Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clearinghouse expands video library

The Washington State Alcohol & Drug Clearinghouse recently expanded their video lending library. They are also in the process of streaming video clips to their website. The Clearinghouse is a great resource for prevention materials.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Coalition partnerships key to success of Guiding Good Choices

"When it comes to preventing drug and alcohol abuse, there is no one-fits-all approach. It takes solutions that are based on a community's unique problems and circumstances," states CADCA's website. The Prevention WINS coalition is based on this premise: that drug and alcohol problems are different in every community and, therefore, need to be addressed differently in each community by the community.

The implementation of Guiding Good Choices in northeast Seattle is a perfect example of how effective communities can be when we come together. Four years ago, Prevention WINS identified a lack of parental monitoring of teenage children as a factor contributing to underage drinking in northeast Seattle. Using local data as a guide, the coalition chose to implement Guiding Good Choices (GGC), an evidence-based parenting curriculum, to address the needs of our community.

Since then, three organizations have done a great job at offering GGC to parents: Children's Hospital, the University Family YMCA, and Seattle Public Schools. They are a perfect example of what coalition work is really about -- community members coming together and each taking on a role to prevent underage drinking and youth substance use.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Carding everyone

Starting next month, everyone who wants to purchase alcohol in Indiana will need to show identification, regardless of age.

New national council on prevention and health promotion

Earlier this month, President Obama signed an executive order creating a National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council. The council will be made up of top administration officials, including the Director of National Drug Control Policy. The council's purpose includes coordination among departments and agencies concerned with prevention, wellness, and health promotion and the development of an integrated health-care strategy that incorporates prevention as a way to improve the health status of Americans.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why join a substance abuse prevention coalition?

Why do community members get involved in substance abuse prevention coalitions? Check out these short testimonials posted on YouTube by the Circles of San Antonio Community Coalition. A recent CADCA webinar featured their coalition's use of video.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Are parents responsible for underage drinking parties in their homes?

From the New York Times' "Room for Debate": Should Parents Be Jailed When Kids Drink?

As one of the people who commented at the end of the blog points out, the experts who are debating the topic don't all have the same data or research-based understanding of underage drinking and prevention. This is true not only regarding underage drinking but for other drug and alcohol prevention issues. As we, as communities, prepare to engage in debates about prevention, it is essential that we build those debates on what research has shown to be effective. We cannot assume that everyone is aware of how much prevention has evolved and how much more we know now than we did ten years ago. Constant communication and education are needed every step of the way.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Risk taking among teenagers

A recent post on the New York Times' Well blog discusses how it is becoming increasingly common for teenagers to record their often unsafe and unhealthy risky activities and post them online.

According to psychologists interviewed in a recent story on National Public Radio, "Engaging in some risky behavior is not only normal, it's necessary for teenagers . . . It's a tool to define, develop and consolidate their identity. Healthy risk-taking is a big part of growth."

They go on to define healthy risk taking: "Sports and developing artistic and creative abilities -- be it through art or theater -- are all activities that involve healthy levels of risk taking. Teens can engage in volunteer activities, and even Internet activities. It can be as simple -- and as scary -- as getting up on stage, or asking somebody out."

Sometimes, teenage risk taking can take the form of alcohol and drug use. Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) provides information about ways to promote healthy risk taking. Teenagers who participate in safe and healthy risk taking are less likely to drink alcohol or use drugs.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Petitions not to sign

Click here to see a list of initiatives that may appear on November's Washington ballot and that the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention (WASAVP) asks you not to sign.

Bullying and youth substance use prevention

The Sunday, June 13, 2010 edition of the Seattle Times includes an opinion piece about bullying prevention by a researcher with the Social Development Research Group. In it, two online resources are listed:

1. the Blueprints for Violence Prevention project,

2. the Communities That Care prevention system.

Why am I listing these on a blog about youth substance use prevention? Because programs listed on the Blueprints website and Communities That Care (CTC) are also used for substance abuse prevention. In fact, the CTC model is similar to the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) that most anti-drug coalitions use.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Freakonomics on prevention

A recent post on the Freakonomics blog questions the effectiveness of substance abuse prevention programs.

