Archive for December, 2011
One of the many reasons why kids get into the alcohol habit is the lack of information that parents should have provided about the addictive and dangerous substance. Alcohol education should start early, even before children are old enough to drink.
To talk about alcohol during the adolescent stages of children, parents can choose from among the many ways or approaches on how to deal with the subject, depending on where they can be most comfortable with.
It’s best to start by setting your expectations from your kids and explaining why you do so. Teenagers are very inquisitive, and telling them what to do and what not to do won’t be enough. You have got to have underlying reasons that will encourage them to follow the dos and discourage them from the don’ts. This is where family values play the greatest roles.
Remind your kids that not everything they see or hear about alcohol is true. Television ads can be very enticing and can make it hard for them to say no to alcoholic drinks. During their adolescent years, teens have the strongest desire to belong. This is what advertisers capitalize on to sell their products.
Share stories about drunk-driving teens and point out the consequences of these actions. If you have your own learning experiences to share to your kids, don’t be afraid to let them know about it because as a parent, you should be the first person to share important life lessons to them. You don’t need to do it regularly, but at least try to be consistent.
It pays to know your child’s circle of friends and their activities. Teens are often much attached to their peers that sometimes, this attitude could lead them to complicated situations. As the parent, it is your responsibility to keep your child safe, as well as his friends who also have concerned parents like you.
Parties and celebrations are everywhere during the holiday season. It can’t be denied that these events almost always involve alcohol. This is where adults should become responsible to keep minors away from alcohol during the holiday celebrations.
If you are hosting the party, you must keep your young and adult guests safe. To do this, here are some suggestions:
a. Have a strategic area where alcoholic beverages will be placed and make it off limits to minors.
b. Even if it will cost you more, get a bartender to serve drinks to your guests. The bartender will not only keep minors from alcoholic beverages, he could also check and limit how much your adult guests drink. By doing this, you are also helping your friends to be a lot safer on the road.
c. Be vigilant during the party and make sure minors are sober throughout the event. Watch out for unattended alcoholic drinks as they can be easily picked up by kids. Dispose any unfinished drink and collect all left-over drinks.
d. If any minor is caught drinking, call the attention of the parents concerned and have them pick up the child.
As a guest, you too can do your part in keeping teens away from alcohol. If you’re in a gathering, don’t encourage teen drinking and never allow kids to have even a sip of any alcoholic beverage. You should also never leave your own drink unattended at any time during the party. If you ever get a glimpse of a minor having a drink, immediately tell your host or hostess about it.
The question on whether medical marijuana patients should be treated by a doctor or just under the supervision of an academic institution is still a topic of debate for Maryland’s panel on medical marijuana laws.
It was in April this year when the state passed its medical marijuana law but some provisions did not make marijuana totally legal. This is why there is now an existing debate among lawmakers as to how medical marijuana should be distributed to patients.
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene chairman for the medical marijuana model program work group Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein confirmed that their group is divided especially on the issue with regards to the role of academic research institutions in their program.
As to how medical marijuana distribution should be carried out, the 22-member panel is split with 11 members endorsing distribution of pot to academic research institutions. The other half of the group (at least ten members as one member did not cast his vote) is in favor of putting medical marijuana distribution in the hands of dispensaries and pharmacies.
Supporters of the first plan which gives academic research institutions the authority for medical marijuana distribution say that it will be of advantage for patients since medical research for pot will continue under these institutions. “Marijuana is not a conventionally accepted treatment in medicine,” the proponents wrote. This would mean that patients can also participate in the research studies to find other benefits of medical marijuana.
For the group who calls for dispensaries and pharmacies to distribute pot, they on the other hand argue that doing so will pave the way for medical marijuana businesses to be legalized. “Currently, these patients have no safe means of obtaining marijuana and must instead obtain it from the illegal market or risk a felony criminal conviction by cultivating it,” the group continued.
In a latest survey conducted among teens in the United States, it has been noted that while tobacco and alcohol use declined among the youth, marijuana use increased.
Dr. Nora Volkow, who heads the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said that the decline in tobacco use among teens is welcome news. Yet the rate of its decline goes slower and slower over the years, and this could still be a concern for everybody. “This highlights the urgency of maintaining strong prevention efforts against teen smoking and of targeting other tobacco products,” Volkow said.
Survey results also confirmed that marijuana use among high school students has reached 25% in the past year compared to about 21% in 2007. The most troubling reality uncovered by the survey is the fact that daily marijuana use among senior high school students is at 7%. This percentage is by far the highest since 1981.
The rise in marijuana use could be due to the fact that mortality rates linked to marijuana use is by far much lower than reported tobacco fatalities. Smoking marijuana is perceived as much safer than cigarettes therefore more individuals are getting into the habit of pot smoking instead of cigarettes. What teens might be disregarding is that daily marijuana use leads to addiction which in turn could mean more serious conditions.
Alcohol use among teens is also on the decline. Reports regarding fatal cases on driving under the influence, higher risks for addiction and overdose, and violent reactions related to alcohol use have discouraged teens from alcohol abuse.
The New Year is just around the corner, and New Year’s Eve celebration preparations are well on their way too! It may be inevitable for grand events to be celebrated with abundant food and alcohol, yet there are healthy ways which New Year’s Eve can be celebrated. The best part of this type of celebration: waking up without the hangover and starting the year right!
Here are some creative ideas to celebrate the coming of a new year without the alcohol:
1. Organize an alcohol-free party. You can have the most glamorous decorations, the best-tasting food, the most colorful streamers, banners, and hats, and the most number of people that you can invite for your party, and have the best time without putting in the element of alcohol. Get your kids and friends involved in the preparation and you will surely have an awesome party.
2. A movie marathon during New Year’s Eve isn’t a bad idea at all. If you have friends who want to do away with alcohol for the New Year’s, you can invite them over to your place and watch New Year-themed movies. Some fun suggestions are When Harry Met Sally, 200 Cigarettes, and The Apartment. It could also be the best time to catch up on movie series like Harry Potter or Star Wars.
3. Gather your nerdy or geeky friends this New Year and wait for the New Year by playing your favorite board games like Scrabble or Monopoly. Add in some nice finger-foods, chips, non-alcoholic drinks, and fun prizes and you’re all set for New Year’s Eve.
4. When you can’t get away from parties involving alcohol, volunteer to be your group’s designated driver. You will have a good excuse to not get drunk. Get a strawberry daiquiri or soda water with lime as your choice of drink to keep yourself alcohol-free.