Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Social norms among parents

In northeast Seattle, 90% of parents think that it is NOT OKAY for teenagers to drink alcohol, even if they don't get drunk. The norm among parents in our community is that underage drinking is unacceptable.

Here are some examples of a social norms marketing campaign targeting parents done by The Brick House Community Resource Center in Massachusetts:

While the Prevention WINS coalition is not doing a social norms marketing campaign, we can still use social norms messages as we communicate with others in our community. While it's important to let people know that our underage drinking rates continue to be higher than the state average, it is also important to let people know that MOST of our kids do not drink and that MOST of our parents do not think underage drinking is okay. These are powerful messages.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Social norms

I've been reading and hearing a lot about the successes of social norms campaigns when it comes to underage drinking. Here is an example of a social norms message from the National Social Norms Resource Center.

As you see, they emphasize that the norm in their community is that most high school students choose healthy options other than drinking. This is true in northeast Seattle. While we have high underage drinking rates among our high school students, most of them do not drink.

Some more examples:

More on social norms campaigns later . . .

Teenage depression

Since substance abuse and depression are closely linked, I thought I'd share the following article that appears in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/30/health/30depression.html?_r=1&ref=health.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Supporting children in military families

On May 11-12, 2009 the Military Child Education Coalition will host a Living in the New Normal: Supporting Children Through Trauma and Loss Institute from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Hilton Seattle Airport Conference Center. The training is free but space is limited so register soon!

Effectiveness of coalitions discussed during UN meeting

In March, representatives from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) participated in a session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, Austria. They highlighted the vital role that community coalitions play in reducing substance abuse and how bringing various community sectors together has yielded real results.

"Research shows that community coalitions were a key contributing factor to the steep decline in substance abuse rates among American youth that occurred over the last eight years," said General Arthur T. Dean, CADCA CEO.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prescription drug disposal bill dies

On March 5, I blogged about a Washington State House Bill that would have provided for the safe collection and disposal of unwanted drugs from residential sources through a producer provided and funded product stewardship program. Though it is considered an environmental bill, it is a substance abuse prevention one, as well. Prescription drug abuse among youth is on the rise in our state.

The bill never made it to the House floor for a vote and thus died last Thursday.

Bill would eliminate 10% markup on alcohol

Washington State House Bill 2040 would

-- permit, under certain conditions, financial interests between liquor manufacturers, distributors, and retailers (the three tiers of liquor control).

-- authorize liquor manufacturers and distributors to provide promotional items to retailers.

-- eliminates the mandatory ten percent minimum mark-up for beer and wine manufacturers to charge distributors and for distributors to charge retailers.

From an underage drinking prevention standpoint, this legislation is troubling.

The Food Marketing Institute recognizes that "low markup to stimulate high volume is the fundamental principle of mass merchandising." What this means is that eliminating the mandatory 10% markup on alcohol will create cheap prices that help the alcohol industry push high volumes. Research shows that higher alcohol prices reduce underage drinking rates. In fact, prevention advocates push for increasing alcohol taxes as a proven way to reduce underage drinking.

Promotional items are forms of advertisement. The impact alcohol advertising has on children should be considered when debating this bill. A brand new study by Dartmouth College shows that teens who own alcohol-related hats, t-shirts, and posters are more likely to become binge drinkers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Funding opportunities

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has announced funding opportunities under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The opportunities include funding for programs for youth mentoring and programs addressing internet crimes against children.

Prescription drug abuse topic of SAMA luncheon

Today I attended the"Knowledge is Power" luncheon for the Science and Management of Addiction Foundation (SAMA) and heard Stephen Pasierb, the President and CEO of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America speak about their campaign targeting parents.

SAMA's Parent Advisory Council is focusing their efforts on preventing prescription drug abuse. They encourage three simple steps when it comes to prescription drugs: Check -- Lock -- Dispose.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

From Binge to Blackout

The Southwest Healthy Youth Partnership (the underage drinking prevention coalition in West Seattle) and the Madison Middle School PTSA are hosting an evening with Chris and Toren Volkmann who will talk about their book, "From Binge to Blackout", and the importance of talking to teenagers about the effects of alcohol.

When: Wednesday, April 8, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Where: Madison Middle School, 3429 45th Ave. SW

Contact Community Coordinator Renae Gaines at rtgaines@seattleschools.org for more information.

Keeping Track of Teens

Last night, parents packed the Eckstein Middle School library to hear David Hawkins from the UW Social Development Research Group (SDRG) and Ruth Herold from Changes Parent Support Network talk about "Keeping Track of Teens".

Dr. Hawkins encouraged parents to take advantage of the free Guiding Good Choices workshops being offered by the Prevention WINS coalition in northeast Seattle. The SPF-SIG grant that covers the cost of these workshops ends in September 2010, so time is running out for parents who want to take the workshops for free!

