Posts Tagged teen drinking

Many Doctors Do Not Often Ask Teen Patients About Their Drinking Habits

A survey of more than 2,500 10th grade students found that doctors often miss underage drinking problems due to lack of proper alcohol screening.

alcohol drinkingAccording to a MedicalXpress report, researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Health and Human Development found that 34 percent of the surveyed students had drunk alcohol in the past month; 26 percent said they had engaged in binge drinking — defined as 5 or more drinks per occasion for males, and 4 or more for females. However, not all of those students who had seen a doctor reported being asked about their drinking habits, neither getting advice about the dangers of alcohol.

“While more than 80 percent of 10th graders said they had seen a doctor in the past year, just 54 percent of that group were asked about drinking, and 40 percent were advised about alcohol harms,” says lead author Ralph W. Hingson, Sc.D., M.P.H., director of NIAAA’s division of epidemiology and prevention research.

Hingson added that among students who visited a doctor in the past year and who reported drinking in the past month, only 23 percent said they were advised to reduce or stop drinking.

The researchers also reported in the February issue of Pediatrics that students who said they had been asked about their drinking were more likely to be advised about alcohol.

Studies link underage drinking to various problems, including academic failure, legal troubles, drug use, and alcohol poisoning which may lead to death. The habit could also interfere with an adolescent’s ability to judge risk and make sound decisions. In addition, underage drinkers are believed to have greater risk of becoming heavy drinkers later in life.

In preventing and reducing underage drinking, everyone’s role counts. Aside from families, friends and media, health care providers have a strong influence in promoting significant and lasting reductions in drinking levels and alcohol-related problems among adults.

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More Teens Experiment on Drugs and Alcohol During the Summer

A study conducted by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests that more teens begin their alcohol and drug activities during the summer season. In fact, first-time use of cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs by kids peak during the months of June and July.

teen drinkingResearchers noted that the number of adolescents that get entangled with these substances for the first time in their young lives are significantly higher compared to other months of the year. It’s only during the month of December that the same trend can be observed.

SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde says that the huge amount of free time in the summer can make kids vulnerable to substance abuse. “More free time and less adult supervision can make the summertime an exciting time for many young people, but it can also increase the likelihood of exposure to the dangers of substance abuse.”

Results of the study were obtained by analyzing data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the year 2002 up to 2010. Students 12 to 17 years old were given survey questions with regards to their alcohol, drugs, and tobacco activities.

After gathering information from the respondents, it was found out that the number of teenagers’ first time cigarette use reach 5,000 on the average during any given day in the months of June and July. Other months only reach an average of 3,000 to 4,000.

Marijuana use is also much higher for beginners during the summer with a daily average of 4,800 while inhalant misuse and abuse is being done by about 1,500 kids daily. If it were during the other months of the year, these figures only peak by 4,000 and 1,100, respectively.

Hyde once again emphasizes the importance of communication between parents and children especially on substance abuse issues. “That is why it is critically important to take every opportunity we can throughout the year to talk to our young people about the real risks of substance abuse and effective measures for avoiding it.”

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Teen Drinking in School District Declining

More and more students at the Flagstaff Unified School District are saying no to alcohol. In a recent study done that focused on the results of surveys made in the last eight years, teen drinking has been observed to be decreasing in the area.

underage drinkingIt was also noted that most students are now informed about the dangers of alcohol, and reports of adolescent drinking have gone down significantly.

The news is very encouraging especially to law enforcement officials and anti-alcohol advocates that are all pushing for the approval of a new program that will replace DARE. One of the provisions of the new program is the assignment of two police officers at the FUSD middle school and high schools.

The direct cause why kids have lessen their interests on alcohol is still not certain, but for Citizens Against Substance Abuse executive director Connie Leto, it could be that more parents are opening their channel of communication to their children. “I think we have more parents that are speaking up to their kids about alcohol.”

According to records of the Flagstaff police, the department tallied 1501 incidents of underage drinking in 2009, but this number decreased by a little less than 50% in 2011 at 894 cases.

Leto added that more students are influenced by their parents’ views on alcohol. When kids know their parents don’t approve of alcohol and warn them of its dangers, they too will avoid the substance and turn away from underage drinking.

The Flagstaff City Council gave their approval to the new program of the police department that will take DARE’s place just last week.

Project Alert will now be the latest initiative from the authorities that will monitor drug and alcohol activities of students. The program will focus on eighth and ninth graders as these levels are found to be the most vulnerable to substance abuse.

