Friday, December 18, 2009

Juvenile justice links adolescents to substance abuse treatment

What are the top two ways youth with substance abuse problems access treatment?

1. Juvenile Justice (in orange)
2. Self/Family (in pink)

Source: Office of Applied Studies 1992-2007 Treatment Episode Data Set, SAMHSA
Slide from Michael Dennis, PhD for a presentation for the SAPISP providers at the Puget Sound Educational Service District.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2006 & 2008 local regular alcohol use rates among youth

From the 2006 and 2008 Healthy Youth Surveys . . .

2006 Seattle Public Schools (local) current alcohol use rates compared to the state:
2008 Seattle Public Schools (local) current alcohol use rates compared to the state:

2006 Roosevelt High School (local) current alcohol use rates compared to the state:
2008 Roosevelt High School (local) current alcohol use rates compared to the state:
2006 Nathan Hale High School (local) current alcohol use rates compared to the state:

2008 Nathan Hale High School (local) current alcohol use rates compared to the state:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

In the news

From the November 20 Seattle Times:

"The chief later told me people should be just as concerned about middle-schoolers partying with parents' prescription drugs as they are about better-known illicit drugs."

"The better approach is prevention for people ages 12 to 21 and treatment for those who are already addicted."

"Kerlikowske's main focus is to develop the president's drug strategy, due out next year. Clearly, policy will stress prevention and treatment and focus on things like drug courts, which have proven to work."

From the December 7 New York Times:

Addiction on 2 Fronts: Work and Home about the new deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy who believes that more resources need to go towards prevention.

Hard Questions to Ask After a Cry for Help about what pediatricians and others should ask adolescents when they are at risk for suicide.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Reward & Reminder

On Friday, a few coalition members had the chance to hear Dennis Embry talk about community-based proven prevention programs including Reward & Reminder. The Reward & Reminder program rewards retailers who do not sell tobacco (or alcohol) to minors and reminds those who do sell to minors that it is illegal to do so.

In terms of marijuana prevention, Dr. Embry talked about ensuring that adolescents get a good night's sleep; encouraging parents to talk to their children and the families of their children's friends about not using drugs; and providing a balanced diet to feed the brain.

Thanks to Committee for Children for hosting the meeting!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Caffeinated alcoholic beverages

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified nearly 30 manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages that it intends to look into the safety and legality of their products. According to an FDA official, "The increasing popularity of consumption of caffeinated alcoholic beverages by college students and reports of potential health and safety issues necessitates that we look seriously at the scientific evidence as soon as possible."

Here in Washington, Attorney General Rob McKenna applauded the FDA's action. "Alcohol plus caffeine equals a serious health threat, especially for young people," he said. "The jolt of caffeine or other stimulants mask the feeling of intoxication. Health professionals say that leads to more risk-taking behavior, traffic accidents, violence, sexual assault, and suicide."

Concerned about the combination of energy drinks and alcohol, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has approved a policy which prohibits any references to combining energy drinks with alcohol on point-of-sale materials in their state stores. In their letter to suppliers they state, " . . . there are an increasing number of scientific studies that have shown the dangerous effects of mixing alcohol with energy drinks. While alcohol is a depressant, energy drinks are stimulants. The net effect is that the consumer doesn't feel the effects of the alcohol, yet is just as impaired as they would be had they just consumed alcohol without the energy drink."

Substance abuse prevention - legislative forum

Legislative Forum: Mental Health & Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, & Recovery

Thursday, December 10, 2009

6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

St. Marks Cathedral, Bloedel Hall
1245 10th Avenue E, Seattle

Keynote: Susan Dreyfus, DSHS Secretary

Alcohol in the news

Recently posted on JoinTogether's website:

Male Athletes Drink More, Smoke Less

Adolescent males who play team sports are less likely to smoke cigarettes or be depressed but are more likely to drink alcohol and get into fights, whereas sports participation generally reduces risk behavior among girls . . . Male athletes had binge drinking rates 40 percent higher than non-athletes . . .

Alcohol the Real Date-Rape Drug

Women who have lost control or consciousness due to excessive drinking have fueled what British researchers have termed the "urban legend" of drinks being spiked with so-called "date-rape" drugs.

Parents' Expectations Can Influence Risky Teen Behavior

The more parents expect their teens to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking and using drugs, the more likely their teens are to follow through with those behaviors.

Alcohol Abuse Costs New Mexico $2.5 Billion Annually

"Alcohol abuse is a major factor in many motor vehicle fatalities, but that is not the only place where it can cause injuries and death . . . Alcohol abuse can play a role in fires, falls, drug overdoses, drowning, and can contribute to violence such as child abuse, homicide, suicide, and personal assault."

NFL Seeks Limits on Tailgating to Curb Drinking

The NFL has adopted a "Fan Code of Conduct" in hopes of deterring behavior that league officials worry is scaring families away from games.

Some fans say the league is being hypocritical by trying to limit drinking in the parking lot while selling beer, wine, and liquor inside the stadium and taking millions in sponsorship money from alcoholic-beverage companies.

New video for Washington parents

Check this out . . . a new video for parents: Underage Drinking in Washington: Something to Talk About from the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (RUaD).

Monday, November 23, 2009

December coalition meeting

Prevention Works in Seattle will host its next general meeting:

Thursday, December 17, 2009
7:30 - 9:00 a.m.
Eckstein Middle School

For more information email the coalition coordinator.

Meetings are open to everyone!

