Volume 1, Issue 1 Winter 2011

Our Mission
We’ve created this newsletter to help inform parents on the various ways the Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force is helping to reduce underage drinking and youth drug experimentation. The Burlington Drug and Alcohol Task Force (BDATF) has been in existence since 1982. This coalition of volunteers was formed in response to former Governor Ed King’s request for community feedback and support concerning legislation to combat the problem of drunk driving in the Commonwealth. Informed professionals and concerned citizens formed the first local group of its kind engaged in youth alcohol abuse prevention activities. Our community has one of the longest standing and most stable coalitions in the state. Since 1982, the Task Force has held at least six bi-monthly meetings each school year and its mission has expanded to include the whole area of youth substance abuse. The group’s membership is made up of community residents and local professionals including members of PTO’s, parent groups, the clergy, business community, law enforcement, education (students, faculty, administration), human services and local government. Some of the goals of the BDATF are: >To develop and implement substance abuse prevention and intervention programs >To promote healthy choices related to drug abuse prevention, reduction of underage drinking, reduction of alcohol–related car accidents and decrease teen tobacco use >To exchange concerns and ideas regarding substance abuse in our community >To share information from conferences and other sources >To support and cooperate with community organizations in their endeavors to lower youth substance abuse risk >To maintain resources for the community including educational materials about reducing substance abuse risk and how to find treatment



APPLAUDD for Parents!
The Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force will be sponsoring a parent workshop series in March to help parents take proactive prevention steps that will reduce substance abuse risks for their adolescents. reduce risk of alcohol and drug abuse. APPLAUDD will be presented on Tuesdays March 8, 15, 22 and 29 at 7pm in the Marshall Simonds Middle School Auditorium.
Co-Chairpersons, Marilyn Belmonte and Charlie Franich unveil the new logo in 2008

Parents have long been considered the number one “APPLAUDD: A Prevention deterrent to youth substance Program Learning About abuse by most specialists. Underage Drinking & “Parents have been touted as Drugs” is a four-part program the keys to preventing (Continued on page 4) designed to empower parents alcohol and other drug of students grades 5 through problems among youth, and 12 with proven strategies that research now shows that

environmental and genetic risk factors can be trumped by parental engagement during the critical adolescent years”, according to Nora D. Volkow, M.D., National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

“The United States simply can’t afford to let millions of kids struggle through their academic and professional lives hindered by substance abuse. Parents need to play a more active role in protecting their families, trust their instincts and take immediate action as soon as they sense a problem,” said Steve Pasierb, CEO of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Monitoring Our Future
Since 1975 the “Monitoring The Future” (MTF) survey has measured drug, alcohol, and cigarette use of adolescents nationwide. MTF is one of three surveys sponsored by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services that provide government agencies with data on youth substance use trends. 46,348 students from public and private schools in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades participated in this year's survey. The results released in December 2010 show significant increases in use of Marijuana, Ecstasy and cigar smoking, decreases in cigarette smoking and binge drinking while prescription drug abuse remained stable but very high. 8th graders showed the greatest increase in illicit drug use. For 12th-graders, declines in cigarette use and increases in marijuana use put marijuana ahead of cigarette smoking. "Mixed messages about drug who monitor their children, set and legalization, particularly marijuana, enforce rules but are also flexible; may be to blame,” said Gil show great interest in their children’s Kerlikowske, director of the White ideas and their daily activities; make House Office of National Drug Control expectations clear but support their Policy. “Such messages certainly don't children’s needs, had the lowest rate of help parents who are trying to prevent heavy underage drinking. kids from using drugs." But there is good news because studies show that parenting styles have a strong impact on youth substance abuse. Researchers at Brigham Young University have found that teenagers who grow up with parents who are either too strict or too permissive tend to binge drink more than their peers. The study was Caption describing picture or graphic. published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The parenting style that led to the lowest levels of problem drinking struck a balance between both styles: accountability and support. Parents

