Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thinking of New Year Resolutions? How about....

Seven Ways to Protect Your Teen from Alcohol and Other DrugsFrom the Bureau of Substance Abuse Service, Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health
Copies of this as a booklet (#SA1011) can be ordered by calling 1-800-952-6637

#1 Be a Role Model. Fact: Children imitate adults.
Actions: How to be a role model:
- If you drink, do so in moderation.
- Never drive after drinking.
- Do not use illegal drugs.
- Be conscious of your use of prescription drugs.
- Dispose properly of unused prescription drugs, mixed with coffee grinds or kitty litter in a zip-lock baggie into the garbage, not down the toilet. Or to a Rx drop box in your community, most likely at a police station.
- Use household products in a ventilated area, according to directions.

#2 Be Clear About Your Expectations.
Fact: The most common reason young people give for not using alcohol and drugs is not wanting to harm their relationship with the adults in their lives.
Actions: Say: It is not okay for you to drink, use inhalants or do drugs because….
- It is against the law.
- You’re still growing and your brain is still developing. Alcohol and other substances can cause brain damage that may be permanent.
- If you start when you are young, you are much more likely to become addicted and that will get in the way of your dreams.
- Inhalants are extremely dangerous and can cause permanent brain damage or death, even the first time they are used.
Actions: When your kids get older, be more explicit about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs:
- Drinking affects your decision-making. You are more likely to make a bad decision and end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is not necessarily a matter of luck.
- Kids who drink are more likely to drive drunk, or get in a car where the driver is drunk.
- Kids who drink are more likely to try other drugs.
- Using Ecstasy can permanently alter your b rain.
- Heroin is highly addictive.

#3 Set Limits and Follow Through.
Fact: Parents’ permissiveness is a bigger factor in teenage drug use than peer pressure.
Actions: Establish rules.
- Discuss rules in advance.
- Follow through with consequences. Uphold limits set in school or in the community. For example, if your child is suspended for violating a rule, investigate, and help him learn from the consequences.
- Allow your teen to build trust. Reward good behavior. Tighten the reins when rules are broken.

#4 Be Involved In Your Kid’s Life. Fact: Teens are much less likely to use drugs when parents are involved in their lives.
Actions: Ways to stay involved:
- Listen with empathy. Don’t judge.
- Initiate conversation with an observation like, “you seem sad,” or “you seem stressed.”
- Have dinner together at least four times a week.
- Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents.
- When your kids are going to someone’s house, check to see if an adult will be home.
- Encourage them to call you if they ever feel at risk.

#5 Help Your Teen Become Well-Rounded. Fact: Teens who participate in community service and extracurricular activities are less likely to be involved in drugs and alcohol.
Actions: Encourage your child to spend several hours a week on a combination of
- Community Service AND
- Sports
- Art, music, drama AND
- Clubs, etc.

#6 Encourage Your Teen to Try Hard in School. Fact: Teens who perform well in school are less likely to become involved with alcohol and drugs.
- Limit screen time.
- Encourage effort over grades.
- Praise every improvement.
- If a child thinks or says, “School is boring,” consider ways to fix that. Talk with his or her teachers.
- Find ways to help your child do something in school well, even if they don’t get A’s.

#7 Reach Out. Fact: Teens with supportive adults in their lives as less likely to use alcohol and other drugs.
Action: Seek and give ongoing support.
- Spend time with close family members.
- Join activities in your community.
- Talk to parents in similar situations.
- Stay connected with neighbors and friends.

People who can help guide your child or help you find community resources:
- Pediatrician or health care provider
- Guidance counselor
- Social Worker
- Teacher
- Religious Leader

CHECKLIST: Does your teen….._ Have strong family support?
_ Understand the limits you have set?
_ Have high expectations for his or her future?
_ Have a safe environment at home and school?
_ Participate in a supportive, caring community?
_ Pursue extracurricular activities like sports, art, music, theater, or clubs?
_ Learn about values through regular volunteer work, being in a community group and/or religious programs?
_ Have dinner with you and your family at least four times a week?
_ Hang out with friends who act responsibly?
_ Feel he or she can come to you with a serious problems?

