Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Task Force Initiates a Youth Force

By John Laidler, Globe Correspondent The Burlington Drug and Alcohol Task Force is launching a new initiative as it prepares to celebrate turning 30 next year. The task force is establishing a new youth group to operate within its organization. The task force is currently recruiting young people in town to take part in the group. Any middle or high school aged resident is invited to join. “We are very excited about it,” said task force chairwoman Marilyn Belmonte. She said it is hoped that participants in the new group will help get more young people involved with the task force’s work and – because they are from that age group - may be “better able to reach young people.” The launching of the group may also enable the task force to broaden its focus, Belmonte said. Founded in 1982, the organization’s mission until now has been combating youth drug and alcohol use. But Belmonte said she anticipates that the youth group may want to “reach kids about other forms of risky behavior,” such as those related to texting, Internet use, and driving. Working with adult advisors, the young people will be able to design their own projects. “We want to hear from them what they think are some of the topics they want to pursue and how they think the best way is to reach other teens,” Belmonte said. The task force at times has “borrowed” young people from other organizations for specific projects, she said, “but we thought this year it would be nice to have our own youth group.” The task force, which until now has held all its meetings during the day, has decided to hold every other meeting in the evening to accommodate the youth group. The first evening meeting was set to be held this past Tuesday, Oct. 11. To join the youth group, e-mail Belmonte at or call 781-572-1478.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stand Up and APPLAUDD for Parents!

March 15: Prescription Drugs, OTC' and Inhalants
March 22: Marijuana, Myths & Facts
March 29: Underage Drinking and Harnessing the Adolescent Brain to Work FOR YOU

Even if you missed the first session, you will enjoy the rest of this amazing workshop!

APLAUDD is about empowering parents to prevent their children from underage drinking and other substance abuse. Studies show that kids who do not drink and drug choose not to because they don’t want to lose the respect and support of their parents. Teens primarily want to please their parents. But this is something they will do anything to keep you from realizing. So teens are skilled at giving parents the impression that their words don’t matter to them. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. The words and conversations between teens and their parents matter a lot and can make a huge difference for our children.

Many parents do not feel that they have any power to influence their adolescents because teens build barriers to keep their parents at a distance. APPLAUDD will focus on how parents can dialog with their children to effectively encourage critical healthy behavior choices, building trust between parents and teens.

Researchers have found that specific attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, situations, and/or actions that parents can teach will reduce the likelihood that a young person will struggle with substance abuse and related problems even if that young person is exposed to a substantial number of risk factors. The protective factors explored appear to balance and buffer the negative impact of existing risk factors.

APPLAUDD will teach parents about what has changed in recent years regarding the actual substances themselves, what science now knows about the physiological effects on adolescents, recognizing signs substance abuse in teens, what to do about it, and the legal environment.

Join in on the conversation!
Tuesday March 15, 22, 29
Marshall Simonds Middle School

Friday, February 11, 2011

APPLAUDD for Parents!
APPLAUDD: A Prevention Program Learning About Underage Drinking & Drugs
Tuesdays March 8, 15, 22, 29
Marshall Simonds Middle School
114 Winn Street, Burlington

All Woburn and Burlington Parents are Welcome.
Adults only.

This innovative parent workshop series is being co-sponsored by the Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force and Woburn Memorial High School's LEARN

View APPLAUDD's video on You Tube:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Monitoring Our Future

