BBC reports on underage drinking in Europe

Here are more BBC reports about youth alcohol abuse in Europe:

Vodka, homework, and me is a documentary that follows an 11 year old and a 15 year old as they tried to give up drinking. According to the story, Britain has the fourth highest levels of underage drinking in Europe. In the North West area of England, 90% of 15-16 year olds drink alcohol.

Are Europe's teenagers drinking explores attitudes toward underage drinking across Europe.

Call to raise drinking age to 21 is just about that . . . a debate in the UK about their legal drinking age.

Fears over rise in child drinking discusses how excessive drinking by young people has resulted in a 20% rise in hospital admissions in England over the past five years.

NBA to allow hard-liquor ads

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is reversing a longtime ban and will allow hard-liquor firms to place court side ads during games, part of a trend toward more liberal ad policies as sports firms face a worsening economy.

Since professional sports have traditionally been one way for families to enjoy entertainment together, increased alcohol advertising in sports arenas will expose young people to more and more positive alcohol messages -- something the United States Surgeon General has spoken out against.

Learn how to use Healthy Youth Survey data

The results from the 2008 Healthy Youth Survey will be released this spring. Free workshops are available for communities to learn how to use the data. The closest one to Seattle will be held in Renton the morning of Wednesday, March 25.

Social Emotional Learning bill

Several Washington State Representatives, including northeast Seattle's Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney (46th District), have proposed a Social Emotional Learning bill, HB1162.

According to the bill, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is defined as age-appropriate behavioral and emotional management, relationship skills, conflict resolution, interpersonal communication, cooperation, decision-making, and planning. Life Skills Training, the evidence-based drug/alcohol prevention program being implemented at Eckstein Middle School, is an example of a curriculum teaching social emotional skills to students.

The purpose of NB1162 is to support and provide leadership for incorporating SEL into basic education.

Teen substance use references on MySpace

About half of teens reference substance use or other risky behaviors on social networking websites, such as MySpace, according to a study published in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Not only do the findings suggest that social networking websites can be used to detect if teens are engaging in risky behaviors, they suggest that these sites can also be used for prevention purposes. CADCA has written a good synopsis of these findings.

Billboard in Wenatchee

The Orchard Middle School Youth Alcohol Prevention Coalition recently launched a six-month social norms campaign in their community (Wenatchee). The billboard pictured here is part of that campaign.

Like in NE Seattle, most Wenatchee parents monitor their children, a positive social norm that prevents underage drinking.

The Orchard coalition is one of the twelve funded by a SPF-SIG grant from the Washington State Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse. The NE Seattle coalition is also one of those twelve communities.

For more information on social norms marketing campaigns, check out the Most of Us project.

Free seminar on tobacco prevention

Preventing Tobacco Use and Related Health Risking Behaviors in Early Adolescence: Results from the Community Youth Development Study

featuring David Hawkins, PhD, founding Director of the UW Social Development Research Group

Wednesday, February 4, 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

UW School of Social Work, Room 305 (Commons)

Seminar is free and open to the community. Please RSVP to if you plan to attend.

Flasks for teens?

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Icing by Claire's, a subsidiary of tween accessory shop chain Claire's Stores Inc., sells flasks printed with girl-friendly designs. Though Oregon Partnership has asked Claire's to stop selling alcohol flasks in stores catering to teen customers, the retailer says it will continue to sell the flasks at its 3,000 stores. According to a company spokesperson, the store will post signs at store counters supporting "responsible" alcohol consumption.

"Responsible" alcohol consumption among teenagers? Really?

More alcohol outlets bad for prevention efforts

This week, there have been many reports in local media about the Governor's proposal to increase the number of state-run alcohol outlets in our state as a way to generate state revenue during these hard economic times. (Here is one from the Post Intelligencer.)

What never gets discussed is how this would impact underage drinking prevention. For instance, research shows that:
  • outlet density is correlated with heavy drinking particularly among underage students and students who pick up drinking in college;
  • the amount of law enforcement against underage purchases and the number of outlets where youth can buy alcohol are the biggest determinants of underage drinking.
State policy does affect prevention efforts locally. Would more liquor stores in our community be a good thing?

Free Guiding Good Choices!

Parents still have time to register for upcoming series of Guiding Good Choices workshops being offered for free, for a limited time! The dates and places the workshops will take place are:

starting February 4 at Seattle Children's Hospital and

starting February 26 at Eckstein Middle School.

Detailed information is available by clicking here.

A group of 12 federal departments and agencies have unveiled a new Web site,, to help community organizations find resources and tools to support youth efforts. The site provides targeted information to help youth-serving organizations and community partnerships plan and implement effective youth programs. offers customized strategies and practical resources designed to help communities:
• Build and sustain effective community partnerships
• Generate maps of community resources
• Develop evidence-based youth programs addressing risk and protective factors
• Access up to date information on Federal programs, funding opportunities and youth-related issues

Super Bowl commercials

The Drug Free Action Alliance in Ohio has developed a youth survey to determine which Super Bowl commercials youth remember seeing. The Super Bowl is known for its many commercials, including those for alcohol.

