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.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summertime is Risky Business

Summertime…..and the going is easy. School is out. Kids are home. Most extracurricular activities are on hiatus. So what are teenagers doing with their time over the summer months? Most adolescents have too much free, unsupervised time on their hands. That can lead to problems.

"Seasonality of Youth's First-Time Use of Marijuana, Cigarettes or Alcohol," from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows a 40 percent increase in first-time youth marijuana use during June and July, compared to the rest of the year. Each day in June and July an average of 6,300 youths try marijuana for the first time. The number of new underage drinkers and cigarette smokers also jumps during the summer months.

What can parents do to reduce the risk of underage drinking and drug use?
Teens are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, and tobacco if their parents set clear rules about these risky behaviors. According to recent research, when a young person decides whether or not to use drugs, a crucial consideration is: What will my parents think?

If you make your position on drug use clear and set rules and consequences for breaking them in advance, your teen is less likely to step over that line.

Here are some helpful tips from Parents: The Anti-Drug. (

1. Don’t make empty threats. But be careful not to impose harsh or unexpected new punishments either. Stick to your original plan and show your teen there will be fair consequences for their actions.

2. Reprimands should involve mild, negative consequences. Taking away privileges or grounding teens for a weekend typically fit the bill. Overly severe punishments can undermine the parent-child relationship and lead to rebellious

3. Set a curfew and enforce it strictly. Be consistent on this rule, whether it’s to be home in time for dinner or to be home by midnight on a Saturday night. Be prepared to negotiate for special occasions like prom and holidays.

4. Have teens check in at regular times. If your teen has a cell phone, establish clear rules for using it such as, “When I call you, I expect a call or text back within 10 minutes”.

5. Check in with the party host. If your teen tells you he or she will be at a party or at a friend’s house, do not be afraid to call those parents to make sure adult supervision is in place and no alcohol will be served.

6. Make it easy to leave a party or hangout where drugs are being used. Discuss in advance how to signal you or another adult who will pick your teen up when he or she feels uncomfortable.
7. Establish house rules. If your teen is at home alone for long periods of time, set clear rules about who else is allowed in the house – and who is not. Also be sure to set clear rules about what is off limits – such as the car or liquor cabinet.

8. Recognize good behavior. If your teen is respecting your rules, compliment him or her for behaving admirably instead of focusing on what’s wrong. When you are quicker to praise than to criticize, young people learn to feel good about themselves and develop the self-confidence to trust their own judgment as they grow into adulthood.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010



Total Respondents—
198 high school seniors
368 parents (80 High School; 288 Middle School)
208 8th graders (included only in some calculations)
774 total

Question 2: “How easy or difficult is it for underage youth to obtain alcohol from the following people/places in your community?”

Older Siblings--50% (283 out of 566) said “easy/very easy”
(132 of 198 Srs—67%; 151 of 368 Parents—41%)

Parents--15% (85 out of 566) “easy/very easy”
(32 of 198 Srs---16%; 53 of 368 Parents---14%)

Friends---59% (333 out of 566) “easy/very easy”
(152 of 198 Srs---77%; 181 of 368 Parents---49%)

Adult Strangers---22% (122 out of 566) “easy/very easy”
(47 of 198 Srs---24%; 75 of 368 Parents---20%)

Bar/Restaurant-- 7% (40 out of 566) “easy/very easy”
(16 of 198 Srs--- 8%; 24 of 368 Parents--- 6.5%)

Liquor Store-- 8% (44 out of 566) “easy/very easy”
(19 0f 198 Srs---10%; 25 of 368 Parents--- 7%)

Question 3: “How easy or difficult do you think it would be for underage youth to get alcohol from home without their parents knowing it?”

BHS Seniors: Very Easy 46=23%, Easy 102=51%, Difficult 37=18%, Very Difficult 7=3%
Parents: Very Easy 47=13%, Easy 175=48%, Difficult 81=22%, Very Difficult 61=17%
MSMS 8th Graders: Very Easy 54=26%, Easy 79=38%, Difficult 58=28%, Very Difficult 16=8%

Question 4: “How often do you think parents in your community provide alcohol at parties their children host?”

