Monday, September 18, 2017

5 Tips to Prevent Underage Drinking During Homecoming

Sobering Up Editor
Homecoming is an annual rite of passage for high school students, and one that often involves alcohol. Underage drinking and alcohol-related crashes involving minors tend to increase during homecoming season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
·         22% of teen drivers involved in fatal car crashes were drinking.
·         More than half of fatal motor accidents involving teen drivers occur on weekends.
·         Teens who use alcohol are far more likely to binge drink than adults.

Homecoming can come with more chances and pressures to drink. As students get ready for the big game and dance, here are 5 actions parents can take to prevent underage drinking.

Discuss your expectations about alcohol use: Parents may feel anything they say to their teen goes in one ear and out the other. In fact, parents do influence teens’ drinking decisions. Research shows children may interpret a parent’s failure to talk about underage drinking as indifference, making them more likely to use alcohol. Have regular conversations with your teen about alcohol misuse, and specifically talk about it before events, like homecoming, that may include alcohol.

Find out who your teen will be with and talk with the other students’ parents: Ask whether adults will be present if teens come by after the official event and consider the other family’s attitude toward underage drinking. Even though it is illegal and dangerous, some parents choose to provide alcohol to teens in their home. In the state of Iowa it is illegal to host a party with alcohol for youth per the statewide Social Host Ordinance.  Asking questions won’t score you any “cool” points with your kid, but it will help keep your teen safe.

Provide a sober after-party space: Many students want the night to continue after the game or dance ends. Providing an alcohol-free environment allows the party to keep going safely. And it’s important for parents to actively supervise after-parties. Adults can be held responsible for failing to supervise minors who are later caught drinking, even if the adult didn’t supply or know about the booze.

Offer to drive: Providing a guaranteed designated driver ensures your child won’t end up in a car with an intoxicated person behind the wheel. Driving your teen also removes other risks, such as texting or distracted driving, which may increase with the excitement of the evening.

Let your teen know you are “on call”: While parents should not condone underage drinking, it’s important for teens to know they can call for help if they or their friends don’t have a safe ride or are in danger.

For more information on how to talk with your teen contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or info@vbsafecoalition.com.  You can also checkout the website for more resources at www.vbsafecoalition.com.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Botvin Life Skills Training Curriculum

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition was awarded the Iowa Partnership for Success (IPFS) Grant in 2015 to address underage drinking and underage binge drinking in Van Buren County.  The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition’s IPFS project is funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health, through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

In June of 2016 the Iowa Department of Public Health approved the use of the Botvin Life Skills Training Curriculum at the Van Buren Community Jr. /Sr. High School to address underage drinking and underage binge drinking in Van Buren County.  On July 20, 2016 the Van Buren Community School Board approved the implementation of the program in the 7th and 8th grade Explore Rotation.  In the 2016-17 school year both grades completed the Level I curriculum.  In the 2017-18 school year the 7th Grade students will complete Level I and the 8th Grade students will complete Level II as the Life Skills Curriculum builds on the information provided each year. 

The new edition of the Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School program is a groundbreaking substance abuse and violence prevention program based on more than 30 years of rigorous scientific research. Now updated with new graphics, references and statistics, it is proven to be the most effective evidence-based program used in schools today. LifeSkills Training is comprehensive, dynamic, and developmentally designed to promote positive youth development. In addition to helping kids resist drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, the LifeSkills Training Middle School program also effectively supports the reduction of violence and other high-risk behaviors. 

The program learning objectives area as follows:
·         Personal Self-Management Skills: Students develop skills that help them enhance self-esteem, develop problem-solving abilities, reduce stress and anxiety, and manage anger.
·         General Social Skills: Students gain skills to meet personal challenges such as overcoming shyness, communicating clearly, building relationships, and avoiding violence.
·         Drug Resistance Skills: Students build effective defenses against pressures to use tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.

For more information on the Life Skills Training curriculum please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or info@vbsafecoalition.com