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.