Every item on the list contributes to your teen’s healthy future and reduces chances or drug and alcohol abuse.

Tools in the Toolbox: Five Types of Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Strategies

Goals, based on the Four Core Measures used by Federal Drug Free Community Grants:
1) To raise the average age of first use,
2) To lower the past 30 day use
3) To increase perception of risk/harm
4) To increase perception of parental disapproval

1) Community Based Prevention – Changing norms and laws favorable to substance abuse
Bylaws/Selectmen –
- Social Host bylaws to restrict underage drinking parties, fining parents (warning, $150, $300)
- Youth Diversion Program – 1st offense, child would not get arrested; would be fined $0-300, attend
educational program, do 10 hours community service (in Melrose, Waltham considering).
- A Youth Curfew, as being considered Malden, requiring unsupervised youth to be at home by 11:00pm (or could make it later). Infractions could require a fine; cannot be a criminal offense (Supreme Court).
- Economic Interventions(Raising Taxes, fines, eg, for marijuana possession, unresponsive to summons)
- Restriction of Advertising, Promotions & Retail Displays
- Tobacco-Free Environment Policies & Bylaws
Retailer-Directed (Restaurants + Grocery/Convenience/Liquor Stores)
- Responsible Alcohol Beverage Service Training
- Sticker Shock Campaigns – Placing stickers on multi or 6-packs of beer and wine to remind adults not to serve minors
- Designated Driver Program for restaurants, While out with friends, any diner who declares that they are the designated driver will receive free sodas for the duration of the meal.
- Changing Hours and Days of Sale/Conditions of Availability + Store Displays & Signs
Other Community Members
- Build Community Coalition that partners with various community sectors, such as the schools, police, PTA, faith community, medical/public health officials, parents, non-profit groups.
- Public Relations/Counter-Advertising/Newspaper editorials, etc., supporting youth SA prevention.
- Build neighborhood attachment, parents talking about how to support & keep safe every child.
- A Safe Homes of Georgetown Pledge Campaign, a Parent Team where parents meet regularly and
pledge to not allow underage drinking or drug use in their homes.
- Social Norms Marketing – Promoting messages that contain statistics about the
nonproblem behavior of a majority of people in order to encourage that behavior in others.

2) Police Policies, Practices & Programs
- Prescription Drug Drop Box – At police station to collect old & excess prescriptions.
- Website Prevention and Legal Information
- Compliance Checks – Ensuring that retailers are not selling to underage people.
- Shoulder Tap Surveys – Ensuring that adults are not buying for underage people.
- The New DARE Education Programs
- Zero-Tolerance Law enforcement/Highly Visible Community Policing

3) School-Based Prevention - Policies & Curriculum Practices
- Provide caring environment to ensure academic success &school engagement for every child.
- Build, Assess and Monitor Data by conducting Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. Use results.
- Health & Wellness curriculum, with youth risk behavior reduction as a goal/mission.
• Research-based, highly interactive, multi-modal, reflecting state frameworks,
• Comprehensive/fully coordinated K-12.
- Youth Action/Peer Group Teams – Involving older peer groups doing research projects, including focus groups, to present to younger student audiences.
- Substance Abuse Discipline Policies and zero-tolerance expectations simplified and clearly communicated, on website (as at Pentucket). Norwood has just instituted a 30 day social suspension.
- Expanded MIAA sports rule to include full calendar year of suspension from offense date.
- SADD – Students Against Destructive Decisions - . "The goal is to bring together people who want to make better decisions." Mission statement: "To provide students with the best prevention and intervention tools possible to deal with the issues of underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving and other destructive decisions." Could produce a SADD newsletter to students, featuring safety & prevention ideas, scientific research, special events, social norms marketing, etc.
- One-TimePresentations, such as
- MADD presentations, such as one (Backstage) focusing on media images/consumer perceptions.
- By outside groups/presenters (ie, Marilyn Belmonte)
- Police, using DA or SAMSHA presentations
- School Resource Officer as a teacher & preventative presence
- Best Prom Practices:
- 1) Pre-prom educational presentations on social host liability, how to help friends, etc.
- 2) Pre-prom contract signed by parents and students regarding behavioral expectations.
- 3) An all-night after-prom party, promoted early, strongly encourage all students to attend. 2)
- 4) free transportation to & from after-prom party
- 5) Chaperones watching the door, prepared to intake kids quickly; dismiss to parents; have listing of parent tel & cell #’s. See .

