Alert Labs Blog
What Students Say About Parents and Teen Parties
posted on May 19th 2010 at 2:00pm by Dr. Harper
“Some parents feel that if they allow their teenager to drink under their roof with supervision it’s safer. In reality, they [parents] may have no clue what could actually be going on at their teenager’s party. Teenagers don’t know their tolerance level nor should they, which means they could easily get alcohol poisoning, or get in an accident while driving home. By the adults allowing this to happen, they will face major charges if caught, along with possibly ruining a child’s life. For example, there have been three cases in the month of April alone ….
Police have busted teenage parties with parents home and they [the parents] were charged with keeping a disorderly house and furnishing alcohol to minors. Parents need to be aware of what’s going on and not allow such events to be occurring. “I think it’s crazy that any parent would allow their child to participate in underage drinking. Don’t they realize how dangerous it can really be?” says parent Sean Quinn.
Not only can parents be criminally responsible for their teenager being involved with underage drinking but the teenager themselves can get in major trouble which could possibly ruin their life. If colleges find out that an accepted student has been charge [sic] with underage drinking or related events they have the right, and most likely will, pull their acceptance.” (see The Tiger Transcript - Ipswich High School, Ipswich, MA http://my.hsj.org/Schools/Newspaper/tabid/100/view/frontpage/ articleid/358666/newspaperid/266/Underage_Drinking_A_Problem_in_Ipswich.aspx)
March 2010 Newsletter
posted on Mar 21st 2010 at 2:00pm by Dr. Harper
Underage drinking Causes Brain Damage and Interrupts the Maturation Process.
- The brain damage resulting from underage alcohol use:
1. Delays learning of both work and social skills during the teen years,
2. Results in substandard performance through the adult years.
- MSA Schools: Drinking Reduced 15% and Unwanted Sex or Sexual Contact Down 56%
"Drink Responsibly" is Really a Command that means: "Drink!"
posted on Feb 28th 2010 at 2:00am by Dr. Harper
Many of us have been saying for years that negative ads don't work and that the the Alcohol Industry is well aware that their "drink responsibly" ads function as commands to "Drink" and lead to more, not less, drinking -- and the ads also function to obscure the real reason for the ads, as CYA: "Don't blame us. We tried!"
Finally, we have some empirical evidence to back us up.
"Anti-Drinking Ads Can Increase Alcohol Use" (Medical News Today, 2/25/10)
From the article:
Instead of the intended outcome, researchers in this first-of-its-kind study showed that the ads triggered an innate coping mechanism that enables viewers to distance themselves from the serious consequences of reckless drinking. Anti- or "responsible" drinking campaigns have long been a mainstay of health departments, nonprofit organizations and even beverage companies. Yet alcohol use remains a persistent and growing problem linked to the deaths of approximately 79,000 people in the United States each year.
Let's tell everyone we know who cares about Preventing Underage and Adult Heavy Drinking - throw the word "responsible" out, and also all the warning words about alcohol and other drug use. Dig out those positive social norms messages and use them instead.
Especially, get rid of "Drive to Arrive Alive: Don't Drink and Drive!" How about something like,
"97% of Americans DISAPPROVE of driving after drinking any alcoholic beverages."
Or, How about,
"Require Treatment for Drunk Drivers:"
or maybe we should just share some facts:
"Most people charged with Driving Under the Influence have driven drunk at least 80 times before they were caught."
Teen Driving Fatalities Linked to Alcohol Ads - A Few Good Regulations Could Change That....
posted on Feb 9th 2010 at 12:00pm by Dr. Harper
New research suggests a ban on alcohol ads aimed at minors reduces drunk driving among teens. http://www.miller-mccune.com/media/teen-driving-fatalities-linked-to-alcohol-ads-3459/
ALERT Labs reports on the ineffectiveness — or, worse, counterproductive nature — of public-service announcements aimed at discouraging youngsters from smokingor using illegal drugs by trying to SCARE THEM about the risks. ALERT Labs instead tells teens that they can BE THE NORM by NOT smoking, drinking, using marijuana and other drugs just like the MAJORITY of their PEERS.
