April is Alcohol Awareness Month

April 2, 2012

Annually, over 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related injuries involving underage drinking and thousands more are injured! Almost 2,400 youth under 21 die in drinking and driving crashes, almost 2,400 die in other accidents, falls, fires etc., 1,500 die in alcohol-related homicides, 300 due to suicide and others to alcohol overdose.

Some important basic Facts About Underage Drinking:
* Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s young people, more than tobacco or illicit drugs;
* Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who
begin at age 21;
* Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
* And, underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually!

Reducing underage drinking is critical to securing a healthy future for America’s youth and requires a cooperative effort from parents, schools, community organizations, business leaders, government agencies, the entertainment industry, alcohol manufacturers/retailers and young people.

Regrettably, it remains relatively easy for teenagers to get access to alcohol and despite serious concerns, kids are flooded with media messages that glamorize alcohol use, increasing the likelihood that they will drink alcohol. In fact, underage drinking accounted for 16% of all alcohol sales.

An integral part of Alcohol Awareness Month is Alcohol-Free Weekend (April 6-8, 2012), which is designed to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, and the community. During this seventy-two-hour period, all Americans, young and old, are invited to participate in three alcohol-free days and to contact your local alcoholism agencies to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.

Children of Alcoholics Week

February 13, 2012

February 12-18, 2012 is Children of Alcoholics Week – A Celebration of Hope and Healing – Across Generations. The week calls attention to the one in four children under the age of 18 who are exposed to a family alcohol problem, and the many others affected by parental drug abuse.

Children of Alcoholics Week “celebrates the recovery of the many thousands of children (of all ages) who have received the help they needed to recover from the pain and loss suffered in their childhood, and it offers hope to those still suffering,” according to the National Association for Children of Alcohols (NACoA), which sponsors the week.

NACoA states that preschool children of alcoholics have poorer language skills. School-age children of alcoholics are at risk for being worried, distracted and absent, the group says. These children may be at greater risk of both mental and physical health risks.

For materials and resources on Children of Alcoholics Week, visit www.nacoa.org.

Youthlink Teens Take 1st Place in National “Free the Bowl” Contest

February 3, 2012


Teens from Oregon were awarded first prize yesterday for their entertaining counter-beer ad at the “Free the Bowl” World Premiere 2012 in San Rafael, California. The national competition drew entries from 15 different states sharing the core message: seductive alcohol ads shown during TV sporting events, and especially during the Super Bowl, are inappropriate for millions of vulnerable young viewers who watch the event.

“We decided to make the video for the Free the Bowl Contest because we realize that there are too many beer ads during the game and we want to put a stop to it,” stated Vijay and Samantha from Portland-based Oregon Partnership YouthLink, whose video “Pass It On” won the top prize of $1,000. “We want to let other kids know that it is OK you don’t drink beer, or any alcohol while watching the NFL Championship. It is OK not to drink and you can still have a great time.”

“We had a good time and learned a lot creating the message” said Franklin High junior, Sierra. “Getting from idea to story boards, creating original music, writing and filming was a great experience for our team of students.”

Big Alcohol spends a half billion dollars a year advertising on TV sports events alone. Research has shown that the more alcohol ads kids see, the more likely they are to drink, drink to excess, and drink more often. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking reported that 5,000 people under the age of 21 die annually from injuries caused by alcohol. Hundreds of thousands more suffer alcohol-fueled sexual assaults, serious injuries, diseases, and academic failure.

January 13, 2012

How do you honor the memory of a loved one who took their own life?

The friends of the late musician Ruzbeh Mosaedi are holding another concert to raise awareness of suicide and to help fund efforts to avoid teen suicide. Once again this year, the proceeds will be donated to Oregon Partnership’s Lifeline – 800 273-TALK or 800 SUICIDE.

The group says “Our hope and goal of this event is to raise awareness to friends and loved ones in our lives who may also be suffering. Also to the individuals so they may see beyond the moment and realize how important their lives are, to themselves and to others.”

