Thursday, December 19, 2013

“Talk. They Hear You.” AnUnderage Drinking Prevention National Campaign for Parents

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)during SAMHSA’s 2013 National Prevention Weeklaunched “Talk. They Hear You.”  “Talk. They Hear You.” is a national campaign that empowers parents to talk to their children early—as early as 9 yearsold—about the many risks associated with underage drinking. 

“These young people are our future leaders—our future teachers, mayors, doctors, parents, and entertainers,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde.  “As our youth and young adults face challenges, we as a community, need to effectively communicate with them in every way possible about the risks of underage drinking so that they have the necessary tools to make healthy and informed choices.“Talk. They Hear You.”encouragesparents of children ages 9 to 15 to increase their awareness of the seriousness and pervasiveness of underage drinkingand equip them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to help prevent their children from drinking.

“Talk. They Hear You.” provides The Van Buren County SAFE Coalitionwith parent resources and materials to distribute in the community, including the Campaign’s public service announcements (PSAs).  These PSAs and materials show parents “seizing the moment” to talk with their kids aboutalcohol such as while preparing dinner or doing chores. By modeling behaviors, parents can see the many “natural” opportunities for initiating the conversation about alcohol with their children.  Parents can also practice talking about underage drinking with their children through an interactive, web-based role-play simulation they can use anytime.

For more information, Or you may contact the SAFE Coalition at, or via phone at 319-293-6412.

Marijuana and It’s Harm to Youth

Health officials are concerned that the trend toward legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use sends the wrong message to those who are most vulnerable to its effects: children whose bodies and minds are still developing.  Even in states where recreational use of marijuana has been legalized by voter referendum, its use is legal only for adults over age 21. Nowhere is smoking weed legal for children or considered safe for use by youth, but that's not the message they are getting.

Decreased Perception of Harm
·         Initially, the message teens were receiving was, "If it's medicine, it must be okay."
·         More recently, the message is, "If it's legal, it must be safe." 
·         The National Institute for Drug Abuse's annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey show that teens' perception of marijuana's harmfulness has gradually decreased over the years, which usually signals future increases in use among youth. 
·         In the most recent MTF survey, only 41.7% of eighth graders see occasional use of marijuana as harmful. As they grow older, that percentage decreases: only 20.6 percent of 12th graders see occasional use of weed as harmful.

Not a Very Good Message
·         As more and more states make medical marijuana use legal and more make recreational use legal, teen perception of the harm it can cause is diminished. 
·         "We are certainly not sending a very good message when we call it medicine and legalize it," said R. Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Easing Access and Attitudes Leads to More Drug Use by Youth
·         Usage rates among youths age 12-17 were higher in “medical marijuana” states (8.6%) vs. other states (6.9%).  (2011 Wall, M.) 
·         80% of “medical marijuana” states reported increased usage among you 12-17 vs. five years earlier in the 2009-2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. 
·         Residents of states with “medical marijuana” laws had abuse/dependence rates almost twice that of other states.  (2012 Cerda, M.) 
·         Teen past-month heavy marijuana users are more likely than teens who’ve not used in the past year to abuse cocaine (30x), Ecstasy (20x), prescription pain relievers (15x) and over the counter medicines (14x).  (2012 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study) 

Chronic Youth Marijuana Use Can Stunt Long-term Educational Potential
·         Marijuana use negatively effects motivation, memory and learning.  (2011 NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse)
·         Substance use, especially marijuana, contributed to college students skipping more classes, spending less time studying, earning lower grades, dropping out of college and being unemployed after college.  (2013 University of Maryland School of Public Health)
·         Persistent marijuana use during adolescence can cause a long-term 8-point drop in IQ, and harm attention span and memory.  Virtually every brain function was impaired, and quitting or cutting back did not fully eliminate IQ loss. (2012 Dunedin Study, Duke University)
Medical Marijuana States Report Undesirable Effects
·         Colorado drug related school suspensions and expulsions increased 41% from 2008-2009 to 2011-2012.  (2012 Colorado Department of Education)
·         Colorado teens use marijuana at a higher rate (10.72%) vs. the rest of the nation (7.64%).  (2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
·         74% of Denver teens in substance abuse treatment used someone else’s medical marijuana.  11.6% of Arizona high school users were supplied by a medical marijuana user.  (2012 Salomonsen-Sautel, et al. and Arizona Criminal Justice Commission)
·         Marijuana related exposures for young Colorado children 0-5 rose 200% in four years.  (2011 Rocky Mountain Poison Center)
The National Legalization Movement Resembles Big Tobacco
·         Once legal, as evidenced in Colorado and Washington State, industry advertising to promote addiction and target kids is inevitable.  (2013 Smart Approaches to Marijuana)
The consensus of science does not support the legalization of crude marijuana for smoking or any other form of consumption, due to its many health and public safety hazards that cause harm to the youth of Iowa.  Rigorous federal research and development of individual components of cannabis should be pursued with vigor to produce safe and effective science based medicines for use with physician and pharmacy oversight to treat those with valid medical needs, similar to other medicines currently being studied or already authorized by the FDA.  For more information on the dangers of marijuana for youth please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at

Don’t Turn Your Holiday into a Tragedy Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving

Stay Safe and Drive Sober to Spread the Holiday Cheer
·         Drunk driving fatalities occur all year round, but data shows that the holiday season is a particularly dangerous time on the roadways.
·         In 2011, 760 people lost their lives as a result of drunk-driving-related crashes during the month of December alone.
·         From 2007 to 2011, 14,318 people lost their lives during December. Twenty-nine percent (4,169) died in crashes that involved drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
·         That’s why the SAFE Coalition is joining highway safety partners and law enforcement organizations across the country to remind people during December and throughout the year that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving – and to always designate a sober driver.
·         Whether you’ve had just one or one too many, hand the keys to a sober driver. Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
·         Your decisions can be the difference between life and death. When you drink and drive, you are endangering yourself, your passengers, and those on the road around you.

Remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving
·         According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32,367 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2011, and 31 percent (9,878) of those fatalities occurred in drunk-driving-related crashes.
·         Even one drink can increase the risk of a crash while driving. Remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
·         Designate a sober driver before the party begins; plan a way to get home safely at the end of the night.
·         If you are impaired phone a sober friend or family member.
·         Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel.
·         If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life. 
·         Drunk driving can result in arrest, loss of driving privileges, higher insurance rates, lost time at work, court costs, fines, and attorney’s fees, and many other unwanted consequences. 
For more information on Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving, please visit or the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at

Thursday, December 12, 2013

SAFE Holiday Drinks

It's the Holiday Season, and the SAFE Coalition continues to focus on the importance of planning for a sober ride home. The coalition is encouraging you to plan ahead and offer non-alcoholic drinks at your parties.
There are a lot of parties that go on during the holidays, and so the coalition wants people to know it wants you to have fun, but plan ahead. And one of the easiest ways that you can do that is to have a person that is appointed to stay sober. It's just one person, and if you don't want to be that person — no one wants to be that person — guess what? You can have someone that's not actually at the party with you come and pick you up.
Everybody always associates the Designated Driver with that person that's sitting in a bar drinking a soda. The coalition wanted to take care of the designated driver by offering them special holiday drinks that they can also have and enjoy the time out with their friends. These drinks were crafted by a bar owner in Austin. Everyone can have fun; they can enjoy the holidays, and Sprite, cherries and lime juice make for a special holiday drink as well.
The time to plan for a safe Christmas and New Year's Eve is ahead of the party, not at the party; because by that time, your judgment has been impaired. After one or two drinks you're not thinking clearly. It's very important to plan ahead. Certainly, don't wait until you're at the party to start thinking about how you're going to get home.
Here are some non-alcoholic recipes to try and remember the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition wishes you a very merry, fun and happy holiday season!
Holly Cranberry Punch
1 bottle of Cranberry Juice
2 (2 Liter) bottles of Ginger Ale
½ gallon of Vanilla Ice Cream
In a punch bowl, mix cranberry juice and ginger ale. Add vanilla ice cream to center of punch bowl. Allow ice cream to melt slightly. Serve and enjoy.  For variety, substitute other Cranberry Juices, such as Cran-Raspberry or Cran-Grape for the Cranberry Juice.
Traditional Holiday Punch
1 can of frozen Orange Juice
1 can of frozen Pink Lemonade
1 can of frozen Limeade
1 can of Pineapple Slices (in Juice)
2 (2 Liter) bottles of Ginger Ale
Completely thaw frozen juices. In a punch bowl, mix frozen juices. Add Pineapple Slices and juice, mix lightly. Add Ginger Ale. Serve and enjoy.
Sunshine Holiday Punch
6 cups of Orange Juice
1 (2 Liter) bottle of Sparkling Water
¼ cup of Lemon Juice
½ cup of Maraschino Cherry Juice
½ cup of Maraschino Cherries
2 Oranges (sliced)
In a punch bowl, mix orange, lemon, and maraschino cherry juices. Add sparkling water. Add orange slices and cherries. Serve and enjoy.
Poinsettia Pomegranate Punch
1 (16 oz) bottle of Pomegranate Juice
1 cup of Triple Sec
2 bottles (750 ml each) of Non-Alcoholic Champagne, Sparkling Cider, or Sparkling Water
1 tbsp. of Lemon Juice
In a punch bowl, mix pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and triple sec. Add non-alcoholic champagne, sparkling cider, or sparkling water. Serve and enjoy.
Berry Holiday Surprise
1 can of frozen Raspberry-Lemonade
1 can of frozen Strawberry-Lemonade
½ quart of Raspberry or Strawberry Sherbet
2 (2 liter) bottles of Ginger Ale
Completely thaw frozen juices. In a punch bowl, mix frozen juices. Add Ginger Ale. Add frozen sherbet to center of punch bowl. Serve and enjoy.  Allow sherbet to begin melting before serving.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Consequences of Underage Drinking

Over the last several decades, scientific understanding and knowledge of the dangers of underage drinking have increased substantially. Underage drinking is associated with various negative consequences for children and can affect and endanger the lives of those around them.

Children who drink alcohol are more likely to:
Use drugs
Frequent binge drinkers (nearly 1 million high school students nationwide) are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, including using other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine.

Get bad grades
Children who use alcohol have higher rates of academic problems and poor school performance compared with nondrinkers.

Suffer injury or death
In 2009, an estimated 1,844 homicides; 949,400 nonfatal violent crimes such as rape, robbery, and assault; and 1,811,300 property crimes, including burglary, larceny, and car theft were attributed to underage drinking.

Engage in risky sexual activity
Young people who use alcohol are more likely to be sexually active at earlier ages, to have sexual intercourse more often, and to have unprotected sex.

Make bad decisions
Drinking lowers inhibitions and increases the chances that children will engage in risky behavior or do something that they will regret when they are sober.

Have health problems
Young people who drink are more likely to have health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders.

Van Buren Youth Leadership Council Members want to remind youth about these dangers and encourage them not to engage in the risky behavior of drinking alcohol underage. It can be damaging to your future, your family and your life.
For more information on Youth Leadership Council please contact or call 319-293-6412. Information retrieved from