DOH website about pain medications

The Washington State Department of Health has a new website about prescription opioid pain medicine that includes information for teens, parents, pain patients, and others.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Teen exposure to unhealthy messages online

A Snapshot of Data from Parents. The Anti-Drug provides a great deal of data about teen Internet use and their exposure to drug/alcohol messages; bullying; and other messages that are not "age, stage, or developmentally" appropriate or healthy. The last section of the document is entitled: Parents Are Oblivious to Their Teen's Exposure to Risk Online.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Earlier this week (10/20) I blogged about Red Ribbon Week activities at Nathan Hale High School. Well, KING5 did a story about the activities, including an interview with RADD (Raiders Against Destructive Decisions) members, and here it is!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Federal support of prevention

Earlier this month, ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske addressed the International Association of Chiefs of Police. During his address, he emphasized the importance of comprehensive prevention programs. Among his remarks:

Our youth are the group most vulnerable, so our first order of business has to be doing whatever we can to prevent young people's initiation into drug use.

media campaign not only raises awareness of the drug problem, it helps reduce the demand for drugs. Research shows that teens exposed to the media campaign's messages, in addition to in-school prevention programs, are significantly less likely to smoke marijuana.

The importance of drug-prevention programs has long been recognized, and there is no shortage of prevention programs, on a small-scale.

A large body of research shows that if we could align and coordinate more of the individual, short-term prevention programs, we could create more powerful and effective "continuing prevention" systems . . . They should also bring to bear multiple sources of influence on adolescents, including parents, schools, police, faith communities, healthcare providers, peers, and other members of the community.

Uncoordinated prevention efforts are not the fault of those who provide prevention services . . . One of my priorities will be promoting blending funding streams among Federal agencies to encourage communities to prepare for and adopt comprehensive prevention programs . . .

Parenting & underage drinking

Here are a few interesting charts that were included in our latest Drug-Free Homes Parent Pledge:

Data source: 2008 Healthy Youth Survey of students grades 6-12 attending Eckstein Middle School, Roosevelt High School, and Nathan Hale High School. Thanks to Lauri Turkovsky at DBHR for creating them!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Football players wearing red ribbons

If you are going to the football game between Nathan Hale (NHHS) and Ingraham High Schools on Thursday, you will notice that the NHHS football players are wearing red ribbons.

Raiders Against Destructive Decisions (RADD), the substance abuse prevention club at NHHS, is observing Red Ribbon Week this week. The purpose of Red Ribbon Week is to increase awareness about the harmful effects of underage drinking and substance abuse.

In addition to football game activities, RADD is sponsoring school-wide announcements, lunch-time activities, and contests. RADD and their activities are part of a community-wide effort to raise awareness of the high underage drinking rates in northeast Seattle and to work towards reducing those rates.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Is prevention a public safety issue?

I just watched Round 4, Public Safety: Law & Justice, of the Countywide Community Forums. It features a panel discussion that includes a King County Council member, the Sheriff, King County Prosecutor, and King County judges. What continues to strike me is how much of our public safety system deals with drug and alcohol addictions. The primary topic during the first half of the forum was how police and the courts deal with people who have addiction and mental illness problems. The majority of people who enter the justice system do so with a drug/alcohol problem and/or a mental illness.

After watching the forum, I couldn't help but think, once again, that it is a shame that none of the panelists talked about PREVENTION. They talked about the need for treatment but they didn't talk about how we can prevent addiction so that people don't end up in the justice system.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Free parenting workshops at Children's Hospital

A series of Guiding Good Choices parenting workshops will take place at Seattle Children's Hospital:

November 16, 23, 30, December 7 & 14
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

To register, contact Kelly Kerby at Children's Hospital at 987-1359.

This is the last year of the grant that allows us to provide Guiding Good Choices (GGC) for free in northeast Seattle. Take advantage of this opportunity to help your children remain drug and alcohol free. GGC is an evidence-based underage drinking and substance abuse prevention program for parents of students in grades 4-8.

Coalition meeting today!

General Coalition Meeting
TODAY! Thursday, October 15
4:30-6:00 p.m.
Eckstein Middle School Library

Discussion Topic: How do northeast Seattle teenagers access drugs and alcohol?

All coalition meetings are open to the public.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Drug-Free Homes Parent Pledge

Within the next week, the 2009-10 Drug-Free Homes Parent Pledge will be mailed to all Eckstein Middle School parents and guardians. When parents/guardians sign the pledge they agree not to allow underage drinking in their homes and agree to monitor their teenagers to the best of their ability.

The pledge is part of a community-wide campaign to prevent underage drinking. It is one tool the coalition offers parents/guardians. Guiding Good Choices parenting workshops and a Student Assistance Counselor are also available to help adults prevent underage drinking and substance abuse.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Partnership with LCB

Over the past three years, the Prevention WINS coalition has been fortunate to have the Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) as a strong community partner. Lt. Susan Blaker, Regional Government Liaison, has been an active member of the coalition's Enforcement & Consequences Roundtable, a group that gets together regularly with the goal of increasing communication and cooperation between enforcement agencies, courts, and probation.

Lt. Blaker recently emailed me to tell me about the work Seattle Liquor Control Officers are doing. She wrote:

I took an informal poll of our officers asking for an approximate number of MIP’s (Minor In Possession) they have written this past summer. Our Seattle team reports 73 . These citations are above the officer’s regular duties performed inside licensed premises. The officers report contacting intoxicated juveniles as young as 14 years of age in high crime areas of Capitol Hill.

We have an amazing high energy group and I wanted you to be aware of their efforts in this area of public safety.

In northeast Seattle, the LCB has been working with the Seattle Police Department to remove the liquor license from a local mini-mart that has a long history of selling alcohol to minors.

The LCB has been supportive of statewide prevention, as well. As I've blogged about previously, the LCB is in the process of changing rules regarding alcohol advertising to reduce youth exposure to them.

Preventing underage drinking and youth substance abuse is a community-wide endeavor that includes students, parents, schools, community organizations and agencies. We are fortunate to have dedicated partners like the LCB and other enforcement agencies.

Keeping booze ads out of kids' faces

If we believe advertising works, then the Washington State Liquor Control Board is ready to make a smart move.

