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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

ndafw.logo.19This January 22th marks the ninth National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, first launched in 2010 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA).  The purpose of this week is to counteract the myths that youth get from the Internet, television, movies, music, or friends, and replace those myths with scientific facts about drug abuse and addiction.  The more informed our youth are about substances and the negative impact those substances can have on their lives, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors. “Shatter the Myths” is a free NIDA publication that parents can use to talk to their kids about substance abuse, and is free to download.  One of the myths that young people in Allegany County have is that their peers are all using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. The reality is much different; the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Inc.’s(ACASA) Risk and Protective Survey that is completed every two years in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades tells us the truth about substance use among our young people.

  • In 2017, 81.2% of Allegany County high school seniors did not drink alcohol in the past 30 days.
  • In 2017, 90.3% of Allegany County high school seniors did not smoke cigarettes in the past 30 days.
  • In 2017, 93.7% of Allegany County high school seniors did not smoke marijuana in the past 30 days.
  • In 2017, 97.2% of Allegany County high school seniors did not use heroin or misuse pain killers in the past 30 days.
  • In 2017, 96.4% of Allegany County high school seniors did not use other illicit drugs in the past 30 days.

All of these statistics are encouraging about how much our young people in Allegany County are using substances.

As a parent you might not think that your child listens to you when you speak to them about important topics, such as substance use, but they do! The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services(OASAS) has Talk2Prevent to help parents help them speak to their children about substances and give them the correct information about substances. Remember to “Talk Today, Tomorrow and Always – Don’t Ever Stop Talking” because they might not admit or act like it, but they are listening.

Here are five facts to use each day of this week to help start the conversation with your children about drugs and other substances.

Monday:  Young people who drink alcohol before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who abstain until age 21.  Brains develop until age 24, and young brains become damaged more quickly than adult brains.

Tuesday:  Marijuana can speed the heart rate up to 160 beats per minute, dilate the blood vessels so the whites of the eyes turn red, and cause feelings of panic that include sweating, dry mouth, and breathing difficulties.

Wednesday:  Inhalants can cause permanent damage to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and bones.  Sudden Sniffing Death is death by suffocation, which occurs when inhaled fumes take the place of oxygen in the lungs and brain.

Thursday:  Withdrawal symptoms from prescription opioid abuse include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, sleep problems, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goosebumps, and involuntary leg movements.

Friday:  Anabolic steroids are bad for the heart, cause damage to the liver, and halt bone growth.  This means that a teenage steroid user may not grow to his/her full adult height.

Aggressive behavior may be triggered by steroid abuse and is known as “roid rage”.

Saturday: Tobacco use and secondhand smoke cause illnesses such as lung cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, and respiratory problems. One of every three cancer deaths is caused by smoking. Average smokers lose more than 10 years of life because they smoke.

Sunday: Vapor products may seem harmless because of their flavors and names, but most of them contain the highly addictive chemical nicotine and contain many of the same dangerous chemicals and carcinogens that are found in regular cigarettes. All JUUL pods contain nicotine.

NIDA’s “Family Checkup: Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse” report highlights five questions relevant to parenting skills that help prevent the initiation and progression of youth drug use.  The questions emphasize calm and clear communication about relationship issues, encouraging positive behaviors on a daily basis, negotiating emotional parent/teen conflicts and working toward a solution, ability to set limits when behavior ranges from defiant or disrespectful to more serious problem behavior, and monitoring teens to assure that they are not spending too much time unsupervised.  Visit the NIDA’s Family Checkup page for a copy of these questions and to view video clips that display positive and negative examples of the skills, as well as additional videos to help parents practice positive parenting skills.

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For youth organizations, such as schools NIDA offers Chat Day on January 24. Chat Day is am annual live online chat held between high school students and NIDA scientists. Students from around the country ask the questions they most want the answers to about drugs and drug misuse, including drug effects, how to help friend or famiy that are abusing drugs, and what causes addiction. NIDA’s expert scientists give them the facts. Register for Chat Day here.

We can all do our part by supporting our youth, getting the facts, and remembering that PREVENTION WORKS!

Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow

2018_NCADD_Alcohol_Awareness_Month_Logo2-678x4602This April marks the 33rd Annual Alcohol Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) since 1987.  This year’s theme is: “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow”.

No other substance is more widely used and abused by America’s youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related problems the number one public health problem in the United States.

Fostering healthy and responsible attitudes, talking openly and honestly, encouraging supportive relationships, and showing children that their opinions and decisions matter, are all ways to help prevent the use of alcohol and other drugs.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, research shows that drinking, binge drinking, and extreme binge drinking by women are all increasing.  While alcohol misuse by anyone presents serious public health concerns, women who drink have a higher risk of certain alcohol-related problems compared to men.  Women who regularly misuse alcohol are more likely to develop alcoholic hepatitis, a serious liver-related acute illness, than men who drink the same amount of alcohol.  This pattern of drinking can also lead to cirrhosis of the liver, which refers to liver scarring and shrinking.

While long-term alcohol misuse is a leading cause of heart disease, women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease than men, even though they may consume less alcohol over their lifetime than men.

Research suggests that alcohol misuse produces brain damage more quickly in women than in men.  Also, because alcohol disrupts brain development during adolescence, teen girls who drink may be more vulnerable to brain damage than teen boys who drink.  Women may be more susceptible than men to alcohol-related blackouts, which are periods of memory loss during intoxication without loss of consciousness.