22% of high school seniors (43/198) said “often/very often.”

Question 5: “How serious a problem is alcohol consumption by underage youth (14-20 years old) at unsupervised gatherings in your community?”

BHS Seniors: Very Serious 28=14%, Serious86=43%, Not Serious 59=29%, Uncertain 23=11%
Parents: Very Serious 60=16%, Serious 160=44%, Not Serious 51=14%, Uncertain 88=24%
MSMS 8th Graders: Very Serious 29=14%, Serious 61=29%, Not Serious 59=29%, Uncertain 48=23%

Question 6: “How effective is your community at enforcing laws against drinking and driving?” (BHS Seniors only)

Very effective Effective Ineffective Very ineffective
94 (17%) 354 (63%) 83 (15%) 13 (2%)

Question 7: “How effective is your community at enforcing laws against adults buying alcohol for minors?”

BHS Seniors: Very Effective 19=9%, Effective 88=43%, Ineffective 77=38%, Very Ineffective 11=5%
Parents: Very Effective 75=20%, Effective 205=56%, Ineffective 60=16%, Very Ineffective 4=1%
MSMS 8th Graders: Very Effective 26=13%, Effective 91=44%, Ineffective 79=38%, Very Ineffective 9=4%

Question #9: “How effective is your community at enforcing policies pertaining to student alcohol use?

BHS Seniors: Very Effective 41=20%, Effective 90=45%, Ineffective 50=25%, Very Ineffective 13=6%
Parents: Very Effective 78=21%, Effective 218=60%, Ineffective 46=13%, Very Ineffective 4=1%
MSMS 8th Graders: Very Effective 44=21%, Effective 119=57%, Ineffective 31=15%, Very Ineffective8=4%

Question 10: Who should Burlington penalize for underage drinking?
Y= Youth only, A=Adult providing alcohol only, B=both underage drinker and the adult?

BHS Seniors: Y 30=15%, A 17=8%, B 127=63%
Parents: Y 25=7%, A 34=9%, B 240=66%
MSMS 8th Graders: Y 33=16%, A 25=12%, B 131=63%

Question #11A: Is it acceptable to get DRUNK at……

Graduation Parties?
BHS Seniors: No 99=49%, Yes 96=48%
Parents: No 327=89%, Yes 17=5%
MSMS 8th Graders: No 118=57%, Yes 88=42%

Sporting Events?
BHS Seniors: No 84=42%, Yes 110=54%
Parents: No 329=90%, Yes 14=4%
MSMS 8th Graders: No 53=26%, Yes 151=73%

Question #11C: Is it acceptable for underage youth to drink at……

Graduation Parties?
BHS Seniors: No 125=62%, Yes 71=35%
Parents: No 330=90%, Yes 11=3%
MSMS 8th Graders: No 173=84%, Yes 30=14%

Sporting Events?
BHS Seniors: No 149=74%, Yes 46=23%
Parents: No 334=91%, Yes 5=1%
MSMS 8th Graders: No 177=86%, Yes 24=12%

Question #14: If you knew of an underage drinking party in your community, would you…..

Confront Homeowner:

Contact Police:

Do Nothing 27=7%

Don’t Know 99=27%

Question # 15: If a by-law is proposed in Burlington that holds homeowners responsible for underage drinking in their homes even if the homeowner is NOT present, would you support it?

Yes 142=39%
No 111=30%
Don’t Know 93=25%

Sunday, January 31, 2010



7pm to 9pm




Prevention strategies including a Social Host By-Law will be discussed.
If you have teenagers, you need to know what may be done in our community
to prevent adults from providing alcohol.
Get your questions answered and voice your opinions.

For more information, contact Marilyn Belmonte at 781-229-2638 or
Charlie Franich at 781-270-1964