From "The Olympian" opinion page:

"The proposed rules eliminate such alcohol marketing from our smaller ball fields, such as where Little League teams play. Under these rules, the minimum distance these ads can be from schools, day cares, public parks, etc. is set at no less than 500 feet."

More coverage on, "State considers curbing liquor ads"

Monday, October 5, 2009

General coalition meeting

Prevention WINS General Coalition Meeting
Thursday, October 15, 2009
4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Eckstein Middle School library

Topic: How do northeast Seattle teenagers access drugs and alcohol?

Snacks will be served!

Everyone is welcome!

Candidate forum at Eckstein

Candidate Forum
Monday, October 12
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Eckstein Middle School

7-8:00: City Council, City Attorney & Mayoral Candidates

8-9:00: School Board Candidates

Everyone is welcome!

Local officials can effect policy regarding underage drinking and youth substance abuse. These policies can effect our community prevention activities. Will we have elected officials with whom we can partner? Make an informed decision -- attend Monday's forum!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Prevention for everyone

If you've been to any prevention-related conferences lately, you will have heard about Dr. Dennis Embry. To get a taste of what he talks about, check out this video: Prevention for Everyone. In it, he makes the case for why prevention for everyone is important to all our futures.

More about the legal drinking age

Members of the faculty of the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health recently wrote a commentary for, Drinking age of 21 save lives.

From Reuters: Pressures mount as binge-drinking hits Italy. Another article busting the myth that European countries don't have a youth drinking problem.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Minimum legal drinking age studies

Here is the latest about keeping the minimum legal drinking age:

In a recent study, researchers examined the correlation between minimum legal age and rates of heavy drinking among college students in 22 countries. They concluded that a lower minimum drinking age is not a protective factor for decreasing heavy drinking among college students.

State Minimum Legal Drinking Age Laws and Impaired Driving Policies Save Lives, CADCA's September/October 2009 Research into Action paper.

A study finds more alcohol, drug abuse among those who could drink beer before 21.

Another study concludes that lowering the drinking age could affect the rate of unplanned pregnancies and pre-term births among young women.

So, if lowering the drinking age isn't the solution to teenage binge drinking, what is? Here are a two ideas:

Student Perceptions: Changing Perceptions Reduces Alcohol Misuse

Off-Campus Drinking Can be Curbed with Community's Help.

Spaces still available in free parenting workshops

The October Guiding Good Choices parenting workshops in northeast Seattle still have spaces available for parents/guardians. Here is information about these free workshops:

October 6, 13, 20, 27 & November 3 at the University Family YMCA
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
To register, contact Lisa Steenson at the YMCA at 524-1400.

October 8, 15, 22, 29 & November 5 at Eckstein Middle School
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
To register, contact Reema Ziadeh at Eckstein at 252-5010.

Funding for Guiding Good Choices runs out in June 2010 so take advantage of these evidence-based workshops now!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

FOCUS provides update about prevention around the state

I wish I had posted the August edition of FOCUS earlier because it contains a lot of good information about what is happening around our state. For instance:

-- The state's substance abuse and mental health services divisions are now integrated to become the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR). Behavioral health is a term being widely used in the field to identify a holistic approach to treating mental, substance abuse, and gambling disorders.

-- DBHR is developing a plan to redesign its current service delivery system to a community-base model beginning July 1, 2010. The new system will be designed to focus prevention and early intervention services to have a greater impact on reducing community-level substance abuse.

-- The new Healthy Youth Survey website -- -- is up and running and designed to make access to data from the survey much easier.

-- Page six is dedicated to information about efforts around the state having to do with reducing underage drinking. It includes a farewell to Roger Hoen who left the Liquor Control Board this year. He was a great advocate for prevention while serving on the board.

-- Page seven contains a very informative story about Party Intervention Patrols in Pierce County. Unfortunately, funding for similar programs in Seattle and King County has gone away.

Support changes to alcohol advertising regulations in our state!

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) is in the final stage of making changes to alcohol advertising policies and they have stated that public safety and the reduction of underage drinking are their priorities. Please support the LCB's efforts to reduce alcohol advertising that young people see in their neighborhoods.

The WASAVP (Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention) website has detailed information about the proposed limits on alcohol advertising.

You can let the LCB know that you support the proposed changes by emailing them at When you do, please thank them for their commitment to public safety and reducing underage drinking by making these changes. For the change to the WAC (Washington Administrative Code) that prohibits advertising from being within 500-feet of schools, churches, playgrounds, and athletic fields, ask them to increase it to 1000-feet from the property line, not from the entrance.

While alcohol advertising is not the #1 factor contributing to underage drinking, it is a factor. In our efforts to prevent underage drinking, we need to consider all contributing factors in our communities. Advertising that attracts the attention of youth is certainly one of them. Underage drinking is a community-wide problem and needs a community-wide solution.

Monday, September 28, 2009

National Town Hall Meeting on Prevention

In my previous entry, I included a link to the National Town Hall Meeting on Prevention hosted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Well, after watching it again, I realize I should have given it it's own blog entry.

If you're interested in underage drinking and substance abuse prevention; want to hear from communities around the country that have done work similar to what we've been doing in NE Seattle; and want to hear about about what federal leaders are saying about the importance of community-based prevention, watching this is well worth your time.

Panelist include former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske who is now the head of the Office for National Drug Control Policy and David Hawkins from the University of Washington's Social Development Research Group.

Coalitions preventing underage drinking

According to Join Together, "An ongoing evaluation of the Communities That Care prevention model found that communities that implement the program had significantly lower rates of binge drinking than similar areas nearby, according to researchers at the University of Washington."

This is exciting news for several reasons, the primary one being that the Communities That Care (CTC) model is very similar to the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), the model used by the Prevention Works In Seattle coalition in NE Seattle.

