Friday, April 27, 2012

National Prescription Drug TAKE-BACK INITIATIVE: April 28th

Clean out your medicine cabinets before your kids do!

Now available online, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day collection site locator allows consumers to search for a convenient location to dispose of unneeded medications, including prescription pain pills and other controlled substance medications, on Saturday, April 28, 2012. On this day, from 10 AM to 2 PM, thousands of DEA-coordinated collection sites will be available across the country, and consumers are encouraged to use this unique opportunity to safely and legally dispose of any unneeded pills, including controlled substance medications, as these pills can only be accepted for disposal when law enforcement is present.

DEA reminds consumers that the take-back service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked. Sites will accept tablets, capsules, and all other solid dosage forms of unwanted medication. Personal information may be blacked out on prescription bottles, or medications may be emptied from the bottles into the bins provided at the events. Check the DEA collection site locator often, as new locations will be added until April 28, 2012.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Cool Spot: Helping Young Teens Resist Peer Presure

Info for Parents and Teachers

The Cool Spot was created for kids 11-13 years old by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The NIAAA is the lead U.S. agency supporting research into the causes, prevention, and treatment of alcohol problems. It is a component of the National Institutes of Health, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The content of The Cool Spot is based on a curriculum for grades 6-8 developed by the University of Michigan. The curriculum was created for the Alcohol Misuse Prevention Study (AMPS), a large-scale project supported by NIAAA.

One goal of AMPS was to give young teens a clearer picture about alcohol use among their peers. Teens tend to overestimate how much kids their age really drink. When they learn more accurate information, some of the pressure to drink can subside. Other goals of AMPS were to help kids learn skills to resist pressure to drink and to give them reasons not to drink. The Cool Spot incorporates AMPS goals in these and other features:
  • Reality Check quizzes kids about how much drinking is really going on in the U.S. The answers, which often surprise kids and adults alike, are based on results of the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  • Deep Digging is a simple but powerful page that depicts why using alcohol as a solution to problems, or a way of trying to cope, is trouble.
  • Peer Pressure Bag of Tricks presents animated scenes that invite kids to identify some common peer pressure “tricks.” It also lets kids know that spotting these tricks is the first step to resisting them.
  • Know your No’s is an activity that introduces kids to a variety of ways to say no, and helps them learn which one is the most effective.


The Cool Spot is compliant with the requirements outlined in the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) which limits the collection of personal information of children under the age of 13, as well as Section 508, which requires Federal agency web sites to be accessible to people with disabilities.
For more information on these requirements please visit

Friday, April 13, 2012

April is Alcohol Awareness Month


Parents are the Leading Influence in a Kid’s Decision to Not Drink Alcohol

In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month, The Century Council, the leading national not-for-profit funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, released new survey results today which reveal that parents continue to be the leading influence on their kid’s decisions to not drink alcohol.  Additionally, the survey demonstrates when it comes to talking about underage drinking, kids are actually listening to their parents when they discuss this serious, important, and sometimes awkward topic.

According to the research, parental influence with regard to underage drinking has increased significantly over the past 10 years.  Today, 83% of youth ages 10-18 years old, cite parents as the leading influence in their decision to not drink at all, or not to drink on occasion, which is up 28% proportionally from 2003. Parents rank significantly higher than friends/peers and teachers which tied for second as the leading influence on their decisions about drinking at 33%.  Rounding out the top six influencers are; punishment (28%), brothers and sisters (24%) and law enforcement (23%).

“Contrary to popular belief the survey shows that parents do have a strong influence over their kids when it comes to underage drinking,” said Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council.  “Over the last 20 years, The Century Council has produced and provided educational tools and resources to parents, teachers, kids, coaches and other influencers to help make the conversation about underage drinking between parents and kids easier and more effective.

Our Ask, Listen, Learn program is the most widely distributed underage drinking youth educational program of its kind in the country.  While we cannot take sole credit for the improvement in conversations between caregivers and kids over the past nine years, we are thrilled to see the message to say no to underage drinking is resonating with kids.”

Risk of Underage Drinking is Resonating with Kids

Today’s survey indicates significant improvement in the effectiveness of conversations between caregivers and kids on the topic of underage drinking since first examined in 2003. A decade ago, research showed a disconnect between kids and parents on the topic of underage drinking.  In 2003, only 26% of youth reported their parents or grandparents had spoken to them four or more times in the past year about the dangers of drinking alcohol, while 49% of parents reported to have spoken with their children.

According to the new research, parents are talking to their kids about underage drinking and they are listening.  Nearly half of parents surveyed (46%), reported talking with their 10-18 year-old son or daughter four or more times in the past year about the dangers of underage drinking, and a nearly equal number (42%) of youth ages 10-18 reported speaking as frequently with their parents, grandparents, or another adult caregiver on the issue.

