Saturday, June 17, 2006

Back from Training

This past week was kind of fun since I got to go out of town on Thursday and Friday on a training for work. It was an all expenses paid trip and me and one of my coworkers got to stay at the Sheraton Hotel which is always nice. I always love staying at hotels (gotta love those high thread-count comfy bedsheets!) and I actually remembered to bring my workout gear, so I got a good run and UBWO in at the hotel's gym.

The training was on harm reduction which is the lingo we use in the addictions field to mean helping someone who is not ready to become abstinent from drug use to at least reduce their use, or engage in less risky drug use. Unfortunately, the reality is that many of the youths we work with are not willing to give up drug/alcohol use altogether, but they want to make changes to their use so that it does not cause them as many problems in their lives. So, if a youth was using 5+ grams of marijuana a week and they are able to cut that down to 1-2 grams per week, that is the start of some progress.

Here in Ottawa, we have needle exchange programs for heroin users, and distribution of crack pipes for crack-cocaine users and those too are forms of harm reduction since it has been found that cities with these programs in place substantially reduce their rates of HIV and hepatitis C infections. It's contraversial stuff though, and many people are pretty leery of such programs. I know my inital reaction was that we were just making it easier for drug users to use, but the more I work with teen users, the more I've come to realize that if people want to use, they are going to find a way to do it, and if clean, safe equipment is not available, they will find anything they can get their hands on that will help them get that high. One of the presenters was a psychiatrist who actually sets up information booths at raves and who has had a lot of success in helping teens think twice about their use. He brings an ecstasy testing kit with him and people can bring their pills over to test what is actually in them. Okay, I am getting off of my soap box, promise!

When I got home, I noticed that one of Kyle's eyes was red and I had the feeling he had pinkeye. Sure enough, when he woke up this morning, his eye was glued shut and I took him to the clinic where the doc said he had an infection. We have to give him drops 3 times a day for 7 days. I am soooo squeamish when it comes to eye things, so I'll be glad when this is done. I absolutely cannot watch eye operations on tv, and I don't think I could ever wear contact lenses or have laser surgery without hyperventilating! Luckily, my eyesight is good and I have not had to deal with these issues!

Okay, now it's time to go and catch up with all of you guys. Emily is napping and Kyle is at a b-day party (with a patch on so that he does not infect anyone!) so I actually have a few minutes to read blogs. Yay!


At 12:16 PM, Blogger Brit-Man said...

Good to know the eye infection is nothing serious. You are doing a really great job with your work, and your training, studies and motherign skills.

You should be very, very proud of all you do and achieve in life Julie.

WELL DONE, keep up the hard work, and don't look back. It's paying off, and I'm really really happy an proud for you.

:-) :-)


At 9:20 PM, Blogger Teresa Miranda said...

Oh pink eye is no fun! YUK! Oh and happy b-day to your lil one. I love that baby picture with the cute fuzzy dark hair. Omg that was adorable!

Please forgive me for hiding so long from all my blogger friends. I was on hiatus and well we all like to hide when that happens don't we. :-) LOL. Glad to hear things are going well.

I honestly think the needle exchange program and what that Dr, does is a great approach. I don't condone drug use but it's better that some kid using a dirty needle and messing up there life and others forever. They can always quit their drug habit but a disease is forever. Great work chica!


At 11:33 AM, Blogger Chérie said...

Sounds like a very interesting conference. And kudos for keeping up your workouts. I've still got to master traveling on some semblance of a plan.

At 3:33 AM, Blogger Connie said...

WTG on getting a workout in a trip! Yahoo!!! I've heard that water weights are the way to go for frequent travellers. They're expensive, but worth it if you can't always find a gym.

I love staying in hotels too. Actually, I like travelling and I'll stay just about anywhere and be happy...cabin, tent, hostel. It's all good. :-D

Drug addiction is such a brutal reality these days. It's so readily available to young people and their lives are so incredible high stress. Not to mention everybody else thrown in the mix. I don't envy you. I'd want to take them all home and heal them!

The needle exchange program gets mixed reviews from me. In one way, it provides a healthier venue that inevitably reduces the risk presented to others in contact with a person using, but on the other you could possibly promote the use to somebody who hasn't quite crossed over yet. Like I said, I don't envy you!

Pinkeye sucks! I'm squeamish about eyeballs too. I don't even wear glasses...thank goodness!

BTW - THRILLED that you're in Ottawa. That means there's a small chance we will actually 'meet' someday! :-D

At 8:43 PM, Blogger coco said...

that's really interesting about the distribution of crack pipes and such. i was enjoying your soapbox talk. i like learning about things i'm completely ignorant of. i guess, the distribution of that type of paraphanalia could be equated to the distribution of condoms to teenagers. controversial, but i agree with you, people will do it either way. i don't see it as enabling them.


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