According to the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, since 2001, at least seven peer-reviewed studies have found that young people with greater exposure to alcohol marketing are more likely to start drinking than their peers.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission called for strengthening the alcohol industry's standard for its advertising from 70% legal-aged audiences to 75%.

This year's Super Bowl will be held Sunday, February 1.

Substance abuse prevention white papers for Obama

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America submitted white papers to the Obama Presidential Transition Team regarding the Drug Free Communities program, the State Grants portion of the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities program, and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (which administers SPF-SIG). The white papers provide a good overview of the substance abuse prevention programs funded by the federal government.

Healthy Schools Summit

The Healthy Schools Summit 2009 will take place May 28 at the Seattle Airport Marriott. The goal of the summit is to provide tools and information for engaging the whole child through healthy schools - where students and staff are supported, motivated, and students graduate on time.

NCAA criticized for beer advertising

A recent New York Times article reports that a study done by the Center for Science in the Public Interests shows that the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Assoc.) does not live up to its claim that it has the “the most conservative and restrictive approach to advertising of any sports organization.”

Research behind community-based prevention

I was going through some old files this morning and came across the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Preventing Drug Use Among Children & Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders aka The Red Book. Though it was last updated in 2003, it is still relevant today. It provides a great overview of community-based prevention including the risk and protective factors model and prevention principles. The research behind the process our coalition has gone through to create and implement a community prevention action plan is well explained in this guide.

Reducing youth alcohol use at prom-time

A few years ago, a student at Virginia Tech compared four programs aimed at reducing youth alcohol use at proms. The four methods used by the schools with which he worked were:
  1. school-wide assemblies with an anti-drug message
  2. school-sponsored, drug-free after-prom parties
  3. Nationwide Insurance's Prom Promise® program, and
  4. the None for the Road program.
The most successful program in reducing high-risk behavior was a school-sponsored after-prom party, followed by a school-wide assembly with an anti-drug message, both of which significantly reduced the amount of high-risk behavior on prom night. Smith's research found that Prom Promise, used by 3,434 schools each year, did not have a significant impact on high-risk behavior. Students who attended None for the Road events reported being more likely to consume alcohol on prom night!

Parent information forum January 29

From the Science and Management of Addiction Foundation (SAMA):

Free Parent Information Forum
Thursday, January 29, 2009
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Broadway Edison Building, 1701 Broadway, in Seattle

Dinner will be served!

The forum is for parents concerned about their kids' alcohol and other drug use. Learn about adolescent brain development and the effects of alcohol and other drugs. Learn how to communicate your concerns about substance use to your son or daughter, and how to get support for yourself and your child.

To register, visit the SAMA website.

Health is what happens in the community

In Sunday's Parade magazine appeared an article, "How Healthy Is Your State?" While it talks about the differences between states, what I found most interesting was the following quote:

"Health is not just what happens in your doctor's office . . . It's happens in the community." It goes on to state, "While you're at it, think about what you can do to create a real sense of community, where people care for each other . . . Talk to your community leaders . . . Campaign for safer neighborhoods where kids can become physically active."

Of course, I would add: Work together to create safe and healthy activities for our youth. Provide them with opportunities to meaningfully contribute to our community and to be recognized for those contributions. These are the types of community activities that can help reduce underage drinking rates and, therefore, improve the health of our youth, our families, and our neighborhoods.

Shift: A Peer Recovery Network

Multifaith Works, Gay City Health Project, Seattle Counseling Service, and Dunshee House are hosting an informative gathering about their collaboration -- Shift: A Peer Recovery Network -- on Tuesday, January 27 from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. at Multifaith Works, 115 16th Ave in Seattle.

Shift is a partnership of organizations in Seattle who provide a continuum of care to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Questioning, and Queer individuals who identify as being in recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction.

Parenting influences adolescent drinking

Earlier today, I was doing an online search for information on studies about parenting to prevent underage drinking. While it wasn't what I was looking for, I came across an interesting article in Science Daily entitled, " Parental Drinking and Parenting Practices Influence Adolescent Drinking". Here's what I found most interesting:

"These two dimensions of more parental control -- monitoring and discipline -- may be useful targets for the development of intervention studies," said Windle. "The second finding is important in identifying the differential influences of parenting behaviors at different stages of adolescent development. From a developmental perspective, older adolescents are much more influenced by other socialization agents, especially peers, and perhaps stronger genetic influences, whereas in early adolescence parenting practices are more highly influential. These findings are important for designing age-appropriate interventions whereby parenting practices may play a prominent role in early adolescence, but peer, parental drinking, and other factors may need to be focused on in later adolescence."

