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Summer is Prime Time to Talk To Kids About the Dangers of Underage Drinking

Jun 17, 2015

Did you know that the average first use of alcohol by young people in the United States peaks in June and July? Every day in the month of July, an average 11,600 young people take their first drink. Also, young people report that alcohol is easy to obtain, and new forms of alcohol distribution, like online ordering, present new challenges to underage drinking prevention. That’s why it’s especially important that parents start – or continue – the conversation about underage drinking during the summer months.

Fortunately, the longer days and warmer nights of summer can provide plenty of opportunities for parents to talk with their kids.  Summer time means family time.  Road trips, barbecues, bike rides, and ballgames give parents and kids more time to connect without the pressures of homework, exams, and the after-school hustle and bustle.

SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” app can help parents prepare for one of the most important conversations they may ever have with their children.  This free app, available through the App StoreSMExternal Web Site PolicyGoogle PlayExternal Web Site Policy, the Windows® StoreExternal Web Site Policy, and Windows® Phone StoreExternal Web Site Policy, features an interactive simulation that uses avatars to help parents practice bringing up the topic of alcohol, learn the questions to ask, and get ideas for keeping the conversation going.

The app is part of SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” Underage Drinking Prevention National Media Campaign, which encourages parents and caregivers to talk with children early about the dangers of alcohol.  Additional resources and information about the campaign and underage drinking prevention is available at http://www.underagedrinking.samhsa.gov.

Click here for the full article.

Teen drug addiction: 7 things every parent should know

Jun 17, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY — It is difficult to put the words “children” and “drug addiction” in the same sentence, but if we want to protect our kids from drug and alcohol abuse we need to educate them. Teens, and even younger kids, should know why they need to avoid substances and make smart choices.

Absorb these seven eye-opening facts about underage substance abuse — and make sure you share them with your kids as well.

1. Teenage drug use leads to addiction

According to Everyday Health, nine out 10 adult addicts begin using before age 18. Additionally, 25 percent of Americans who started using any addictive substance before age 18 are still addicted.

At least part of the reason why teen substance users are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as adults has to do with the developing brain. The Everyday Health article also says if substance abuse happens when the brain is more fully developed in your mid-20s, you are less likely to become addicted.

2. Drug use starts before high school

Today’s youth have their first experiences with drugs and alcohol not in high school or college, but in junior high.

According to a report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, most teens first try cigarettes, alcohol and drugs when they are 13 years old.

3. Underage drug use could lower your IQ

In addition to increasing your likelihood of becoming an addict as an adult, drug use during teen years may cause serious damage to the developing brain. This might apply even to less toxic substances like marijuana.

According to NPR article from 2014, some studies show that regular marijuana use (once a week or more) may cause structural changes to the teen brain — specifically, in the regions having to do with memory and problem solving. Alarmingly, according to NPR, these effects may result in a lower IQ as an adult.

4. Prescription pills are the new gateway drug

Prescription drug abuse is a nationwide problem, and more kids are unknowingly using them as a “gateway” — their first foray into drug use. The above-mentioned CASA research found that 15 percent of high school seniors have misused prescription drugs like OxyContin and Percocet. What’s more, 90 percent of those kids who misuse prescription drugs go on to use other substances.

5. Inhalants (huffing) cause permanent brain damage

Inhalants are among the few drugs used more by younger adolescents than older ones, according to NIDA for Teens. Young adolescents should know that huffing household products like paint thinner or “whippets” can be deadly as well as cause brain damage.

In particular, long-term use of inhalants damages nerve fibers in the brain. Damage to these nerves, according to NIDA, can cause permanent difficulty walking and talking, similar to the effects of multiple sclerosis.

6. Using illegal substances hurts you academically

The CASA report found that teen substance users (including users of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana) are twice as likely as non-users to have poor grades.

Even if you make it into a good college, drug and alcohol abuse can cause academic problems— some 28 percent of college dropouts abuse alcohol.

7. Underage drinking puts you in dangerous situations

Alcohol is still among the most commonly abused drugs among teenagers. One of the most dangerous effects of alcohol on young people is that it causes them to make poor choices that could put their lives in danger. These choices include getting behind the wheel or engaging in risky sexual encounters when drunk.

One in 10 high school students interviewed for the CASA report said they drove after drinking alcohol in the past month (remember that over 50 percent of traffic accidents involve alcohol or drugs). Also, one in five sexually active high school students said they used drugs or alcohol before their last sexual experience.

Please share this information about underage substance abuse and drug addiction with any teens and older children you know — including your own kids. Spreading awareness helps prevent kids from making bad choices that could ruin their lives.

If you have a female child and she already struggles with drug addiction, learn about the different types of drug addiction treatments for young women.

Click here for the full article.

Sandy garbage trucks to carry underage drinking warnings

Jun 4, 2015

Nine Waste Management garbage trucks — wrapped in over-sized messages aimed at educating parents on the dangers of underage drinking — were unveiled Wednesday.

The garbage trucks are Phase II of a statewide campaign aimed at eliminating underage drinking in Utah, which is sponsored by Waste Management, Sandy City and Parents Empowered.org.

"As parents and as a community, we must make a difference by talking to our kids about the dangers of alcohol," Sandy City Mayor Tom Dolan said in a written statement. "And then we must stay involved in their lives, ensuring an alcohol-free environment."

The nine Sandy garbage trucks carry messages on both sides that state: "Parents chip away at the problem. Almost 50% of teens who drink become alcohol dependent."

By SHAHEED M. MORRIS | The Salt Lake Tribune

 

Find the full article here.

New campaign targets parents who give alcohol to teens

May 27, 2015

PROVO — High school graduations are in full swing this week and Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy Tuesday says he has a seat reserved for any adult who provides alcohol to a teenager.

Deputies say that most of the heartbreaking cases they respond to start with teenagers drinking alcohol.

"One of the things that sometimes happens is that adults will provide alcohol to minors, and they will do it with a mindset that it is better to control how they get it, because if they don't control how they get it, then they will find it anyway and it might be irresponsible,” Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.

Cannon said he has found that teenage drinking usually always leads to drunk driving.

"Minors who consume alcohol, they don't want to get caught in the first place and so they are certainly not going to call a parent in most cases and say, ‘I have been drinking, can you come and get me?’ They are just going to drive home so it creates risks beyond just that they are drinking illegally,” Cannon said.

Cannon and other Utah County sheriff's deputies are putting decals that say “Seat reserved for adults who give alcohol to minors,” on their back windows as a warning to adults.

“We have a reserved seat there. This seat is reserved for adults who provide alcohol to minors and that reserved seat will transport you to the jail,” Tracy said.

Click here for full article.

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