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

Our Young People are Fantastic!

An excellent read: letter to the editor by Ned Russel with the Good News about young people:

http://www.theunion.com/opinion/10157904-113/generation-parents-voices-knowledge

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

This may have been said by Socrates, who lived 2,400 years ago, or maybe not, but similar words have been said about the younger generation over and over.

Most recently, an Other Voices column in the Feb. 8 edition of The Union displayed a similar sentiment, saying that today’s children are out of control and that the situation could be changed if teachers and parents would spank and hit the kids with sticks more often. I strongly disagree.

The current generation, those under 25 years old, will turn out to be the next “greatest generation” (this in no way diminishes the contributions of the Other Voices writer’s generation any more than Hank Aaron’s baseball feats diminish Babe Ruth’s). Perhaps the Other Voices writer has personal knowledge of a few youth and families that match his complaints, but I urge all to view a wider picture.

Attend a NEO event with a few hundred kids. The music is too loud and some of them dress in ways that may seem odd, but watch how they interact with each other — and with you — if you speak to them. Visit the after-school Hangout. Consider how students at Nevada Union have elected a homecoming king and queen for reasons other than being a top student or athlete. Look at what they do for senior projects and personal campaigns to reduce hunger and poverty around the world. Outside of Nevada County, sports teams have allowed opposing players who have little chance to be regular stars to be stars for a moment.

Current youth will surpass all other generations precisely because many parents, and others, have learned that there are better ways to discipline their children than by hitting and yelling. The Friendship Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters use these ways with exceptional success — with absolutely no spanking by mentors. Nonviolent discipline is completely supported by research. (See this story online for a summary of study of 7,000 U.S. families, 32 countries; and a study of 967 middle school youth on yelling from University of Pittsburgh).

Will this generation be perfect? Of course not. Most people agree that human behavior is one of the most complex phenomenon that exists, but anyone can become a developer of behavior in a child without knowledge of how or training.

It’s difficult for parents and others to put aside what they learned from their parents when they were 10 or from their limited experience as parents of a few children, but the more we learn about what children need and how to give it to them, and the more people accept new knowledge, the better each generation will be.

Ned Russell lives in Grass Valley and volunteers for Got40?

Yes, It’s Still a Big Deal If Your Teen Smokes Pot. And, here’s Why…

Recent Article Published in Time Magazine Writes:   With each passing day, it seems, smoking pot becomes less and less stigmatized in our society.

In a much-buzzed-about piece in The New Yorker this week, President Obama suggested making pot legal in large part to correct the vast inequities that minorities face in terms of cannabis-related arrests and imprisonment. Besides, said the president, who was known to smoke his fair share of weed back in the day, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol” for the individual user.

Even the straight-laced Bill Gates recently announced his support of legalization. And this year’s Super Bowl has been dubbed the “Super Doobie Bowl,” a reference to the fact that the teams vying for the NFL championship, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, hail from the two states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Mainstream websites are circulating marijuana-laced game-day snack recipes. It won’t be long before Martha Stewart comes up with her own pot-brownie concoction.

With all of this hanging in the air, it’s obvious we parents should be talking to our kids about smoking dope. But what are we supposed to tell them when it’s clear that “just say no,” isn’t going to cut it?

After consulting with two researchers from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, I now know what I’m going to tell my own 16-year-old: Not so fast, buddy. Your brain simply isn’t ready for you to start using pot.

“Adolescence is a sensitive time for brain development,” says Matthew J. Smith, a research assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “If a teen introduces the abuse of marijuana at that point in their life, it could have consequences for their ability to problem solve, for their memory and for critical thinking in general.”

Unfortunately, this crucial message is getting lost in the pro-legalization fervor. Use of pot among adolescents, which had declined from the late 1990s through the mid-to-late 2000s, is again on the rise, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. One likely reason: “The percentage of high-schoolers who see great risk from being regular marijuana users has dropped,” over time the agency points out.

That perception, however, is all wrong. In a study published last month, Smith and his colleagues found that teens who smoked a lot of pot had abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory—a predictor of weak academic performance and impaired everyday functioning—and that they did poorly on memory-related tasks.

While the study focused on heavy marijuana users—specifically, those who indulged daily for about three years—one of its most crucial findings related not to the amount of pot an adolescent smoked, but when he or she started: The earlier the drug was taken up, the worse the effects on the brain.

“Marijuana is the ideal compound to screw up everything for a kid,” says Hans Breiter, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and a senior author of the study. “If you’re an athlete, a chess player, a debater or an artist, you need working memory, and marijuana hurts the brain circuitry.”

Breiter, who himself has four children 11 to 21, adds: “The more I study marijuana, the more I wonder if we should have legislation banning the use of it for everyone under 30.”

The study, which appeared in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin, sought to distinguish the effects of daily marijuana use on the adolescent brain from the effects of schizophrenia on the deep regions of the brain that are necessary for working memory.

