For the past 20 years, the Alliance has worked with the Bernards Township school district to collect reliable data about drug and alcohol trends among 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders using the American Drug and Alcohol Survey. The above graph shows results from the 2009 survey for substance use in the 30-days prior to taking the survey.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA) Longitudinal Alcohol Survey showed that almost 50% of kids who start drinking by the age of 14 will become dependant at some point in their lives, compared to those that wait until their 21, who have a 10% chance. Half of our 10th graders who have started drinking will become addicted or dependent on alcohol in their lives. By delaying that age that they take their first drink, we can reduce the chances that our kids will suffer from alcohol problems and the better the rest of their lives will be. Some of those problems that are related to alcoholism and dependence include: DUI, alcohol related domestic violence, assault, rape, addiction, lower grades, school dropout, early sexual activity, teenage pregnancy, brain damage, liver damage, heart disease, fetal alcohol syndrome, and so on. New Jersey recognized delaying the age of first use in 1983 when they changed the legal drinking age to 21. (Next Slide)
However, the reality is that there is no evidence to support these statements. However, there is strong evidence that shows the older you are when you have your first drink, the less likely you will have alcohol related problems, whether that means DUI, addiction, rape, injury, death, being expelled, lower grades, and so on. Let’s take a look at some of that research.
As we all know, there are many potential dangers awaiting when your kids go off to college and there will be temptation that lies ahead. Naturally, you want your kids to be safe while they are away from home, and teaching them how to drink responsibly seems like a good idea, right? Well, here’s something to think about the next time your kid wants to drink at home: A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that alcohol use before college leads to heavy drinking and problems related to drinking during college. Some of the problems include: (above)Allowing kids to drink under-age actually leads to them acting irresponsibly when away at college, the exact opposite of parents’ intentions.
Taking away the keys seems like a good solution to stopping drunk driving accidents, and we have all been touched by these types of tragedies. But we often forget about the other consequences of drinking that don’t involve the car. Binge drinking has become more dangerous than ever before as kids are partying harder and drinking more in high school, in college, and beyond. Alcohol Poisoning is a common occurrence on college campuses and high school parties. Personally, I can recall a night during my sophomore year when my roommate passed out after a night of heavy drinking and awoke to find that she had vomited in her sleep. She happened to be lying on her side, but we both knew that things could have ended much worse. There are many other dangers of under-aged drinking besides drunk driving that we need to remember in order to protect our youth. I’m sure you have all heard the story making recent headlines about the UVA lacrosse player who murdered his ex-girlfriend by beating her head against a wall after a night of drinking. They were both 22 years old and had their whole lives ahead of them, and now both won’t be able to see those futures. My question is, could this have been prevented by taking away the alcohol in the equation?What are some other consequences of drinking? What if the kids are sleeping over after the party because the parents did the “right” thing and took away the keys? Is there still danger? What if someone vomited in their sleep? What if someone drank too much and is now unresponsive? What if my child was the victim or offender in a sexual assault because they were drinking? These are the questions that taking away the keys doesn’t answer.
Teenagers are in the prime of their lives; their young bodies are resilient and quick to recover. But new research shows that alcohol can have lasting negative effects on the adolescent brain. Alcohol has been show to effect the development of the prefrontal cortex, which is the center of judgment and reasoning, impulse control, and retaining information, and the hippocampus, which controls memory and learning. By the teenage years, these areas have not yet fully developed and drinking alcohol during this time can cause permanent damage. That means all of the protective skills like good judgment and making smart decisions, won’t be there to help them throughout their future.So the longer you delay their first drink, the better the rest of their lives will be.
What about the rest of the teenager’s “resilient” body? Well, studies have been done on athletes to test the affect that alcohol has on physical performance of the rest of the body. These studies show that alcohol affects the body just as much as it does the brain.According to the American Athletic Institute:One night of heavy drinking forfeits 14 days of training. Alcohol breaks down the body’s systems, making harder to recover, and leaving you prone to injuries. In fact, drinkers are twice as likely to get injured than non-drinkers, and that relates to more than just sports injuries. Finally, a hangover will lower your performance by 11.4% and can last up to four days after drinking. Partying on a Friday night can affect performance in a Tuesday game the following week. In today’s world of competitive sports, non-drinkers clearly have an undeniable edge over drinkers. More importantly, these studies show that alcohol has a serious affect on the adolescent body. Allowing them to drink not only hinders their talents and abilities but damages their young bodies to a point that could destroy their futures. So what do we do about this?
The following video was created by RHS sophomore Derek Vogt.
Believe it or not, parents play a larger role in influencing adolescents than you may think:Teens reported to SAMHSA that they rely on the adults in their lives more than anyone else to help them make tough decisions and provide good advice. Letting your kids know your stance on drugs and alcohol can delay their use and reduce the risks that they face, giving them a better future to look forward to. Other studies show that teen behavior is strongly associated with parents’ behavior, so model good behavior. Getting drunk in front of your kids will lead them to do the same. And finally, teen behavior is related to parent expectations: when you expect the worst, teens will deliver on that expectation. Not every kid in high school drinks. In fact, we know that over 50% of Ridge High School Sophomores have NOT had a drink in the past 30 days. If you expect your teen to do it, they will.
