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Saturday, October 26, 2013

SATURDAY REWIND: Teen drinking, drug use best thwarted by parents, not red ribbons

Red Ribbon Week -- the annual substance abuse prevention campaign Oct. 23-31 -- produces some of the best and most consistent messaging about alcohol and other drugs and the dangers they present to youth.  A December 2012 article from the alcohol research news archive notes that school and community campaigns are visible and effective, but the best resources in substance abuse prevention are Mom and Dad.


Parental involvement does more to discourage underage drinking than the school environment can, according to research released December 4 by three universities.

Specifically, the researchers looked at how “family social capital” and “school social capital” changed the chances for and/or frequency of alcohol use by children. Family social capital can be described as the bonds between parents and children, such as trust, open lines of communication and active engagement in a child’s life. School social capital captures a school’s ability to serve as a positive environment for learning, including measures such as student involvement in extracurricular activities, teacher morale and the ability of teachers to address the needs of individual students. Parenting is a better block to underage drinking than the schools, according to the North Carolina State University news release on the study.

"To be clear, school programs that address alcohol and marijuana use are definitely valuable, but the bonds parents form with their children are more important. Ideally, we can have both," says Dr. Toby Parcel, a professor of sociology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work.

The researchers looked at data from a nationally representative sample that collected information from more than 10,000 students, as well as their parents, teachers and school administrators. The research, to be included in the quarterly Journal of Drug Issues, evaluated marijuana use and alcohol use separately.

“Parents play an important role in shaping the decisions their children make when it comes to alcohol and marijuana,” says Parcel. In both cases, researchers at NCSU (in conjunction with Brigham Young University and Penn State University) found that students with high levels of family social capital and low levels of school social capital were less likely to have used marijuana or alcohol – or to have used those substances less frequently – than students with high levels of school social capital but low family social capital.

More than 10 million American youth under the age of 21 drink alcohol, and more than a million of them are binge drinkers, according to the American Medical Association. One in four teens in the United States have consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. "Underage drinking should not be a normal part of growing up. It's a serious and persistent public health problem that puts our young people and our communities in danger," said U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Pamela S. Hyde in a related November 26 examiner.com story. "Even though drinking is often glamorized, the truth is that underage drinking can lead to poor academic performance, sexual assault, injury, and even death." Teen drinking also can lead to alcohol abuse as an adult or the disease of alcoholism.
-- from examiner.com (see full article)
www.alcohologist.com


Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud, plus the new radio interview replay is available at alcohologist.com... and please read the new interview with Scott Stevens at Christoph Fisher Books.  It's one of his Top Ten for 2013.  Mr. Fisher is an acclaimed international historical fiction novelist from the UK.