The SDRG website contains links to many presentations given by Dr. Hawkins and his colleagues at SDRG, especially Richard Catalano. One of the presentations, Good Parenting IS Prevention, is mainly about Guiding Good Choices.

David Hawkins and Ruth Herold answer questions from parents.

Monday, March 23, 2009

UK top doctor recommends raising alcohol prices

According to the Marin Institute:

Chief medical officer Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the United Kingdom’s highest-ranking medical advisor, is recommending a price hike for alcohol, calling the measure necessary to combat increasing rates of alcohol problems. Public health officials are hopeful that Donaldson’s recommendation will have a strong influence in reducing underage and heavy drinking, which is estimated to cost the country about £25 billion each year.

Free webcasts

Upcoming CADCA TV programs are:

March 26, 10am: The Path to Community Change

May 28, 10am: Getting Heard Through All Media Channels

June 23, 10am: The War Within: Helping Returning Veterans

August 27, 10am: Recovering From Addiction: The Kids' Perspective

September 24, 10am: Countering the Drug Culture

These broadcasts are free and will be webcast live at www.cadca.org.

Friday, March 20, 2009

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

From CADCA Coalitions Online:

While communities are faced with a number of substance abuse issues, underage drinking continues to be among the most pervasive ones, with nearly 11 million underage drinkers today. That´s why April is designated as Alcohol Awareness Month, an annual public awareness campaign that encourages local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about 10.7 million persons aged 12 to 20 (27.9 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Approximately 7.2 million or 18.6 percent were considered binge drinkers, and 2.3 million or 6 percent were heavy drinkers.

According to the Healthy Youth Survey, in northeast Seattle:

-- more than 50% of seniors (at Nathan Hale and Roosevelt High Schools) report drinking alcohol on a regular basis,

-- and more than 30% of them report binge drinking.

Alcohol regulation 101

I came across the Campaign for a Healthy Alcohol Marketplace's website that does a good job at starting to explain why alcohol regulations are needed. Their March 2009 newsletter contains information about "What is a healthy alcohol marketplace" and "Washington State seeks to liberalize ownership".

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NM Attorney General proposes legislation to battle underage drinking

According to JoinTogether.org, "An aggressive legislative package proposed by New Mexico Attorney General Gary King to fight underage drinking includes banning alcoholic energy drinks, classifying and taxing flavored malt beverages as liquor products, and allowing local communities to impose their own alcohol taxes."

Help teens deal with stress

I think I've posted this before but, with WASL just around the corner, I thought it was worthwhile to re-post a link for parents who want to help their teens deal with stress.

Fear-based prevention?

Lately, I've been reading a lot about how fear-based prevention efforts don't work.

Most recently, I read an article written by Dennis Embry, PhD entitled "Why Don't Scary Pictures and Stories Stop Dangerous ATOD Behavior?" (ATOD = Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs)

Other resources that have come through my Inbox are:

Don't Do It! Ineffective Prevention Strategies

How to Make Prevention More Powerful

Since I mentioned Dr. Embry above, I will take this opportunity to provide some links to videos on YouTube that feature him talking about free prevention strategies that have been proven to work -- he calls them "kernels". Topics include:

Kernels and Teens

Kernels and Prevention Policy

Kernels for the Community

Parent support network

One of the people who will be speaking during Prevention WINS coalition's parenting forum on March 23 is Ruth Herold, the Executive Director at Changes Parent Support Network. A great resource for parents, you can learn more by viewing videos about Changes on YouTube.

Parties at Magnuson

I've heard through the grapevine that large underage drinking parties are alive and well at Magnuson Park.

The Parks Department recently reported a large party by Kite Hill on Friday, March 6. Since Parks Department personnel do not have the authority to "exclude" anyone from parks, nothing was done.

On Friday the 13th, another large party took place near Kite Hill. This time, a person was assaulted, their car windows smashed and tires slashed.

Underage drinking is a problem in our community and parties at Magnuson Park are well-known. As a community, we need to come together to stop these parties. Even if teenagers aren't driving, it is not unheard of for youth to seriously injure themselves and others, vandalize, and sexually assault others while they are under the influence. We can sit around pointing fingers at one another saying that it's the other person's responsibility to do something but, really, we all have a role to play in reducing underage drinking and these increasingly dangerous parties in our parks.

Find out more and attend the upcoming Prevention WINS general coalition meeting Monday, March 23, 8:00 a.m. at Nathan Hale High School.

Parents can find out more about how they can keep track of their teens, so that they know their children aren't among those partying at Magnuson, by attending the parenting forum at Eckstein Middle School on March 23 at 7:00 p.m.

