Adolescent alcohol use: Risky behavior and addiction

Preventing underage drinking can be especially tricky because alcohol is an easily accessible, highly available, socially acceptable drug; making it seem somehow less dangerous. And yet research proves otherwise.

 

  • Like drinking and driving, or choosing to get in the car with someone who has been drinking: Nearly 40% of all traffic deaths among 16 to 20-year-olds are alcohol-related.
  • Kids who drink are more likely to become sexually active (putting them at greater risk of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases).
  • Teen girls who binge drink are 63% more likely to get pregnant in their teen years.
  • Students who use alcohol are five times more likely to drop out of school or to believe that earning good grades is not important.

The earlier the onset of drinking begins, the greater the risk of becoming addicted later in life.bigstock-Depressed-Teenage-Girl-38236219

  • 40% of children who start drinking before the age of 15 will become alcoholics at some point in their lives.
  • If the onset of drinking is delayed by five years, a child’s risk of serious alcohol problems is cut in half.

Alcohol is extremely hazardous to the health and safety of our youth, carrying dangerous and even deadly consequences. Underage drinking is also illegal, and by law, carries specific consequences.

Is it a problem? Take a self-assessment quiz and Get Help.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. To learn more about keeping our young people safe and healthy, check out our website www.drugfreenevadacounty.org or Click HERE to visit our Underage Drinking page.

To submit your opinion in our Community Voices section:
1.       Submit up to 250 words
2.      Please include your name, email address, and phone number for follow up contact
3.      Email submissions to mkelley@corr.us

Coalition and partners, NCSO and NEO collaborate to prevent underage drinking

The Coalition, the Sheriff’s Department, and NEO are collaborating in a series of interactive school presentations about underage drinking consequences, reasons to choose a drug and alcohol free lifestyle and local fun events and activities. With the help of ABC funding, the Sheriff’s Department is focusing on education, prevention and compliance enforcement to reduce youth access to alcohol and underage drinking. The funding also allows them a unique opportunity to collaborate with the Coalition in outreach and education presentations for local students.

NEO Youth, Hayley Pritchard displays her musical talents for the audience
NEO Youth, Hayley Pritchard displays her musical talents for the audience

The April 4th presentation at Seven Hills Middle School, opened with a powerful song performed by local NEO musical artist and Youth Coordinator, Hayley Pritchard. Hayley’s remarkable vocal talent has been on display to support NEO and the plans for a youth center for the last three years since she first discovered the powerful duo, Lynn Skrukrud and Halli Ellis, who founded NEO. Hayley and Lynn shared the plans for a youth center in Grass Valley and their hope of promoting a location where youth feel safe, engaged, supported, and essential to community development.

From Left: Corporal Brandon Corchero and Deputy Micah Arbaugh
From Left: Corporal Brandon Corchero and Deputy Micah Arbaugh

Hayley introduced Nevada County Sheriff Corporal Brandon Corchero and Deputy Micah Arbaugh for an informative presentation about the risks of alcohol use among youth and the potentially very serious consequences for adults purchasing or furnishing alcohol to anyone under 21 years old. With t-shirts as incentive to ask and answer questions, the 5th through 8th graders remained hands in the air and eager to participate.

Students learned that law enforcement officers often go undercover at places where alcohol is sold. They also learn that if they have an incident with alcohol as a minor they jeopardize something very important to them; their ability to have a driver license.  The middle schoolers learned about arrests being made for adults purchasing or providing alcohol to a minor and that merchants face fines and can lose their liquor license for selling alcohol to someone under the age of 21.

Shasta Spencer, Youth Prevention Intern
Shasta Spencer, Youth Prevention Intern demonstrates “Balloon Juggle”

Shasta Spencer, Youth Prevention Intern for the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County engaged the youthful audience by selecting one male and one female attendee to participate in a “Balloon Juggle” activity. The concept, Shasta explained, is that we have responsibilities in many areas of our lives. We have to balance school, chores, friends, family, hobbies, sports, and other interests into 24-hour days. These responsibilities, even for young children can add up quickly leading to a very involved schedule that may seem stressful and unreasonable to the person experiencing all of these tasks.

Shasta demonstrated this experience using balloons. At first, the two balloons full of tasks and day-to-day commitments appeared manageable for the two participants. Once the balloon, identified as alcohol and drug use was added to the equation, the students realized that they could no longer juggle the tasks they needed to perform and responsibilities while keeping the alcohol and drugs balloon in the air.

The assembly concluded with an interactive Q & A session designed to highlight the positive choices teens make and dispel misperceptions of use. Arming students with the truth: Most youth don’t use drugs and alcohol and sharing the Good News: 94% of 7th graders say the DO NOT drink alcohol and 96% report they DO NOT smoke marijuana.

