Health & Wellness

Montville High School Substance Abuse Lecturer Says "Darkness Coming After Our Children"

567a85546abb12d7b02b_d.jpg
Ellen Purtell, Clinical Director at Daytop NJ's Mendham location, lectures about substance abuse. Credits: Melissa Benno
d6719b9533ae80ede3f2_a1.jpg
Ellen Purtell, Clinical Director at Daytop NJ's Mendham location, lectures about substance abuse. Credits: Melissa Benno
791569f31c0d4c613b78_a.jpg
Ellen Purtell, Clinical Director at Daytop NJ's Mendham location, lectures about substance abuse. Credits: Melissa Benno
70c9cfca07b7a91049a3_b.jpg
Ellen Purtell, Clinical Director at Daytop NJ's Mendham location, lectures about substance abuse. Credits: Melissa Benno
567a85546abb12d7b02b_d.jpg

MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville residents had the chance to learn about signs and trends in substance abuse when the high school’s counseling department and the Montville Township Drug Awareness Council co-sponsored a seminar with Ellen Purtell.

Purtell is Clinical Director at Daytop NJ, located in Mendham and other towns. It is a residential substance abuse treatment center for adolescents.

“It’s never been harder to be a teen,” Purtell said. “There were 62 drug overdoses in Morris County in 2016. So far for January and February, there have been 11. Montville had seven last year. [Substance abuse] is everywhere and it’s getting worse. It’s a brain disorder and chronic medical condition that can be compared to hypertension or diabetes. There is darkness coming after our children, and it doesn’t discriminate. It will take any one of them down.”

Sign Up for E-News

Purtell spoke of teen parties where the party-goers “shop” their parents’ medicine cabinets, dump them in a bowl, and help themselves.

“Once a tolerance is developed, though, people are using the drugs just to function and to not be ‘dope sick,’” Purtell said. “It’s no longer about getting high for them – it’s just about survival. The reward center of the brain has been hijacked and basic needs matter less than getting a fix.”

Purtell stated that heroin is a problem principally because it is so cheap.

“Pills, like oxycodone, are too expensive – they’re above $50 each,” she said. “Heroin can be purchased in quantity for $3 a small bag.”

She said the heroin is mostly coming from Paterson, NJ, where gangs have made it their business.

“And they’re very good at it,” she said. “They don’t use it because it takes away from their productivity as marketers. They’ve seen the effects by stepping over the bodies on the sidewalk and they know better because they’ve seen it first-hand.”

Purtell said people are smoking marijuana, but also hash oil, “K2” (which is also called “spice”), and e-cigarettes with THC-based liquids.

“K2 is very dangerous,” she said. “I’ve seen people have psychotic breaks with it. Fortunately there’s not a lot of it here. E-cigarettes that have THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets you high, won’t smell like marijuana.”

Marijuana is more concentrated now, she said, making it more potent. She said that 36% of 12th graders have reported “using steadily.”

“I’m positive it’s higher than that,” she said. “But kids don’t think there’s a risk because it’s legal in some states. Marijuana affects the young brain, which is still developing. It affects cognition and short-term memory.”

Those who began to smoke heavily through their teens and into early adulthood reduce their IQ by eight to ten points, while adults do not appear to have that side effect.

Purtell described the process of smoking hash oil, which is also referred to as “dabs.”

“It’s 80 to 90% pure, and has no aroma,” she said. “Users take a nail with a small amount of the oil and heat it with a small blowtorch. It vaporizes the oil and then they inhale that vapor. If you find a blowtorch in your son or daughter’s drawer, and they haven’t been making you crème brulée lately, suspect a problem.”

Both Washington State and Colorado are acting to ban the manufacture and sale of hash oil, she noted.

Reasons Why

Purtell said that 90% of adolescents entering residential treatment for drug abuse have had one or more “adverse childhood experiences,” which include death, domestic violence victimization or witnessing, a parent’s arrest and divorce.

“But it’s usually several experiences,” she said.

Stress from peers, from parents who want their children to perform, and bullying can also result in drug abuse.

“The bullying is 24/7,” she said. “Social media have made it very difficult to be a teen. There’s a lot of pressure to fit in. Parents who demand ‘results’ from their kids can also be part of the problem.

“It can be hard to know your kids are using, though, because the signs are so similar to that of being a normal teenager,” she said. “They isolate themselves in their rooms, they have a different group of friends that you don’t know, their sleeping and appetite habits change, they become argumentative… That’s what normal teens act like. A major sign is if they start to wear brands of clothing, such as Aperture, DGK, Seedless and SRH, which are associated with drug culture. The items have spots to hide drugs in.”

Purtell urged parents to trust their instincts.

“It may not be drug use – it could be anxiety, depression, or social problems,” she said. “But figure it out. Check for paraphernalia or empty liquor bottles. The U.S. Constitution ends at my driveway and my kids have no expectation of privacy in their rooms. Ask their siblings – they’re usually the first to know.”

She said parents need to have open lines of communication and listen without being critical.

“That’s the hardest part,” she admitted.

Prevention

Purtell said that preventing drug use is important.

“I want to conduct these seminars in kindergartens,” she said.

She talked about the importance of teaching inclusion from a young age so that kids will not feel the need to measure up or bully.