In the Join Together article, David Hawkins from the University of Washington's Social Development Research Group is quoted, "This study shows we can prevent adolescent risk behaviors community wide by using this system. What makes this system different from other prevention efforts is that it provides community coalitions with scientifically based tools with which to make decisions based on what is important to each town. The key is empowering each community to make scientifically grounded decisions about what programs thy need. That builds ownership."

What this study shows is that when communities come together to address an issue that is putting their children at risk, in our case at risk for problems associated with underage drinking, and they are given the tools to assess the problem and then implement evidence-based prevention programs to meet their specific needs, they can be successful. Since our community is following a model similar to CTC, this gives great hope to our coalition that our prevention efforts will reduce our high underage drinking rates.

Here are a few links about the CTC study and it success:

Prevention Town Hall Meeting -- a video archive from September 9 in which David Hawkins talks about CTC

Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Maine Town Dramatically Cuts Drug Use (ABC News)

Coalition progress exceeds Washington's expectations (Prevention Action)

Friday, September 25, 2009

What families can do

Eckstein Middle School hosted an event for their 8th grade families Tuesday evening. The purpose was to increase awareness about underage drinking and substance abuse that can start the last year a student attends middle school and the first year of high school.

Kevin Haggerty, Assistant Director of the University of Washington Social Development Research Group, gave an engaging presentation about what families can do to prevent underage drinking and substance abuse.

Eckstein Principal Kim Whitworth and I provided information about NE Seattle statistics.

Guiding Good Choices is one way parents and guardians can learn about how they can prevent underage drinking and substance abuse among their children. The Prevention WINS coalition is offering free Guiding Good Choices workshops in NE Seattle.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Underage drinking in the news

My "to blog" in-box is full and so here are a mish-mash of items of interest:

From KING5's HealthLink: Study links teen drug use to parental behavior. Here is a link to the press release from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA).

From Time magazine: Italy Starts Cracking Down on Underage Drinking. Here is a similar article from the BBC.

From Join Together: Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners (five or more per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are twice as likely to use tobacco or marijuana; more than one and a half times likelier to use alcohol; and twice as likely to expect to try drugs in the future.

From Good Housekeeping: The Hidden Epidemic of Very Young Alcoholics.

From the Seattle PI: Police report an influx of heroin users on Capitol Hill.

From U.S. News & World Report: How to Know if Your Teenager is Abusing ADHD Prescription Drugs.

Video for parents

The Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (RUaD) created a video for parents about the importance of preventing underage drinking. RUaD is hoping that this video will be shown during meetings that most schools require with parents prior to the beginning of a sports seasons.

Monday, September 14, 2009

General coalition meeting Thursday

Join us for our first general coalition meeting of the 2009-10 school year!

Thursday, September 17
7:30 - 9:00 a.m.
Eckstein Middle School, 3003 NE 75th Street, P11

Coffee and light breakfast foods will be served.

This year, the general meeting starting times will alternate between 7:30 a.m. one month and 4:30 p.m. the next month so more working parents and school staff can attend at least half of the meetings. The next general meeting will take place:

Thursday, October 15
4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Eckstein Middle School

Since the SPF-SIG grant that funds the coalition ends next summer, general meetings will focus on planning for community-wide prevention strategies after this school year. Community member input is needed so that we can best plan for meeting northeast Seattle's prevention needs.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Coalition efforts in the news

As part of a community-wide plan to prevent underage drinking, coalition members have been working to get a local mini-mart's liquor license revoked because they have a long history of selling alcohol to minors. The Liquor Control Board recently sent the store owners a letter stating that their license would not be renewed and that they could appeal through a hearing in front of the State Office of Administrative Hearings. The owners asked for a hearing -- it is not unusual for such hearings to take a year or more to schedule.

Yesterday, KING5 and KOMO-TV picked up on the story.

Following are links to the letters from the Seattle Police Department and the Liquor Control Board regarding this matter.

March 31, 2009 Seattle Police Department letter to the Liquor Control Board

April 24, 2009 letter from the coalition to the Liquor Control Board

May 7, 2009 Seattle Police Department letter to the Liquor Control Board

July 17, 2009 Liquor Control Board letter to store owners

This is a good example of how a community can come together to make a difference. Dedicated people at the Seattle Police Department, Seattle City Attorney's Office, Washington State Liquor Control Board, and local media, especially KING5, have worked on this issue. Coalition members wrote letters in support of SPD's request. Together, these are the people to thank for bringing this problem to light and trying to prevent underage drinking by reducing youth access to alcohol.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Secure medicine return

Yesterday, I attended a meeting about the proposed Washington State Secure Medicine Return Bill that was introduced in the House and the Senate this year but did not make it to the floor for a vote. Advocates for this bill include substance abuse prevention advocates (who are concerned about prescription drug abuse), environmentalists (who are concerned with medicines being found in our water), and law enforcement (who are concerned about controlled substances).

Group Health and Bartell Drugs have implemented successful medicine return programs and the bill would expand medicine return programs statewide. The bill will be re-introduced in the upcoming session and it is expected that the pharmaceutical industry will, once again, launch a strong campaign in opposition.

Did you know . . . .

-- Over half of those using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons obtained them from a friend or relative.

-- One-third of all new abusers of prescription drugs in 2005 were 12-17 year olds.

A community workgroup led by the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington recently unveiled its King County 2008 drug trends report. It found:

-- Drug related deaths involving prescription opiates totaled 153 in 2008, more than double the number of deaths from any other substance.

-- While the numbers are very low in northeast Seattle, in King County, 8% of tenth grade students reported using prescription opiates to get high in the past month according to the Healthy Youth Survey.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Eckstein drug/alcohol counselor position open

The position of Prevention Intervention Specialist (PI) in northeast Seattle is open and posted online. The position is funded through the SPF-SIG grant that funds the Prevention WINS coalition and is based out of Eckstein Middle School. The person in this job also works at Nathan Hale and Roosevelt High Schools. A PI position is also open for Madison Middle School.