The hope following these presentations delivered at the middle school level is that youth will be better armed with the truth during these critical years where peer influence and disproportionate reporting can influence their decisions and lead them to think that alcohol and drug use is much more acceptable and prevalent than it is. This collaborative partnership between ABC, Nevada County Sheriff’s and the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County is reaching out to provide education, awareness, and a better sense of the healthy alternatives available to the youth of our community so that the next generation of adults can be positive role models and share the message of a healthier community…today, tomorrow, forever.

Is it a problem? Take a self-assessment quiz and Get Help.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. To learn more about keeping our young people safe and healthy, check out our website www.drugfreenevadacounty.org or Click HERE to visit our Underage Drinking page.

To submit your opinion in our Community Voices section:
1.       Submit up to 250 words
2.      Please include your name, email address, and phone number for follow up contact
3.      Email submissions to mkelley@corr.us

 

 

December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

During the holiday season, and year round, it is important that we celebrate safely by not driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drugs. We are all familiar with the terrible consequences of driving under the influence yet an often overlooked and ever growing issue, especially in teens and young adults, is the issue of drugged driving. Drugs, even those prescribed by a physician, can impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory.

New and young drivers are the most at-risk for crashes on the roads and are at risk for the most harmful effects of drug use. As teens take to the roads, parents can take action by talking about the dangers of drunk, drugged, and distracted driving. It’s important that our youngest drivers learn how to drive safely and make healthy choices.

Local Progress and Facts about Teen and adult Impaired Driving
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  • Fewer teens (15% of teens in grade 9 & 11) reported this year that they had driven after drinking, or rode with someone who had. Down from last year when more than 35% of teens in same grades reported in they had driven after drinking or rode with someone who had. (California Healthy Kids Survey)
  • According to Grass Valley CHP Officer Greg Tassone, “Some local data is encouraging with the number of local CHP arrests for DUI-related crimes trending downward from 2012 to present.”
  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths.
  • In 2010, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  • At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than for older people.
  • Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for 15 – 19 year-olds in 2007.
  • Did you know that 1 in 3 drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 who were tested, tested positive for drugs?

Drunk and drugged driving related accidents are totally preventable. Renew your commitment to drive safely and act responsibly.
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Tips for Teen Drivers         Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers

Tip: As we come together with loved one’s and friends this holiday season remember to offer non-alcoholic beverages to your guests. We know that this helps keep our streets safer through the Holidays. Try a new mocktail! Enter your favorite “Mocktail” recipe here and win: CoRR.us/holiday-mocktail-contest-213

Tip: CoRR, a Coalition partner, will once again be sponsoring Safe Taxi on New Year’s Eve! CoRR granted vouchers to Gold Country Cab & Courier to provide rides to residents to reduce amount of impaired drivers on the roads. If you need a safe ride home call, Call 274-TAXI or 274-8294 Gold Country Cab & Courier.

Community Recovery Resources is teaming up with the owners of Gold Country Cab & Courier for the third year for Safe Taxi on New Year’s Eve sober cab rides. Looking back at 2011 and 2012, more than 100 local residents received free rides home to ensure a safe transport from their New Year’s celebrations. This year, we hope to see even more community members celebrating responsibly and not drinking and driving.

Here are some helpful links:

Holiday Tips
Mocktail Contest

A Holiday Message from CoRR

DrugFreeNevadaCounty.org

CoRR.us
NHTSA.gov/impaired

Celebrate Safely. Don’t Drink and Drive.

Talk. They Hear You.

The greatest influence on young people’s decisions to begin drinking or doing other drugs is the world they live in, including family, friends, schools, and the community environment.

PARENTS, you should know that the greatest influences on teens decision to be free from using alcohol or other drugs is YOU.
(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking)    

Sometimes parents are not sure how to have the conversation, and so may avoid it entirely. When was the last time you talked to your children about alcohol? Has it been a while? Are you wondering how to have the conversation?

It’s never too early to talk to your kids about alcohol. If you talk to them directly and honestly they are more likely to respect your rules and advice about alcohol use.

Here are some considerations to begin having these important conversations:

Short and frequent discussions can have a real impact on your child’s decisions about alcohol. Sitting down for the “big talk” about alcohol can be intimidating for both you and your child. Little talks take the pressure off of trying getting all the information out in one lengthy discussion, and your child will be less likely to tune you out. Try using these opportunities to talk; in the car, during dinner, or while you and your child are watching TV. And remember, the conversation goes both ways. It’s important to hear their point of view and listen to their feelings, concerns too.

