Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ulster Prevention Council Weekly Blog 6-25-13: Will I See You in September?

With summer in and school out, unsupervised youth may be in danger of accessing and/or consuming alcohol in their homes and in the homes of their friends.  These dangers are real and possibly deadly.
Through the 2012 Ulster County Youth Development Survey, we asked youth in grades 7-12 how they obtained alcohol and where they drank it. While 56.8% reported not drinking at all in the past year, 25.4% reported drinking in their own home, and 26.1%  reported drinking in the home of a friend.  
In almost every case involving underage drinking, somewhere along the way an adult broke the law. 35% of Ulster County youth reported obtaining alcohol with the aid of an adult. The Ulster County Social Host law holds parents accountable for drinking parties involving under-age participants in their home.  However, many adults still believe that allowing youth to drink in the home is "safer" and that they can teach youth to drink "responsibly". 10.3% of Ulster County youth reported drinking with parental permission.
Although many still view underage drinking as a rite of passage, it is a dangerous practice that should be discouraged. Every three minutes someone under the legal drinking age in the US has to go to the emergency room because they drank underage.
Youth ages 15 and younger who drink alcohol are 4 times more likely to become dependent on alcohol and 5 times more likely to abuse alcohol later in life than those who wait until they are 21 or older. Alcohol use can interfere with adolescent brain development. Adolescent brains do not discriminate between alcohol used without permission and alcohol used with permission.
In addition, adolescents may make the poor choice of getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking. It is no coincidence that during June, July and August the greatest number of teenagers perish in car crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This summer and all year, adults should monitor and secure alcohol at home in order to help prevent underage drinking. Parents are urged to have a frank discussion with teens about the dangers of underage drinking and set rules, including not getting into a car with someone who has been drinking.
If you have had the talk with your teen about drugs, but not alcohol, now’s the time to have it. 

Cheryl DePaolo
Director of Ulster Prevention Council

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ulster Prevention Council Weekly Blog 6-4-13: Ulster youth produce award winning messages

At our annual Ulster Prevention Council Conference last week we recognized outstanding Ulster County youth who participated in our 2013 Media Contest and received Innovations in Substance Abuse Prevention Awards.
These awards honor the memory of Phil Terpening, former chairman of the Ulster Prevention Council Board.  Prizes were awarded for poster, radio and video projects that communicated messages regarding the risks associated with the misuse of prescription medications; alternatives to drug use; awareness of the harmful effects of marijuana on youth brain development; and our Be Aware, Don’t Share and Lock Your Meds campaigns.
 Over 40 poster submissions were received. Ellenville High School students Willie Bruce and Logan Rotolo tied for first place in the poster contest, and Hunter Odell received an honorable mention.
 Tessa Albert from Ellenville High School submitted the winning radio PSA, and Paris Smith from Saugerties High School submitted the winning video PSA. Nick Natale from Saugerties High School received an honorable mention for his video PSA.
 Under the guidance of teachers Scott Wickham at Saugerties High School and Tim Lukaszewski and Alan Buckler and Ellenville High Schools, the students were able to produce original, creative and powerful media messages that UPC will use to provide education and awareness throughout Ulster County and beyond.
 All of our PSA's are available for distribution to schools, waiting rooms, public access stations and other community venues to get the word out regarding these priority topics. Please contact UPC at 458-7406 for information.
 To view some of our winners, please visit our Facebook page and remember to like Ulster Prevention Council us while you are there!

Cheryl DePaolo
Director of Ulster Prevention Council