Alcohol and Safety

May 26, 2009 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

A 16 yr old young man in the S.F. Bay Area collapsed and died this past weekend at his neighbor’s party, where hard liquor and a keg were in ample supply. My heart and prayers go out to his family and friends and to the young neighbor who hosted the party, and to the young man himself who was just completing his sophomore year.

We have a powerful opportunity in Girls Circle and in Boys Council  to open up the topic of alcohol and partying, have conversations with youth regularly and listen carefully.

Girls have told us that they want to talk about drugs and alcohol.  They want to keep the issue fresh in their minds – the effects on their bodies, the risks of accidents and injuries, the potential of sexual assault, and tragically, even the potential for alcohol poisoning and death for themselves or their friends.  They just don’t want us telling them what to do.

A recent study by the Office of Applied Studies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that generally speaking, youth who were exposed to prevention messages reported less alcohol use in the previous 30 days. The study also notes that parents hold conversations about the dangers and risks of alcohol more often with early teens than they do with middle or late teens. In addition, almost 40% of teens do not report having any such talk with a parent. For more information, see: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k9/prevention/prevention.cfm
Here are some possible questions to kick off a conversation with your group or with teens you know:
 How are girls/guys deciding ___________(whether/when/what/how much) to drink?
 How do you decide?
 How do people feel after one drink? What percentage of your peers drink to get drunk, from your observations?
 What’s your body feel like when you drink, and the next day? Can anyone tell us what alcohol does to the _____________(brain, esophagus, stomach, liver, etc.)?
 For those of you who choose to drink, what are your hopes when you are drinking? What are your fears? What are your safety plans? Who do you share your plans with?
 How does alcohol affect your mood? You may know that alcohol is a depressant to the central nervous system. How do you think it affects ___________(teens, depressed teens, people taking other legal or illegal drugs)?
 How is alcohol use – whether your own or someone else’s use – affecting your relationships?
 Where/how is alcohol doing harm in your life or the lives of people close to you?
 Thinking about safety, what is the number one thing you want to do now related to alcohol use?
What are your best questions to get the alcohol and safety conversations going? ~ Beth

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