Although the researchers were not equating pot smokers with those suffering from schizophrenia—a chronic, disabling brain disorder—they did find parallels in one respect. “Schizophrenia is a very disruptive illness on working memory, and using marijuana produced many similar effects to schizophrenia,” Breiter says.

The scientists noted that these effects were still apparent two years after their subjects had stopped using marijuana, but more research will be needed to determine whether the neurological abnormalities in heavy teen pot smokers are permanent.

In the end, you can’t blame kids if they’ve come to believe that smoking pot is not that big a deal. The cultural cues are very strong. President Obama said he tries to fight against this by telling his own two teenage daughters: “It’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”

But I think that parents have an opportunity—and an obligation—to be even more pointed with our children by saying to them: “If you’re tempted to smoke pot, please hold off as long as you possibly can. Your beautiful brain is still developing.”

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

 

 

Summer Activity List: Relax, Refresh, Reduce Risks!

Special thanks to  the Community Support Network for putting together a comprehensive list of summer activities. Below is a list of NEO and other family and teen friendly activities!

June 18th, 2013 – PLEAG Event: Boat Safety with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Dept.

The Parent Leadership Empowerment & Advocacy Group meets at 180 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley. 5:30 dinner and 6:00-7:30 parent group. Dinner and fun children’s program are FREE. For more information call Cindy at 530-273-9541 x221.

June 25th, 2013 – PLEAG Event: Family Nutrition with the Nevada County Health Dept.

The Parent Leadership Empowerment & Advocacy Group meets at 180 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley. 5:30 dinner and 6:00-7:30 parent group. Dinner and fun children’s program are FREE. For more information call Cindy at 530-273-9541 x221.

June 28, 2013

Outdoor Movie Night
Starts: 8:00 pm
Ends: 10:30 pm
Location: Grass Valley Blockbuster Video

Description: Join us the 4th Friday of every month from June-August at Blockbuster Video for FREE Outdoor Movie Nights!
——————-
-June 28th
-July 26th
-August 23rd
——————-
Bring blankets, pillows, chairs or drive up in your car!
All ages welcome!

July 1, 2013 – August 5th

Hippie Dancing & Guerrilla Games
Starts: 6:00 pm
Ends: 9:00 pm
Location: Nevada City Pioneer Park

Description: Join us every Monday night from July 1st – August 5th
This year we are combining Hippie Dancing with our sports night, Guerrilla Games….now there is something for everyone weather you like sports, games, dancing or music!
All ages and skill levels are welcome to attend!

July 4, 2013

NEO Float in the 4th of July Parade
Starts: 10:00 am
Ends: 12:00 pm
Location: Downtown Grass Valley

July 12th, 2013 – Nevada County AirFest

Bring the family to the Nevada County  Airport, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Fly-bys and displays of vintage and experimental aircraft, jets and more. For more information: www.ncairfest.com

July 20th, 2013 – NEO’s Birthday Bash

Family friendly and free for all ages, noon-10:00 p.m. at the 49er Fun Park in Grass Valley. Games, crafts, body art and more. For more information: Halli Ellis, 530-263-3763 or halli@ncneo.com

July 21st, 2013 – CoRR’s 12th Annual Golf Tournament

Golfing, auction & raffle prizes, and more! 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Alta Sierra Country Club. Registration $125. Sponsor, play, donate online at www.corr.us. For more information email Melissa Kelley at mkelley@corr.us or call 530-273-7956

July 23rd, 2013 – KARE Crisis Nursery’s Barnyard Day

Petting zoo and picnic, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. for all ages. For more information call Lynn Woerner at (530) 265-0693

July 31st, 2013 – Community Support Network’s Partner Potluck

It’s time to celebrate, have fun, share delicious food and you’re invited! Whether you work for one our partner agencies or you’re an interested community member wanting to learn more about the Community Support Network, plan on attending our Partner Potluck at the Terrance K. McAteer Family Resource Center, 3:30-5:00 p.m. It’s located at 400 Hoover Lane in Nevada City.

Here are the details:

  • We’ll supply lemonade, iced tea, water, plates, napkins and cups.
  • You supply finger food (here are some ideas) and serving utensils. Those with last names A-L bring savory food, last names M-Z bring sweet food.
  • Bring a chair or blanket to sit upon.
  • If you have a CSN t-shirt wear it. If you’d like to order your CSN shirt see here.
  • Cindy Santa Cruz Reed of CoRR will be reading the children’s version of the book How Full is Your Bucket?

Surprises are in store so don’t miss this bit of summer fun, July 31st. This potluck takes the place of our usually scheduled August meeting. Call Paula if you have any questions: 530-913-0270.

August 22nd, 2013 – United Way’s 7th Annual BBQ Battle

5:00 p.m. at the Gold Miners Inn/Holiday Inn Express in Grass Valley. Local teams compete for prizes. Raffles, live music, a misting tent and more. For more information: 530-274-8111 or admin@uwnc.org

 

NEO Teen Center – Searching for a Home

A message from NEO…

Every young person has a name, a story… and a future.

