Monday, July 25, 2011

Big Brothers, Big Sisters seeking adult mentors

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) July 22, 2011

"Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, Connecticut’s premier youth mentoring organization, has launched a late summer campaign designed to transition as many boys and young men as possible off its statewide waiting list and into productive match relationships with caring adult mentors.
'Our waiting list of boys has definitely grown larger over the past six months,' said Gloria Talbot, Nutmeg’s Vice President of Program and Operations. 'We’re not sure whether that growth has to do with the economy, or if its impacted by people hearing good things about the positive outcomes our services generate. Whatever the cause, we’re determined to greatly reduce our growing list of boys as quickly as possible so more young people have the opportunity to utilize their innate talents and fulfill their great potential. To communicate our goal to constituents, we’re using public relations, social media and word-of-mouth messaging.'" Read More

School Bus Drivers Need to Recognize Bullying, Say STN EXPO General Session Panelists

School Transportation News, July 24, 2011

"The 18th annual STN EXPO regular conference opened with a general session Sunday afternoon that tackled the challenge of how school bus drivers nationwide can better respond to incidents of bullying and harassment on board the yellow vehicles.
Led by moderator Peggy Burns, a school attorney and president of Education Compliance Group outside of Denver, a panel of transportation and child behavior specialists agreed school bus drivers already are taxed by basic job requirements of safe vehicle operation and managing student behavior.
Yet, the federal Office of Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Education have made it a priority recently to remind schools of their legal obligations to do everything in their power to report and respond to bullying or harassment incidents." Read More

Windham County program asks adults to serve as role models

Norwich Bulletin (Norwich, CT) July 24, 2011

"A nonprofit organization is beginning work in Windham County and is looking for volunteers to participate in a mentoring program.
Michael Wolter, coordinator of mentoring services for KIDSAFE CT, said the Rockville-based organization began working with the state’s Division of Juvenile Probation Services in the last few months.
Wolter said the organization is starting to offer a mentoring program in the Rockville area and in Windham County.
Geoff Gagnon, supervisor of the Willimantic office of juvenile probation, said the organization has received a judicial grant to conduct mentoring in Windham County." Read more

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Involving teens can help prevent underage drinking

Independent (Monmouth, NJ) July 20, 2011

"Did you know that more young people try alcohol for the first time during the summer months than at any other time of the year? Keeping teens occupied and supervised helps to ensure they have a safe summer. By involving teens in a variety of alcohol-free activities — such as sports, summer camps and outdoor recreational activities — you can help prevent underage drinking.
Here are a few other tips for busy families to consider for the summer months and beyond:
 Establish and maintain good communication with your child. Get into the habit of talking with your child every day. Building a close relationship with your child when they are young will make it easier for them to come to you when they have a problem. With a closer relationship to you, they will be less likely to experiment with alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs." Read More

School Officials Start Year With Stronger Anti-Bullying Law

Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) July 20, 2011

"School superintendents and principals will be starting the school year with a new anti-bullying law that gives them greater latitude to intervene when students become involved in cyberbullying.
Dr. Jo Ann Freiberg, a consultant with the Connecticut Department of Education, calls the law, which went into effect July 1, "a paradigm shift in how schools look at bullying."
The measure strengthens Connecticut's anti-bullying laws by giving school officials more authority to step in when students use the Internet or text messaging to torment their peers — even when it occurs off school grounds — if the online activity affects the student's schoolwork or willingness to attend school. Just as importantly, some educators say, the law also requires districts to take a step back and look at the larger issue of school climate." Read More

Tips For Handling Cyberbullies

Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) July 20, 2011

"Bullying has taken on a new form in the Internet age — it no longer stops at the edge of school grounds. Are you worried that your child has or may become embroiled in cyberbullying? Here are some tips for parents and kids:
For Parents
• Consider whether your child is ready to have a cellphone or to be on Facebook. Cyberbullying is becoming a huge problem for students of all ages. As more young children create Facebook profiles and are given cellphones, their ability to represent themselves online may be outpacing their maturity. If your child does have a Facebook account, make sure it's free of questionable or risque material. Also, be alert to whether your child has accounts on sites that allow teenagers to post anonymously, such as or gossip websites such as or (which has been taken offline but is available on Twitter)." Read More

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Generation Rx: Teen Prescription Drug Abuse

Yahoo Health, July 14, 2011

"Many teens have a dangerous misconception that abusing prescription drugs is 'safer' than abusing street drugs like heroin. It’s easier for many teens to get prescription drugs than it is for them to buy beer, according to a survey of kids ages 12 to 17, conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Rx drug abuse has become an alarming epidemic among America’s adolescents. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 20 percent of today’s teens admit to having taken a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription. Highest on the hit list: Ritalin, OxyContin, and Xanax." Read More

