, use of the painkiller Vicodin has decreased from 9.7 percent to 8 percent among students. While nonmedical use of hallucinogen’s has declined as well, studies show that student’s continue to choose crack cocaine and Adderall (a drug used for people with Attention Deficit Disorder or Narcolepsy to focus on normal tasks), as their drug of choice.

Finding a way to communicate with a teenager about drug addiction or alcoholism can sometimes feel as if you are pulling teeth, but it’s easier to communicate to your teen about issues like addiction in a way that they can understand, even if that mean’s allowing them to search the web for answers.

TheFix.com, a website that is a number once source for all things drugs, alcohol, and recovery, went online today. While the topics are geared toward adults, parent’s can use the website as an indirect way to communicate to their teen’s while spending time together.

The website was founded by Radar Magazine editor Maer Roshan who says in a New York Times article that he decided to create the website because while he was struggling with substance abuse earlier in his life, he found that there were no media outlets for him to go to for help.

“These are people who are united by their values, united by their mission; there’s a common lingo, common literature,” Roshan said in the article. “There’s an actual community here.”

The website not only offers serious stories on addiction and recovery, but it brings in funny stories that will help any addict recover in laughter. Even if the website isn’t helpful for a child, it is said to be incredibly helpful for recovering adults as well. Each story will be written by affluent writers, journalists and novelists all over the world.

And even though the website won’t replace the help of a doctor or a recovery center, it does serve as an outlet for recovering addicts to participate in a community where the writers, and the fans, are dealing with the same issues.

Links to a few Texas and Houston area recovery centers:

Memorial Hermann Prevention & Recovery Center: http://www.mhparc.org/

Road to Recovery Texas: http://www.roadtorecoverytexas.com/

Pathway to Recovery: http://www.pathwaytorecovery.com/

Burning Tree Ranch: http://www.burningtree.com/

Sources: http://www.thefix.com




Living Smart with Patricia Gras airs Sundays at 3 p.m. and Fridays at 10 p.m. on HoustonPBS/Channel 8

(HOUSTON-March 18, 2011)- Living Smart with Patricia Gras, a locally produced, award-winning series on Channel 8, returns for its seventh season on Sunday, April 3 at 3 p.m.  The show, which focuses on helping viewers get the most out of life by finding solutions to different life challenges. Each episode features a single guest discussing a specific topic. The show’s producer and host, Emmy-award winner Patricia Gras, says she selects her guest because they have something to share that will empower, educate or inspire viewers.

“When times are difficult and uncertain I want this series to remind us we have a choice, to survive or thrive, to be passive or proactive, to live in fear or live with hope. The underlying theme of this season, and really every season we produce, is there is always hope. There is always a better way to live.” says Gras.

For the new season, Gras went in search of practical solutions to help viewers who are dealing with an array of issues—from addiction, to career advice to improving relationships and finding better health and wellness.  Even though Living Smart airs nationally on over 200 PBS channel, the majority of experts featured on the show are Houstonians, which is important to Gras.

“Houston is a great city with amazing people who are doing remarkable things that sometimes fly under the radar. One of the things we want to accomplish with this show is give Houstonians an opportunity to share their expertise not just here in Houston but with the rest of the country as well,” says Gras.

Living Smart with Patricia Gras airs Sundays at 3 p.m. and Fridays at 10 p.m. on HoustonPBS/Channel 8.

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Additional Resources

Living Smart with Patricia Gras http://www.houstonpbs.org/livingsmart

About HoustonPBS

HoustonPBS/Channel 8 serves to empower, engage and enrich the lives of the people of Southeast Texas. HoustonPBS provides content and services that advance civic engagement, create an environment for learning and encourage the exchange of diverse perspectives. Millions of people tune in each month to watch quality programs about culture, arts, science, news and national and world affairs as well as award-winning children’s programming.

HoustonPBS/KUHT-TV is a service of the University of Houston supported through the Association for Community Broadcasting.

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