Thursday, March 23, 2017

Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery

Alcohol and drug use by young people is extremely dangerous--both to themselves and to society--and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors, even for those who may never develop a dependence or addiction. Adolescence is a time of heightened risk-taking and as alcohol and drugs enter the picture, parents are faced with a unique set of challenges. They can simply sit back and hope their kids will “get through it,” or they can take an active role in learning about alcohol and drugs and helping their kids do the same.

It can be daunting to talk with children about drinking and drug use, but it is well worth the effort parents put into it. In fact, research has shown that kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use these substances than those who don’t have such conversations. 

“Alcohol and drug use is a very risky business for young people,” says Andrew Pucher, President and CEO of NCADD, “and parents can make a difference. The longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it. That’s why it is so important to help your child connect the dots and make smart decisions about alcohol and drugs.”

An integral part of Alcohol Awareness Month is Alcohol-Free Weekend, March 31-April 2, 2017, which is designed to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, and the community. During this seventy-two-hour period, NCADD extends an open invitation to all Americans, young and old, to participate in three alcohol-free days and to use this time to contact local NCADD Affiliates and other alcoholism agencies to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.

Each April since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has sponsored Alcohol Awareness Month to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues.  The month of April will be filled with local, state, and national events aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, particularly among our youth, and the important role that parents can play in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives.

For more information on Alcohol Awareness Month or how to talk with your children about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or info@vbsafecoalition.com

Resource: https://www.ncadd.org/aam

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kids think about what you lose when you drink underage!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

This St. Patrick’s Day, Plan before You Party! Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the nation’s biggest times to celebrate and party. But unfortunately, too many people are taking to the roads after drinking alcohol making the holiday one of our most dangerous. In fact, 30 people were killed in drunk driving crashes across the nation during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18) in 2015.

That’s why the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to reach all drivers with an important life-saving message and warning: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

According to NHTSA, 252 people lost their lives in drunk driving-related crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2011-2015. More than a fourth of them were killed in drunk driving crashes that occurred in the early morning, post-party hours (midnight to 5:59 a.m.).  

These needless deaths could have been prevented. Planning a sober ride home before the party begins is the first step in staying safe on St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t wait until you’ve already been drinking to make your transportation decision. Designate your sober driver in advance, and never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

If you plan to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, follow these tips to stay safe:
       Before celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year, decide whether you’ll drink or you’ll drive. You can’t do both.
       If you’re planning on driving, commit to staying sober. If you’ve been out drinking and then get behind the wheel, you run the risk of causing a crash or getting arrested for a DUI.
       If you have been drinking, call a sober friend or family member.  Also, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which helps users call a friend for a ride home and identify their location so they can be picked up.
       Help those around you be responsible, too. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention could put you at risk of getting hit by a vehicle. If someone you know is drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel and help them find a sober ride home.
       If you see someone who appears to be driving drunk, call the police. Your actions could help save a life.

Impaired driving causes tragedies all year round. According to NHTSA, 35,092 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2015, and 10,265 (29%) of those fatalities occurred in drunk-driving-related crashes.

Remember this St. Patrick’s Day: Plan before You Party! Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

Friday, March 3, 2017

March 15th is National Kick Butts Day

By Sydney Goemaat and Rose Rankin


More than 480,000 people in the United States will die this year from a tobacco-related disease. During the month of March the Van Buren County Warriors Ignite youth coalition members are taking a stand to stop youth from getting hooked on deadly tobacco products.

Unfortunately, 90% of smokers start using tobacco regularly by the time they are 18, and we know from the December 2016 Surgeon General’s Report that three million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2015.

In order to give kids a fighting chance, the Warriors Ignite Members plan to join thousands of students across the country who are taking part in Kick Butts Day, a nationwide initiative that empowers student advocates to lead the effort to stop youth tobacco use. As part of the Kick Butts Day celebration, Warriors Ignite Members will be doing several activities, as follows:
·         High School members will be doing a Crime Scene on March 9th that will be setup at the Van Buren Community Jr. /Sr. High School during the lunch hours for the 7th-12th grade students. The Crime Scene will include facts about smoking tobacco and how people have died from the harmful effects of tobacco.  
·         Middle School members on March 9th will be doing a Scavenger Hunt outside with their peers.  During the Scavenger Hunt students will learn about the dangers of smoking and tobacco awareness. 
·         Middle and High School members will be spreading the word about the dangers of smoking and tobacco awareness on March 22nd and 23rd while peer teaching at the elementary school to the 5th and 6th grade students.
·         Middle School members will be placing messages with cups in the fence during a home track meet at the Middle/High School.  These messages will share tobacco facts and encourage community members to be tobacco free. 
·         Middle School members will be making buttons to share with their peers to encourage them to remain tobacco free.