A new study supports that approach, encouraging the use of advertising techniques to spread the truth about youth AOD use in order to lower teenage substance use and thereby reduce drunk driving. (REMEMBER, 93% of teens who drink alcohol also either drive or ride with a driver under the influence; and traffic crashes are the number one cause of teen deaths.)
The key, it appears, isn’t creating slickly produced WARNINGS, but rather ensuring that teens are NOT exposed to advertisements that entice them to imbibe. [NLH - and making sure they ARE EXPOSED to "ads" that encourage them to stay sober like most of their peers! See ALERT Lab's SCHOOL POSTERS under MEDIA at this site: www.alertlabs.org/media.php]
Teen Driving Fatalities Linked to Alcohol Ads by Tom Jacobs| September 22, 2009 | 00:05 AM (PDT)
In a paper just published in the Journal of Safety Research, Ryan C. Smith and E. Scott Geller of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University examine the impact of state laws prohibiting alcohol advertising that targets minors ... they found such statutes make a huge difference.
States with these laws reported 32.9 percent fewer alcohol-related, single-vehicle traffic fatalities — nearly one-third fewer than those without such prohibitions. In contrast, the number of non-alcohol related traffic fatalities was not significantly different in the two sets of states. This suggests the statutes did decrease teenage alcohol consumption — [thus] drinking and driving.
Smith and Geller estimate that if such [regulations were] enforced nationwide, an estimated 400 lives of young drivers could be saved every year. What, exactly, are the other states waiting for?
NOTE: What are these regulations? New Mexico is investigating adopting laws like those that have been adopted in many other states: laws placing "restrictions on alcohol advertising and sponsorship in state publications and on state-owned and state-leased lands, including state universities, college campuses, state parks, public buildings and state-sponsored civic events" and on ads in publications with large youth readership and on billboard advertising within a certain distance from elementary, middle, and high schools and colleges. http://legis.state.nm.us/Sessions/07%20Regular/final/HJM064.pdf
P.S. DID YOU KNOW that most (~65%+) undergraduate college students are under the age of 21? The Alcohol Industry justifies advertising on college campuses by claiming that "most" readers of College Newspapers, for instance, are over age 21. They base that claim on an "average" that includes faculty, staff, and graduate students as part of the "college population!"
SEE THE Special FEBRUARY 2010 PARENTS ARE HEROES NEWSLETTER coming soon for more information on how to write your congressional representatives and urge them to propose and adopt regulations limiting the Alcohol Industry's ADVERTISING TO TEENAGERS.
For now you can go to
Contact your local lawmakers.
Teens Who “Only Drink Sometimes” are Revealed to be Suffering from Substance Use Disorders of the Same Kind as Teens Who Drink More Often
posted on Jan 21st 2010 at 2:00pm by Dr. Harper
Screening Instruments* included in the ALERT Labs Personal Report of Student Perceptions (PRSP) survey reveal that about 30% of students at Kent County high schools surveyed need further screening through face-to-face intervention and will probably need help in order to quit drinking and/or using marijuana or other drugs. *See CAGE and CRAFFT, www.merfweb.org/resources.php?type_idx=4.
In fact, survey results indicate that nearly all of the students who drink, even those who drink only once in 30 days, gave answers to screening questions that reveal their need for a professional Brief Intervention, like the STARR Program. nbsp;www.alertlabs.org/programs.php?program_id=4 In total, 93% of students who drink need professional intervention.
Did You Know?
Boys, Girls, Sex and Alcohol
Boys are more likely to pursue unprotected sex under the influence of alcohol…50% of Girls who have intercourse before the age of 16 were intoxicated at the time…
Among 8th grade girls who drink heavily,
37% report attempting suicide, compared to 11 percent who do not drink.