4) Parent Education
- Social Host Liability, Underage Drinking, Drug Recognition and Other Workshops
- Key Informant Interviews/Presentations
- Teen Parenting Workshops, such as Staying Connected to Your Teen.
- Parent Surveys re: perceptions around youth substance abuse & hosting underage drinking events, which prevention practices they would support to help youth.

5) Family-Based Prevention re: Underage Drinking, Drugs & Strategies
- Participate/stay up to date with community coalitions, continuous education re trends, research & relevant legal issues.
- Face to face contact when children come home from an event.
- Setting clear family rules, expectations and consequences.
- Supervising/monitoring substances (alcohol, Rx, cigarettes) at home.
- Clear communication of family values, caring, honesty, responsibility, restraint, justice.
- Positive family communications/respectful conflict resolution style
- Parent involvement in schooling/encouragement of reading for pleasure
- Effective promotion of school engagement/achievement motivation
- Constructive use of time/creative, civic, social & sports youth activities
- Discussion around social planning & decision making, resistance skills/positive peer influence
- Promotion of Positive Identity: sense of purpose/personal power/self-esteem/future story
- Encouraging youth empowerment: service to others, demonstrate appreciation of youth strengths.
- Spiritual/religious direction/activities; help youth translate values into action.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

GeorgetownCARES considers Substance Abuse Prevention Strategies

PRESS RELEASE: to the Georgetown Record, re: GeorgetownCARES Meeting 12/15/09, printed 12/24/09

GeorgetownCARES, a community-based youth substance abuse prevention group, had their 4th meeting on Tuesday, December 15th. The group, open to anyone interested in the community, works to build awareness of how we can support youth and their families to make healthy, legal choices that will keep them safe and reduce substance abuse. By bringing community sectors and parents together to discuss and learn about the relevant issues, the group hopes to reduce underage drinking, illegal drug use, and cigarette smoking among our youth.

Pam Lundquist, a Georgetown parent certified in community prevention, is founder and Coordinator. Honorary advisors include Superintendent Carol Jacobs and Police Chief James Mulligan.

On Tuesday night, Ms. Lundquist spoke with attendees about how we, as a community, can reach young people by applying best practices in substance abuse prevention that other local towns have found success with. The goal of the evening discussion was to consider practical and effective strategies for reducing youth substance abuse that parents or organizations might be able to implement someday in Georgetown.

Towns or school districts whose best practices were looked at included Beverly, Burlington, Danvers, Franklin County, Gloucester, Malden, Melrose, MASCO, Newburyport, Pentucket, Reading, Revere, and Tewksbury. Ms. Lundquist spoke with representatives from most of these towns to verify information and the effectiveness of the practices discussed.

A few of the innovative strategies discussed included:
- Innovative Bylaws: social host liability, first offence youth diversion, youth curfews.
- Community/Parent surveys to gauge interest, perceptions and practices
- A Prescription Drug Drop-Box for outdated or extra drug disposal
- Safe Homes Parent Team that takes a pledge to not to serve alcohol to minors
- Prom best practices/pre-prom forums/supervised all night post-prom parties
- School-based Youth Action Teams or Crews to carry out research projects and peer-based initiatives
- Environmental mapping projects by youth to reduce crime in “hot spot” areas
- School drug and alcohol policies clarified and promoted
- DARE Education Programs
- Continuous improvement/enrichment of health educational curriculum
- Parent education workshops/forums, for example, on social host liability.
- Designative Driver programs for restaurants
- Police website with prevention tips, illegal substance and law-related information.

Lundquist commended both the Georgetown School District and the Georgetown Police Department for their proactive preventative stance toward youth substance abuse prevention.

