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Monday, March 22, 2010

Mom - Did You Ever Drink or Take Drugs

What's a parent to say when it's time to discuss alcohol and drugs with her kids? Does she lie about her past? Does she only tell them the bad things?

Yours truly is now a blogger for the Decoder, the parent blog of the Partnership for Drug Free America. Check out my post at www.drugfree.org.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Break: Tell Your Girls Why they Can't Drink Like Boys

Spring break is here and many teenage girls may be tempted to take their first drink.

There’s reason to worry. The number of teens who use alcohol rose 11% from 2008 to 2009, according to a new report from the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Teens are drinking younger and more often.

In the 1960s, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only 7% of girls reported having their first drink between the ages of 10 and 14. Now, 31% try alcohol before high school.

Here’s some of the science to share with teen girls:

* Girls have less water in their bodies than boys. Girls have a slightly higher proportion of fat to lean muscle tissue, concentrating alcohol more easily in their lower percentage of body water. This means they become intoxicated faster after drinking less alcohol.

* Girls have fewer enzymes to break alcohol down. Alcohol dehydrogenases are a group of seven enzymes that help break down alcohol so the body processes it. Girls have fewer of them, so it is not as easy for their bodies to metabolize the alcohol they drink.

* Girls are smaller and often weigh less than boys. When drinking the same amount as a boy, a girl will experience a quicker rise in her blood alcohol level, and she may stay intoxicated for a longer period of time. Girls who drink heavily can be at greater risk for alcohol poisoning because it takes less alcohol for them to get really sick.

* Girls often prefer sweeter, carbonated mixed drinks. Such drinks can speed up the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.

If the science doesn’t sell girls on abstention or drinking less, here’s another reason. Boys don’t like it when girls drink heavily.

A Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, study found that seven out of 10 of the college-age women surveyed thought their male peers wanted them to have five drinks during social occasions, while the men preferred they drink half that or less.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Alcohol is Drug of Choice for Campus Rapists

Many of us have heard of the “date rape” drug but we often forget that the most common one is legal: Alcohol.

Psychologist David Lasik who spoke to NPR from the University of Massachusetts asked 2,000 men over a 20 year period questions like this: "Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated [on alcohol or drugs] to resist your sexual advances?"

He also asked: "Have you ever had sexual intercourse with an adult when they didn't want to because you used physical force [twisting their arm, holding them down, etc.] if they didn't cooperate?"

About 1 in 16 men answered "yes" to these or similar questions. None of these men had ever been to jail or formally accused of rape.

What Lisak found was that students who commit rape on a college campus are pretty much like those rapists in prison. In both groups, many are serial rapists. On college campuses, repeat predators account for 9 out of every 10 rapes.

And these offenders on campuses — just like men in prison for rape — look for the most vulnerable women. Lisak says that on a college campus, the women most likely to be sexually assaulted are freshmen.

Lisak says "The basic weapon is alcohol/ If you can get a victim intoxicated to the point where she's coming in and out of consciousness, or she's unconscious — and that is a very, very common scenario — then why would you need a weapon? Why would you need a knife or a gun?"

For more information go to NPR’s story http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124272157&sc=nl&cc=hh-20100315

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Alcohol Use Among High School Students Up 11% in One Year

The 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (Partnership for a Drug Free America) shows kids alcohol and drug use is skyrocketing.

The Partnership asked 3287 teens and 804 parents across the country about drinking alcohol or taking drugs in the past month. Alcohol use was up 11% among kids in 9-12th grade. Drugs were up even more - Ecstacy use (albeit off a small base) was up 67% and marijuana was up 19%.

Why now? The Partnership says:

Stress - brought on by school and the recession which affects their families

The Internet - with the most likely culprit YouTube which is flooded with video about kids drinking and taking drugs - and making it look mainstream

Parents who let drugs like marijuana and alcohol use slide for awhile until it becsme a much bigger problem.

For more info go to www.drugfree.org.