“Make ‘home’ the soft place to land,” she said. “Have a balance in life – some athletes might worry that if they have an injury, their life is over if that sport is their sole identity. They need resiliency. Pay attention to their social interactions. Don’t talk negatively about yourself. Focus on the positive. Our kids need to learn to ‘toot their own horns’ in a healthy and authentic way. They don’t realize how special they are.”

Healing

Purtell urged parents to get help if they found signs of drug abuse.

“We have a higher success rate if the family gets on board,” she said. “Reach out for information, support and answers.”

Daytop has outpatient and residential treatment facilities, and she also recommended Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon and private counseling.

Montville Township High School also has Student Assistance Counselors, with intervention, prevention, referrals, and support services to all students from kindergarten through twelfth grade, according to the school’s website.

“It’s a journey I hope none of you has to take,” Purtell said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Montville

Upcoming Events

Tue, June 19, 10:00 AM

Montville Township Public Library, Montville

Storytime

Education

Carousel_image_6e3a289818ebcee32c37_logo

Wed, June 20, 7:30 PM

Montville Reformed Church, Montville

Transition to Puberty: Pathways Seminar

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_e492d1a3d67e6259323d_mini_magick20180611-78505-11feoem

Thu, June 21, 1:00 PM

Montville Township Public Library, Montville

"The American Musical" (Lecture)

Education

Carousel_image_a52b10eeaf4faec89297_a_pyramid_mountain__2018_tapinto_montville___1.

Thu, June 21, 7:00 PM

Pyramid Mountain, Montville Township

Summer Solstice Hike: moderate

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_7c2707407169c2f1629c_library_by_courtney_sonn

Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

Montville Township Public Library, Montville

Library - Summer Reading Kickoff (Kids)

Education

Summer Concert Series Announced by Montville Twp Recreation

June 16, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Recreation Department announced its summer concerts in the park lineup. The free concerts will be held on Tuesdays beginning on July 10, at the amphitheater beyond the Montville Township Public Library. Parking is available at the library (90 Horseneck Road) or in the high school parking lot (100 Horseneck Road). Assistance is available, for those who ...

Three Montville Teens Attain Eagle Scout Ranking

June 9, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Three Boy Scouts from Montville Township’s Troop 74 attained their Eagle Scout ranking at their Court of Honor, held on May 5 at the Senior House.

Keith Lo, Harish Rajagopal and Charles J. Roy all completed tasks around the township, which combined with the projects of other Eagle Scouts, have saved tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, Township Administrator ...

May the Fourth Results in Donations to Lung Cancer Foundation from Cedar Hill Character Education Group

June 16, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Cedar Hill Fifth Grade Character Education Council sponsored May The 4th Be With You on Friday May 4 from in the Cedar Hill multi-purpose room. The event was to benefit the Lung Cancer Foundation of America. To raise money, each participant paid $5 for a Star Wars-themed scorecard. Upon completion of all events, scorecards were put in a raffle for a Star Wars video ...

Roxbury's Kellie Ann Keyes Named the County's Recycling "Rox-Star"

June 18, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – Kellie Ann Keyes, who runs Roxbury's recycling program was honored recently by Morris County for her efforts, with the county dubbing her its “Rox-Star Recycler.”

Keyes was one of 10 people and businesses to receive a 2018 Environmental Excellence Award from the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA). The MUA gave her the award in ...

Bridgewater Mall Shut Down After Fight; Report of Shots Fired

June 14, 2018

UPDATE: According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall will be resuming normal business operations.

Police emphasized that there is no immediate threat to the public and no injuries were reported.

TAPinto will update this as more information becomes available.

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - No ...

MARS Essex Horse Trials Offers Top Equestrian Competition and Family Weekend in the Country 

June 18, 2018

FAR HILLS, N.J. — Whether you're an eventing enthusiast, just love horses, or are looking to spend an enjoyable early summer day in New Jersey's beautiful countryside, the Mars Essex Horse Trials offers all of the above in one of the most breathtaking settings in the state.

The Mars Essex Horse Trials returns with premier equestrian competition and a weekend of outdoor ...

Columns

OPEN HOUSES This Weekend 6/16 - 6/17, 2018

The following homes have OPEN HOUSES presented by RE/MAX NEIGHBORHOOD PROPERTIES this weekend.

SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 2018:

  From 12 - 2 p.m.

  201 English Place, Bernards Township

  Click HERE to see full listing.

 

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018:

  From 1 - 3 p.m.

  170 Morris Avenue, Mountain Lakes

  Click HERE to see full ...

OPEN HOUSES This Weekend 6/9 - 6/10 2018

The following homes have OPEN HOUSES presented by RE/MAX Neighborhood Properties this weekend.

SATURDAY, JUNE 9, 2018:

  From 1 - 3 p.m.

  25 Hillcrest Road, Mountain Lakes

  Click HERE to see full listing.

 

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 10, 2018:

  From 1 - 4 p.m.

  1 Philhower Court, Denville

   Click HERE to see full ...

Century 21 Open Houses this Weekend

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are the Century 21 Open Houses for this weekend:

Saturday, June 9 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
7 Diann Drive, Montville

Sunday, June 10 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
3 Louis ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

Pet Corner