You did. We did. And they do. NEO wants to know the names, hear the stories, and unlock the potential of those compelling futures. NEO is a grassroots youth movement, starting 5 years ago at Thursday Night Markets, hosting events anywhere and everywhere, and now embracing new vision of a Teen Center focused on hosting year-round alcohol and drug-free activities and events. Over these last five years, NEO has remained completely focused and dedicated on Nevada County youth: these are our kids. This is their time. This is their place.

This is our vision for the future.

One of the local conditions in Western Nevada County is the lack of youth-oriented activities. There is no YMCA, no centrally located  place where teens can go to participate in recreational activities, skill building, and fun activities in a safe environment with positive caring adults. While the volunteers from The HangOut and Overtime have successfully provided alternatives for after school and Friday nights, our youth need something to accommodate everyday needs. Teens need a safe place to pop into where they can build relationships with caring adults and other teens experiencing the full potential for life without alcohol and drugs. The vision for the future is clear…our youth need to feel supported, have a voice, and believe that they are the future of our community.

What is NEO offering…?

NEO is offering a safe haven where youth can be themselves, and learn to be the leaders of the future. They can have responsible fun without running around the business district of Downtown Grass Valley and Nevada City. The ability to offer such a great alternative is in the hands of the community. Joining efforts with community members, businesses, and organizations that support the future of Western Nevada County and want to help in this mission is the key to successful development of a Teen Center. 

After School…

Homework help, computer lab, chill time with friends, video games, snacks and cool workshops like CPR, Nutrition & Cooking, Youth Commission, Zumba, Books into Movies, Art, Teen Finance, Anti-Bullying and violence awareness… something for everyone!  

On the Weekends…

Teens favorite music, sometimes performed by our own talented local youth bands, dancing, pool tournaments, video games, nachos, pizza, birthday celebrations, swim parties, open gym and sports nights, prizes, prizes and more prizes!

How YOU can help

Anyone can become a part of the solution. Volunteer at events. Donate funds if you are able. Help us find a home. Right now, the vision of the NEO Teen Center is resting on the hope of a location and the community can certainly help make this vision a reality.

NEO Teen Center Needs:

·        A facility that is centrally located in Grass Valley or Nevada City, with easy access for youth via walking or bus lines.

·        1500+ square feet, but we are flexible.

·        Preferably 1 large room able to accommodate pool tables, couches, ping pong and concerts or dances with at least 2 smaller rooms for workshops, offices and storage space.

·        Preferably has outdoor space on site or a park nearby.

·        Handicap accessible.

·        Kitchen is a plus.

We are hoping to find someone who is willing to donate their space for 6-12 months so that we can become established before finding a permanent location. 

The July 20th, 2013 NEO Fest event marks our fifth anniversary and celebrates five years of providing New Events and Opportunities for youth. Over the last five years resources through the Coalition’s Drug-Free Communities grant have supported NEO’s activities and enabled us to expand our outreach. Not only are we celebrating the 5th anniversary of NEO, but we also celebrate a milestone of obtaining our non profit status which will help us in our efforts to open a  teen center and sustain our outreach beyond the grant funding.

What is NEO…?

NEO empowers youth to make healthy lifestyle choices by providing New Events and Opportunities in a safe environment that encourages youth success and contributes to a healthier community.

The word NEO is prefix defined as new. NEO is a new way of thinking around making the choice to live a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on healthy alternatives. These events and opportunities create a safe environment which helps young people develop a sense of purpose, boost self-esteem, build skills for success, and be empowered to make the choice to live a healthy lifestyle.

NEO hosts and average of 70 events per year with approximately 7000 people attending.  We’ve seen great success with our events, we’ve decided it’s time to build on this and work towards finding a permanent home, so instead of supporting young people just a few times a month we can be providing activities everyday of the week.

 

 

 

Finding Common Ground on the Subject of Preventing Marijuana Use by Children – NCTV Breaking Bread Show

Last week Dr. Christina Lasich, Martin Webb and Don Bessee joined the host of NCTV’s Breaking Bread Show to discuss teen marijuana use, and explore  areas of common ground in the desire to prevent children from using marijuana and other drugs.

To view the video on demand click the link below:

Finding Common Ground on the Subject of Teen Marijuana Use – Breaking Bread NCTV

 

Or, you can go to: http://www.nevadacountytv.org/pages/node/82 Click the drop down arrow for Programs Available on Demand then choose Interview/Talk Show then scroll down to:  Breaking Bread #3 Marijuana:  Minors & Medical Misconceptions.

 

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.

Sierra College Film Lecture Series Presents ~ Collision Course ~ Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Collision Course: Teen Addiction Epidemic ~ Documentary Participants Reach Out to the Community

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 doing the Love Is Louder activities, handing out swag, and discussing the local teen center’s plans for an October opening. The Sierra College Health Education Department has planned an interactive educational activity for participants and will be joined by the Choices Club. 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.

For more Information, Contact: Melissa Kelley
Tel: 530.273.9541 ext 226 or
Email: mkelley@corr.us