Do school-based prevention programs work?
The author begins with, "A large body of research has shown that the vast majority of [school-based] programs have largely been ineffective . . . only six of 52 high-quality programs have been able to show results." Though stated in the negative, this means that we know of six school-based programs that are effective, Life Skills Training being one of them. Thomas Edison is quoted as saying, "I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won't work," when discussing his many attempts to create a working light-bulb. We can use what we know does work by implementing tested and effective programs and building on them.

The same goes for the author's pronouncement that only a few parenting programs and social norms marketing campaigns work.

What about alcohol advertising?
On the positive side, the author notes, " . . . some studies, particularly those that track subjects over time, have shown that less [alcohol] advertising does work, particularly for the young . . . " He goes on to state, "However, we are unlikely to see less advertising, particularly if we wait for the alcohol industry to take the lead; self-regulation initiatives have not led to results in the past. Ironically, responsible drinking education programs produced by the alcohol industry have been shown to sometimes have the exact opposite of the (presumably) intended effect: they actually promote positive views about alcohol and its makers."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Open thread: opportunities for youth in NE Seattle

As is mentioned in our latest e-newsletter, the Prevention WINS coalition is guided by the idea that we, as a community, can create a supportive environment for all young people and, at the same time, engage youth to contribute to the well-being of the community. We can provide opportunities for youth to learn new skills, contribute, and be recognized for their contributions.

In the comments section, please share your ideas for promoting positive youth development in our community. What opportunities for pro-social involvement among teens exist in NE Seattle?

Underage drinking hospital visits

The 2008 Drug Awareness Warning Network estimates that on an average day, there were 519 hospital emergency department visits involving underage alcohol use. For the 3-day Memorial Day weekend, however, the number of daily ED visits jumped to 577, an increase of 11 percent.

"Underage drinking poses an enormous public health risk -- approximately 5,000 people die each year from alcohol-related injuries connected to underage drinking . . . Moreover, studies have shown that children who begin drinking before age 15 are six times more likely to develop alcohol problems than people who start drinking after they reach age 21," says Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Community strategies for positive youth development

Interested in increasing the health and safety of your community? The Promise Neighborhoods Research Consortium (PNRC) assists high-poverty communities to ensure young people's successful development. Their website contains excellent information for all communities, no matter what their socio-economic profile, that want to promote positive youth development. It includes information on prevention policies and activities for schools, workplaces, homes, and in the larger community that have been proven effective.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More research on teen alcohol use, zero tolerance, and the role of parents

Here are a few excerpts from a May 31, 2010 story on NPR:

"As teenagers mature into their senior year of high school, many parents begin to feel more comfortable about letting them drink alcohol. But new research from brain scientists and parenting experts suggests loosening the reins on drinking may not be a good idea in the long run. And, researchers say, parents' approach to addressing teen drinking does influence teen behavior."

Does zero tolerance work?
"Parents who disapproved completely of underage alcohol use tended to have students who engaged in less drinking, less binge drinking, once in college . . . "

Does the "European drinking model" work?
"A lot of parents have the idea . . . that if I let my child drink at home with friends, then at least I can control it somehow. I can buy the alcohol myself. Then I am in control."

"Unfortunately . . . the European drinking model isn't working . . . 'The more teenagers drink at home, the more they will drink at other places, and the higher the risk for problematic alcohol use . . .'"

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This is your brain on adolescence

Here is a link to a video from a recent youth development conference . . .

This is your brain on adolescence
Keynote by Ken Winters, PhD
Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota

Click here for a copy of the PowerPoint.

Liquor laws and the U-District

"The University of Washington Police Department (UWPD) made 24 arrests for DUIs and 33 arrests for liquor-law violations, including minor in possession, between January and May 2010," according to an article in The Daily. The May 27 article goes on to describe the history of liquor laws in the University District.