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A Dangerous Mix: Spring Break and Underage Drinking

Posted by Informed Families on March 6, 2020 at 1:16 PM

We’ve all seen the headlines:

“Underage drinking, drugs leads to nearly 1,000 arrests on Gulf Coast beaches”

“Sheriff's Office cracks down on underage drinking in Destin”

“Police being extra vigilant on drunk driving during spring break

"Spring Break 2019 sees drunk students descend on beach to guzzle booze, twerk and pass out in outrageous parties”

If you are the parent of a college-age student preparing to head off to a spring break destination soon, you are likely concerned about whether or not they will engage in underage or binge-drinking and wind up in lots of trouble.

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Topics: positive parenting, college students, underage drinking, alcohol, teens, binge drinking, samhsa, alcohol use, alcohol abuse

President's Message - March 2020

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on March 2, 2020 at 8:00 AM

While the Media Was Focused on Opioids Look What Happened

While the media has been focused on the opioid crisis, the number of alcohol-related deaths more than doubled from 35,914 in 1999 to 72,558 in 2017. Women have been impacted the most.

According Dr. George F. Koob, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Director, “alcohol is a growing women’s health issue. The rapid increase in deaths involving alcohol among women is troubling and parallels the increases in alcohol consumption among women over the past few decades.”

Trends like Mommy wine culture, which normalizes the idea of drinking alcohol as a way to cope with stress, and sipping while shopping have become commonplace. We should always keep in mind that our kids are watching our behaviors. Do we want them to turn to alcohol as a way to escape from everyday stress or as the only way to relax and unwind?

They are bombarded with images promoting alcohol in that way already. A new report from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs says alcohol ads are leading teens to drink. A study in the Preventive Medicine journal found that social media could be sending out positive messaging about alcohol use as well.

Sign the Safe Homes Smart Parents pledge, and let’s work together to stem the tide of alcohol-related deaths by discouraging underage and binge drinking.  

Peggy

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Topics: President's Message, safe homes smart parties, underage drinking, alcohol, teens, binge drinking, Peggy Sapp, media, alcohol abuse

President's Message - January 2020

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on January 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM

A New Year and A New Start    

Welcome, 2020! Cheers to the start of a new year and a new decade.

We are encouraged by the recent findings from the annual Monitoring the Future survey.  In the past year, the use of illicit drugs (other than marijuana) among 12th graders remains low. The misuse of prescription medicines and the use of alcohol and tobacco cigarettes continues to decline as well. However the number of youth vaping marijuana and nicotine is rising.

In the 1980s, we were fighting to keep our kids safe from cocaine, big tobacco and underage drinking. Today we are battling against opioids, vaping and binge drinking. The drug trends may change, but education and simple, clear communication remain key in keeping our youth healthy and drug free.

Informed Families has been fortunate to have such terrific partners help us spread our prevention messages. We are once again partnering with Publix to promote our Lock Your Meds campaign and messaging in all of their pharmacies this month. We are also working with the Florida Blue Foundation to increase awareness of the opioid epidemic and promote good mental health over the next three years.  

Informed Families will continue to deliver on our mission to educate, enable and empower students, parents and communities to work together to keep children healthy in 2020. We are off to a great start!

Peggy

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Topics: President's Message, drug trends, underage drinking, binge drinking, publix, drug free, drug prevention, nicotine, tobacco, drug use, opioids, alcohol use, mental health, vaping

President's Message - August 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on August 1, 2019 at 8:30 AM

Back to School Transitions Can Lead to Problems   

Hi friend,

Summer vacation is coming to an end, and your children will be returning to school soon. Some are preparing to transition into middle or high school; while others are heading off to college.  These transitions will introduce new environments, new friends and new found freedoms. Research shows that dealing with transitions is often a time when kids get into trouble. If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to have another talk with your kids about your family rules and boundaries regarding underage drinking and substance abuse

You want to encourage your children’s growing independence, but set appropriate limits. Set clear rules, and then enforce the rules you set. Make sure your children understand what the consequences will be for breaking rules.  But equally important, don’t forget to acknowledge the moments when your kids choose healthy behaviors over underage drinking or experimenting with drugs.

