Parents, Schools Giving Away Expensive Prizes to Prevent Teens from Attending Wild After-Prom Parties
We all know that reward system is often used in motivating a child or an employee to behave well. But will this same approach work for teenagers if it means skipping unsupervised after-prom parties?
Various schools around the U.S. have lined up extravagant goodies, such as brand new cars, iPads, and college scholarships, in the hope of attracting teens to attend supervised, alcohol-free events after their annual high school proms.
According to Reuters, the prizes are sometimes provided by local businesses while others are purchased through parent-led fundraising.
In Roanoke, Virginia, one student will be given a new 2013 Nissan Juke and two others will get iPads.
“Research shows that if they stay to the end of the after-prom party, they are more likely to be alcohol- and drug-free,” said Kathy Sullivan, the director of the Roanoke group.
In Pennsylvania, one high school student will drive away a black Honda Civic just for going to a supervised after-prom party. In Derby, Kansas, a high school booked an entire amusement park for its after-prom party.
Meanwhile, Allen High School in Allen, Texas gave away eight $250-worth of scholarships, several computers, a party for 20 at a local barbecue restaurant and tickets to a Texas Rangers baseball game.
At the Johnson City, New York, students have a chance to get microwaves, laptops and television sets. On top of that, attending students will be given a suitcase with $100 worth of merchandise.
When it comes to raising awareness about underage drinking, the usual question parents ask is: when would be the best time to discuss the topic to their kids?
According to the latest substance abuse campaign launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) officials, children as young as 9 years old should already have basic understanding about the dangers of alcohol abuse.
SAMHSA introduced this week the “Talk. They Hear You.” in conjunction with the 2013 National Prevention Week—an annual health observance dedicated to increasing awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. Its goal is to equip parents with information they need to help them start a conversation about alcohol with their children before their children become teenagers.
“These young people are our future leaders—our future teachers, mayors, doctors, parents, and entertainers,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “As our youth and young adults face challenges, we as a community, need to effectively communicate with them in every way possible about the risks of underage drinking so that they have the necessary tools to make healthy and informed choices.”
SAMHSA’s recently released report on underage drinking shows that more than a quarter of American youth engage in underage drinking. Even though there has been progress in reducing the extent of underage drinking in recent years, particularly among those aged 17 and younger, the rates of underage drinking are still unacceptably high.
“Talk. They Hear You.” features a series of TV, radio, and print PSAs in English and Spanish. The PSAs encourage parents to introduce alcohol-related discussions with kids while preparing dinner or doing chores together. Such opportunities are deemed more natural and help kids become comfortable in expressing their own views about alcohol drinking.
Binge drinking is considered the most common form of excessive alcohol use in the United States. Not only is the habit unhealthy, it’s also blamed for thousands of highway accidents that have happened over the years. So to address the problem, 32 higher education institutions across the country forged a partnership through the National College Health Improvement Project (NCHIP) created by Dartmouth College two years ago.
NCHIP’s initiative Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking is geared at address the problem of high-risk drinking on college campuses with the use of comprehensive evaluation and measurement techniques. Participating colleges and universities are encouraged to come up with alcohol prevention program, see how it works, improve as needed, and then scale up the program.
“It’s been a really great source of collaborative learning and resources,” Annie Stevens, associate vice president for student and campus life at the University of Vermont, told The Associated Press. “It really does give you a chance to get out of your own bubble and look around and rely on your colleagues. We’re all struggling with the same thing and saying, ‘Hey, have you found anything you’re doing that seems to work?’”
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism revealed that four out of ten college students in the U.S. engage in high risk drinking; approximately 1,800 college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries. Binge drinkers, in particular, are found to be at higher risk of unintended pregnancy, alcohol poisoning, unintentional and intentional injuries, neurological damage, high blood pressure, and liver disease.
At the University of Vermont, several programs have been utilized to combat high-risk drinking, among them include sending emails to parents before big party weekends and coordinating with police to pinpoint troublesome properties off-campus. Stevens said students are also asked about alcohol use any time they go to the campus health clinic for any reason, and if a students’ answers raise red flags a physician steps in. Such alcohol screening method is also in place at Dartmouth, along with another program developed at the University of Washington called BASICS — Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students.
The rule of thumb is to never drink when you’re driving or drive when you’re drinking. But new analysis by a non-profit organization showed highway accidents do not make up most of the deaths associated with underage drinking.
