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!