Scare tactics are not prevention strategies

Many studies have been done on the effectiveness of drug prevention strategies. According to these studies, the following have been shown to be largely ineffective for reducing substance abuse:

-- information dissemination approaches which teach primarily about drugs and their effects;

-- fear arousal approaches that emphasize the risks associated with drug use, such as mock car crashes;

-- moral appeal approaches which teach youth about the evils of use;

-- affective education programs which focus on building self-esteem, responsible decision-making, and interpersonal growth.

When planning for prevention programs, the following links provide guidance about what does work:

Principles of Effective Substance Abuse Prevention;

Sixteen Prevention Principles.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Social norms marketing

In the July coalition newsletter, the main article is about social norms.

Some coalitions are doing social norms marketing campaigns in their communities. These campaigns use a product marketing strategy that creates an association between the product and something that the consumer wants. For example, here is a beer ad that has nothing to do with beer and more to do with what the beer company thinks their target audience wants. (Image thanks to the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth.)
Social marketing campaigns with a prevention message use images of what their target audience wants. For example, the poster below shows a parent and a child communicating with one another. It is meant to elicit the natural protective, loving feelings parents have toward their children and associate that with the "Most of Us" campaign. Its message is positive and reinforces the community norm: most parents talk to their kids.

Autumn general meetings

During the 2009-10 school-year, the Prevention WINS coalition's general meetings will be held the third Thursday of the month with times alternating between early morning and late afternoon. This fall, coalition meetings will be held:

September 7, 7:30 a.m.
October 15, 4:30 p.m.
November 19, 7:30 a.m.
December 17, 4:30 p.m.

Meetings will continue to be held at Eckstein Middle School and are open to the community.

During the meetings this fall, the coalition will work together to determine what new strategies we want to implement to address our specific community needs if we are awarded a Drug Free Communities grant in 2010. Be a part of planning for the future and plan to attend the meetings!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Prevention benefits outweigh costs

The cost of substance abuse could be offset by a nationwide implementation of effective prevention policies and programs, according to Substance Abuse Prevention Dollars and Cents: A Cost-Benefit Analysis published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report includes information about the benefits reaped by implementing programs such as Guiding Good Choices for parents and Life Skills Training for students, both of which are being implemented by the Prevention WINS coalition. It also shows that environmental strategies such as alcohol taxes, 21 minimum legal drinking age, and mandatory server trainings have benefits that outweigh costs.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is youth drug use making a comeback?

According to a policy brief by Carnevale Associates:

While the nation has been celebrating its success in reducing youth drug use, this celebration may be short-lived. History has shown that the current climate seems ripe for an alarming increase in youth drug use. Providing prevention resources to engage communities in embracing evidence-based programs, policies, and practices is the most cost-effective and reliable solution.

What is SPF-SIG?

The Prevention WINS coalition in northeast Seattle is funded by a SPF-SIG grant from the Washington State Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA). So, what is SPF-SIG, you ask?

SPF-SIG stands for Strategic Prevention Framework - State Incentive Grant. These grants have been awarded to states from the national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) uses a five-step process that guides communities as they plan for, implement, and evaluate prevention programs. More information about SPF-SIG is available by clicking here. The link includes a link to a Web-based application to help communities undertake each of the five steps.

Where teens hear prevention messages

A national survey finds a decrease in the percentage of teenagers seeing substance abuse prevention messages in the media. The same report shows a significant rise in the level of teenagers who engaged in substance abuse-related conversations with at least one parent.

A typical binge drinker

A new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that binge drinking is most common among whites, men, individuals aged 18-24, and those with an annual income of more than $50,000 annually.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The recession and young adult alcohol consumption

Young adults are being hit quite hard by the current recession -- over a third report having trouble paying rent -- and many are facing the pain of cutting back on favorite pastimes of the bar-hopping youth: alcohol and cigarettes, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Fully 39% of those ages 18 to 29 say they have cut back spending on alcohol or cigarettes as a result of the recession.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Easy access

According to 2008 Healthy Youth Survey data, 65% of NE Seattle high school seniors report that it is easy to obtain alcohol if they want it. (Thanks to RUaD -- the state coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking -- for the beautiful charts!)

A few months ago, the Seattle Police Department and members of the Prevention WINS coalition in NE Seattle asked the Liquor Control Board to not renew the liquor license of SP Mart. Since the mini-mart has a long history of selling to minors, no matter who owns it, the police also requested that the license be removed from the site.

The store continues to be a place where minors attempt to purchase alcohol, often successfully. Early last month, a Liquor Control Board officer caught a minor in possession of alcohol outside of the store. The minor had requested an adult purchase alcohol for him or her and was successful. Though SP Mart did not receive a citation this time, the incident shows that minors still feel comfortable trying to buy alcohol there.

Surmising that teenagers are likely to try to obtain alcohol elsewhere in our community, Liquor Control Board officers are monitoring other stores in the Wedgwood area for sales to minors.

Reducing teenager's access to alcohol is one of several prevention strategies happening in our community. One strategy alone isn't going to reduce our high underage drinking rates. However, as a community, if we all work together and implement effective prevention strategies throughout NE Seattle, we will make a difference.

Perceptions about behaviors influence student drinking

From CADCA Coalition's Online:

A study reported by Health Behavior News Service found that when college students think that their peers drink a lot of alcohol, they drink more themselves. The study also found that when college students learn that their perception is incorrect, they sometimes drink less.

The reviewers looked at how social norms -- our beliefs about what is "normal" behavior in the people close to us -- might influence students' drinking. If a student believes that his or her peers drink heavily, it will likely influence the amount of alcohol the student personally drinks. They say that much of peer influence is the result of incorrect perceptions.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

NE Seattle teenagers drinking & driving

In today's Seattle Times: 16% of drivers found to be high.