According to a recent report, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) Drug-Free Communities (DFC) programs continue to yield consistently reduced youth substances use rates. There has been a decline in prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol use among youth. So we know prevention programs and initiatives, like the ones Informed Families offer, work.  We all must continue to play a role in creating communities that care about helping kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free.

Peggy

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Topics: President's Message, college students, prevention, underage drinking, family rules, teens, peer pressure, drug use, parents, alcohol use, back to school

President's Message - April 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on April 26, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Communicating Across Generations 

I recently read that some families now have five living generations. Imagine that. Each generation has a totally different world view and processes information in a different way. However simply engaging with others remains the key to communicating effectively.

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Topics: President's Message, parenting, communication, safe homes smart parties, underage drinking, teens, peer pressure, parents, alcohol use, alcohol abuse

Webinar: Strategies To Prevent Underage Drinking

Posted by Informed Families on January 18, 2018 at 11:03 AM

The-Next-Step-College-Students.jpgAlcohol is the most widely used drug by both adults and youth. Underage drinking is associated with academic challenges, health issues, negative social consequences, emergency room visits and roughly 4,300 tragic deaths per year.

Luckily, there are effective ways to keep our kids safe.

Learn about underage drinking in Florida and proven ways to prevent it by joining us at a webinar hosted by the Florida Alcohol & Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) on Wednesday, January 24 from 1pm-3pm (ET).

The webinar will feature Dr. David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) and Associate Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Register Now

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Topics: Webinars, underage drinking, drug prevention

Why Safe Graduation Parties Are Important for Florida High Schools

Posted by Informed Families on May 3, 2017 at 8:00 AM

According to the Florida Department of Education, there are approximately 200,000 high school seniors in our state. Most of those students will be graduating in the coming weeks. We want all of them to make it safely to the day after graduation…

Graduation is a time for celebration, but it can also be a dangerous time for students. The start of summer already has teens thinking about less responsibility and more fun; adding a milestone such as graduation to the mix gives many students an excuse to party more than they normally would. Unfortunately, in the process, these graduates might endanger their health and risk the safety of others. This can lead to tragedy for students right after one of the most significant achievements of their young lives.

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Topics: high school, underage drinking, binge drinking

The Super Bowl: A Teachable Moment

Posted by Informed Families on January 24, 2017 at 6:01 PM

Super Bowl Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with your children and celebrate one of America's greatest treasures: football.

However, even before kick-off, kids are exposed to harmful alcohol advertising. Did you know that the alcohol industry spends over $5 billion a year on advertising? Why do they do it?

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Topics: underage drinking, alcohol, alcohol use, healthy kids

Signs That Your Child May Be Drinking

Posted by Informed Families on May 16, 2016 at 12:00 AM

AAP Warns of the Dangers of Binge Drinking in Adolescents

8/31/2015

Despite recent declines, two out of every three students (66 percent) have consumed more than just a few sips of alcohol by the end of high school, and over a quarter have done so by eighth grade. In 2014, half of twelfth graders and one in nine eighth graders reported having been drunk at least once in their life.

In a new clinical report, " Binge Drinking," in the September 2015 Pediatrics (published online Aug. 31), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges pediatricians and parents to discuss the dangers of alcohol use with children before they take their first sip.

Alcohol is the substance most frequently abused by children and adolescents in the United States, and its use is associated with the leading causes of death and serious injury at this age, including motor vehicle accidents, homicides, and suicides. Eighty percent of adolescents say their parents are the biggest influence on their decision to drink or not.

"We must approach drinking in children, particularly binge drinking, differently than we do in adults," said pediatrician Lorena Siqueira, MD, MSPH, FAAP, member of the AAP Committee on Substance Abuse and co-author of the clinical report.

"Given their lack of experience with alcohol and smaller bodies, children and adolescents can have serious consequences -- including death -- with their first episode of binge drinking," Dr. Siqueira said. "Studies have indicated that continued alcohol use during this growth period can interfere with important aspects of brain development that can lead to cognitive impairment, alcohol-induced brain damage and substance use disorders later in life. Because alcohol use is so common, it is necessary for pediatricians to screen every adolescent for alcohol use during office visits, and along with preventive messages, to help identify youth at risk for alcohol-related problems."