They may even ask some tough questions like “Did you drink when you were a kid?” If you drank as a teenager, you’ll probably want to be honest but acknowledge that it was risky. Or, “Why do you drink?” you could point out that when you choose to drink it’s always in moderation to enhance a meal, or celebrate a special occasion with friends or family. You could also share with them that some people should not drink at all. Make a clear distinction between alcohol use among children and among adults.

Here’s another example of a great opportunity to talk about the risks of drinking: With football season in full swing we can expect to see more alcohol advertisements on TV. Studies show that exposure to enticing alcohol advertisements can influence young adolescent perceptions about acceptable drinking behavior and underage drinking in general. So talk about it… Not in a “Wow, that was a cool ad they had on during the Super Bowl,” kind of way. More like this; “Wow, they really make drinking alcohol look cool, don’t they? But drinking alcohol can really get people into lots of trouble — let’s talk about it”.

The Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County is partnering with SAMSHA to prevent underage drinking. Visit these web links for more information on the Talk they Hear You Campaign and other helpful tips and resources:

https://www.cncyouth.org/nccommitted/

http://www.samhsa.gov/underagedrinking/index.aspx

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn9enF9awM4

http://www.drugfreenevadacounty.org

http://www.corr.us

Summertime: A Risky Time for Teens

Teens tend to have more free time in the summer and there is a strong correlation between free time and risk-taking among teens. This could mean rock and bridge jumping in rivers or lakes, extreme watersports, or off-road activities out at Greenhorn. It could also mean the temptation to experiment with alcohol, marijuana or sexual activity. Short of locking them up, there is no silver bullet to prevent any of the above. Parents of teens know that the chances of something going awry are pretty good. It does not however, have to be as a result of a lack of planning.

If you are a parent or have teens in your life consider this reducing risks plan for summer:  

Plan 1Do a home inventory:  With school out for summer, it’s likely that your home could turn into a hang out spot for your teen and their friends. Inventory what you have around the house that could potentially pose a risk or be a temptation for experimentation. It could be alcohol, tobacco, prescription medications, or even medical marijuana. Now is a good time to think about how you can limit access to these substances. It may be time to consider a locking cabinet, or another secure location that you can monitor. Also, did you know that you can safely dispose of expired or unwanted prescription medications for free?  Visit DrugFreeNevadaCounty.org for safe disposal locations.  

Plan 2 – Prepare for boredom:  With the routine of daily school activities suspended for the summer months, before you know it you your likely to get a call on the phone while you’re at work asking to go to place A, with friend B, whom you’ve actually never met, but is a friend of friend C, whom you know quite well. And oh by the way, they’ll be home before you get home, and they’ll keep their cell phone on. Most teens are inherently honest and able to resist potential negative influences of peers and wild ideas— However, they can still sense weakness and, if they can get their otherwise logical parent who normally would insist on all facts and details with 24-hour notice to budge in this one moment, the door is open for compromise. Work with your teen to make plans in advance and stick with the 24-hour notice rule for activity outside of the home. If friend B is really that important to your teen, they’ll make plans within your guidelines. While most Nevada County teens say they don’t need alcohol or drugs to have fun, peer influence, boredom, hot summer days, and hormones can be a recipe for mischief. 

Plan 3 – Have A Plan for FUN and Down Time Endless surveys of teens show that they are often more worried, more stressed and more over-extended than any other teen generation that has come before them. Sleeping a few days away is not going to be the end of your bright-eyed sassy teenager. Spending time with an approved list of friends hanging aimlessly at the river or lakes may be just what they need to decompress and refocus. Plan in advance for ways that you and your teenager can do just that – relax. Don’t forget to keep them informed of appropriate behavioral expectations before turning them loose by having a conversation with them before they go out with friends and check in to see how their day went. Teens want their voices to be heard and it’s a nice reminder to them that you care what they’re doing and who they’re associating with by asking them if they had fun and what they did.

Have a safe, well-planned summer.

Encourage your teen to attend events and spend time with other teens who are having fun! For information on NEO Summer Events…CLICK HERE

 

 

Parents; Talk, they Hear You

In 2010, the use and consequences of underage drinking cost the U.S. $62 billion. Help prevent underage drinking by talking to kids, as early as 9 years old, about alcohol. For tips on getting the conversation started, visit http://1.usa.gov/16mUbSo.

National Prevention this Week May 12th through May 18th

This year’s theme for National Prevention Week, Your Voice, Your Choice, is meant to emphasize that prevention starts with the choices each of us make in our own lives. Through our choices, we can set an example of health and well-being for others.  With our voices, whether spoken or written, we can raise awareness and help create healthier and safer communities.

