July 31, 2012
Party buses are rented, preferably by groups of teens and adults, when heading to nightclubs and no one is able to operate a vehicle primarily from consuming alcohol. Although this may seem like a safe alternative to a designated driver, critics believe that party buses are “turning a blind eye” to underage drinking.
After an incident in Santa Cruz, California where two, drunk party bus attendees broke out in a fight leaving one of them dead took place, California Assemblyman Jerry Hill sponsored a bill that would regulate party bus companies and operators. The bill will ensure that party bus companies and operators are responsible for the people who board the buses, “including minors who drink onboard.”
Hill also added that the bill will regulate party bus companies and operators to ensure that no underage drinking occurs on buses boarded with minors. The bill will prohibit minors from boarding buses under the influence of alcohol and from bringing alcohol on the bus. If minors are on a party bus, bus companies must ensure that an adult 25 years or older is accompanying the minors.
To read the full article, click here.
July 27, 2012
William T. Grant Foundation – Youth Service Improvement Grant
Grant: Youth Service Improvement Grant (YSIG) share the goal of our research grants: improving the lives of youth. We focus on small to medium-size organizations that have already had some success, but lack the funds to make needed improvements. The YSIG program is open to community-based organizations in the five boroughs of New York City that want to improve the quality of the services they offer to young people ages 8 to 25.
Funder: William T. Grant Foundation.
Eligibility: click link below to see eligibility requirements.
Amount: up to $25,000.
Deadline: September 12, 2012.
July 27, 2012
A study entitled Study to Prevent Alcohol Related Consequences (SPARC) showed results that reduced college students’ scores on an index of severe consequences of college drinking. The index was put in place by college campus coalitions in an effort to lessen risky behavior in college students.
The index measured consequences of risky behavior that included DUIs/DWIs, physical fights, and sexual assualts. 50 percent of participating college campuses found that the intervention initiatives decreased risky behavior in the students.
The study was led by Mark Wolfson, Ph.D.. Wolfson is a professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Healthy Policy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Studies like this implemented on campuses, although showed promise, were not put into practice by colleges.
Five universities in North Carolina participated in the study as a “community organizing approach.” Campus coalitions from each campus consisted of administrators, staff, students, and community members who helped develop strategies for each campus. The participating campuses would compare their results to five similar universities in the state who did not participate in the intervention efforts.
“We realized that high-risk drinking is not just a campus problem, and it’s not just a community problem,” Wolfson said.
The SPARC campuses were observed for three years and the percentage of students showed a decrease in severe consequences from 18 percent to 1t percent. Non-SPARC campuses showed no change in consequential behavior. Although the results were modest, researchers believed that these “reductions in harm will translate into many students being helped by the intervention.”
To read the full article on the SPARC study, click here.
July 20, 2012
A recent article in The St. Petersburg Times discusses a new law in review by the Russian government on the ban of alcohol advertisements on social media sites and the Internet.
The new law in review would ban beer advertisements on websites. Some Russian deputies are even pushing to have the law ban advertisements for all alcoholic beverages on the entire Internet. Law supporter and Russian governement authority Igor Rudinsky said the law is to target sites on the Internet that a majority of young people use, particularly social media sites.
Some critics of the new law believe that restricting alcohol advertisements on the Internet as a whole would be “impossible.”
Another law, which will be in effect on July 23, “will ban all alcohol advertising on television and radio, on the front and back pages of newspapers and magazines, and from outdoor advertising.”
To read the full article, click here.
July 16, 2012
A study of more than 6,000 twins, which included male twins who served in the military during the Vietnam era, found those who began drinking or using drugs early in their teen years or who became dependent on alcohol, marijuana, or nicotine during those years were less likely to finish college than those who did not use drugs or alcohol until later in life and did not become dependent. The researchers say the study provides further evidence that it is important to continue public health efforts to reduce underage drinking, smoking, and use of drugs.
The results of the study showed that at-risk twins compared to their low-risk cotwins had more of a likelihood of completing less than sixteen years of education if they used alcohol before age 18, had a lifetime of alcohol dependence, and used nicotine daily for 30 or more days.
To access the full article or read the abstract on Wiley Online Library, click here.
July 13, 2012
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of the Affordable Care Act. An advocacy group called Legal Action Center provides legal assistance to people who are suffering from battles with substance abuse and addiction. Under the Affordable Care Act, those suffering from mental and substance disorders are included under essential health care benefits.
Director for National Policy for the Legal Action Center, Gabrielle de la Gueronniere, JD said, “We are very pleased with the ruling, and excited to move forward in working with policymakers and advocates to ensure that the law is well implemented for people with substance use disorders and mental health needs.”
Also under the Affordable Care Act, health benefits will be available to everyone, including low-income families. This means that the Medicaid population will increase. However, the federal government is not allowed to force states to expand Medicaid coverage so it will be up to the discretion of each state on whether they will move forward with the Medicaid expansion. Health insurance providers will be anxious to see if states allow for Medicaid expansion since the population of eligible applicants will significantly increase.
Since tax payers will risk receiving a tax penalty if they don’t provide proof of insurance coverage on their 2014 tax returns, insurance providers hope states will allow for the expansion of Medicaid coverage. “We certainly are concerned about this. But we are very much hoping that states will take advantage of the expansion,” de la Gueronniere added.
Although “essential health benefits” packages will vary by state, de la Gueronniere hopes to educate policymakers about the benefits of providing increased health coverage to all individuals including those with substance abuse disorders. Legal Action Center plans to use the help of advocates of addiction and mental health fields to educate state lawmakers about the great strides equal opportunity health coverage can do for recovering addicts and communities.
To read the full article, click here.
July 6, 2012
According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), June and July are the months that teens start drinking and smoking cigarettes and marijuana the most.
On average, more than 11,000 teens between the ages of 12 and 17 use alcohol for the first time in the months of June and July. Besides December, the daily average for first-time alcohol use is between 5,000 and 8,000 teens.
An average of 5,000 teens smoke cigarettes during June and July compared to the 3,000-4,000 youth who smoke cigarettes during the rest of the year. There are similar patterns to the use of marijuana among teens – 4,500 youth beginning to smoke marijuana during June and July compared to the 3,000-4,000 youth who smoke it during the rest of the year.
SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde believes that “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.”
The report titled, “Monthly Variation in Substance Use Initiation among Adolescents is on SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports from 2002 to 2010. The reports include interviews with over 230,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17.
To read the full report, click here.