Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Onerahtókha/April is Alcohol Awareness Month

 


The month of April brings in the conversation of alcohol awareness and the dangers of underage drinking. As the weather turns warmer and school events such as prom and graduation approach us within the next few months, there becomes increased usage of alcohol consumption by teens. This increase leads to the risk for alcohol related traffic accidents, violent crime incidents, risky sexual behaviors, and poor decision making. It’s important to know the facts about underage drinking and share them with youth.

National facts about underage

drinking:

• Drinking by persons under the age of 21 is linked to 189,000 emergency room visits.

• Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.

• More than 1.6 million young people report driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year.

• Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.

• Alcohol and drugs are the leading factors in teenage suicide.

• More than 23 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol and other drugs.

• Alcohol is still the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States.

(FacingAddiction.org, 2019) (CDC.gov, 2019)

There are active roles that parents can take in their child’s life to encourage healthy behaviors. A supportive family environment is associated with lowered rates of alcohol use for adolescents. Kids who have conversations with their parents and learn about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations. These conversations can happen at an early age.

Here are some tips to starting the conversation:

Ask about your teen’s views: Find out what your teen thinks about alcohol and discuss your rules and expectations around alcohol.

Debunk myths: Teens often think that drinking makes them popular or happy. Alcohol is depressant that can cause sadness and anger.

Discuss reasons not to drink: Explain the risks of alcohol, and appeal to your teen’s self-respect. If you have a family history of alcoholism or drinking problems, be honest. Explain that your teen might be more vulnerable to developing a drinking problem.

Plan ways to handle peer pressure: Brainstorm with your teen about how to respond to offers of alcohol. It might be as simple as saying, “No thanks,” “I have to drive,” or “Do you have anything else to drink?”

Be prepared for questions. Your teen might ask if you drank alcohol when you were underage. If you chose to drink, share an example of a negative consequence of your drinking.

Listen before you talk: For kids, knowing that someone is really listening is most important.

Ask open-ended questions. Be involved. Be honest and open. Be positive: talking about these issues can build bridges rather than walls.

Communicating with your teen about drugs and alcohol is one of the most effective forms of prevention. Tell your teen that they can count on you to be supportive and helpful. Give them the tools to make healthy decisions and speak openly about their feelings and any questions they may have. Most importantly, encourage them to find healthy and sober ways of having fun.

This April and May, the Saint Regis Mohawk Health Services Alcoholism/Chemical Dependency Prevention Program is celebrating Alcohol Awareness Month by holding a variety of informational and educational events to raise public awareness about underage drinking and encourage parents to speak to their kids early and often about alcohol and other drugs.

Project Sticker Shock - Project Sticker Shock is a youth empowerment activity. This activity is to enforce the underage drinking laws and to reduce underage drinking and its related problems through environmental and policy changes. Youth will place alcohol warning stickers on cases of beer at participating local beer distributors. The sticker warns that it is illegal to purchase or provide alcohol for anyone under the age of 21.

Mock Car Crash (grades 11 & 12 at SRCS) - The objective of a mock crash event is to educate teens, young adults, parents and community members about the tragedy of traffic crashes — and to reinforce the importance of paying attention behind the wheel, and to show the consequences of driving after consuming alcohol or other substances and/or distracted driving. The goal of a mock crash event is to reduce crashes, injuries and deaths involving younger drivers and their passengers by using visuals to demonstrate real-life consequences.

Energy Break - The A/CDP Prevention Program and Education Division join with the New York Power Authority to engage youth in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) activities at the Hawkins Point Visitors Center during spring break. Open for youth in Grades 7-9. Monthly prevention activities serve as a way for youth to explore healthy alternatives to substance use.

Me and My Guy/Me and My Gal Dances (April 27, 2019) - Strengthening the bond between an adult role model and child is a protective factor when it comes to substance abuse. Sponsored by The Akwesasne Coalition for Community Empowerment.

It’s up to you to get involved and help make a difference. Let’s come together as a community to help our next generation avoid the many problems that underage alcohol and drug use can bring. For more information about any of the activities, information or how you can become involved, please contact the Saint Regis Mohawk Health Services Alcoholism/Chemical Dependency Prevention Program at (518) 358-2967. Working Together Today to Build a Better Tomorrow.

 

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