She noted that in Georgetown we can be very grateful for a proactive, progressive school system that has an extensive health care curriculum with substance abuse prevention in it for grades K-12, with the exception of grades 2-5. In grades 2-5, the Responsive Classroom nicely supports the kind of social-emotional student development that will lead to emotional resiliency, self-esteem, resistance skills and respectful treatment of others, in other words protective factors, that will prevent substance abuse later on.

The Georgetown schools also have an active SADD group, a Community Service Program that can be used to explore, research and prevent youth substance abuse issues. The Middle School Adding the Zero PTA-sponsored Program, run by 6th grade Teacher Team Leader Diane Weldon, which promote healthy anti-substance abuse messages over the loud speaker in the morning as well as conducts poster contests to communicate substance abuse prevention messages. The winner of the poster contest gets their poster featured on the next year’s agenda book.

The Police Department has also been highly supportive of youth substance abuse prevention, conducting retailer compliance checks, sobriety check-points, and participating in GeorgetownCARES Coalition meetings. The department’s general philosophy of Highly Visible Community Policing also supports a clear message to youth that illegal substance abuse will not be tolerated and will be consistently responded to for the protection and safety of all Georgetown citizens.

Monday, December 14, 2009

More Teens Are Smoking Pot

12/14/09-TIME-"While use of drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine has declined among US teens, more adolescents are smoking marijuana, according to the results of an annual survey funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed some 47,000 eigth-graders, high school sophomores and high school seniors, and found that across all three groups, marijuana use was up. In the 2009 study, 11.8% of eighth-graders reported smoking pot, compared with 10.9% the year before, 26.7% of tenth-graders said they smoked pot, compared with 23.9% in 2008, and 32.8% of 12-graders, compared with 32.4% the previous year.

White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske attributes the uptick in mariujuana use to less education about the dangers of smoking pot, and said that the alarming trend underscores the need for parents and authorities to increase anti-drug efforts.

Even as kids are smoking more pot, they seem to be smoking slightly fewer cigarettes. According to the 2009 study results, 11.2% of high school seniors said they smoked cigarettes every day, down from 11.4% in 2008....Thirteen years ago, 49% of eighth graders said they'd tried smoking; this year, just 20% reported trying cigarettes.

Yet as teens' attitudes about cigarettes and marijuana have changed, so too has their access to, and abuse of, prescription drugs. Nearly 5% of 12th graders reported using OxyContin for non-medical reasons this year, a slightly higher proportion than last year, and nearly 10% of high school seniors reported using the painkiller Vicodin for non-medical reasons as well, a figure that is consistent with rates from 2008 and suggests that the problem continues, researchers say. Meanwhile, teen use of cocaine and methamphetamine had dropped somewhat: 3.4% of 12th graders reported using cocaine in 2009, down from 4.4 in 2008."
*quoted/summarized from TIME on line, article by Tiffany O'Callahan 12/14/2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Seven Myths About Teens, Alcohol and Other Drugs

By the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health

1. Myth: My kids are good kids. They won’t get into alcohol or other drugs.
Fact: Good kids can make really bad decisions because their brains are not yet fully developed.
Act: Be patient with your teen. Remember that critical areas of the brain are still forming.

2. Myth: They’ll grow out of it, and be OK.
Fact: The younger kids start drinking, the more likely they are to become addicted.
Act: Tell your kids that drinking when you’re young can make them more likely to be dependent on alcohol later.

3. Myth: We live in the suburbs. Drugs are a city problem.
Fact: In Massachusetts, urban and suburban youth use drugs in about the same numbers.
Act: If your child takes Ritalin, or another drug that could be abused, monitor its use. Don’t let kids take prescription bottles to school. You or the school nurse should administer any medications that could be abused.

4. Myth: I’m teaching them to drink responsibly.
Fact: Alcohol can damage the developing teenage brain.
Act: Don’t serve alcohol to minors under 21-years old.

5. Myth: I can’t stop my kids from doing the same things I did at their age.
Fact: Yes you can. Here’s why you should: Teenagers who drink are far more likely to drive drunk, have sex, fight and experiment with other drugs.
Act: If asked about your past, tell the truth. Don’t go into detail. You can say:
“When I was younger, we didn’t know what we do now about the harmful effects of marijuana or alcohol. I stopped because I realized how harmful it was and because it was illegal. What I am worried about now is you and your safety.”

