Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Bullying: Efforts may be paying off

Ridgefield Press (Ridgefield, CT) December 23, 2013

"Ridgefield has put up an all-out effort to combat bullying, and it seems to be working.
A nine-school, district-wide attempt to educate students, in small groups, about the negative consequences of bullying has lowered the number of disciplinary incidents at all three levels — elementary, middle and high school — over the last school year.
Four of the six elementary school principals, along with middle school principals Martin Fiedler and Tim Salem, presented the 2012-2013 discipline data report to the Board of Education on Dec. 9, discussing their unified positive behavior intervention system and advisory programs." Read More

Preventing underage drinking starts at home

New Britain Herald (New Britain, CT) December 16, 2013

‘Tis the season for students around the state to reunite with former classmates and hometown friends. This time of year it is important for parents and their high school and college-age students to recognize that underage drinking and drug use can lead to devastating consequences. To help ensure that celebrations are safe and enjoyable, The Governor’s Prevention Partnership is offering parents eight tips for keeping teenagers healthy and safe this holiday season.
'There is no better role model than a parent,' said New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell. “Parental responsibility is at the forefront of safety.'
'It’s important for parents to know that they are still the strongest influencers in the lives of their children, even during the teenage years,' said Governor’s Prevention Partnership President, Jill K. Spineti. 'We remind parents to take time out during the stress of the holiday season to talk to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking and drug use.'" Read More

Parent-Sanctioned Teen Drinking Parties Persist Despite Laws, Officials Say

Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) December 21, 2013

"The kids knew the rules: If they were drinking on the Sibiga property, they had to spend the night or leave their keys at the house, they told police.
But in the early morning hours of Aug. 6, despite the rules, a drunken teen got into a truck with three other youths and crashed just up the road, police said. Paige Houston, a 17-year-old RHAM High School student, was killed.
Advocates say it should be clear to parents — who too often think teens are safe as long as they're drinking on private property — that seizing young drivers' car keys isn't enough." Read More

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Adderall Abuse Increases Among High School Students

Digital Journal, December 18, 2013

"The University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Study (MTF), an annual survey tracking teen drug abuse among eighth-, 10th- and 12th- graders, shows an increase in the abuse of the prescription medicine Adderall among high school seniors in the U.S. over the past few years. Adderall is a prescribed stimulant that is commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
According to MTF, the past-year non-medical use of Adderall among American high school seniors has been steadily increasing since 2009 when abuse rates were 5.4 percent. In 2010 and 2011, past year Adderall abuse increased to 6.5 percent among 12th-graders, continued increasing to 7.6 percent in 2012 and is now at 7.4 percent in 2013." Read More

The role parents play in mentoring relationships

Michigan State University, December 18, 2013

"Most mentoring programs require adult mentors and youth mentees to spend a significant amount of time together. This one-on-one time is needed to form a trusting relationship and to become familiar with each other. Michigan State University Extension suggests parents be included in the match process to feel comfortable with the mentoring relationship.
Before mentoring matches are created, expectations should be discussed and clearly outlined. Include parents in the mentoring intake process to ensure that they understand and value the role that they play in addition to what is expected and appropriate of the mentor. Mentoring contracts are helpful in guiding a conversation around expectations. The contract should be very specific and inclusive that clearly describes guidelines and limitations. After signing, the mentor, parent and youth agree to all terms of the mentoring match. If everyone is on the same page (mentor, parent and youth) the match will have a better chance at success and the parent will tend to be more supportive." Read More

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Small talk can have big impact on teen drinking

Missoulian, December 16, 2013

"Holidays – we are busier than ever before, and planning ahead for the approaching holiday festivities adds additional stress that impacts our routine and rhythm of daily life. It’s not exactly a convenient time for having a serious conversation with your teen about topics such as underage drinking. Some parents might think that battling underage drinking is a futile effort, but studies show that parents who adopt a zero tolerance for underage drinking were the top reason that teens don’t drink.
Holiday parties often increase the opportunity to use alcohol and other drugs. Opportunities for underage drinking rise dramatically when students are not in school or structured activities. Underage drinking is a leading contributor to death from injuries, which are the main cause of death for people under age 21. The month of December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention month." Read More

December Is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

GoodTherapy.org, December 16, 2013

"‘Tis the season for holiday parties and staying out into the wee hours with coworkers, family, and friends. Lights decorate streets, trees, and houses, and seasonal cheer is in the air.
Unfortunately, however, these opportunities for feasting and fun often go hand in hand with increased incidents of impaired driving, or driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one in three drivers who were killed in a car accident in 2010 tested positive for drugs (Kerlikowske, 2012)." Read More

Childhood bullying shown to increase likelihood of psychotic experiences in later life