Drinking alcohol is associated with numerous adverse outcomes in underage drinkers, and binge drinking significantly increases these risks.

In adults, binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in a two-hour period by men, or four or more drinks by women. Because teens typically weigh less than adults, they are likely to reach an unsafe blood alcohol concentration more quickly, and lower cutoff points have been proposed. For girls ages 9 to 17, three or more drinks in a two-hour period is considered binge drinking. For boys ages 9 to 13, the cutoff is three or more drinks; for boys ages 14 to 15 it's four or more drinks; and for boys ages 16 to 17, it's five or more drinks.

During high school, drinking rates increase dramatically among teens. Between 36 percent and 50 percent of high school students drink alcohol, and 28 percent to 60 percent report binge drinking. Among high school students, boys are more likely than girls to participate in binge drinking, and is far more common among white boys than among blacks or Hispanics.

The new 2015 clinical report also found:

  • Among youth who drink, the proportion who drink heavily is higher than among adult drinkers.
  • Children start to think positively about alcohol between 9 and 13 years of age.
  • Binge drinking can be associated with early sexual activity and higher rates of teen pregnancy.
  • A third of all fatal auto crashes involving alcohol happen among 15- to 20-year-olds.
  • Encouraging parents to talk with their children about alcohol use early is very important.
  • Programs and resources are available on how to use teachable moments to discuss alcohol use with children.
"Teenagers and young adults who are curious and trying to fit in can easily be influenced by their peers,” said Dr. Siqueira. “Teens who binge drink are more likely to exhibit impaired judgment and engage in risky behaviors such as drunk driving, ride in a car with an impaired driver and have higher rates of suicide. As with most high-risk behaviors, early prevention proves to be more effective than later intervention"
- See more at: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Warns-of-the-Dangers-of-Binge-Drinking-in-Adolescents.aspx#sthash.cLHHNOj1.dpuf

According to the most recent Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, 9.4% of middle school students and 27.1% of Florida high school students reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. While these numbers have decreased significantly since 2004, 12 percentage points to be exact, it’s important for parents and educators to be aware of the signs of alcohol use and abuse.

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), underage drinking is harmful in the following key ways:

  • It can result in death and disability, poor academic performance, high risk behaviors and more.
  • It adversely affects the adolescent developing brain.
  • It increased the likelihood of chronic alcohol problems

Did you know that kids who start drinking by age 15 are 5 times more likely to have alcohol problems as adults?

So how do you know if your child is drinking? Look out for the following signs of alcohol use and abuse:

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Topics: addiction, underage drinking, alcohol, samhsa, alcohol use, alcohol abuse, signs of abuse

President's Message - April 2016

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on April 19, 2016 at 8:09 PM

Common Myths Masquerading As Common Sense

“Underage drinking is a harmless rite of passage.”

Really? Is that so?

“Teaching my child to drink will lead to moderation in the future.”

Ever heard one of these?

“I drank and smoked pot in my youth and lived to tell the tale. My child will too.”

Ever believed it?

“If it’s prescribed by a doctor, it’s harmless.”

Are common myths masquerading themselves as common sense? If enough people around you are saying the same thing, whether it’s true or false, do you start to question your own judgment, knowledge?

“If my child 'parties' and still gets good grades, he/she doesn’t have a problem.”

Our Safe Homes Smart Parties campaign aims to inform and empower parents of underage youth to set guidelines around springtime parties to ensure that drugs and alcohol are not present or tolerated. We know that underage drinking is responsible for 4,300 deaths and 189,000 emergency room visits each year. This isn’t make believe.

“Marijuana is a plant so it’s not harmful or addictive. It’s natural.”

According to extensive research (22 studies) published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, “parental provision was generally associated with increased adolescent alcohol use and, in some instances, increased heavy episodic drinking as well as higher rates of alcohol-related problems.”

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Topics: President's Message, marijuana, prevention, underage drinking, myths

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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