Since 1975 the “Monitoring The Future” (MTF) survey has measured drug, alcohol, and cigarette use of adolescents nationwide. MTF is one of three surveys sponsored by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services that provide government agencies with data on youth substance use trends. 46,348 students from public and private schools in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades participated in this year's survey.
The results released in December 2010 show significant increases in use of Marijuana, Ecstasy and cigar smoking, decreases in cigarette smoking and binge drinking while prescription drug abuse remained stable but very high. 8th graders showed the greatest increase in illicit drug use. For 12th-graders, declines in cigarette use and increases in marijuana use put marijuana ahead of cigarette smoking.
"Mixed messages about drug legalization, particularly marijuana, may be to blame,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Such messages certainly don't help parents who are trying to prevent kids from using drugs."
But there is good news because studies show that parenting styles have a strong impact on youth substance abuse. Researchers at Brigham Young University have found that teenagers who grow up with parents who are either too strict or too permissive tend to binge drink more than their peers. The study was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The parenting style that led to the lowest levels of problem drinking struck a balance between both styles: accountability and support. Parents who monitor their children, set and enforce rules but are also flexible; show great interest in their children’s ideas and their daily activities; make expectations clear but support their children’s needs, had the lowest rate of heavy underage drinking.
A parent workshop series to help parents take proactive prevention steps that will reduce substance abuse risk for their adolescents will be offered in March by the Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force. “APPLAUDD: A Prevention Program Learning About Underage Drinking & Drugs” is a four-part program designed to empower parents of students grades 5 through 12 with proven strategies that reduce risk of alcohol and drug abuse.
APPLAUDD won the national “Service to Science” award in 2010 for being a unique and innovative program that educates parents on the effect of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs on adolescent brain development and academic potential. It improves parent-teen communication skills, teaches specific parenting strategies proven to reduce teen substance abuse and changes how parents deal with underage drinking.
Save the dates for APPLAUDD: Tuesdays March 8, 15 22 and 29 from 7 to 9 pm in the Marshall Simonds Middle School Auditorium. Parents of children all ages are encouraged to attend!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Coalition Meeting at 1PM


Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force Meeting

Tuesday December 14

Time has been moved to 1pm

for this meeting only
Students Invited!

Topics of discussion:
Prom Letter to Parents
Question of Drug Paraphernalia and K2 sales
"Be the Designated Grown-Up" Campaign
Planning for Parent Workshop, "APPLAUDD"

See you there!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Murphy touts passage of inhalant bill

Boston Globe
August 3, 2010
The following is a press release from the office of Representative Charley Murphy:

Representative Charley Murphy hailed House passage of a bill which provides a critical treatment option to a growing number of Massachusetts families who suffer the destructive effects of inhalant abuse.

Commonly referred to as huffing, and most prevalent among 12-17-year olds, inhalant abuse is the purposeful inhalation of chemical vapors to achieve intoxication. A recent study listed inhalants as the fourth most abused substance among high school students trailing only alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. Despite their growing numbers, current state law excludes many inhalant abusers from court-ordered substance abuse treatment programs.

“We have an increasing number of young people who need treatment for inhalant abuse but who are not getting the help they need,” Murphy said. “This bill seeks to remedy a critical shortfall in the existing statute so that we can reach these kids before they fall through the cracks.”

Under current state law, relatives, doctors, or law enforcement officials may petition a court to have alcohol or substance abusers committed for up to 30 days of treatment in a state-approved rehabilitation facility. Because many inhalants are not classified as controlled substances however, courts often lack statutory authority to commit huffing addicts to treatment.

“I wrote this bill with key input from police officers, substance abuse counselors, and parents,” Murphy said. “The stories they tell are of an especially menacing type of substance abuse and their shared sense of powerlessness to help many of those most at risk.”

The increasing pervasiveness of huffing has led to tough sanctions for the improper use, possession, purchase and sale of many inhalants. Still, experts identify a lack of awareness among community leaders as to the extent of the problem among young people. They hope Murphy’s bill will help sound the alarm.

“I have worked with Charley Murphy for 10 years to reduce youth substance abuse, including underage drinking, drug abuse and inhalant abuse,” said Marilyn G. Belmonte, Co-Chairperson of the Burlington Drug & Alcohol Task Force. “Most people do not realize how widespread inhalant abuse has become and that these chemicals are found in your kitchen, bathroom and garage. This bill could finally give us the power to treat the abusers and perhaps even prevent the abuse in the first place.”

Ma Online Prescription Database

Massachusetts health officials approved a plan on Aug. 11 that will allow doctors and pharmacists to track narcotics prescriptions online -- a major step toward reducing "doctor shopping" in patients addicted to prescription drugs, officials said.

The Boston Globe reported Aug. 12 that the plan will give doctors and pharmacists access to an online database detailing patients' previous prescriptions for steroids and potent painkillers, such as OxyContin.

An estimated 9,000 Mass. residents are suspected of going from doctor to doctor seeking multiple prescriptions, said Alice Bonner, director of the Mass. Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality.

"It's tough to know when you're prescribing opioids or any controlled substance for chronic pain whether you're doing benefit or harm,'' said Daniel Alford, senior physician at the Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit at Boston University School of Medicine. "The more tools we have to help us to know whether we're benefiting or harming the patient, the better off we are.''

The online prescription monitoring program is set to go into effect early next year. Officials estimate the program will save $2 million a year by detecting patients "doctor shopping" through the state's health insurance program.