There are many effective ways state and local officials can protect young people from tobacco. They can fund tobacco prevention programs; increase tobacco taxes; and pass smoke-free laws to protect us from secondhand smoke. Consider these facts: Each day, more than 400 kids become new regular smokers; roughly one-third of them will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease.

Today’s youth are not just part of the problem; they’re part of the solution. And the students from Van Buren County want tobacco companies to know that on Kick Butts Day and every day throughout the year, we’re going to fight them every step of the way!


For more information on the Van Buren County Warriors Ignite youth coalition or Kick Butts Day please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at info@vbsafecoalition.com.  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Talk to Your Teen about Alcohol

Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol related traffic crashes, and to have serious school related problems.  You have more influence on your child’s values and decisions about drinking before they begin to use alcohol.  Parents can have a major impact on their children’s drinking, especially during the preteen and early teen years. 

If you keep alcohol in your home, keep track of it. Make sure your child knows that they are not allowed to have unchaperoned parties/gatherings at home, but encourage them to have friends over when you are home!  The more entertaining your child does in your home, the more you will know about your child’s friends and activities.

Getting to know other parents and guardians can help you keep closer tabs on your child.   This will make it is easier for you to call another parent who is having a party to be sure that a responsible adult will be present and that alcohol will not be available.  Be aware of your teen’s plans and whereabouts and make sure they know it is because you care about them not because you do not trust them. 

When parents establish clear “no alcohol” rules, their children are less likely to begin drinking.  Some possible family rules are:
Ø  Kids will not drink alcohol until they are 21
Ø  Older siblings will not encourage younger ones to drink and will not give them alcohol.
Ø  Kids will not stay at teen parties where alcohol is served
Ø  Kids will not ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking

Once the rules are clear, appropriate consequences will need to be put in place and used.  Make sure the rules are ones you will enforce and that do not keep your child from communicating with you.  A possible consequence might be temporary restrictions on your child’s socializing. 

Parents and guardians are important role models for children.  Even if you use alcohol, there may be ways to lessen the likelihood that your child will drink:
Ø  Use alcohol moderately
Ø  Don’t communicate to your child that alcohol is a good way to handle problems
Ø  Let your child see that you have other, healthier ways to cope with stress
Ø  Don’t tell kids stories about your own drinking in a way that says alcohol use is funny or glamorous
Ø  Never drink and drive or ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking
Ø  When you entertain other adults, make available alcohol free beverages and plenty of food.  If anyone drinks too much at your party, make arrangements for them to get home safely.

Your attitudes and behavior toward teen drinking also influence your child.  Avoid jokes about underage drinking.  Never serve alcohol to underage drinkers.  Remember it is illegal to provide alcohol to minors who are not family members. 

If your child’s friends use alcohol, your child is more likely to drink too.  So, encourage your child to develop friendships with kids who do not drink and are healthy influences on your child.  Get to know your child’s friends and encourage your child to invite them to family get-togethers, outings and spend time with them in other ways.  Finally talk with your child about the qualities in a friend that really count, such as trustworthiness and kindness, rather than popularity or a cool style.  When you disapprove of a friend it is best to point out your reservations in a caring, supportive way and limiting time with the friend with family rules, such as how after school time can be spent or how late your child can stay out in the evening.

One reason kids drink is to beat boredom.  So, encourage your child to participate in supervised activities that are challenging and fun.  According to a recent survey of preteens the availability of enjoyable, alcohol free activities is a big reason for deciding not to use alcohol.  If the community does not offer these types of activities, consider getting together with other parents and young teens to help create some. 

A way for you to discourage alcohol use by teens in your family and in Van Buren County is to join the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition.  By working with the coalition, which has members from the school and other areas of the community, you can help to develop policies to reduce alcohol availability to teens.  For more information contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or info@vbsafecoalition.com or visit us on the web at www.vbsafecoalition.com.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

TALK WITH YOUR CHILD ABOUT ALCOHOL

The Chance That Children Will Use Alcohol Increases as They Get Older. 
About 10 percent of 12-year-olds say they have tried alcohol, but by age 15, that number jumps to 50 percent. The sooner you talk to your children about alcohol, the greater chance you have of influencing their decisions about drinking.[i]

Parents Play a Critical Role in Children’s Decisions to Experiment with Alcohol. 
Studies have shown that parents have a significant influence on young people’s decisions about alcohol consumption,[ii]  especially when parents create supportive and nurturing environments in which their children can make their own decisions.[iii] In fact, around 80 percent of children feel that parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol.[iv],[v]

The Conversation Is Often More Effective Before Children Start Drinking. 
If you talk to your kids directly and honestly, they are more likely to respect your rules and advice about alcohol use.