Underage drinking often becomes a discussion topic when there is an incident that triggers the conversation.  According to the latest study, the top three conversation starters for parents and youth today are:  (1) a tragedy reported in the news (54% parents, 47% kids; (2) something seen on TV or a movie (49% parents, 41% kids) or; (3) someone else getting caught with alcohol or drinking (37% parents, 36% kids).

“Concrete real world examples of problem drinking behavior are excellent places for parents to start a conversation with their kid about drinking. But with or without the perfect lead in, honest discussion of the negative consequences of underage drinking and the benefits of a healthy life style need to happen often and early,” said Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D. clinical psychologist and bestselling author of “I’d Listen to My Parents if They’d Just Shut Up” and “Get Out of My Life, but First Could you Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall?”

Additional conversation starters to help parents approach the topic of underage drinking as reported by parents include: curiosity about alcohol (35%); learning to drive/driving the car (34%) and; going to a party or other social outing (33%).  Additional topics youth identify as a trigger to get them and their parents talking about underage drinking are: curiosity about alcohol (31%); going to a party or other social activity (30%); information from school (27%); and curiosity about whether you have friends who are drinking (28%).

Visit and to learn about other activities through the month of April and beyond as we place focus on National Alcohol Awareness Month and continue the work to keep our nation’s youth safe and alcohol free.

The Century Council

The Century Council, is a national not-for-profit leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, The Century Council promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol and develops and implements innovative programs and public awareness campaigns which ignite action through strategic partnerships. Established in 1991, The Century Council’s initiatives are highlighted on its website at and

About the research

The Century Council contracted Toluna to conduct an online survey of 10-18 year olds and parents of 10-18 year olds living in the same household.  Using one of Toluna’s demographically diverse panels, the survey matched parents of 10-18 year olds and their age appropriate son or daughter at the same time.  A nationally representative sample of 509 parents and 10-18 years was completed February 15-16, 2012.  Toluna is the world’s leading independent online panel and survey technology provider to the global market research industry.  The margin of error among the national sample is + 4.3%.
TRU conducted the May 2003 research among 10-18 year olds and Wirthlin Worldwide (now Harris Interactive) conducted the parent research utilizing their April and May 2003 National Quorum surveys.

Join Ask Listen Learn on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is April

Sex crimes - sexual molestation - and kids!
A scary and horrific combination!

Stacey Honowitz, a regular on HLN, CNN, Fox and MSNBC is also a leading state prosecutor with over 17 years dedicated to the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit.

However most importantly one of her accomplishments is her two educational books that serve to help parents, children, advocates and others to finally talk about this difficult subject in a manner which is comfortable for everyone.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Stacey Honowitz answered a few questions for me:

Q)  What changes in a child's behavior should raise a red flag for parents?

Stacey:  Some behaviors in small children are nightmares, bed wetting, a constant need to be with you, a fear when you go to change them, and a general fear of staying alone with the person after they never had a problem before. I don't like to generalize, because some of these behaviors are indicative of other issues, but sometimes a decline of grades in older kids, and a lack of enthusiasm for things warrant a discussion. It might not be abuse, but certainly if something doesn't sit right with you, make sure and ask if they feel uncomfortable about something and want to share it.

Q)  What sorts of behaviors from an adult should raise a red flag for parents to prohibit that adult from ever spending alone time with their child?

Stacey:  This really goes back to the first question that you asked. Sometimes a person will pursue a child by engaging in behaviors that the child will enjoy. Constant gift giving, a relationship based on "being friends" and "don't be afraid to tell me anything" coupled with an opportunity to spend "alone" time with them.

Red flag number one, the person calls and communicates with the child by phone or computer without you being present, and constantly asks you if they can "take your child" out for the day, or that they would love to babysit while you do what you have to do. Most parents are thrilled to have an adult take such an interest in their child, but they must realize that many times there is an ulterior motive.

Q)  If a parent is suspicious of an adult's behavior, what steps can the parent take?

Stacey:  If any parent believes that another child is being abused please do not feel like your are intruding by trying to help. Most parents later on say "I thought something was happening but it was not my place." It is your responsibility to alert either a family member, school authority or protective services if you suspect some type of abuse either sexual or physical. If you have a relationship with that child there is nothing wrong with you questioning the child, and asking "is everything okay" or "do you need my help with anything going on at home." Better safe than sorry is a motto that really holds water.

For more information, order Stacey's books:
Genius With a Penis, Don't Touch!
My Private Parts Are Private

Learn more about Stacey Honowitz on her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.