Medical Xpress, December 17, 2013

"New research has shown that being exposed to bullying during childhood will lead to an increased risk of psychotic experiences in adulthood, regardless of whether they are victims or perpetrators. 
The study, published today in Psychological Medicine, assessed a cohort of UK children (ALSPAC) from birth to fully understand the extent of bullying on psychosis in later life – with some groups showing to be almost five times more likely to suffer from episodes at the age of 18." Read More

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Parents support anti-bullying policies that protect overweight students

Medical Xpress, December 10, 2013

"Parents, both with and without overweight children, are concerned about weight-based bullying and are in favor of a range of policy initiatives to address the issue, according to two new studies published this month by researchers at the Yale Rudd Center.
Researchers surveyed 918 American parents with children ages 2-18 years. The first study, published in Childhood Obesity, examined parental perceptions and concerns about weight-based victimization in youth. The second study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, examined parental support for policy measures and school-based efforts to address weight-based victimization of overweight youth." Read More

Holiday Party Season Poses Danger For Young Adults

Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) December 10, 2013

"'Tis the season for students around the state to reunite with former classmates and hometown friends. This time of year it's important for parents and kids to recognize that underage drinking and drug use can lead to devastating consequences. To help ensure that celebrations are safe and enjoyable, The Governor's Prevention Partnership is offering parents 'tips for keeping teenagers healthy and safe this holiday season.'
'It's important for parents to know that they are still the strongest influencers in the lives of their children, even during the teenage years," said Governor's Prevention Partnership President, Jill K. Spineti. "We remind parents to take time out during the stress of the holiday season to talk to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking and drug use.'" Read More

Monday, December 9, 2013

Talking to your tween about substance abuse

Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC) December 8, 2013

"Believe it or not, it is never too soon to speak with your children regarding alcohol or drug use.
You may have noticed that kids these days are more mature and less innocent than perhaps you were at their age. We can thank the Internet for this and the era of cell phone, text messages and Facebook.
Children can view anything on the Internet and are learning more mature behaviors at an earlier age, and that is why we as parents need to create open communication with them as soon as possible.
While you may think it is not a good idea to introduce the idea of alcohol or drugs to your tween, it might actually work in your benefit to not keep it a secret from them."  Read More

Mother of Teen Killed by Drunk Driver Recounts Day at MADD Campaign Kickoff

Middletown Patch (Middletown, CT) December 6, 2013

"The mother whose son was killed in 2004 while a passenger in a car driven by a drunken driver that crashed into the Housatonic River in Kent implored people Friday never to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
'There is nothing, nothing that we can do to bring Dustin back,' said Colleen Sheehey, who now sits on the Mothers Against Drunk Driving National Board of Directors. 'My ask is a very simple one — prevent drunk driving crashes; don't drink and drive, and please don't let the memory of the holidays end up being a horrible crash or death that changes your lives forever and ever.'" Read More

Facebook Extends Its Anti-Bullying “Compassion Research” Effort

Silicon Beat, December 5, 2013

"Facebook is expanding its efforts to help teens (and adults) deal with annoying or bullying behavior on the world’s biggest social network, by extending its online reporting tools and promoting its new 'Bullying Resource Hub' for kids, parents and educators.
And in coming months, Facebook’s Arturo Bejar says he hopes to adapt those tools for Instagram, the online photo-sharing service owned by Facebook that’s become increasingly popular among teens.
As we’ve reported before, Bejar is a Facebook engineering director who also oversees what the company calls its 'compassion research' program, in which Facebook has enlisted psychologists and child development experts to help improve procedures for flagging items that make them uncomfortable. The effort started with photos and has been extended to status updates and other comments posted on the site." Read More

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Arc New London County Wins Grant To Create Community Change

Hartford Courant (New London, CT) December 2, 2013

"The Arc New London County is one of eight Connecticut nonprofits selected by the Department of Developmental Services to participate in the Systems Change Mentoring Opportunity, made possible by the Community of Practice grant awarded to the state through The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD). Connecticut is one of five states to receive a Community of Practice grant designed to identify and implement policies and practices that will serve as a national framework for states to support individuals and their families across the lifespan.
The $8,000 block grants distributed to agencies like The Arc NLC will fund nationally recognized mentors to coach agency leaders and staff to reinvent services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the state." Read More

Protect Your Teen From Dangerous Dark Net Drugs

The Huffington Post, December 2, 2013

"More than 60 percent of teens report that drugs are purchased, bought, and used at their school. Unfortunately for parents, teens are accessing some of the most dangerous drugs such as heroin and cocaine from no other place than their parent's house. Teens are flocking to the Dark Net to purchase drugs and then having them delivered to their parent's mail box. The Dark Net is a group of anonymous websites that are hosted by a group of computers. These sites on the Dark Net are not indexed by search engines such as Google and Yahoo making them unsearchable to the general public.
Users that access sites from the Dark Net have to download special browsers to hide all of their web activity. Tor (The Onion Router) is probably the most famous browser used by teens." Read More