Even if your kids are young and not facing the choice of whether or not to drink, you can help them learn how to make healthy and smart decisions. The Search Institute created a list of 40 Developmental Assets, which are characteristics that decrease the chances that young people will engage in risky behaviors such as underage drinking, drug use, early sexual activity, and so forth. Assets include: -Values : honesty, integrity, responsibility, -Commitment to learning: doing homework, being engaged in school, reading for pleasure, - Having proper boundaries and expectations at school, home, and neighborhood, having adult role models and positive peer networks, having support from their surroundings at school, from their family, and other adults in the community,- Positive identity, self-esteem, a sense of purpose and a positive outlook for the future. Building YOUth is a program of the Municipal Alliance that strives to educate the community about the 40 Developmental Assets and to help others instill them in youth.
The following video was created by RHS sophomore Derek Vogt.
21 for a Reason by Bernards Twp. Municipal Alliance
PRESENTED THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF THE <br />
What is the Municipal AllianceAgainst Substance Abuse?<br />Community volunteer coalition<br />Our mission is to provide consultation, programs, training, and resources to members of the Bernards Township community with the goal of preventing and reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.<br />
Our Community Goals: ESP!<br />To educate about the damaging and addictive effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs<br />To support events & programs which provide healthy alternatives to substance use<br />To create a community-wide presence in the identification of problems and in designing effective measurable solutions<br />
*Survey taken 2/09<br />Prior 30 Day Use: 2009 ADAS <br />
Delayed First Use<br />Chronic Problems: Alcoholism, liver damage, brain damage<br />Short Term Problems: Drunk driving deaths, DUI, binge drinking & alcohol poisoning injuries, sexual assault, academic decline & failure<br />* The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey, 2006<br />
Delayed Legal Drinking Age<br />Since the drinking age in New Jersey was raised to 21 in 1983, the number of young people killed in drunk-driving accidents has dropped nearly 78%*<br />*Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey<br />
Common Parental Beliefs About Under-Aged Drinking:<br />Belief #1:<br /><ul><li>“It will teach responsible drinkingbefore college”</li></ul>Belief #2:<br /><ul><li>“If I take away the keys, they won’t drink and drive so they’ll be safe”</li></ul>Belief #3:<br /><ul><li>“Teens are young; their bodies can handle it”</li></ul>Belief #4:<br /><ul><li>“Kids will be kids; underage drinking is inevitableand there’s nothing I can do about it.”</li></li></ul><li>Belief # 1: Teach Responsible Drinking<br />Alcoholuse prior to college correlates to heavy drinking during college*<br /><ul><li>Alcoholism
110,000 arrests each year</li></ul>*National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services<br />
University of Virginia lacrosse players George Huguely and Yeardley Love <br />In May 2010, Huguely was charged with the murder of Love after he beat her to death while intoxicated.<br />
The brain matures through age 25.<br />Drinking during this time can cause long-term andirreversible damage* <br />Areas of the brain affected by alcohol use:<br /><ul><li>Prefrontal cortex= Judgment, reasoning,impulse control,retaining and learning information
Hippocampus = memory, learning</li></ul>* American Medical Association<br />Belief # 3:Their Bodies Can Handle It <br />
<ul><li>Drinking to intoxication can negate as much as fourteen daysof training
Players that drink are twiceas likely to become injured than non-drinkers
A hangover reduces athletic performance by 11.4% and performance is effected up to four days after drinking</li></ul>*American Athletic Institute<br />Athletes…<br />
Belief # 4:Is teenage Drinking is Really Inevitable?<br />Nationally, <br />57%of high school seniors did NOT use alcohol in the past month. <br />*American Drug & Alcohol Survey, 2009<br />
“A child who reaches age 21 without<br /> smoking, abusing alcohol or using drugs <br />is virtually certain never to do so.” <br />- Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Chairman and President of The National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University<br />
Social Host Video<br />Social host laws and consequences <br />of underage drinking<br />
Teens rely most on the adults in their lives to help them make tough decisions and provide good advice¹<br />Teen behavior is strongly associated with their parents’ behavior²<br />Teen behavior is related to parents’ expectations: when parents expect the worst, teens will deliver²<br />Teens in Bernards Township reported unclear rules at home³<br />¹ Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA).<br />² National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIV: Teens and Parents; Columbia University<br />³ 2005 Student Stressor Survey <br />What Parents Need to Know<br />
When setting rules are you clear, specific, consistent, and reasonable and do you recognize good behavior?</li></ul>What Can we Do?<br />
Delaying the age of first drink protects your children’s futures. <br />Remember…<br />
For information about the <br />Municipal Alliance<br />And delaying the age of first use, visit:<br />www.bernardsalliance.org <br />For information about<br />BuildingYouth<br />And the 40 Developmental Assets, visit:<br />www.bernardsassets.org<br />
American Athletic Institute. Retrieved from http://www.aaisport.org/<br />American Medical Association. Brain Damage Risks. Retrieved from http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/no-index/physician-resources/9416.shtml<br />Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, Still Growing After All These Years: Youth Exposure to Alcohol Advertising on Television, 2001-2005 (Washington, D.C., 2006). <br />DeWitt, D.J., Adlaf, E.M., Offord, D.R., Ogborn, A.C. (2000). Age at First Alcohol Use: A Risk Factor for the Development of Alcohol Disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry 157:745-750, May American Psychiatric Association<br />National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (1995). College Students and Drinking, Alcohol Alert No. 29, Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.<br />National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey<br />QEV Analytics, Ltd. (2009). National survey of American attitudes on Substance abuse XIV: Teens and parents. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.<br />SAMHSA. Start talking before they start drinking: A family guide.<br />Wechsler, H. Findings of the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study. Retrieved from http://www.thegordiefoundation.org/getdoc/ae6cd5de-c5f3-4a7c-8745-03cff5526c6d/Wechsler_paper.aspx<br />References<br />