NCAA: Axe the Beer Commercials During March Madness

March 27, 2008

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, more than 280 colleges and universities – including the University of Portland – have called for an end to alcohol advertising on televised college sports.  But you’d never know it by watching the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The brackets may change every year for March Madness, but not the drumbeat of beer commercials. 

Binge drinking among college students has elevated to a serious public health hazard and has become an increasing headache for university presidents feeling the pressure from communities, law enforcement and parents.  Isn’t it time that the NCAA rethink its acceptance of beer advertising and make a stunningly positive decision for a change?

Other sponsors would step in and make sure that Anheuser-Busch, Miller Lite, and Coors don’t make it into the Final Four every year.

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There’s Hope In Renewing Efforts Against Drug Abuse

March 18, 2008

When was the last time you read or heard anything positive about how our country and state are dealing with drug and alcohol abuse?

For those of us involved in the field of drug prevention and education, we cringe every time we hear the phrase “war on drugs” because we know the vast majority of Americans think it’s a losing battle.

Well, the conversation about eliminating substance abuse is changing before our eyes and finally, we may be making some real inroads.

Of course, it starts with our kids.

According to the latest figures from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, drug use among youth has declined by 25% since 2001 and that 860,000 fewer young people are using drugs than they were six years ago.

The use of drugs such as ecstasy and meth among young people have plummeted by more than half.  The lethal meth labs in Oregon that used to be featured on the evening news have all but disappeared because of  state  legislation making pseudoephedrine products prescription-only.

Oregon teens who just a few years ago may have been intrigued by meth have learned enough about its ugliness and more are staying away from it.

None of this is by accident. Intense media coverage, prevention, education, increased awareness, and action by lawmakers and law enforcement alike, have helped keep more of our kids off drugs.

We are seeing a renewed effort among business leaders, educators, and community organizations to intensify prevention efforts.

Last week, the Portland City Council took a major step by approving a city-wide drug strategy that recognizes the need “to build and mobilize a comprehensive, community-wide social movement to address this issue.”

Medical science is making dramatic inroads in understanding the effects of the brain – especially the teenage brain – on drug and alcohol abuse.  Researchers are learning more – practically monthly – on the neurological effects of substance abuse and how to translate that into improved treatment of addiction.

And the researchers tell us the verdict is in: The longer we can keep our teens from using alcohol and other drugs, the much better chance they’ll have of not having problems in adulthood.

But let’s not fool ourselves. According to the Oregon Healthy Teens Survey, more high school kids now smoke marijuana than cigarettes.  And make no mistake – today’s pot is a lot more potent than it used to be in the last generation.

Oregon Partnership’s crisis lines are getting more calls from young people who are becoming addicted to prescription drugs, which is probably the most frightening new trend in the country’s drug abuse landscape.

About a third of our teens abuse alcohol, and binge drinking on college campuses is practically an epidemic. A recent U.S. Surgeon General’s report found that underage drinking is viewed as a rite of passage and facilitated by adults.

But parents need to understand that they are the biggest influence in children’s lives, and the more they talk to their children about the dangers of drugs and underage drinking (and the conversation should start in grade school!), the less likely their kids will give in to peer pressure.

There’s a hopeful precedent in this battle, and it came to the forefront in 1982 when the U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop issued his no-nonsense warning about the health dangers of tobacco.

The percentage of Americans who smoke has declined steadily since – it’s now at 17% according to the new Harris Poll –  with the culture and acceptance of cigarette smoking in this country continuing to dismantle.  This would have seemed unfathomable less than just a generation ago.

The same phenomenon can be applied to drugs and underage drinking with a renewed dedication by all of us. 

Judy Cushing, President/CEO


Oregon Liquor Stores Join Effort to Stop Underage Drinking

March 11, 2008

A campaign to warn adults about the perils of underage drinking is going directly to Face it, Parents - Posterconsumers at state liquor stores, with posters and tip cards from the “Face It, Parents” program.