During this week in honor of prevention week, the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County is promoting the daily themes of prevention information and will Co-Host two events at Sierra College Nevada County Campus.

Prevention Week Events:

  • Tuesday,      May 14th –  Sierra College Film Showing – “Collision Course” on teen
    addiction- Doors open at 5:15
  • Thursday, May 16th“There’s a Future for You” Sierra College orientation for
    high school students from Park Ave. School.

You can make a difference! Become informed so that if someone needs help or support for addiction, suicide or challenges with mental or emotional wellbeing you may be able to help.

National Prevention Week 2013 – Themes

             

 

Great Turnout at the Report Card to Community Town Hall

More than one hundred fifty people attended the recent Report Card to Community Town Hall. We were so encouraged by the strong showing of support and the shared vision that our community be filled with youth who can achieve personal and academic success; be connected to adults and their community; have a positive vision of thier future and grow up to be healthy, productive and civic-minded adults.

The health and well being of our youth inpacts our community as a whole. With this in mind, we appreciate the many people who have expressed an interest in becoming more involved. Just in the first couple of weeks following the Town Hall we have seen an increase in members joining the coalition, letters written to the editor in support of childrens health, and more parents are becoming involved than ever before.

A copy of the Report Card and the full power point presentation of California Healthy Kids Survey Data will be posted on the Drugfreenevadacounty.org website soon. In the mean time we’ve included them both here:

Report Card

Full Powerpoint Presentation of CHKS data

National Prevention Week: May 12-18, 2013

Summer is a season filled with celebrations and recreational activities where substance use and abuse can happen, such as graduation parties, proms, weddings, sporting events, and outdoor activities. National Prevention Week is timed to allow schools to take part in a prevention-themed event before the school year ends, raising awareness in students of all ages.

Sierra College Film & Lecture Series Presents: Collision Course

This year, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Nevada County is teaming up with the Sierra College Foundation and the Pathway to Prevention team and parents who made Collision Course, an Emmy Award-Winning Documentary on the substance abuse epidemic,  a reality.

The event will have representatives from Community Recovery Resources providing impaired vision simulations and the Coalition with theI Choose” project. NEO youth will be handing out swag and discussing the local teen center’s plans for an October opening. Collision Course Co-Founder Susan Lyte-King and a panel of members will host a topic discussion and question and answer session after the viewing of the 30-minute documentary. Download flyer HERE.


WHEN: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Doors open at 5:00pm

WHERE: Sierra College – NCC Multipurpose Center, Building N12
250 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley

Your Voice – Your Choice – Make a Difference

This year’s theme for National Prevention Week, Your Voice, Your Choice, is meant to emphasize that prevention starts with the choices each of us make in our own lives. Through our choices, we can set an example of health and well-being for others.  With our voices, whether spoken or written, we can raise awareness and help create healthier and safer communities.

Each day during National Prevention Week there is a suggested theme that organizations and coalitions can use to guide the focus of community events:

National Prevention Week 2013 – Themes

  • Sunday, May 12th – Prevention and Cessation of Tobacco Use (New for 2013)
  • Monday, May 13th – Prevention of Underage Drinking
  • Tuesday, May 14th – Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Use
  • Wednesday, May 15th – Prevention of Alcohol Abuse
  • Thursday, May 16th – Suicide Prevention
  • Friday, May 17th – Promotion of Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Well-Being

For more information contact Melissa Kelley at MKelley@corr.us or 530.273.9541 ext 226

Social Norms: Highlighting the Positive

Social norms are the expectations and beliefs we hold around what is acceptable–for youth, families, individuals, and the community as a whole. Our perceptions about youth, their beliefs about each other, and what data and science tell us about youth behaviors are important factors when working to reduce youth substance use and promote overall health and well-being.

Beginning March 2013, the Coalition released a series of new posters with positive messaging that are posted at local high school campuses. Youth were very involved in the development of the messaging through focus groups and feedback participation over several months.

Traditional prevention efforts have often focused on negative behaviors and a just say no approach with a minimum of positive outcomes. The messaging in this series of posters reflects our intentional switch of focusing on the positive behaviors that our youth are engaged in. Science tells us that this switch of highlighting the positive leads to a growth in positive behaviors.

The Truth is… Nevada County teens are a great group of young people who are making mostly good choices in their lives. Recent data tells us that in many areas it appears that youth are reducing their substance use – except for marijuana – and they are experiencing greater connectedness at school and in the community.  So what do we do to help them continue making good choices? We arm them with the truth: Most teens don’t use alcohol or other drugs.