Women who consume a drink per day have a five to nine percent higher chance of developing breast cancer than those who do not drink.  Studies have shown that the risk increases for every additional drink they have per day.

There is no safe amount of alcohol for a woman to drink during pregnancy.  Drinking during pregnancy can increase the risk for pre-term labor and puts her fetus at risk for physical, cognitive, or behavioral problems that can last a lifetime.

According to a New York State survey, fifty-two percent of students in grades 7-12 reported that their parents had never talked to them about the dangers of underage drinking.  Let’s help keep kids safe from alcohol and other drugs by starting the conversation.  For tips on how to do this, log onto www.Talk2Prevent.NY.gov.  For additional information and resources, visit PPAC Central.  Let this be your call to action, and remember, PREVENTION WORKS!

Children of Addictions Awareness Week

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CELEBRATING HOPE AND HEALING FOR A LIFETIME

COA Awareness Week 2019 * February 10 – 16

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

During COA Awareness Week, you can be a part of NACoA’s annual international awareness and advocacy campaign, helping to spread the word that children living in families that struggle with addiction need the support of caring adults. Through awareness activities we can inspire adults to be there for the children who suffer silently, and together we can reach kids and teens with important information.

Children living with addiction need to know it’s not their fault when a parent struggles with addiction. They also need to understand that these parents have a disease, and learn how to separate the disease of addiction from the parent they love. During COA Awareness Week, do what you can to speak out, reach out, and raise awareness about the silent victims of addiction: the children. These children are often the first hurt and the last helped, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make a difference with your support and attention during COA Awareness Week.

HOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE DURING COA AWARENESS WEEK

  • Review the Social Media Toolkit and resources list to find ways to share information in your community. Share NACoA’s Social Media Toolkit with family and friends, pediatricians, educators, guidance counselors, therapists, social workers, faith community leaders, drug court professionals, coaches, boy scout leaders, dance instructors, daycare organizations, or anyone else you believe has the opportunity to impact the life of a kid or teen in a meaningful way.
  • Share information through social media. Follow NACoA on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and get more involved with COA Awareness Week. Through out platforms, you can find an share articles, infographics, images, and resources that can help raise awareness and offer strategies to families, professionals, and other caring adults in the community. By expanding that reach, we can continue to help more people understand the issues facing children of addiction and help them learn how they can help.
  • Speak out as an organization and as an individual. You, or an organization you’re part of, can advocate for the children and families affected by addiction. 1 in 7 individuals today will experience a substance use disorder during their lifetime, and many of them are parents. An estimated 25 percent of all children in the U.S. (about 18 million) are living in a home struggling with addiction. The needs of these kids and teens often go overlooked, and unaddressed. Taking part in COA Awareness Week, you and your organization can join the Voice for the Children and help make a difference for these silent victims of addiction.
  • Ask churches and other faith-based organizations to join in COA Awareness Week. Share NACoA’s pamphlets and resources and suggest they make them available to their congregations. Request that the topic of family recovery be discusses during homilies, or host a discussion after services to discuss the issue at great length. Create an afternoon or evening children’s workshop reflecting on gratitude or mindfulness, both great activities that build protective factors and resiliency in children living with addiction. Direct ministers to the Faith Community section of the NACoA website, which offers an array of resources to help them to better understand how to serve families needing faith recovery.
  • Distribute NACoA’s prepared materials. Recognize the week with a simple information distribution campaign. Using material already developed by NACoA, call and visit the offices of organizations whose work is like yours or otherwise well-suited to the messages of COA Awareness Week. Ask them to display the COA Awareness Week poster and other NACOA materials, such as posters or infographics, in their public areas. Contact your community’s health care professional associations (hospital associations, medical and dental societies, nurses’ associations) and managed care organizations, and share information about COA’s with them. Bring the COA Awareness Week flyer and other resources to your own pediatrician’s or doctor’s offices, and make a request for them to be share on the office’s notice board. You might also suggest creating a parent educational material table at any office who serves families. In today’s digital-savy environment, send emails to professionals and attach important resources with an invitation for them to include on their website or reference in an upcoming newsletter. Follow up with them by phone and see if they received your email and resources, and if they with to discuss what they can do to help.

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  • Sell the money-saving aspects of prevention to city and county managers. Use basic statistics about addiction and its impact on families to showcase the potential costs to your local government. Let the numbers show those in decision-making positions that it is cost effective, as well as compassionate, to speak up for and promote prevention programs such as youth mentoring, student assistance programs in schools, or addiction-support programs in health clinics. Savings will come in reductions in health care, human services, and criminal justice costs avoided through investments in prevention.

By doing one (or many!) of these COA Awareness Week activities, you can make a difference in the lives of children. And remember: It only takes one caring and supportive adult to take action and empower a child of addiction.

Whether in your home, your neighborhood, your school, your congregation, or in your family, you can let a child know that you care and you are available to listen. And, by modeling healthy behavior, you can also shine brightly in the darkness of fear and confusion that oftentimes can overwhelm them. Your compassion is powerful. Use it to help empower children, the silent victims of addiction. Visit the National Association for Children of Addiction’s for more information.