Alcohol the Real Date- Rape Drug
This study says women who have lost control or consciousness due to excessive drinking are more likely to be raped. A specific “date-rape drug” is seldom involved.href="http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/49/6/848">British Journal of Criminology Nov. 2009 issue
The MSA Prevention Program has lead to a 56% reduction of unwanted sexual contact consequences for Kent Co. HS students in the selected schools. www.alertlabs.org/accomplishments.php/
Teenage Drinking: It's not a phase all teenagers go through. Schools and parents can prevent it. Over 70% of Students at MSA High Schools in Kent County did NOT drink alcohol in the last 30 days.
CASA* 2009 TEEN SURVEY REVEALS:
IF TEENS SEE PARENT DRUNK, THEY ARE LIKELIER TO GET DRUNK, USE MARIJUANA, SMOKE CIGARETTES.
Did You Know?
posted on Nov 29th 2009 at 1:00pm by Dr. Harper
ADDICTION: A PREVENTABLE (Through Abstinence), TREATABLE, ADOLESCENT BRAIN DISEASE
According to the National Institutes of Health, addiction to alcohol and other drugs (AOD) is a brain disease that almost always begins in the teen years. It is a family disease passed along genetically. Children of one alcoholic parent, for instance, run a 1/4 chance of developing addiction, compared with a 1/12 risk for the general population. Risks continue high for those with addicted grandparents. Individuals who have blood relatives---aunts, uncles, and cousins--with AOD problems need to recognize that they also have a high risk of addiction because of their shared ancestry.
Another predictor of addiction is ADD or ADHD. Persons with these disorders are even more likely than the children of addicted parents to develop the disease of addiction. If your child has one of these conditions, he/she must not use addictive substances. Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or “habit-forming” prescription drugs like Vicodin, Codeine, Ambien, etc. will trigger the predisposition and can quickly lead to full-fledged addiction. NOTE: For those with the inherited genetics, addiction to one drug = addiction to all drugs. Thus a "cocaine addict" will also be addicted to alcohol if he/she uses alcohol even a little.
BE TOO SMART TO START:
Those with a family history of AOD problems and/ who have ADD or ADHD are at “High Risk” for addiction. These individuals need to be warned and educated about their risk. As both children and adults, they must avoid using any addictive substance.
New Casa* Report Finds Most Web Sites Selling Prescription Opioids, Stimulants And Depressants Require No Prescription “You’ve Got Drugs!” V:
Prescription Drug Pushers on the Internet. Despite a decline in the number of Web sites advertising or selling controlled prescription drugs, like OxyContin and Valium, Xanax and Vicodin, Ritalin and Adderall, in the past year, 85 percent of Web sites selling such drugs do not require a prescription. Make sure your kids know that these drugs are highly addictive and deadly when misused.
Brain Damage in Teen Years Continues to Limit Achievements in Adulthood
posted on Nov 7th 2009 at 12:00am by Dr. Harper
Report of the American Medical Association
Teen drinking results in brain damage, especially in learning and memory, that may be beyond repair. The overrall damage to intellectual development is not limited to the teenage years but continues throughout adulthood. Those affected by underage drinking can NEVER catch up with those who did not drink during the teen years:
"Underage alcohol use is associated with brain damage and neurocognitive deficits.The harmful consequences of underage drinking have implications for the learning abilities and intellectual development of underage drinkers. Impaired intellectual development may continue to affect individuals even after they have entered adulthood."
Free Food and Fun: Family Day at John Ball Park Picnic Area
posted on Sep 23rd 2009 at 10:00am by Dr. Harper
This upcoming event will help Parents Talk to their Children about AOD:
Family Day – Table Talk Matters,
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 - John Ball Zoo Picnic Area, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
[Come to the ALERT Labs Booth in the Resource area and sign up to receive the Parents Are Heroes free monthly email newsletter and a chance to WIN an iPOD. Also, meet my 2 year old Papillon, Sgt. Pepper of the Lonely Hearts Club Band.]
