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April is…

Alcohol Awareness Month

When many people think of alcohol abusers, they picture teenagers sneaking drinks before high school football games or at unsupervised parties. However, alcohol abuse is prevalent within many demographic groups in the United States. People who abuse alcohol can be:

Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse
If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you may have a problem with alcohol:

  • Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?
  • Does your drinking ever make you late for work?
  • Does your drinking worry your family?
  • Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won’t?
  • Do you ever forget what you did while drinking?
  • Do you get headaches or have a hangover after drinking?

Source: How to Cut Down on Your Drinking

 

The Role of Parents in Preventing and
Addressing Underage Drinking

During adolescence, young people begin to take risks and test limits. They do so because they are moving from a family-centered world to the larger community, within which they will begin to define their own identity. It is also during this time that parents have an especially important role in preventing and addressing underage drinking.

Parenting Skills

  • Parents who communicated and were involved with their children at ages 10 and 11, set clear expectations for their children’s behavior, practiced good supervision and consistent discipline, and minimized conflict in the family had children who, at ages 11 and 12, were more likely to see alcohol use as harmful and less likely to initiate alcohol use early. They were also less likely to misuse alcohol at ages 17 to 18.1
  • Lack of parental support, monitoring, and communication and lack of feeling close to their parents have been significantly related to frequency of drinking, heavy drinking, and drunkenness among adolescents.2
  • Harsh, inconsistent discipline and hostility or rejection toward children have also been found to significantly predict adolescent drinking and alcohol-related problems.3
  • Some research suggests that poor parenting practices are associated with early childhood deficits in social skills and self-regulation, particularly with regard to aggressive behavior, which result in early minor delinquency and rejection from mainstream peer groups. Children who feel rejected then affiliate with deviant peers; in turn, participation in deviant peer networks increases the risk for drinking and other forms of substance use.4

Social Influences

  • Family and peers can influence drinking behavior actively, by explicitly discouraging alcohol use, or passively, by providing models of drinking behavior.5
  • A Columbia University study reports that adolescents whose fathers have more than two drinks a day have a 71 percent greater risk of substance abuse.6
  • As adolescents develop, drinking behavior becomes less influenced by parents and more influenced by peers.7
  • Perceptions of how much peers drink may exert a stronger influence on an individual’s drinking behavior than the actual level of peer drinking.8
  • Parents can exert a moderating influence on the drinking behavior of their adolescent children by actively monitoring their alcohol use.9
  • Studies have shown that a positive relationship between parents and adolescents can serve as a protective factor, offsetting the risk of alcohol use associated with peer alcohol use.10

DID YOU KNOW?

There were an estimated 28.6 million children of alcoholics in the United States in 1991; nearly 11 million of them were under age 18. Of these, almost 3 million will develop alcohol abuse or dependence disorders, other drug problems, and/or other serious coping problems.18

Children of Alcoholics:

** Are at high risk for developing alcohol and other drug problems.

** Often live with pervasive tension and stress.

** Have higher levels of anxiety and depression.
** May do poorly in school or may be an overachiever.

** May experience problems with coping.19

** Strong bonds with pro-social institutions such as the family, school, and religious organizations

** Adoption of conventional norms about alcohol and drug use

 


Some Protective Factors Against Adolescent Alcohol Use17

  • Strong bonds with the family
  • Parental monitoring with clear rules of conduct within the family unit and involvement of parents in the lives of their children
  • Success in school performance
  • Strong bonds with pro-social institutions such as the family, school, and religious organizations
  • Adoption of conventional norms about alcohol and drug us

Family Structures

  • Among youth, ages 12 to 17, the highest risk of alcohol dependence is found among boys and among white non-Hispanic youth living with no other parent figure other than their father.11
  • Older siblings’ alcohol use can influence the alcohol use of younger siblings in the family, particularly for same sex siblings.12
  • An estimated 11 million children under the age of 18 live in households with at least one alcohol parent.13

Parental Attitudes and Behaviors Toward Drinking

  • Parents’ drinking behavior and favorable attitudes about drinking have been positively associated with adolescents’ initiating and continuing drinking.14
  • Children of drinking parents were less likely to see drinking as harmful and more likely to start drinking earlier. Both these attitudes and behaviors, in turn, predicted greater alcohol misuse at age 17 to 18.15
  • Children of drinking parents are more likely to associate with peers who have tried alcohol at ages 10 to 11, which increases the risk for alcohol use and misuse by the child.16


Tips for Teens: The Truth About AlcoholSlang–Booze, Sauce, Brews, Brewskis, Hooch, Hard Stuff, JuiceAlcohol affects your brain. Drinking alcohol leads to a loss of coordination, poor judgment, slowed reflexes, distorted vision, memory lapses, and even blackouts.