American Osteopathic Association Calls for Public Education on Cyberbullying

PR Newswire (Chicago, IL) July 16, 2011

"Bullying has been an unfortunate, but real problem for generations. However, what used to be contained to the playground or classroom is now moving closer to home and becoming harder to escape due to the increasing popularity of social media. A recent survey on cyberbullying—the act of harassing or teasing someone over social media networks—by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) found that one in six parents reported having a child who had been bullied over social media. Recognizing the need to increase awareness of this behavior, members of the AOA House of Delegates voted today to support public education on cyberbullying during its annual business meeting.
The AOA's survey results showed that more than 52% of parents surveyed were concerned about cyberbullying. However, only one in seven had discussed this issue with their teenager's physician. This policy encourages osteopathic physicians (DOs) and parents of adolescent patients to have an open dialogue about cyberbullying and the lasting emotional damage that it can cause." Read More

One girl's struggle with cyber bullying

Record Journal (Meriden, CT) July 18, 2011

"At one point, Taylor Riberio's mother slept at the end of her bed to watch over her.
Riberio, now 16, was once a popular girl who loved her family, friends and sports. By the time her freshman year was over, she had grown depressed and suicidal.
She was being cyber bullied.
For the past two years, Riberio and her family have been on a journey into the ugly side of Facebook and other sites that could have cost the teenager her life.
After spending more than eight months at Aspen Ranch in Utah, Riberio returned two weeks ago ready to resume her life and share her experience in the hope of putting an end to cyber bullying." Read More

Monday, July 18, 2011

Binge Drinking Damages Teenage Girls' Brains More Than Boys'

Medical News Today, July 17, 2011

"Teenage girls who binge-drink have a higher risk of long-term harm to the brain compared to boys of the same age who also binge drink, researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Stanford University reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Their definition of binge-drinking is consuming at least four (for females) or five (for males) alcoholic drinks at one sitting.
The investigators said that activity levels in several regions of the brain among girls who binge drink were lower than what one would normally find among typical teenagers." Read More

Jello? Whipped Cream? Bath Salts?

Clinton Patch (Clinton, CT) July 18, 2011

"Catherine LeVasseur has three pieces of advice for parents who want to help their kids stay off drugs and alcohol.
First, talk with your kids.
Second, talk with each other. Find out what other parents are seeing and hearing.
Third, know what's out there.
That third piece of advice is where it can get scary, she says, because some of the alcohol and drug products currently on the market are easily accessible to youths, diabolically designed to mimic child-friendly products, and some of them are potentially lethal.
'There are alcoholic jello shots, packaged just like the snacks you would put in someone's lunch box,' said LeVasseur, a program manager with the Governor's Prevention Partnership, who was one of the featured speakers at a recent multi-town symposium sponsored by the Madison Alcohol and Drug Education (MADE) Coalition. 'There is adult chocolate milk. There is alcoholic whipped cream. And the marketing is deceptive so it can be easily confused with the snacks.'" Read More

Former Knicks star Allan Houston brings mentoring program to Norwalk

Stamford Advocate (Norwalk, CT) July 16, 2011

"Although the days of swishing high-arching jump shots have passed for former New York Knicks guard Allan Houston, the two-time all-star still has a "unique" story to share.
Houston, the assistant to the president of basketball operations with the Knicks, was on hand at the Norwalk YMCA on Saturday for the start of his Father-Child Mentor program, in which he stressed the importance of fatherhood -- particularly being a role model--on one's life.
It's the type of bond Houston shared early in his basketball career -- well before the 14,551 points he totaled over 12 seasons in the NBA -- as a two-time All-American at the University of Tennessee. His father, Wade, was the Volunteers' head coach at the time, and the sharp-shooting guard went on to graduate as the program's all-time leading scorer (2,801 points). Earlier this year, he had his jersey number (20) retired by Tennessee." Read more

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Binge Drinking Damages Young Brains, July 14, 2011

"Because the brain continues to develop into young adulthood, binge drinking can cause serious damage to the brains of adolescents and young adults in their twenties. High resolution brain scans have pinpointed exactly which areas of the brain that are damaged the most.
Binge drinking is consuming four or more drinks in one session for females, five or more for males.
A first of its kind study at the University of Cincinnati examined the brains of 29 weekend binge drinkers, aged 18 to 25, to see how alcohol may be affecting them. Previous studies have shown that alcohol can affect the white matter, but the Cincinnati study looked at the effect on the brain's grey matter." Read More