“Mixed messages about drug legalization,
particularly marijuana….don’t help parents who are trying to prevent kids from using drugs”—Gil Kerlikowske, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Teen Cannabis Use and the Brain
The California ballot initiative that would have legalized recreational use of marijuana was defeated on Election Day 2010. California voters chose not to legalize less than one ounce of marijuana for those age 21 and older. Marijuana-related ballot questions in other states were also defeated. Perhaps this is a good time for parents to dispel some myths and to discuss the science of marijuana with their teens. The effect of daily cannabis use on the adolescent teenage brain is worse than originally thought and the long-term effects appear to be irreversible. A recent study published in Neurobiology of Disease, suggests that daily cannabis consumption can lead to depression and anxiety. Led by Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, a psychiatric
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researcher from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, researchers found that marijuana has an impact on serotonin and norepinephrine. These brain chemicals help control mood and anxiety. Her research team observed that rats exposed to cannabis had decreased levels of serotonin, which affects mood; and higher levels of norepinephrine, which makes one more susceptible long-term to stress. "These permanent changes in the brain are also linked to certain mental illnesses, like schizophrenia," Gobbi said, "And we showed that even if we stopped the cannabis use at the end of

adolescence, the changes were still detectable in adulthood." Serotonin and norepinephrine systems are still in development during adolescence and cannabis interferes with their development. It is well known from past research that the adolescent brain is more susceptible than the adult brain to addiction of any drug, including alcohol and nicotine from cigarettes. Although addiction to drugs and alcohol can occur at any age, the risk multiplies many times if alcohol consumption or drug use begins in adolescence. Talk to your children and teenagers about the irreversible damage that drugs and alcohol can have on their brain and their future.


Underage Drinking Survey Results 2009
The Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force examined underage drinking in our community. A survey about perceptions and attitudes was offered to parents of middle school and high school students at the November 2009 parent-teacher conferences. Students in grades 7 through 12 were surveyed in their health classes in October 2009. Results of the survey and strategies were discussed at a parent and youth forum in February 2010. “Not In Our House: Strategies to Reduce Underage Drinking Parties” released the survey results to the general public. There were 774 total respondents to the survey: 208 8 th graders, 198 high school seniors and 368 parents (80 High School; 288 Middle School). The first question asked how easy it may be to access alcohol from a variety of people or places. Parents and high school seniors were in agreement that is easiest to get alcohol from friends and older siblings. The next common ways to find alcohol was adult strangers, parents, restaurants and liquor stores in descending order. This data tells us that the liquor compliance tests that the Burlington Police Department run periodically with our liquor merchants is reducing youth alcohol access. It also demonstrated the need to reach young adults and older siblings with our message of not purchasing alcohol for younger siblings and friends.  “How easy or difficult do you think it would be for underage youth to get alcohol from home without their parents knowing it?”  “Who should Burlington penalize for underage drinking?”  Is it acceptable for underage youth to drink at Graduation Parties?

BHS Seniors: Very Easy/Easy=74% 8th Graders: Very Easy/Easy=66% Parents: Very Easy/Easy=56% *This data implies that parents underestimate the ease of access to alcohol in anyone’s home.  “How often do you think parents in your community provide alcohol at parties their children host?”

(Y= Youth only, A=Adult providing alcohol only, B=both underage drinker and the adult) BHS Seniors: Y=15%, A=8%, B=63% 8th Graders: Y=16%, A=12%, B=63% Parents: Y=7%, A=9%, B=66% *Everyone agrees that responsibility should be shared.  “Is it acceptable to get DRUNK at Graduation Parties?”

BHS Seniors: No=62%, Yes=35% 8th Graders: No=84%, Yes=14% Parents: No=90%, Yes=3% * Students feel a graduation party is good reason for youth to drink but parents strongly disapprove of underage drinking at graduation parties.  Is it acceptable for underage youth to drink at Sporting Events?

BHS Seniors: Often/Very Often=22% Parents: Very Often/Often=9% *Parents have a different perception from students about other parents providing alcohol for youth.  “How serious a problem is alcohol consumption by underage youth (14-20 years old) at unsupervised gatherings in your community?”

BHS Seniors: No=49%, Yes=48% 8 Graders: No=57%, Yes=42% Parents: No=89%, Yes=5% *Students split on this question but parents strongly disapprove of getting drunk at graduation parties.  “Is it acceptable to get DRUNK at Sporting Events?”