According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), only 32 percent of all deaths related to underage drinking involved traffic accidents; the remaining 68 percent have been associated with homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, and other causes of death.
MADD used 2010 data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to understand the different and more prominent causes of deaths among underage drinkers and find possible ways to minimize these risks.
“These data show that taking away the keys truly does not take away all of the risks when it comes to underage drinking,” MADD National President Jan Withers said in a news release. “MADD hopes this information will inspire parents to have ongoing conversations with their kids about the dangers of drinking alcohol before age 21, especially since we know that a majority of kids say their parents are the biggest influence on their decisions about alcohol.”
For more than 30 years, MADD has been at the forefront of stopping drunk driving, supporting the victims of this violent crime, and preventing underage drinking. The organization, together with the National Presenting Sponsor Nationwide Insurance, launched the Power Talk 21 campaign — the national day, observed on April 21, for parents to start talking with their kids about the perils of irresponsible alcohol use and abuse.
Alcohol is such a common presence in many social gatherings. It celebrates with us when there’s a special occasion or a simple get-together. Sometimes it appears in the lives of people who are grieving over something or dealing with a depression. While some studies show moderate drinking can have certain benefits, gulping endlessly can wreak havoc to one’s life. So how does someone determine if s/he has drinking problems?
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are defined differently by health experts. But both can interfere with the drinker’s life, relationships, work/school, social responsibilities, and financial capabilities.
Alcoholism, also referred to as alcohol dependence, is an illness wherein you develop a strong physical desire to drink alcohol beyond your capacity to control it. The two major warning signs of alcoholism are tolerance to consume excessive amounts of alcohol and withdrawal when drinking is stopped.
Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that can lead to inability to perform daily life’s responsibilities; drinking in situations that may result to physical harm or legal problems; and continued consumption of alcohol despite ongoing relationship problems. Unlike alcoholics, alcohol abusers still have some ability to set limits on their drinking. Still, their alcohol use can be destructive and dangerous to themselves or others.
The bottom line is, you have a drinking problem if you have to rely on alcohol to feel better; lie to family, friends, co-workers and others to conceal your habit; fail to perform adult responsibilities due to drinking; exhaust your finances to get a booze; and find yourself in trouble with the law enforcement because of the habit.
Alcohol problems is a treatable disease, though. The earlier you spot the problem, the soonest you can get your life back on track. Treatment usually begins with detoxification, followed by prescribed medications and then therapy. There are also support groups across the country whose aim is to help problem drinkers to avoid relapse.
The recent admission of rapper Lil’ Wayne to the ICU at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles has put to light the dangers of drinking sizzurp, or more popularly known as purple drank. Even though the multi-platinum hip hop recording artist denied that his near-death experience had something to with sizzurp, the rumor mill continues to mention the dangerous drink as the culprit of his seizures.
First of all, since when exactly did sizzurp become a favorite drink among the youth? Why should parents worry about it?
Robert Earl Davis Jr., a Houston disc jockey known as DJ Screw, was said to be the one who popularized the concoction of cough syrup and softdrink in the late 1990s. Many a time, hip hop musicians have rapped about the drink. Among those rappers who referenced the mixture in their lyrics include D12, Eminem, Lil’ Wyne, Big Moe, Lil’ Wayne, Ludacris, Slim Thug, Mack Maine, and Fat Joe.
Lil’ Wayne in particular has openly acknowledged his fondness for purple drank. In the music video Duffle Bag Boy, he was featured holding a Styrofoam cup with “RIP DJ Screw” written on it.
The mere mention of sizzurp in music has augmented its popularity, leading up to the awareness of some teenagers and young adults across the country.
In concocting sizzurp, users typically mix an ounce of cough syrup — containing codeine and promethazine — with Sprite or Mountain Dew and dissolved Jolly Rancher candy for extra sweetness, and pour it over ice. The drink is known to give users the euphoric high. However, other side effects include motor-skill impairment, lethargy, nausea, drowsiness, hallucinations, seizures, and even death.
In fact, some notable deaths linked with codeine overdose include that of DJ Screw in 2000; Big Moe, a DJ Screw protégé, in 2007; and Pimp C, a Texas rapper and a member of rap duo UGK, in 2008.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had warned people about the rising trend of cough syrup abuse. Although it is unclear as to how many people are drinking sizzurp, numerous health experts and the law enforcement are cautioning people about the fatal effect of cough syrup misuse.