The concert will feature a diverse lineup of bands that range from hip-hop and punk rock, to heavy metal. The cover charge is $10. It will be held Saturday, January 28th, at  Plan B, 1305 Southeast 8th Avenue, Portland, (near SE 8th & Madison) from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

This is a positive way to remember someone by making a proactive plan to help others.


Holidays Underscore Need to Prevent Suicide

December 22, 2011

We’ve all seen the holiday classic “It’s A Wonderful Life”. At his wit’s end, George Bailey considers killing himself, only to be rescued by an angel who shows him just how valuable his life is.

Oregon Partnership Crisis Line staff and volunteers are every day angels. They received over 19,000 suicide calls in 2011. While 99 percent of suicide calls are de-escalated, there has been an increase in the need for suicide “rescues” – the point at which they have to intervene in a suicide attempt. The holidays can cause people to become particularly vulnerable.  Last December, crisis line personnel had to perform five rescues in just a two hour period.

“We are seeing more intense pain with the holidays and the ongoing difficult economy” says Leslie Storm, Oregon Partnership Crisis Line supervisor. “People are hurting and just don’t feel they can cope with the pain. We help them find alternatives.”

Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Despite wanting the pain to stop, most suicidal people wish there was an alternative to killing themselves, but they just can’t see one. Suicide can be prevented.

The top causes for suicide are untreated depression and other untreated mental illnesses. The stigma surrounding those mental health issues are an obstacle to seeking help and acts to enable the choice. Addressing the issue directly offers the most hope for suicide prevention.

Suicidal people usually give warning signs. The best way to prevent suicide is to know and watch for these warning signs and to get involved if you spot them:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Seeking out lethal means
  • Preoccupation with death
  • No hope for the future
  • Self-loathing, self-hatred
  • Getting affairs in order
  • Saying goodbye
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Sudden sense of calm
  • Increased alcohol and drug use


“Many people see the signs and don’t know what to do or worry they are inadequate to the situation,” said Storm. “We can help them find the words to say and actions to take to prevent suicide.”

If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, call the free and confidential Oregon Partnership Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK or (800) SUICIDE.

It is a wonderful life, sometimes we just can’t see it.

Drugged Driving Toolkit Available

December 8, 2011


From the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA): “Have one [drink] for the road” was once a commonly used phrase in American culture. It has only been within the past 25 years that as a Nation, we have begun to recognize the dangers associated with drunk driving. And through a multipronged and concerted effort involving many stakeholders—including educators, media, legislators, law enforcement, and community organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving—the Nation has seen a decline in the numbers of people killed or injured as a result of drunk driving. But it is now time that we recognize and address the similar dangers that can occur with drugged driving.

The principal concern regarding drugged driving is that driving under the influence of any drug that acts on the brain could impair one’s motor skills, reaction time, and judgment. Drugged driving is a public health concern because it puts not only the driver at risk but also passengers and others who share the road.

However, despite the knowledge about a drug’s potentially lethal effects on driving performance and other concerns that have been acknowledged by some public health officials, policy officials, and constituent groups, drugged driving laws have lagged behind alcohol-related driving legislation, in part because of limitations in the current technology for determining drug levels and resulting impairment. For alcohol, detection of its blood concentration (BAC) is relatively simple, and concentrations greater than 0.08 percent have been shown to impair driving performance; thus, 0.08 percent is the legal limit in this country. But for illicit drugs, there is no agreed-upon limit for which impairment has been reliably demonstrated. Furthermore, determining current drug levels can be difficult, since some drugs linger in the body for a period of days or weeks after initial ingestion.

We need to press forward to develop field sobriety tools for all substances that can impair driving, not just alcohol. Click this link to find out more information: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/drugged-driving


Education Rx Drug Abuse Summit provides support for schools

December 2, 2011