Alcohol affects your body. Alcohol can damage every organ in your body. It is absorbed directly into your bloodstream and can increase your risk for a variety of life-threatening diseases, including cancer.

Alcohol affects your self-control. Alcohol depresses your central nervous system, lowers your inhibitions, and impairs your judgment. Drinking can lead to risky behaviors, such as driving when you shouldn’t, or having unprotected sex.

Alcohol can kill you. Drinking large amounts of alcohol at one time or very rapidly can cause alcohol poisoning, which can lead to coma or even death. Driving and drinking also can be deadly. In 2003, 31 percent of drivers age 15 to 20 who died in traffic accidents had been drinking alcohol.1

Alcohol can hurt you–even if you’re not the one drinking. If you’re around people who are drinking, you have an increased risk of being seriously injured, involved in car crashes, or affected by violence. At the very least, you may have to deal with people who are sick, out of control, or unable to take care of themselves.

DRUG FACTS

ALCOHOL

 

 

Know the law. It is illegal to buy or possess alcohol if you are under age 21.

Get the facts. One drink can make you fail a breath test. In some States, people under age 21 can lose their driver’s license, be subject to a heavy fine, or have their car permanently taken away.

Stay informed. “Binge” drinking means having five or more drinks on one occasion. Studies show that more than 35 percent of adults with an alcohol problem developed symptoms–such as binge drinking–by age 19.2

Know the risks. Alcohol is a drug. Mixing it with any other drug can be extremely dangerous. Alcohol and acetaminophen–a common ingredient in OTC pain and fever reducers–can damage your liver. Alcohol mixed with other drugs can cause nausea, vomiting, fainting, heart problems, and difficulty breathing.3 Mixing alcohol and drugs also can lead to coma and death.

Keep your edge. Alcohol is a depressant, or downer, because it reduces brain activity. If you are depressed before you start drinking, alcohol can make you feel worse.

Look around you. Most teens aren’t drinking alcohol. Research shows that 71 percent of people 12-20 haven’t had a drink in the past month.4

How can you tell if a friend has a drinking problem? Sometimes it’s tough to tell. But there are signs you can look for. If your friend has one or more of the following warning signs, he or she may have a problem with alcohol:

  • Getting drunk on a regular basis
  • Lying about how much alcohol he or she is using
  • Believing that alcohol is necessary to have fun
  • Having frequent hangovers
  • Feeling run-down, depressed, or even suicidal
  • Having “blackouts”–forgetting what he or she did while drinking

What can you do to help someone who has a drinking problem? Be a real friend. You might even save a life. Encourage your friend to stop or seek professional help. For information and referrals, call the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 800-729-6686.

Q. Aren’t beer and wine “safer” than liquor?
A. No. One 12-ounce bottle of beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine (about a half-cup) has as much alcohol as a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor. Alcohol can make you drunk and cause you problems no matter how you consume it.

Q. Why can’t teens drink if their parents can?
A. Teens’ brains and bodies are still developing; alcohol use can cause learning problems or lead to adult alcoholism.5 People who begin drinking by age 15 are five times more likely to abuse or become dependent on alcohol than those who begin drinking after age 20.6

Q. How can I say no to alcohol? I’m afraid I won’t fit in.
A. It’s easier to refuse than you think. Try: “No thanks,” “I don’t drink,” or “I’m not interested.” Remember that the majority of teens don’t drink alcohol. You’re in good company when you’re one of them.

To learn more about alcohol or obtain referrals to programs in your community, contact one of the following toll-free numbers:

SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
800-729-6686
TDD 800-487-4889
linea gratis en español
877-767-8432

Curious about the TV ads of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign? Check out the Web site at www.freevibe.com or visit the Office of National Drug Control Policy Web site at www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov.

The bottom line: 

If you know someone who has a problem with alcohol, urge him or her to stop or get help. If you drink–stop! The longer you ignore the real facts, the more chances you take with your life.

It’s never too late. Talk to your parents, a doctor, a counselor, a teacher, or another adult you trust.

Do it today!

1 Traffic Safety Facts 2003 Data: Young Drivers, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation, 2004.

2 Prevention Alert: The Binge Drinking Epidemic. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2002.

3 Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol with Medicines. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2003.

4 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2005.

