I want to share a very important article that was written by Peggy Sapp, the CEO of Informed Families, a non-profit organization that deals with the prevention of drugs and alcohol. I think you will be shocked especially if you have older kids.
Here’s what she had to say:
Last month, I had the good fortune to spend a few minutes with Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the top researcher in the field of addiction. When I asked what is the most important message we need to get to parents and the public, she responded that she is gravely concerned about the number of college-age students binge drinking to the point of either seriously injuring themselves or dying of alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels that suppress the central nervous system and can cause loss of consciousness, low blood pressure and body temperature, coma, respiratory depression, or death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for more than 4,700 annual deaths among underage youth. In 2010, there were 189,060 visits to the emergency room due to underage drinking, 76,918 of which were kids between 12 and 17 years old. It’s no wonder the CDC calls underage drinking “a major public health problem.”
“These are not bad kids,” Dr. Volkow said. They are good kids making poor decisions that unfortunately can cost them their lives. The alcohol industry’s advertising is seductive and sells inclusion, sex, and fun. Teens and we as adults are unaware of the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption. Binge drinking, or drinking five or more drinks on a single occasion (usually within a two hour period), is a trend which many of our kids think is not only safe, but normal.
Informed Families board member David Vittoria, who is the Administrative Director of the South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment Center, tells us of a spike in the number of kids they are seeing in the emergency room with alcohol poisoning. He tells us about a recent tragic story of a teenager who showed up with a blood alcohol level of .45. The child was saved but what if no one had brought him to the emergency room? What if someone followed the old myth … let him sleep it off? Do you know when to take someone to the emergency room? Your kids are at the mercy of their friends … will they make a good choice and save your child’s life?
Did you read The Miami Herald’s or The Orlando Sentinel’s coverage of UCF Suspending Social Activities for fraternities and sororities? What is it going to take for adults to get their heads out of the sand and take a stand?
Informed Families/The Florida Family Partnership teaches parents how to set boundaries and reinforce healthy messages to help kids grow up safe, healthy and drug-free. We inform and involve parents, while developing parent leaders, who work together to change unhealthy social norms in our homes, schools and communities.