The educational material is being placed at check-out counters in 20 liquor stores (see list below) in a joint prevention effort by Oregon Partnership, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) Addictions and Mental Health Division and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

“Teenagers tell us in surveys that they’re getting much of their alcohol at home,” said Bob Nikkel, DHS assistant director for addictions and mental health. “This campaign helps remind parents of that so they can do something about it.”

The “Face It, Parents” posters center on how alcohol use can harm the developing adolescent brain. Research shows that children who start drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to have alcohol-related problems when they become adults.

And more young people are turning to distilled spirits, said Karen Wheeler, DHS addictions policy and program development manager.

“It’s a startling new trend that our kids now prefer hard liquor over beer as their drink of choice,” she said. “Kids often get their alcohol from home.

Parents should tell their children that underage drinking is not permitted in their home or elsewhere.” Parents need to control alcohol in their home and talk to their children about house rules against underage drinking, Wheeler said.

The most recent DHS Oregon Healthy Teens Survey shows that about a third of 8th graders and about half of 11th graders have consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. And 31 percent of 8th grade drinkers and 37 percent of 11th grade drinkers prefer distilled spirits, the survey indicated.

Here are the topics on the “Face It, Parents” tip cards:

•  Remember that you are the biggest influence in your children’s lives;
•  Don’t think “it’s not my child”;
•  Establish explicit rules and consequences;
•  Youth alcohol use is not a rite of passage;
•  Don’t allow youth drinking in your home; and
•  Be a positive role model.

The free materials are available from Oregon Partnership. To order telephone 503-244-5211 or 1-800-282-7035 (toll free), or e-mail plabberton@orpartnership.org. “Face it, Parents” is an Oregon Department of Human Services prevention campaign managed by Oregon Partnership with the goal of reducing underage drinking through parental education. In the first 16 months of the campaign young people around the state developed radio and TV public service announcements that received substantial airplay.

More information is available at www.faceitparents.com.

Here are the participating state liquor stores:

•  Aloha, 20235 SW Tualatin Valley Hwy., Agent Glenna Bartlett;
•  Aloha, 17455 SW Farmington Rd., Bob Foreman;
•  Clackamas, 12038 SE Sunnyside Rd., Debbie McDougall;
•  Corvallis, 575 SW Washington Ave., Deborah Jenkins;
•  Corvallis, 935 NW Circle Blvd., Saleem Noorani;
•  Hillsboro, 216 SE 6th Ave., Bruce Hochstein;
•  Forest Grove, 3130 Pacific Ave., Gail Hochstein;
•  King City, 15745 SW 116th Ave., Leon Stratton;
•  Milwaukie, 10804 SE Oak St., John Biber;
•  Portland – Bethany, 4756 NW Bethany Blvd., Randy Guerra;
•  Portland – Burlingame, 8423 SW Terwilliger Blvd., Bruce Gillilan;
•  Portland – Cedar Mill, 13571 NW Cornell Rd., Randy Guerra;
•  Portland – Eastport, 4229 SE 82nd Ave., John Feuerstein;
•  Portland – Garden Home, 7410 SW Oleson Rd., Mike Babbitt;
•  Portland – Jantzen Beach, 11915 N. Center Ave., Paul Babin;
•  Portland – Meadowland, 17112 SE Powell Blvd., Paul Babin;
•  Portland – West Slope, 8765 SW Canyon Ln., Patty Bumbarger;
•  Portland – Woodstock, 4324 SE Woodstock Blvd., Robert Hui;
•  Wilsonville – 29955 SW Boones Ferry Rd., Joe Valls; and
•  Woodburn – 1523 N. Pacific Hwy., Oliver Coker.


Calling all Parents. CASA Wants Your Input.

March 4, 2008

These folks do great work with information for parents and the public.  Joseph Califano has produced some eye-opening stuff about substance abuse in America . 

In order to hear from you parents, CASA has launched a Web forum on www.casacolumbia.org. We urge you to post your comments, share your ideas and respond to the comments of other parents. Use your “parent power” to be a part of creating the best book ever written to HELP PARENTS raise the next generation of superior athletes, pioneering inventors, brilliant doctors and scientists and strategic business and government leaders as healthy drug-free kids!

Click here to read more about CASA.