The Family Day campaign is part of a national movement based on years of research that proves that children and teens whose parents are engaged and hands-on in their day-to-day lives -- relaxing with them, having frequent family meals, supervising them, establishing standards of behavior and setting positive examples of health behavior – are much less likely to smoke, drink, or use other drugs.
The Ultimate Goal -
The local sponsor, the Kent County Prevention Coalition, hopes that promotion of this event serves as a means of achieving the larger goal of
(1) Engaging families of kids/teens in regular dialogue centered on healthy lifestyles and substance use prevention and
(2) Equips parents with resources to communicate their reasons for disapproving of underage alcohol use in a manner that is supportive and encouraging rather than ‘preachy’.
Do your children know what you think about AOD use by those under age 21?
You know alcohol use is bad for your children but do they know what you think and what your expectations for their behavior are? Being engaged in the everyday facets of your child’s life, carving out family time for routine fellowship, having important conversations that communicate your values related to underage alcohol use in a supportive, encouraging fashion promotes prevention!
The Single most important thing parents should know -- Underage alcohol use is preventable! AND preventing alcohol use also prevents use of marijuana and other drugs. Use of alcohol and/or cigarettes is the most common cause of marijuana use. In Kent Co. 98% of teens surveyed who use marijuana also use alcohol.
This is a FREE Community Event at the John Ball Zoo Picnic Area, Tuesday Sept. 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Win gift card
posted on May 30th 2009 at 10:00am by Dr. Harper
May 2009 Parents Are Heroes Newsletter has been posted under About Us > Newsletters.
The first article asks readers to respond with a brief description of what "Drink Responsibly" means to them and to their teenage children.
Responses will be reviewed by a Panel of Preventionists and the "best" response will win a $30.00 gift card to the River Town Mall in Grandville. The gift card can be used in any store or restaurant.
Send your response via email to: email@example.com.
Increase Michigan Taxes on Beer
posted on Apr 15th 2009 at 12:00pm by Dr. Harper
Michigan beer taxes have not been increased for over forty years. No other product has been able to maintain its 1966 tax rate for the past 40 years.
Citizens of our state pay, out of their income and other taxes, 90% of the costs of health care needs created by alcohol use. Beer taxes should be raised to cover more of the health costs and to support treatment for problems drinkers.
The following states are considering raising alcohol taxes for the same reasons that should motivate Michigan:
Call, Fax or Email Governor Granholm: http://www.michigan.gov/gov/0,1607,7-168-21995---,00.html; PHONE: (517) 373-3400, PHONE: (517) 335-7858 - Constituent Services; FAX:(517) 335-6863.
Mar 19, 2011
Posters used in MSA schools during the 2010-11 school year are available now under Media. Note that names of the schools have been omitted to protect the schools' identities.
Sep 24, 2010
Sep 18, 2010
"ALERT Labs, in partnership with Kent ISD and others, has been awarded a new, 5-year, $625,000 Drug Free Communities grant to continue the work begun in 2005 with a 5-year, $500,000 grant for the Making Sobriety Attractive (MSA) program.
The work of the MSA program to prevent adolescents alcohol and other drugs use, begun in 2005, will continue and expand to more schools as part of the new "Positive Influences" prevention program.
More details will be released over the next few weeks.
May 1, 2010
April 2010 "Parents Are Heroes" Newsletter Posted.
Go to About Us > Newsletters > April 2010 Newsletter
Hosting a Drinking Party for Graduating High School Students Can Result in Arrest, Big Fines and Court Costs, MIP’s for the Guests, and Even Tragedy…. The best choice for Graduation Parties is to go alcohol-free, focusing on activities suited for 18-year olds rather than targeting the party to adults.
Mar 28, 2010
- March 2010 "Parents Are Heroes" Newsletter Posted.
Go to About Us > Newsletters > March 2010 Newsletter