When it comes to teenagers drinking and driving in northeast Seattle, this is what students report (2008 Healthy Youth Survey):
Percent of students who report riding with a driver who has been drinking:
10th grade: 23%
12th grade: 33%

Percent of students who report drinking and driving:
10th grade: 6%
12th grade 17%.

Monday, July 13, 2009

June newsletter online

The June 2009 edition of the Prevention WINS coalition newsletter is now available! The feature article is about the Prevention Intervention Specialist (drug and alcohol counselor) who serves Eckstein Middle School, Nathan Hale High School, and Roosevelt High School.

Update: Safe & Drug Free Schools & Communities funding in jeopardy

On June 19 (and earlier) I blogged about the proposed elimination of the State Grants Portion of the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) funding. Since then, the United States House of Representatives has made moves in committee to eliminate the program. Visit the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention's website for more information. A major portion of Seattle Public Schools' Prevention-Intervention program is funded with SDFSC dollars.

Need stats?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA) provides free, ready access to the most current and comprehensive national data on substance abuse and mental health. The archive includes:

* 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health -- statistics on the prevalence, incidence, and correlates of alcohol and drug use,

* 2007 Monitoring the Future -- quantifies the direction and rate of change occurring over time regarding relationships and trends among youth in school.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new Youth Violence National and State Statistics at a Glance provides statistics on youth homicide and non-fatal assault-related injury rates.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Washington State Prevention Summit: save the date & award nominations

The annual Washington State Prevention Summit will take place October 30 - 31, 2009 at the Yakima Convention Center. Early registration and youth activities begin the evening of October 29.

During the Summit, outstanding substance abuse prevention advocates and youth leaders are recognized for their contributions. Businesses and media outlets are also recognized for their promotion of positive youth messages. For more information about nominating someone for one of the awards, visit the Prevention Summit website.

Clearinghouse cuts back services due to funding cuts

The Washington State Alcohol & Drug Clearinghouse recently sent out the following notice:

As of April 1st, the Helpline had to suspend 24-hour operation due to a severe loss of county funding. Currently the Helpline is accessible between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. seven days a week. Our intention is to resume 24-hour service as soon as additional funding becomes available. Recently we learned that funding for our statewide Alcohol/Drug Clearinghouse has been reduced significantly for the next two years. Because of state revenue shortfalls, our primary funder, the state Department of Social and Health Services - Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA), was not able to maintain our budget at current level.

For more information, visit the Clearinghouse's website.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Town Hall Meeting on youth violence, Seattle schools

The Seattle City Council is hosting a Town Hall Meeting to discuss:

-- How can we best address the challenge of youth violence?

-- What can the City do to help ensure that Seattle's public schools work?

-- What can we do to protect and increase trees in the urban forest?

Thursday, June 25, 2009
6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
The Hall at Fauntleroy
9131 California Avenue SW

If you attend, this may be a good time to talk about how substance abuse prevention and violence prevention go hand-in-hand!

Safe & Drug Free Schools & Communities

On May 27 I blogged about the proposed elimination of Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) funds. This week, an article in USA Today discusses the issue. The elimination of SDFSC would decimate substance abuse prevention programs in Seattle Public Schools.

Early prevention programs work

Fifth grade students who took part in comprehensive, interactive school-based prevention programs starting as early as first grade were half as likely as their peers to use alcohol or other drugs, act violently, or engage in sexual activity, according to a new study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

"The fact that an intervention beginning in first grade produced a significant effect on children's behavior in the fifth grade strengthens the case for initiating prevention programs in elementary school, before most children have begun to engage in problem behaviors," says NIDA Director Nora Volkow.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Connected communities

If you are interested in connecting with other anti-drug coalitions from around the country and around the world, check out Connected Communities. It's a social networking site that describes itself as "a peer-to-peer community network to explore, discover and learn ways to develop and sustain our communities."

The site includes photos and videos from other coalitions, discussions about various coalition and prevention-related topics, and a calendar of events.

Sunny and safe summer days

School is out for the summer and that means many hours of free time for teenagers. To help make sure our teenagers are safe and stay healthy this summer, the latest newsletter from Parents: The Anti-Drug provides tips for parents.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guiding Good Choices workshops added!

On May 27, I posted information about Guiding Good Choices workshops to be offered this fall at Children's Hospital and the University Family YMCA. Another series of Guiding Good Choices has been added:

Eckstein Middle School
Five Thursday evenings, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
October 8 - November 5, 2009.

After the 2009-10 school year these workshops will no longer be offered for free (our grant ends). Parents are encouraged to sign up ASAP for the workshops of their choice -- space is limited and workshops fill up quickly.

For information on how to register, visit the calendar of events page on the coalition's website.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Action Item: contact Liquor Control Board about alcohol advertising regulations

On March 11, I blogged about the chance for community members to provide the Liquor Control Board (LCB) with comments regarding the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) dealing with alcohol advertising. Thanks to all of you who provided the LCB with input -- they received over 800 comments from prevention-minded citizens and only a handful from the alcohol industry.

With those comments in mind, the LCB drafted changes to the current WAC and created a summary of those changes.

Though the alcohol industry was rather quiet during the first round of comments, it is expected that they won't be so quiet this time around. Your comments in support of the proposed changes are needed! Here is an outline of the WAC review process and prevention-related responses to the proposed WAC changes. A drafted message to the LCB is posted to the coalition's website (click on "comments").

UPDATE: Read WASAVP's Action Alert!

Forward your comments to the LCB by June 15 to the Rules Coordinator at

Monday, June 8, 2009

County cuts underage drinking task force

KOMO News reports that the King County Sheriff's Office has dropped its Party Patrol Task Force due to budget cuts. Here's an excerpt from the report:

"And timing couldn't be worse. With warm weather here and a long summer vacation ahead for students, conditions are ripe for underage drinking. The possibilities even have law enforcement officials uneasy."