Parents talk and kids listen

According to a recent article by the Associated Press, "parents appear to be talking more effectively with their children about the dangers of drug use. Parents are talking, and what you see in the study (commissioned by The Partnership for a Drug-Free America) particularly among the girls, is the willingness of kids to listen. They're more open to talking about the drug issue than kids in the past."

The full 2008 Parents Attitudes Tracking Survey is available online.

Media campaign targets parents

The Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (RUaD) recently launched a media campaign that encourages parents to talk to their children about alcohol. Radio spots, billboards, and newspaper ads can be viewed on their website.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Keeping track of teens

Prevention WINS is hosting a free forum for parents and guardians --

Keeping Track of Teens
Monday, March 23, 2009
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Eckstein Middle School
3003 NE 75th Street in Seattle


-- J. David Hawkins, PhD, from the University of Washington's Social Development Research Group and developer of Guiding Good Choices

-- Ruth Herold, Executive Director of Changes Parent Support Network

The speakers will be followed by small group discussions, enabling parents/guardians to share tips and experiences about monitoring their children.

Watch this . . .

. . . a KING5-TV segment on teenagers, alcohol, and drugs. It mostly focuses on television advertisements for alcohol and how they affect teenagers. However, if you watch it to the end, you'll hear, from students themselves, about how easy it is to get drugs and alcohol.

Speaking of alcohol advertising . . . please scroll down to the second post from March 11 about how people like you and I can comment on changes the Liquor Control Board is considering regarding alcohol advertising in our communities. As people who are interested in preventing underage drinking, it's important the the Liquor Control Board hears from us!

Facebook exposes underage drinking party

Here's an article from MSNBC about how Connecticut police found out about an underage drinking party through photos posted on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Town hall meeting at Meadowbrook

Have your voice heard! Washington State legislators are hosting Town Hall Meetings all around the state to update citizens about what's happening in Olympia.

The Town Hall Meeting for the 46th Legislative District will take place Saturday, March 14, 1:00 p.m. at Meadowbrook Community Center. Senator Ken Jacobsen and Representatives Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney and Scott While will be there and encourage community members to share their views with them.

Comment on alcohol advertising in WA

The citizens of Washington have a rare opportunity to comment on and potentially impact alcohol advertising in our state. The Washington State Liquor Control Board is reviewing Chapter 314-52 WAC - Advertising and is inviting public comment.

Areas up for discussion include:

-- Adding a regulation that significantly limits the amount of advertising on the outside and in the immediate vicinity of a retail establishment;

-- Adding a regulation that specifically limits the amount of advertising placed on both the inside and outside of windows;

-- Prohibiting sponsorship of events in public venues such as parks, street fairs, government buildings, or at community festivals;

-- Prohibiting alcohol advertising in all college media.

People who work in the substance abuse prevention field have created a document providing information about alcohol advertising and these regulation changes. It is available through the Prevention WINS website in its "What's New" box.

Comments on these proposed changes may contact the Liquor Control Board before March 20 one of the following ways:

By mail:
Rules Coordinator, Liquor Control Board
P.O. Box 43080
Olympia, WA 98504-3080

By email: rules@liq.wa.gov

By fax: 360-664-9689

Kerlikowske selected as ONDCP director

It's official . . . Seattle Chief of Police Gil Kerlikowske was chosen today to be new Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Here is a link to a New York Times article about the announcement.

I created a link to that article in particular because it contains the following statements:

The selection of Mr. Kerlikowske, which had been expected, was announced by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who said Mr. Kerlikowske understands that “combating drugs requires a comprehensive approach that includes enforcement, prevention and treatment.”

The nominee said that illicit drug use is “an incredibly complex problem,” requiring cooperation among prosecutors, treatment providers and others. “I am absolutely committed to this task,” he said.

Knowing that we have an incoming ONDCP director who recognizes that prevention works and that there is a need for cooperation among all organizations and individuals concerned with drug-related issues, I have some hope that we may gain support for what coalition's are doing to reduce youth substance abuse problems in our communities.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Kids who wear alcohol-related gear drink more

Binge drinking and alcohol consumption in general is higher among adolescents who own alcohol-related t-shirts, hats, and other marketing items, according to researchers at Dartmouth college.

The lead researcher said, "You can't say any longer that these items are just a marker of kids who drink. It really underscores the importance for policies that restrict the scope of this marketing, so that these products aren't reaching teens and influencing drinking behaviors."

Read more here and at JoinTogether.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Getting rid of unused medicine

Washington State House Bill 1165 and Senate Bill 5279 would require that the producers of medicines sold in Washington create a program to collect of and dispose of unwanted medicines from consumers.

While drug companies oppose this proposed legislation, drug/alcohol prevention groups support it. With youth prescription drug abuse increasing in Washington State and around the country, people need to be able to legally get rid of the medicines in their homes that they are not using. Reducing the access youth have to unused medicines is a key prevention strategy.