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Teenage Drinkers Struggle Fitting In Social Circles

Despite the notion that teens are often pressured to drink to gain acceptance from their peers, the complete opposite could happen when kids pick up the alcohol habit.

teen drinkingIn a new study undertaken and led by sociologist Dr. Robert Crosnoe from the University of Texas in Austin, teens who drink often feel as social outcasts due to their habit. In schools where alcohol consumption is low, teen drinkers feel the increase in social stress which leads them to develop problems in academics and in their intrapersonal relationships.

“The results suggest that we need to pay attention to youth in problematic school environments in general, but also to those who may have trouble in seemingly positive school environments,” Dr. Crosnoe said.

The study was conducted by analyzing statistics from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). About 8,271 adolescents from grades 7 to 12 from at least 126 schools were questioned with regards to their health-related behaviors.

It was found out that kids who drink often feel lonely and sees themselves as social outcasts especially in schools where majority of students stay away from alcohol and form close bonds by having the same anti-alcohol advocacies.

Researchers were able to discover a connection between the outcast perception of adolescents and their declining grades in school. In fact, there was a three-tenths difference in point grades between socially-secured students and those who feel isolated from the student community.

Dr. Crosnoe confirms that kids encounter troubles in their academics when they don’t feel accepted in school. “In general, adolescents who feel as though they don’t fit in at school often struggle academically, even when capable and even when peers value academic success, because they become more focused on their social circumstances than their social and academic activities.”

The complete details of the study are published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

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Pediatricians Can Help Prevent Teen Substance Abuse

A new study suggests that teens that undergo a five-minute computer screening program pertaining to their alcohol and drug use may reduce their risks for drinking for up to a year.

It was found out by a group of researchers from the Boston Children’s Hospital that kids who talk to their pediatricians after the computer screening tool decreased their risks for drinking by almost 50% for the first three months after their doctor’s visit.

drinkingDr. John Knight from the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at the Boston Children’s Hospital confirmed that previous studies have proven that screening and immediate intervention create a big positive impact among college students on alcohol and drug issues, but this is the first time they are able to have the computer screening and intervention program on the adolescent population.

“It’s important to get pediatricians involved, because we know 70 percent of high school seniors have started to drink, and almost 60 percent have started to use drugs, but there are few specialists available to deal with early intervention with teens,” he said.

It has been noted that most teens are able to visit their pediatricians every year for their physical examination requirements. This gives them the opportunity to talk about their substance abuse problems knowing their secrets are safe with their doctors, thereby making them listen more to their doctors than to their parents. “Since substance abuse kills more teenagers than infectious disease, parents should view this screening as another important vaccination,” Dr. Knight added.

Yet there are also obstacles that pediatricians face when talking to teenagers and their issues. For one, they don’t have the luxury of time due to the fact that there are a lot of patients with numerous factors to screen for. Another one is that once they screen teens for substance abuse, some doctors don’t know how to deal with patients who test positive and admit to the dangerous habits.

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Parent’s Guide during Graduation or Prom Season

It has been reported that graduation and prom seasons are the most dangerous times for kids as thee bring in the threat of drugs and alcohol as celebratory parties are everywhere. To keep kids safe during these times, here are some things parents can do and follow:

party drinking1. Be sure that you have talked with your teens. Make sure you know where your kids plan to go and emphasize the fact that underage drinking is illegal.

2. Check your own drinking habits. Most teens get their alcohol from their own parents. To prevent the situation, do not keep as much alcohol in your house and always store your drinks in secured areas.

3. You can host your own graduation party or prom for your kids without the element of alcohol. The idea that it’s safer for teens to drink with parents’ supervision is nothing but a myth. Keep in mind that alcohol intoxication will increase risks of vehicular accidents and promiscuous behaviors among teens.

4. Teach your kids how to deal with peer pressure when it comes to drinking. If they are going out, always confirm their whereabouts to avoid any complicated scenarios.

5. Have a back-up plan whenever your teens go out. If drinking can’t be prevented, at least make certain that your child can still go home without the need for him to drive. Before they do get into these situations, remind them about the zero-tolerance law of underage drinking.

6. Equip your teens with the knowledge of the accompanying dangers of drinking and driving. Be sure that they don’t get rides with drunk drivers too.

7. Always keep the numbers of the nearest hospitals in your home directory. Nobody ever wants to be in life-threatening situations, but it could happen. If your teen had too much to drink and remains unconscious, it’s best to call for emergency help.

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