5 Underage Drinking: A Major Public Health Challenge. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2003.

6 The NSDUH Report: Alcohol Dependence or Abuse and Age at First Use. Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Drinking Too Much Too Fast Can Kill You

NCADD’s Self-Test for Teenagers

Facts About Underage Drinking

“I Wasn’t Having Fun Anymore”

Stories of Recovery

Underage and College Drinking

Ten Tips for Prevention

Family History and Genetics

Alcohol Energy Drinks

 

In 2007, more than one fifth (23.3 percent) of persons aged 12 or older participated in binge drinking at least once in the 30 days prior to taking SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This translates to about 57.8 million people. The rate in 2007 is similar to the rate in 2006 (23.0 percent).

To recognize the serious problem of alcohol abuse, April is designated “Alcohol Awareness Month.”

If you suspect that you might have a drinking problem, or you know someone who abuses alcohol, please contact SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7.

The following free publications also will provide you with additional information about the hazards of drinking alcohol:

 

PREVENT TEENAGE DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENTS

by Beth Hering

Teenage drunk driving accidents leave 5,000 parents devastated each year.

Thousands of other parents deal with teenagers who emerge from drunk driving accidents alive but gravely changed — beautiful young daughters burned, athletic sons paralyzed, promising college-bound teens now struggling for words.

Drunk driving accidents injure far more than their immediate teenage victims:

  • a brother or sister may be plagued with guilt for not taking the car keys
  • an older neighbor may forever regret buying the alcohol
  • a classmate may live with nightmares for being the one who was driving drunk but survived.

Sadly, more than five million American high school students binge drink at least once per month. With thoughts that they are not “that” drunk, that they are too scared to call their parents to get a safe ride home, or that they don’t want to anger their friends by refusing to get in the car, these teenagers often hit the road — a recipe for disaster for themselves, their passengers, and any innocent motorists who get in their path.

The good news is that you can help prevent teenage drunk-driving accidents, not only by never serving alcohol to minors but by encouraging teenagers and their parents to take responsibility for their actions.

  • Volunteer to help organize a fun, alcohol-free post-prom party at your local high school.
  • Write a letter to local supermarkets and liquor stores stating that you will not patronize any establishment caught selling liquor to minors. Get as many people as you can to sign the petition.
  • If you or someone you love has been affected by a drunk-driving accident, share your story to inspire others.
  • E-mail the the Jacqui Saburido story — in poster, PowerPoint or video format — to every health education teacher in your area. (Caution: Jacqui Saburido was severely disfigured when struck by a drunk driver. The images are disturbing.)
  • If you are the parent of a teenager, download a copy of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) brochure “Underage Drinking: You Can Prevent It When They’re Under Your Influence.” E-mail ten other parents of teenagers, encouraging them to do the same.
  • Download copies of the MADD brochure “Underage Drinking: You’re Stronger Than You Think” for every member of your church’s youth group. Include with it a copy of “The Drunk Driving Poem.”
  • Download a copy of the Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) “Contract for Life,” a fair, two-way agreement in which teenagers promise to call for a safe ride home if they should find themselves in a potentially destructive situation. In return, parents agree to withhold discussion about the situation until a later, calmer time. Copy the contract for distribution at the next meeting of your local high school’s parents’ association.

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APRIL
Facts about APRIL
“April showers bring May flowers”

April was the second month in an early Roman calendar, but became the fourth when the ancient Romans started using January as the first month. The Romans called the month Aprilis. It may come from a word meanting ‘to open’, or it may come from Aphrodite, the Greek name for the goddess of love.

Small animals that hibernate are usually coming out of their burrows in April. The birds fly back northward or they settle down to have their families. The bees and butterflies begin to gather nectar from the first flowers of the season.

In some parts of the world, it’s planting time. In other parts, it’s the harvest season. Professional baseball begins in April. Then the amateur athletes begin to go outside in the warm weather. Spring cleaning starts and people start mowing their yards again.

Special days celebrated in April begin with the first day of April, when children and grown-ups play jokes on one another. Arbor Day is a day for planting trees, and it is observed on various April days. The Jewish festival of Pescah (Passover) is celebrated early in April. Easter is almost always in April, and, with it comes other Christian celebrations such as Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday,and Good Friday.

April Fools’ Day, or All Fools’ Day, is the first day of April. No one knows where the custom began, but some historians believe it started in France. They had a New Year’s festival that was celebrated from March 25 to April 1, and they would then exchange gifts. But, later, King James IV changed the holiday to January 1 for New Years. The people that still celebrated it April 1 were called ‘April fish’ and sent mock presents.

April Fools’ Day may also be related to the ancient Roman spring festival Hilaria, which celebrates the resurrection of the god Attis.

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