College Student's Guide to Safe Drinking

Fox Business, July 13, 2011

"Whether it’s to celebrate a football victory, rejoice that the big exam is over, or simply because it’s Friday, college students like to party.
And while gatherings might not get as rowdy as those depicted in the 1978 comedy Animal House, students should exercise caution and safety when it comes to partying.
According to a 2009 national survey on drug use and health conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, full-time college students ages 18 to 22 were more likely to binge drink than those not enrolled full time. Among full-time college students, 63.9% were current drinkers, 43.5% were binge drinkers, and 16.0% were heavy drinkers." Read More

Teens From Nine Area Towns Will Gather in Madison To Learn How To Fight Substance Abuse

Madison Patch (Madison, CT) July 14, 2011

"The town of Madison, along with eight other communities, has planned a Youth Leadership Conference to be held July 15, 2011 at the Congregational Church Green in Madison. Sponsored by the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut, participating towns are: East Haven; Branford; Guilford: Madison; Clinton; Westbrook; Old Saybrook Tri-town (Chester, Deep River, Essex) and Haddam-Killingworth.
'We are proud to be supportive of grassroots efforts to combat underage drinking,' said Peter Berdon, executive director and general counsel of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut, the trade association for the distribution tier of the wine and spirits industry.
At the conference, teens will learn leadership and community organizing skills and the importance of 'assets,' the ingredients a young person needs for success." Read More

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Facebook teams with Time Warner to fight bullies

The Wall Street Journal (San Francisco, CA) July 12, 2011

"Facebook and Time Warner are ganging up on bullies to address a problem that torments millions of children and young adults.
The partnership announced Tuesday calls for Facebook and Time Warner to use their clout to raise awareness about bullying and encourage more people to report the abuses when they see them.
Facebook's participation reflects a growing recognition that its online social network consisting of more than 750 million people has become an outlet for harassment as well as friendship.
'We believe that by working together with parents and teachers, we can teach young people to speak up and stop bullying,' said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer." Read More

Study links binge drinking to ads, July 12, 2011

"Advertising effectively promotes alcohol brands to teenagers, researchers from Dartmouth Medical School and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found in a study published in the July issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Dartmouth pediatricians Susanne Tanski, Auden McClure and James Sargent found a correlation between alcohol companies’ annual advertising expenditures and underage drinkers’ preferred brands in the study titled 'Alcohol Brand Preference and Binge Drinking Among Adolescents.'
The researchers also found that respondents who said they had a favorite brand were significantly more likely to report having engaged in binge drinking than those who did not specify a favorite.
'Youths chose distilled spirit brands in large numbers, brands preferred by youth have tended to have high advertising expenditures, and choosing a favorite brand was associated with binge drinking,' the researchers concluded." Read More

Many Students Ignore Negative Effects of Alcohol, July 13, 2011

"You would think that college students who had blackouts, missed classes or got into fights after a binge drinking episode would try to cut down on their alcohol consumption. But many of them continue to binge drink because they perceive the positive social benefits of drinking to outweigh all of the negative consequences.
They simply do not associate their drinking with the negative consequences, research has found, until those negative effects become too bad to ignore.
University of Washington psychologists conducted an online survey of 491 college students about their past-year drinking. They were asked if they had experienced any of 35 different negative consequences of drinking as well as 14 positive experiences associated with drinking." Read More

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fewer U.S. Teens Having Babies, Binge Drinking: Report

HealthDay News, July 6, 2011

"A new government report on the health and well-being of America's children brings forth some good news: Fewer teens are having babies or engaging in binge drinking, preterm birth rates are dropping and deaths from injury are declining.
But, the same report also points to several negative trends. More eighth-graders are using drugs, more children are living in poverty and many kids are in homes where a parent hasn't worked full time in a year.
'This annual report is an important tool for monitoring the well-being of our nation's children,' Edward Sondik, director of the National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a Tuesday news conference. 'Wellness has many dimensions, and each is critical to a child's well-being.'" Read More

US border plan puts emphasis on drug prevention

The Associated Press (Nogales, AZ) July 7, 2011

"The government's updated security plan for the U.S.-Mexico border keeps its focus on trying to stop drug and gun smuggling but contains an added emphasis on preventing and treating drug use in communities along the border.
Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said Thursday that efforts over the past two years have rightly focused on border security, but he believes there has to be a holistic approach that confronts America's demand for illegal drugs.
'I spent 37 years in law enforcement, and my colleagues say you can't arrest your way out of this drug problem,' said Kerlikowske, who along with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano unveiled the update in the Arizona border city of Nogales, using the local Border Patrol station as their backdrop." Read More

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Is Hazing a Form of Bullying?