BHS Seniors: No=74%, Yes=23% 8th Graders: No=86%, Yes=12% Parents: No=91%, Yes=1% *Parents again do not approve of getting underage drinking at public sporting events but almost one-quarter of seniors feel this is socially acceptable. PARENTS ONLY:  “If you knew of an underage drinking party in your community, would you…..

BHS Seniors: Very Serious/Serious=57% 8 Graders: Very Serious/Serious=53% Parents: Very Serious/Serious=60% *Slightly more than half of each population feel underage drinking is a serious issue in town.

BHS Seniors: No=42%, Yes=54% 8th Graders: No=26%, Yes=73% Parents: No=90%, Yes=4% *Parents again do not approve of getting drunk at public sporting events but our 8th graders feel this is socially acceptable. Perhaps parents can look at the role alcohol plays when watching sports.

Confront Homeowner: 20% Contact Police: 31% Do Nothing: 7% Don’t Know: 27% *Most parents would take action.


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Alcohol and Energy Drinks Don’t Mix
It is important for young people to know that their bodies and minds are not yet fully developed, and that ingesting any type of alcohol or drug can impair full brain development. Exposure to alcohol at an early age increases the chance that a young person will have alcohol-related problems by the time they are 21 years old and these problems continue into adulthood. Parents who can postpone the initiation of alcohol drinking for as long as possible will decrease the risk that their children will have life-long problems with alcohol. Recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned alcohol-energy drinks from being marketed after it was proven that they increase alcohol-related accidents and injuries. The drinks' brand names include Four Loko, Joose, Moonshot and Core High Gravity. Four Loko, one of the most popular of these drinks, comes in fruit flavors and brightly colored cans. It is 12 percent alcohol, meaning that one 23.5-ounce can is comparable to drinking four or five beers, plus a high dose of added caffeine, taurine and guarana for a stimulating effect. Research suggests that when caffeine is mixed with alcohol it overcomes the sedating effects of alcohol and people perceive that they are less intoxicated than they really are. This leads people to drink more or make bad decisions about whether they are safe to drive.
According to recent studies, people who consume alcohol mixed with energy drinks are:

Charlie Franich 781-270-1964 Marilyn Belmonte 781-229-2638 Co-Chairperson Meetings are held in the Burlington High School Conference Room next to the Main Office at 12 noon (unless otherwise noted) Lunch is served.

Next Meeting: Tuesday February 8, 2011 ALL ARE WELCOME!
Look us up on Facebook and at www.BDATF2009.blogspot.com

   

4 times more likely to leave a bar drunk 4 times more likely to drive drunk than those drinking alcohol alone 2 times more likely to have injuries that lead them to the emergency room 2 times more likely to be involved in a sexual assault

Talk to your teens about underage drinking and never mixing alcohol with energy drinks at any age.

APPLAUDD for Parents (continued)
Alcohol and drug research has shown that positive parental involvement is an important protective factor that decreases drug abuse and underage drinking. Yet most parents do not feel that they have any power to influence their adolescents because teens build barriers to keep their parents at a distance. This normal developmental stage during adolescence serves to discourage parents from being involved in their children’s lives. But parents can be empowered to be their children’s primary drug and alcohol abuse prevention educator. APPLAUDD empowers parents to communicate with their children and make positive changes at home.

APPLAUDD will be presented on Tuesdays March 8, 15, 22 & 29 from 7 to 9 pm in the Marshall Simonds Middle School Auditorium. APPLAUDD is open to the entire community. Parents of children grades 5 through 12 are encouraged to attend!
For more information, please contact Marilyn Belmonte at Marilyn@DrugAbuseRecognition.com or 781-229-2638.

WEBSITES for more information: www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com www.DrugFree.org www.UnderageDrinking.samhsa.gov www.TheAntiDrug.com www.FreeVibe.com www.AskListenLearnParents.com www.JustThinkTwice.com www.PainfullyObvious.com www.InhalantAbuseTraining.org www.MADD.org www.StopImpairedDriving.org www.StopAlcoholAbuse.gov www.drugabuse.gov/parent-teacher www.marijuana-info.org

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