6. Myth: Weed isn’t that harmful.
Fact: Marijuana use causes memory problems, decreases motivation and increases the risk of developing a serious mental illness, such as depression and anxiety.
Act: Share new information about marijuana use with your teen.

7: Myth: If I set limits, my kids won’t be popular.
Fact: Kids whose parents are involved in their lives are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs.
Act: Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents.
Alcohol, Energy Drinks, and Youth: A Dangerous Mix

Alcohol companies are finding increasingly dangerous ways to hook the nation's youth and fuel the underage drinking epidemic. That is the conclusion of this new report by Marin Institute. The report examines the alcohol industry's youth-oriented marketing tactics promoting the consumption of alcoholic energy drinks, such as Bud Extra, Tilt, Sparks, and Rockstar 21.

Please visit the Marin Institute's Alcohol Energy Drink Report or see the PDF below for the full report.


Treatment Resources

Pathways to help with substance abuse or addiction issues
Knowledge is Power: The #1 deterrent of substance abuse in teens is PARENTS!
From GeorgetownCARES @

Addiction Treatment Resources & Information Sources – AA – Alcoholics Anonymous - Find local meetings – Alcoholics Anonymous World Services – Al-Anon & Alateen – Marijuana Anonymous World Services – Marijuana Anonymous Online – Treatment referral line – American Medical Association - North Shore Recovery High School Parental Stress Line 1-800-632-8188 or 508-801-3247 regarding heroin & oxycontin addiction, by parents for parents, Learn to Cope North Shore (LTCNS), free meets every Thurs. at North Shore Children’s Hospital; NSMC North Shore Children’s Hospital Family Support Programs – Directory of hotlines for various issues, treatment resources – Directory for rehab and treatment centers

Outpatient Addictions Treatment – A mental health network (by zip code) – A unique therapist directory – a therapist directory – A healthy living community, therapist directory North Shore Recovery Services – Catholic Charities, CAB Health and Recovery Services, Danvers, MA – Lynch & Matlack Clinical Services, Amesbury, MA – Family Counseling & Guidance Center, Danvers Clinic 978-774-6820, Catholic Charities; substance abuse assessment, counseling, treatment.

Inpatient, Partial Hospitalization and Outpatient Addictions Treatment - CAB Health & Recovery Services, provides treatment for substance abuse, 111 Middleton Road, Danvers, MA 978-777-2121 – Adcare Hospital in Worcester, MA 1-800-ALCOHOL – treatment & rehab centers in MA 800-559-9503 – Harvard-affliate rehab services, Belmont, MA – Rhode Island – The Life Process Program-St. Gregory Retreat Center England - New England – reknowned book/materials resource + treatment centers
Baldpate Hospital, 83 Baldpate Road, Georgetown, MA 01833 978-352-2131 – A guide (800#) to MA drug and alcohol recovery centers

Tobacco Cessation/Information on How to Quit - Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation & Prevention Program - CDC Tobacco Information and Prevention Source (TIPS) – Nicotine Anonymous – Quit Smoking All Together – Online Community
Drug deaths outpace car crashes in more states (MSNBC.COM)Sept. 2009
According to new government data, drug-related deaths outnumber those from motor vehicle accidents in 16 states, including Massachusetts. This illustrates a shift in the top cause of deaths after disease and illness.

From 1999 to 2006, death rates for opioid analgesics increased for every age group. Deaths from methadone alone increased sevenfold, the US CDC reported.

Based on death certificate data, CDC researchers counted more than 45,000 US deaths from motor-vehicle crashes in 2006 (40% alcohol related), and about 39,000 from drug-induced causes. No data have yet been finalized for 2007.

Declines in motor vehicle fatalities "are considered on of the great public health triumphs" of the last few decades, said Margaret Warner, an epidemiologist who co-authored the new CDC report. "But (drug) poisonings are definitely going up," she added. summarized from an article copyrighted 2009 The Associated Press.