Mansfield-Storrs Patch (Mansfield, CT) July 6, 2011

"Everyone has been asking what I think about a story this past week about a mom suing a fraternity because her son died as part of a “hazing” incident. Basically, they bound his hands and feet with tie wraps & duct tape and made him drink ridiculous amounts of alcohol. He passed out, of course, and so they dropped him on a sofa to “sleep it off.” They found him dead the next morning. The autopsy showed that his blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit.
So the question asked of me was, 'is that a case of bullying?' and I replied, 'that’s the wrong question.'
Let me explain. Was it bullying? No. Strictly speaking, for it to be bullying, there must be an 'imbalance of power' between the two parties. This precludes it from being called bullying because the boy that died participated voluntarily." Read More

In Era of Prescription Drug Abuse, Doctors Have Few Tools to Measure Pain

Join Together, July 6, 2011

"In an era when prescription drug abuse is on the rise, doctors still don’t have a good way to measure pain objectively, The Wall Street Journal reports. The most common way to measure pain is to ask patients to rate it themselves on a scale of one to 10, or to match up their pain to a cartoon face that shows an expression similar to what they are feeling.
Joel Saper, Director of the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor, told the newspaper, 'We don’t have a pain-o-meter.' His estimate is that between 15 to 20 percent of patients seeking relief from pain either don’t have pain or have less pain than they say they do. There are a variety of reasons why patients fake pain. While some are dependent on opioids or want to resell them, others want to get out of working and collect disability. Still others find power in their pain, Dr. Saper says." Read More

Alcohol Brands Influence Teen Drinking Preferences

Webwire, July 6, 2011

"American adolescents are hitting the hard stuff, according to a new report from Dartmouth Medical School and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published in the July issue of the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
The phone survey of 2,699 youth ages 16 to 20 about their alcohol use and favorite brands revealed that the most commonly chosen favorite among underage females was Smirnoff and for underage males, Budweiser. Smirnoff was overall the most popular brand of alcohol for adolescent drinkers surveyed, but the study did not specify products within the brand to allow distinction between products within a brand such as Smirnoff Vodka or Smirnoff Ice.
'This study shows that the alcohol industry is affecting kids’ preferences about drinking,' said David Jernigan, PhD, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 'Despite alcohol industry promises to shield young people from their advertising, youth exposure to alcohol advertising particularly on television has grown by leaps and bounds.'" Read More

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Teens and LSD

New Brunswick Patch (New Brunswick, NJ) July 6, 2011

"The NIDA-funded 2010 Monitoring the Future Study indicates that 1.2% of 8th graders, 1.9% of 10th graders, and 2.6% of 12th graders abused LSD at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.*
While these are relatively low percentages, data collected in the same study with regard to perceived risks of using LSD indicates that the drug may be poised for a future popularity.
The belief that LSD has harmful effects decreased substantially among 8th and 10th graders, while remaining level for 12th graders. This suggests that younger teens are less knowledgeable than older students about the effects of this drug and may be more receptive to experimentation under the right circumstances." Read More

Many College Students See Heavy Drinking Through ‘Rose-Colored Beer Goggles’

Psych Central, July 6, 2011

"A new study finds that many college students believe the positive effects of heavy drinking outweigh the negative consequences.
According to study participants, heavy drinking increases courage, eases communication, and has other social benefits that overshadow negative effects of hangovers, fights and regrettable sexual situations.
University of Washington researchers believe the findings offer a new direction for programs targeting binge drinking, which tend to limit their focus to avoiding alcohol’s ill effects rather than considering its rewards." Read More

AMA house endorses national ban on "bath salts" synthetic drug

American Medical News (Chicago, IL) July 4, 2011

"The American Medical Association House of Delegates adopted policy supporting a national ban on the synthetic drug commonly known as bath salts.
The drugs, sold under such names as Cloud Nine, Ivory Wave and Blue Silk, have been compared to cocaine and methamphetamine due to their addictive characteristics. They are known to cause paranoia, hallucinations and violent behavior and have been blamed for the deaths of several people across the U.S. They are still legal in most states, though many states have taken steps in 2011 to change that.
Some states have passed emergency bans on bath salts. A bill was introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D, N.Y.) in February to classify methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and mephedrone, chemicals commonly found in the drugs, as controlled substances." Read More