Some Children May Try Alcohol as Early as 9 Years Old. 
Most 6-year-olds know that alcohol is only for adults. Between the ages of 9 and 13, children start to view alcohol more positively. Many children begin to think underage drinking is OK. Some even start to experiment. It is never too early to talk to your children about alcohol.[vi]

If You Do Not Talk About It, You Are Still Saying Something. 
What you say to your children about alcohol is up to you. But remember, parents who do not discourage underage drinking may have an indirect influence on their children’s alcohol use.[vii]

It is important to:[viii]
• Talk early and often, in developmentally appropriate ways, with children and teens about your concerns—and theirs—regarding alcohol. Adolescents who know their parents’ opinions about youth drinking are more likely to fall in line with their expectations.
• Establish policies early on, and be consistent in setting expectations and enforcing rules. Adolescents do feel that parents should have a say in decisions about drinking, and they maintain this deference to parental authority as long as they perceive the message to be legitimate; consistency is central to legitimacy.
• Work with other parents to monitor where kids are gathering and what they are doing. Being involved in the lives of adolescents is key to keeping them safe.
• Work in and with the community to promote dialogue about underage drinking and the creation and implementation of action steps to address it.
• Be aware of your State’s laws about providing alcohol to your own children.
• Never provide alcohol to someone else’s child.

To help parents in preventing and reducing adolescent alcohol and drug use, The Partnership at Drugfree.org provides information and tools through its website, its community education programs, and its public service messages.  Other web resources: www.theantidrug.com, www.timetotalk.org- Great Parent Talk Kit, www.drugfreeactionalliance.org, www.drugfree.org.  Parents, family, and friends of kids please make sure to check out these sites or contact the SAFE Coalition for more information on issues that kids are facing today.  Van Buren County SAFE Coalition: 319-293-6412, info@vbsafecoalition.com or check us out online at www.vbsafecoalition.com and on Facebook – Van Buren County SAFE Coalition.


References
[i] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking: A Guide to Action for Educators. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 2007.
[ii] Nash, S.G., McQueen, A., and Bray, J.H. (2005). Pathways to adolescent alcohol use: Family environment, peer influence, and parental expectations. Journal of Adolescent Health, 37(1), 19–28.
[iii] Barnes, G.M., Reifman, A.S., Farrell, M.P., and Dintcheff, B.A. (2000). The effects of parenting on the development of adolescent alcohol misuse: A six-wave latent growth model. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62(1), 175–186.
[iv] Jackson, C. (2002). Perceived legitimacy of parental authority and tobacco and alcohol use during early adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health 31(5), 425–432.
[v] Nash, S.G., McQueen, A., and Bray, J.H. (2005). Pathways to adolescent alcohol use: Family environment, peer influence, and parental expectations. Journal of Adolescent Health, 37(1), 19–28.
[vi] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking: A Guide to Action for Educators. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 2007.
[vii] Sieving, R.E., Maruyama, G., Williams, C.L., and Perry, C.L. (2000). Pathways to adolescent alcohol use: Potential mechanisms of parent influence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 10(4), 489–514.
[viii] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Drop the Dip & Drop Your Risk

When we think about February, we think of a few things. First, it’s winter, which means many of us are spending more time inside with the people close to us. Second, there’s Valentine’s Day. Whether you are single, in a relationship, or married, this time of year just gets us thinking about relationships and love. The third thing? Keep reading and you’ll catch on.

There’s no doubt that romance is in the air this time of year, so don’t let dip get in the way of your relationship. The Great American Spit Out, on February 23, 2017 gives you the opportunity to quit with no pressure and likely only positive feedback and support from your significant other.

Smokeless tobacco isn’t just harming your look. When you drop the dip, you will also:
*        Drop the risk for developing cancer of the cheek, gums, and inner surface of the lips
*        Drop those leathery white patches and red sores in your mouth
*        Drop the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and heart attacks
*        Drop the risk for high cholesterol
*        Drop the high pulse rate and high blood pressure
*        Drop the bad breath and possibility of tooth loss

Dropping the dip is a good choice for your health and your relationships. Unlike your girlfriend, we won’t nag you about it. If you are ready to quit, we are here to help. Check out UCanQuit2.org/Ready2Quit for free tips and resources to help you get one-step closer to that perfect selfie. Because let’s face it, gum cancer, white patches, and tooth loss, can seriously mess with your Instagram game.

Drop the dip and set your quit date for February 23 – the Great American Spit Out.