Bills re: beer and wine in Washington State

House Bill 2040 and Senate Bill 6027 concern the work of the joint select committee on beer and wine regulation in Washington State. The Washington Association for Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention (WASAVP) opposes the sections in these bills that would eliminate the 10% mark-up requirement. Research shows that higher alcohol prices prevent underage drinking.

Update: Social Emotional Learning Bill

I recently wrote two posts about a Social Emotional Learning Bill being considered in the Washington State Legislature. On Tuesday, Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson sent an email message to the bill's supporters letting us know that it was not voted out of the Education Appropriations committee. Here's what she wrote:

Thank you all for the important role you played in moving the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) bill forward this session. I’m sorry to say that it was not voted out of the Education Appropriations committee in time for cut off last week. Although the majority of the members support the concept of SEL, they feel it is not the right time to integrate new models in the same schools where they are being forced to cut basic education funding. The SEL bill (SHB 1162) did not require state funding or school integration. I worked very hard to contact every member on the committee to clarify the bill’s intent and address their concerns, but I just think the budget climate has decreased morale enough to avoid passing bills that may lead to state funding in the future.

Much has been gained from proposing SEL this session that we can celebrate. First of all, we raised awareness! I’m happy that the relevant policy and fiscal committees in the House of Representatives have been introduced to the promising outcomes and investments SEL holds for our students. During the process, we learned that there is concern about the cultural competency of SEL which was addressed and we will be more prepared to speak to in the future. We have also been fortunate to have the Minority Executive Directors Coalition (MEDC) come forth with their support for SEL. We welcome you! So even though the bill didn’t make it this session, we have learned and gained many things that will help us prepare for our next attempt.

I would like to say that we will try again next session, but I think it would be best to wait until the budget crisis eases since it played a large part in preventing success this session. I hope that will be soon, and for more reasons than one! In the meantime, we will continue to build awareness and our list of supporters.

Again, thank you so much for your involvement. We would not have made it this far without you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A coalition success story

An example of how a community coalition can change community norms about youth alcohol use and reduce underage drinking rates is described in the most recent edition of CADCA's Coalition's Online.

The story describes a Missouri coalition's many activities including a social marketing campaign aimed at parents who provide alcohol to teenagers; a social norms campaign to promote the fact that most teenagers do not drink alcohol; policy change advocacy regarding accessibility of alcohol; and working with law enforcement with compliance checks at stores. Like Prevention Works In Seattle, the coalition used the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) to guide its decisions.

This provides another example of how PREVENTION WORKS! It takes time (the Missouri coalition was formed in 2000) and a great deal of community effort, but communities can make a positive difference in the lives of youth.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gang violence article mentions Roosevelt High School

For those of you who didn't catch it when reading yesterday's Seattle Times article about Seattle Public Schools response to gang violence, the article mentions Roosevelt High School.

"School records show Roosevelt and Ingraham High Schools in North Seattle have reported more safety and security incidents this school year than Central and South Seattle schools."

"The reports cover a broad gamut of incidents from 'aggression' to 'suspicious circumstances.' Many incidents at Roosevelt and Ingraham deal with graffiti, marijuana use, and iPod and cellphone theft in or near the schools. Some also concern gang-related fights and threats."

The reason I point this out is to highlight the prevalence of marijuana use among high school students in northeast Seattle. Not only do students at Roosevelt and Nathan Hale High Schools report alcohol use rates that are higher than the state average, they report marijuana use rates that are higher than the state average (2006 Healthy Youth Survey). During a recent Prevention Works In Seattle coalition meeting, a police officer and staff from a local drug/alcohol treatment agency noted that marijuana seems to be more accessible to youth in our community than alcohol.

I realize that we live in a community that may think that marijuana use should be legal, but please note that even organizations that are fighting to legalize marijuana do not believe it should be used by youth.

Most students do not use! Though marijuana and alcohol use rates among teenagers in NE Seattle are higher than the state average, this does not mean that most of our high school students use. In fact, MOST Roosevelt and Nathan Hale High School students DO NOT use drugs or alcohol. As a community, it's important to remember this and reward exemplary behavior.

No-cost regional training

CADCA is hosting its 2009 No-Cost Regional Training in San Diego, April 14 - 17. They are offering two tracks -- one for DFC grant recipients and one for anyone involved in a coalition. The second track will cover "Creating a Rock Solid Coalition Infrastructure"; "Environmental Strategies: Policy and Advocacy"; and "Working With Diverse Populations in Your Community".

When they say "no-cost", CADCA means there is no registration fee -- the workshops are free. Transportation, meals, and hotel costs can be picked up by the individual participant or her/his sponsoring coalition.