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

 

 

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. 

Arm Them With the Truth

There’s a battle going on, in our world, for our teenagers futures… so we arm them with the truth: MOST of them don’t use drugs and alcohol. The numbers overwhelmingly support this truth.

THE STATS TELL US:
. . . that more than 60% of Nevada County teens report NOT smoking marijuana in the past 30 days – that’s awesome!

. . . that MOST teens say they RESPECT their friends who choose not to drink alcohol or use drugs.

. . . that when MOST teens say they don’t need alcohol to have a good time, they aren’t kidding. Most teens choose NOT to drink.

In this new year the Coalition  for a Drug Free Nevada County  is committed to changing our students’ perceptions about their peers drug/alcohol use… we want them to see that the truth is… NOT everyone’s doing it. Many students tell us their friends don’t pressure them to drink or use… but just in case they find themselves thinking… “Hey, what’s the big deal? Everyone’s does it” … we want them to know the truth and be free to be drug-free… running head-on into bright and promising futures.

The Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County would also like to recognize the amazing volunteer work of community members who are generously giving their time to youth safe havens such as the Hangout and Overtime which provide a safe and positive environment for youth. The youth safe havens are collaborative partnerships between the Coalition and faith-based community members from Grace Lutheran Church (the Hangout) and New Covenant Baptist Church (Overtime). While the Coalition has provided equipment and supplies, the key to the success of these programs is in the volunteers who host, organize, and mobilize community members to operate and promote the safe havens.

The Hangout: An afternoon hotspot for high school students to spend time with friends, meet new people, do homework, and participate in activities like pool, air hockey, ping pong, foosball, etc. Serving about 50 students each school day, the Hangout provides snacks, beverages, and a supportive environment for high school students. Grace Lutheran Church: 1979 Ridge Road, Grass Valley (right next to Nevada Union High School)

For more information on volunteering and/or making a donation contact Pat or Gary Novak at 530.273.0932

Overtime:  A Friday night favorite for local youth from 6th grade through high school. This “open gym” environment provides the youth with a variety of action packed activities to kick off the weekend with volleyball, ping pong, basketball, dancing, music, age-appropriate interactive game consoles, and much more.  Park Avenue Center – 140 Park Avenue, Grass Valley, CA 95945

For more information on volunteering and/or making a donation contact Randy Fields at 530.277.7166

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Prevention Efforts Show Success: Decline in Young Adult Nonmedical Prescription Drug Use

Photo of a mother and daughter.The number of people ages 18 to 25 who used prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes in the past month declined from 2.0 million in 2010 to 1.7 million in 2011 (14.3 percent decrease), according to SAMHSA’s 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Exit Disclaimer (NSDUH).

“These findings show that national efforts to address the problem of prescription drug misuse may be beginning to bear fruit, and we must continue to apply this pressure to drive down this and other forms of substance use,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.

As the primary source of statistical information on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco in the United States, NSDUH provides unique insights into current trends in the behavioral health issues that affect communities nationwide. The survey, released by SAMHSA in conjunction with the 23nd annual National Recovery Month Exit Disclaimer observance, also showed that the rates of past-month drinking, binge drinking, and heavy drinking among people under age 21 continued to decline from 2002, as did the rate of past-month tobacco use among youth ages 12 to 17 and among young adults ages 18 to 25.

Specifically, past-month alcohol use among 12- to 20-year-olds declined from 28.8 percent in 2002 to 25.1 percent in 2011, while binge drinking (consuming 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days) declined from 19.3 percent in 2002 to 15.8 percent in 2011, and heavy drinking (consuming 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days) declined from 6.2 percent in 2002 to 4.4 percent in 2011 In addition, the rate of past-month tobacco use among 12- to 17-year-olds continued to decline from 15.2 percent in 2002 to 10 percent in 2011.

However, the survey also found increases in the use of other substances, specifically marijuana and heroin. Marijuana continues to be the most commonly used illicit drug, and the current rates of marijuana use increased from 6.7 percent in 2007 to 7.9 percent in 2011 among youth ages 12 to 17, from 16.5 percent in 2007 to 19.0 percent in 2011 among young adults ages 18 to 25, and from 3.9 percent in 2007 to 4.8 percent among adults ages 26 or older. In 2011, 22.5 million Americans ages 12 or older were current users of illicit drugs, including 18.1 million marijuana users – up from 14.5 million in 2007. (See Figure 1)

Figure 1: Past Month Illicit Drug Use Among Persons Aged 12 or Older: 2011. Illicit drugs: 22.5, Marijuana: 18.1, Psychotherapeutics: 6.1, Cocaine: 1.4, Hallucinogens: 1.0, Inhalants: 0.6, Heroin: 0.3.  Numbers in Millions.

According to NSDUH, 21.6 million people ages 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem in 2011. Yet only 2.3 million (or 10.8 percent of those who needed treatment) received treatment at a specialty facility—a continuing disparity.

“Behind each of these statistics are individuals, families, and communities suffering from the consequences of abuse and addiction,” Administrator Hyde said. “We must continue to promote robust prevention, treatment, and recovery programs throughout our country.”

To read the full report: 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.