"We don't like to think about the ramifications of this. None of them are good," said sheriff's spokesperson John Urquhart. "Primarily it's going to be high school kids - 16, 17, 18, 19 year olds doing this."

The topic of underage drinking parties in parks was featured in the coalition's May newsletter.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Defining youth binge drinking

Medical News Today reports that a recent study suggests that binge drinking should be defined as three or more drinks for youth ages 9 - 13; four or more drinks for boys and three or more drinks for girls ages 14 - 15; and five or more drinks for boys and three or more drinks for girls ages 16 - 17.

Currently, binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks, regardless of age.

In northeast Seattle, 14% of Roosevelt High School tenth-graders and 21% of Nathan Hale High School tenth-graders reported recent binge drinking (5+ drinks in one sitting) when they took the Healthy Youth Survey in October. If new definitions were used, how many more students would report binge drinking?

UW lectures about addiction and brain science

University of Washington Television is broadcasting the 2009 Allen L. Edwards Psychology Lecture series and it includes topics such as:

Addiction and the Mind and

Brain Science as a Means of Understanding Delinquency and Substance Abuse in Youth.

Both can be watched online or listened to as podcasts.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beer taxes

Lately, I've received a lot of information about increasing taxes on beer. Increasing the cost of alcohol has proven to reduce underage drinking. Lawmakers are looking at beer taxes as a way to generate revenue during these difficult economic times.

Here are some links about beer taxes:

-- The Marin Institute recently release an online alcohol tax and fee calculator to assist lawmakers looking for new revenue. According to the calculator, "The Washington beer excise tax was last changed in 1997 and has lost 25% of its value. If the tax had kept pace with inflation, instead of $0.25 per gallon, it would now be $0.35 per gallon."

-- According to JoinTogether, Senate lawmakers are looking at raising the federal tax on beer and soft drinks as part of a funding package for national healthcare reform.

-- New Jersey's National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has launched a media and advocacy campaign that includes a proposal to increase the state's beer tax to raise money for treatment services.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Do healthy kids really learn better?

Washington State Department of Health Adolescent Health Conference Call
June 18, 2009
10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

A review of health and academic achievement among youth and interventions to improve them.

Guest speaker: Julia Dilley, Senior Research/Epidemiologist, Multnomah County Health Dept. and Oregon Dept. of Human Services

To register, contact Jennifer Hansen at 360-586-7868 or The conference call number and meeting code will be given to those who register. Jennifer will need the following information from registrants: name; organization; email; phone; and fax number.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Underage drinking during prom & graduation

A May 25 National Public Radio segment addressed underage drinking during prom and graduation. The segment includes tips from adults and teens on ways to talk to teens about alcohol use. NPR's description of the segment:

Kids look forward to the prom — but some parents dread it. The temptation to hit the booze at the after-parties may be strong for teens, but some studies say that science may be the way to convince them to say "no." When it comes to teen drinking, a new set of talking points can help parents.

May newsletter

The coalition's May 2009 newsletter came out today. It includes articles about the police response to large underage drinking parties in parks and about the prevention group at Nathan Hale High School (RADD).

Impact of substance abuse on state budget

A new report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University shows that state governments spend, on average, 15 percent of their entire budgets on substance abuse and addiction and its consequences. The report indicates that for every dollar spent on the problem, 94 cents goes to deal with the consequences in public programs such as health care, criminal justice, education, child welfare, and mental health. Only about 2 cents go to prevention, treatment and research to reduce the problem, according to the report.

Here is the breakdown CASA did about substance abuse related spending in Washington. To view the full report, click here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Guiding Good Choices workshops starting up again in the fall

At the University Family YMCA
Five Tuesdays: October 6 - November 3, 2009
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Free dinner & childcare available!

At Seattle Children's Hospital
Five Wednesdays: October 14 - November 11, 2009
6:15 - 8:15 p.m.

Visit the coalition's website for more information.

Safe & Drug Free Schools & Communities Program in jeopardy

In his Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request, President Obama recommends eliminating the State Grants portion of the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) program. The SDFSC program funds a significant portion of Seattle Public Schools' Prevention Intervention Program and many prevention programs around the state.

As part of a toolkit for prevention advocates, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) developed two fact sheets about SDFSC:

Eliminating the State Grants Portion of the SDFSC Program Is Not a Sound Proposal and

The State Grants Portion of the SDFSC Program Must Be Maintained.

President Obama proposed the elimination of this program because he says it has been deemed ineffective. Pride Surveys has prepared a SDFSC Briefing Paper repudiating his assertion.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Statewide prevention activities highlighted in May edition of FOCUS

Check out the May edition of FOCUS, the Division of Alcohol & Substance Abuse's newsletter. It includes articles about:

2009-11 Budget, Policy, and Organizational Changes;

Youth See Fewer Alcohol Ads During Final Four;

Naches Valley Students Challenge Alcohol Service at Mat Classic;

Reducing Youth Exposure to Alcohol Marketing;

Prevention Posters Appear in Liquor Stores.

Friday, May 22, 2009

UK delegation learns about Washington prevention programs

Earlier this month, a delegation from the UK visited Seattle to learn about implementing tested and effective prevention programs . They spent the week visiting different programs and learning from local experts in the field.

One of the programs they learned about is the Olweus bullying prevention program implemented in Seattle Public Schools. They visited Washington Middle School and interviewed Celia Arriaga, the district's bullying prevention expert.

Members of the Prevention WINS coalition (NE Seattle) and the coordinator of the Quincy Communities That Care coalition provided the delegation with a first-hand look at how coalitions are implementing underage drinking prevention programs.