"With respect to individual aspects of parenting, our analyses show that parental alcohol use, intoxication, and problem drinking symptoms are consistently associated with decreases in monitoring and increases in discipline," said Latendresse. "Decreases in monitoring are related to higher levels of adolescent alcohol use at age 14 and more frequent intoxication at both 14 and 17.5. Likewise, increases in discipline are linked to more frequent use and intoxication, but only when adolescents are 17.5. Although these findings are consistent with the protective effects of parental monitoring, it is important to note that excessive discipline may actually have the unintended effect of conveying greater risk for alcohol-related behaviors among adolescents as they get older, and are seeking a greater sense of autonomy."

This is why it is important to focus on PREVENTION of underage drinking. The NE Seattle coalition is doing just that with a curriculum for middle school students and parenting programs for adults with children in grades 4-8.

Free relapse prevention group for teens

Children's Hospital is hosting a free Teens Mastering Recovery group starting April 7 for youth ages 14-18. Teens who participate in this post-substance abuse treatment/relapse prevention group should have:
  • successfully completed a substance abuse treatment program;
  • a parent/guardian willing to participate in two group sessions;
  • a desire to remain abstinent from drugs while continuing to grow and learn in early recovery;
  • a strong desire and ability to participate in all sessions.
Teens: Tuesdays 6:15 - 8:15 p.m. April 7-June 23
Parents/Guardians: Tuesdays April 7 and June 23

For more information contact Mandy Williams, MSW, CDP at 206-987-1359 or

Encouraging safe & healthy activities

As we think about ways to encourage teenagers to participate in safe and healthy activities, instead of using/abusing drugs and alcohol, here is what one coalition does. The Asset Building Coalition in Bloomington, Indiana distributes "Teen Connection Cards" that have coupons for fun activities and list community services that are available if they need help.

Newspaper supplement educates parents, teens

CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) has released a newspaper supplement entitled Stay Smart, Don't Start: The Truth About Drugs & Alcohol. CADCA is working with the Newspaper in Education (NIE) Institute to get the supplement included in local newspapers.

HBO's Addiction Project

A great resource for learning about addiction . . . HBO's Addiction Project, a multi-media campaign and documentary series aimed at helping Americans understand addiction as a treatable brain disease.

It contains great information about adolescent brain development, early onset alcoholism, addiction among adolescents, and addiction and the brain's pleasure pathway. Also included are sections about understanding addiction, treatment, aftercare, and discrimination and stigma.

January coalition meetings

January 2009 meetings of the NE Seattle Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking
Anyone interested in preventing underage drinking is welcome at all coalition meetings!

1/7 at 7:00 p.m. at UVillage Barnes & Noble Cafe

Enforcement & Consequences Roundtable
1/8 at 9:00 a.m. at Eckstein Middle School

Parenting forum planning meeting
1/8 at 7:00 p.m. at Starbucks on 35th Ave. NE

General coalition meeting
1/26 at 8:00 a.m. at University Family YMCA

Electronic seminar on school substance abuse policy

From the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center:
National electronic seminar on school substance abuse policy

Date: Thursday, February 19, 2009
Time: 12:00-1:15 p.m. Pacific

Underage drinking by high school and university students continues to be a significant problem. Preventing the use of alcohol on campuses is an important goal of administrators because of the many negative consequences resulting from alcohol use and abuse. When schools establish alcohol policies that clearly state expectations and penalties regarding alcohol use by students, they help reinforce the unacceptability of underage drinking.

This audio call will address the following questions:
  • Why is a substance-abuse policy important?
  • What should a comprehensive substance-abuse policy include?
  • How should a policy be communicated?
This audio call will help participants realize the importance of developing a strong policy and assist participants in reviewing, communicating, and enforcing a comprehensive policy.

Register at

Beer & wine regulations and underage drinking

An article appearing in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer provides information about suggested possible changes to beer and wine regulations in Washington.

What the article does not discuss is how beer and wine regulations affect underage drinking. The "prevention community" in Washington is particularly concerned about:

1) Pricing: Studies show that higher prices result in lower consumption and underage drinkers are especially susceptible to price. The use of minimum mark-ups and the ban on quantity discounts are two key environmental strategies for preventing underage drinking.

2) Money's Worth: Money's worth (promotional) items should be considered advertising and marketing items and should be governed by stricter advertising and marketing regulations. Too often, these items appeal to children and youth and should not be present or given out in areas (such as restaurants) where children and youth are present. This contributes to underage drinking.

3) Internet Sales/Shipping Alcohol Products: Any shipping of alcohol directly to consumers needs to be strictly controlled to ensure minors do not have access to alcohol this way.