The delegation blogged about their experiences and for their last two days they blogged about lessons learned about the Communities That Care (CTC) operating system from the Social Development Research Group. CTC is very similar to the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) that coalitions such as Prevention WINS use to guide decisions. Their comments include:

First, it is possible to combine rigorous prevention science with community engagement and a passion for change.

“I’ve seen how science and community engagement can be linked. I didn’t think there was a model for this.”

“CTC makes me reflect on my community development days – building capacity to get communities to engage.”

“I’ve seen passion and rigour and integrity. It has been interesting to see a new take on community development. It’s re-invented what I saw 30 years ago.”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Adolescents suffering from depression more likely to start drinking alcohol

A new report released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals that 8.2% of children aged 12 to 17 experienced at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year. Only 39% of these adolescents received treatment during this period.

An MDE is defined as a period of 2 weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure and at least 4 other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, including problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, and self-image.

Among treated adolescents:
-- 58.8% saw or spoke to with a counselor;
-- 36.8% saw or spoke with a psychologist;
-- 27.3% saw or spoke with a psychiatrist or psychotherapist;
-- 26.6% saw or spoke with a general practitioner or family doctor.

When it comes to underage drinking . . .

Among youth who had previously not used alcohol, 29% of those with a MDE initiated alcohol use compared with 14% who had not experienced a MDE within the past year.

Port Angeles coalition to launch social norms marketing campaign

The SPF-SIG coalition in Port Angeles is launching a social norms marketing campaign. Above is their "warm up message". They are going to use it as a window cling and then in their parent newsletter and in places that 7th/8th grade parents frequent.

The coalition plans to develop and add on messages using their community survey results to guide them. One message will be, " . . . because Port Angeles parents ask their kids where they are and who they are with." These messages will be done mostly through posters.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Legal drinking age electronic seminar

Free national electronic seminar . . .

Topic: Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) Liabilities: College Perspectives

Thursday, May 28
Noon Pacific Time

Lowering the MLDA law from age 21 to 18 continues to be a hot topic. Some college presidents believe that lowering the drinking age will help eliminate hazardous behaviors by their students, including binge drinking. Research clearly contradicts this premise, however.

This electronic seminar will include an expert panel of presenters who will discuss various liability issues, including social, economic, and legal effects of lowering the drinking age. In addition, participants will learn about resources that will support efforts to keep the drinking age of 21.

To register visit:

Update: SP Mart liquor license

On April 15 I blogged about the Seattle Police Department's (SPD) letter to the Liquor Control Board (LCB) requesting that the liquor license not be renewed for SP Mart, a mini-mart a few blocks west of Eckstein Middle School.

Since then, the owner of SP Mart has tried to sell the business and the SPD sent another letter to the LCB asking that the liquor license be removed from the site of the store, not just the owner. SP Mart has been owned by different people over the past few years and each one of them has sold alcohol to minors. Teenagers know that they can buy alcohol at the store, regardless of who owns it. Reading SPD's second letter makes that readily apparent.

Reducing minor's access to alcohol plays an important role in reducing underage drinking rates in northeast Seattle. Especially since it is part of community-wide prevention activities being implemented by the coalition.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Assault at Golden Gardens

On May 9, a Roosevelt High School student was assaulted at Golden Garden Park. The teenager's friend was stabbed and the RHS student was "also assaulted but did not require medical attention" according to the police report. The assault occurred after "a verbal argument ensued over what (was) described as an issue at school." A car was also damaged during the assault.

What is not mentioned in the police report is that underage drinking was involved. Our parks are havens for underage drinking parties and, increasingly, teenagers are injured or assaulted and property, including cars, is damaged or destroyed during these parties. While it's important to stop underage drinking because it is illegal and has negative health consequences, it's just as important to stop underage drinking to keep our kids and our parks safe.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Idaho tabloid about underage drinking

Idaho's Office of Drug Policy is working with their media markets to distribute this 12-page tabloid about underage drinking.

Data support keeping drinking age at 21

To inform the debate on the impact of the minimum legal drinking age law (MLDA), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) compiled an overview of research and findings indicated that the MLDA law had positive effects on health and safety. It states:

Solving the problem of underage drinking will require a broad-based, long-term commitment. As we move forward, we need to pay attention to what history and research have taught us and build on this knowledge base including what we know about the relationship between minimum legal drinking age laws and underage drinking and is consequences.

Recently, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation compiled a brief that offers additional information about the positive effects of the law. It states:

There is no evidence that lowering the MLDA will reduce the underage drinking problem. Conversely, there is strong evidence that lowering the drinking age will increase youthful alcohol consumption and alcohol-related injuries and fatalities.

Mental health resources

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has many publications about mental health-related topics available through their National Mental Health Information Center. Publications available include:

Family Guide to Systems of Care for Children with Mental Health Needs;

Building Bridges: Mental Health Consumers and Members of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Dialogue;

Clinical Preventive Services in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Update: From Science to Services.

Upcoming prevention conferences and trainings

Build your community's capacity to prevent underage drinking and participate in a conference or training. Here are a list of conferences happening this summer and in the fall.

Registration closed! Institute is full!

2009 Montana Summer Institute for Social Norms Practitioners

July 9-11, 2009

Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana

Conference website:

Northwest Alcohol Conference

July 16 – 17, 2008

The Grove Hotel & Conference Center, Boise, Idaho

Conference website:

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Mid-Year Training Institute

July 27 – 30, 2009

Louisville Marriott Downtown, Louisville, Kentucky

Conference website:

Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center (UDETC) National Leadership Conference

August 12-14, 2009

Dallas, Texas


Presentations from the 2008 conference are available at:

National Prevention Network (NPN) Research Conference

September 15-18, 2009

Hyatt Regency Orange County, Anaheim, California

Conference website:

Presentations from the 2008 conference are available at:

Washington State Prevention Summit

October 30-31, 2009

Yakima Convention Center, Yakima, Washington

Conference website:

The website contains information and handouts from previous conferences.