Monthly Archives: October 2010

CADCA and Coalitions Call for
Four Loko Alcoholic Energy Drink Ban

The Associated Press this week reported that there are new concerns about energy drinks produced by a Chicago-based company that combine high levels of caffeine with alcohol. The Food and Drug Administration began investigating these types of beverages a year ago, but a recent Washington state college party is renewing questions about their safety.

Earlier this month, nine students from Central Washington University ended up in the hospital after getting sick at an off-campus party. Police initially thought they had overdosed on drugs, but now, investigators blame their condition on a drink called “Four Loko.”

Four Loko is made by Chicago-based Phusion Projects and is referred to as “blackout in a can” by some college students. It has an alcohol content of 12 percent, which is comparable to four beers.

The makers of Four Loko said people have been mixing caffeine and alcohol for years. A statement on their website says: “Our products contain less alcohol than an average rum and cola, less alcohol and caffeine than an average Red Bull and vodka, and are comparable to having coffee after a meal with a couple glasses of wine.”

Several states are considering outlawing the drinks and at least two universities have banned them from campus while the FDA reviews their safety.

“People consuming these drinks don’t understand how much alcohol they are drinking,” said CADCA’s Chairman and CEO Arthur T. Dean, of the inexpensive drinks. “The drinks present a serious threat to public health and safety, especially for our youth.”

All alcoholic energy drinks were banned from CWU’s campus Monday, following the president of New Jersey’s Ramapo College, who banned the drinks last month after attributing several students’ hospitalizations to Four Loko.

Steven Schmidt, a spokesman for the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, told the AP many states feel they need to act quickly to ban the drinks because the drinks are increasing in popularity.

CADCA has drafted a template letter for coalitions to send directly to the company that makes Four Loko telling them we want them to remove this irresponsible and dangerous product. Another template letter could be disseminated to the FDA .


Number of Teen Drivers Involved in Fatal Crashes Drops, CDC Study Finds

The number of fatal crashes involving 16- and 17-year old drivers dropped by more than a third between 2004 and 2008, though crashes still remain the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week.

Nationally, the number of 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes decreased by 36 percent, from 2,230 in 2004 to 1,437 in 2008, said the study. The report shows wide variations from state to state, with teens in some states more likely than teens in others to be involved in fatal crashes.

The overall decline in young drivers’ fatal crash involvement is an extension of a longer-term downward trend, which might be credited to CADCA-trained coalitions across the country and the world that are reducing underage drinking in a variety of effective ways. Read about three of the best coalitions who have been named CADCA’s Got Outcomes! honorees in our earlier story in this issue.

Rates of fatal crash involvement for 16- and 17-year-old drivers have fallen by more than 50 percent since 1996 (from 36 per 100,000 persons in 1996 to 16.7 per 100,000 in 2008). Despite this downward trend, young drivers’ fatal crash rates are still high in some areas of the country.

This study, which examined national and state-based data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) also found that, from 2004 to 2008:

Of 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes, 6,280 (65 percent) were male and 3,364 (35 percent) were female.

Across all states, the rates of 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes varied widely, ranging from 9.7 per 100,000 (New York and New Jersey) to 59.6 per 100,000 (Wyoming).

Of the 11,019 persons who died in crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers, 4,071 (37 percent) were the young drivers themselves, 3,428 (31 percent) were passengers of young drivers, 1,987 (18 percent) were drivers of other vehicles, and 805 (7 percent) were passengers of the other drivers. Another 728 (7 percent) were other road users such as bicyclists or pedestrians.


Parenting 101

Q: I’m concerned about the influence my ex-husband’s behavior might be having on our son who is in middle school. My ex is pretty irresponsible, drinks a little too freely, and has several fairly casual girlfriends. How do I convince my ex to be a better example to our son? And how can I impress on our son that his father’s behavior is not appropriate for a grown-up?

A: You have a very difficult balancing act in front of you. It is true that parental role modeling has a tremendous impact on children, but the sad reality of these situations is that you do not have any control over the influence of an ex-spouse on your child. The ex described above is clearly self indulgent and self focused, and has not taken the most important aspect of being a parent seriously; which is being a good role model. It is also important to keep in mind that parents need to be extremely careful in how they address the other parent’s behavior to the child; anything that denigrates or undermines the other parent’s authority can be seriously damaging to the child. Do not bad-talk your ex-spouse, no matter how inappropriate you feel his behavior is. Your child will figure it out on his own. Children often shy away from parents that are self centered because they cannot give the attention that a child needs. By monitoring your own behavior and actions, as well as focusing on yourself and the type of messages you are sending, you greatly increase the chances that your child will clearly see what parent they want to mold themselves after. Remember, your child is genetically half you and half him. If you criticize the father, you are in essence criticizing the child. In fact, if you attack his father, your son is more likely to go to his defense, even if he basically disapproves of his father’s behavior. There are unfortunately no easy fixes for the situation you describe. Accessing the help of a Family Therapist with a specialty in adolescents and divorce would be of tremendous benefit in your quest to help your son. Even if your son and/or his father do not attend, it can still be very helpful to you.

Q: My daughter just started high school and I’ve started seeing an attitude change. She’s more sullen & sarcastic at home, doesn’t seem to care about soccer (which she’s loved for years) and is prone to emotional outbursts. How do I know if this is just normal teen-age “stuff,” or something more serious?

This is an excellent question and poses one of the greatest challenges to parenting today. We almost always begin by assuming that the child is entering a common phase unique to adolescence, however, we must pay close attention. Adolescence marks a period of time (and the age of onset varies widely among families) when the child must seek their own identity and begin to separate from their parents. This is no easy task as they are filled with conflicting feelings and have little insights to process this, or the ability to verbalize what they feel. All of this can make noticeable changes in your teen, but so can a new involvement with alcohol or other drugs. Your daughter’s ambivalence about soccer is most concerning. An adolescent testing parental priorities is normal and, within behavioral limits actually healthy – but when teens begin to abandon their own priorities, we need to look more closely. There are a lot of factors to consider, including but not limited to:
Has she replaced soccer with other physical activities? Trying new things and changing those associated with childhood need not be a bad thing, but abandonment of a healthy lifestyle is.

Has there been a significant shift in her friends?

Has there been a significant change in her grades at school?

Is she secretive and dishonest?

Does she have altered physical symptoms such as blood shot eyes, frequent sniffles, significant weight loss (or gain), decreased physical hygiene, inappropriate drowsiness or lethargy, slurred speech, strange odors or increased difficulty with memory?

Communication is key, there needs to be an avenue through which you can express your concerns to her clearly and supportively, not in an accusatory manner. Trust is very important, so do not violate the trust unless you have a very probable cause for doing so. Be an observer, keep track of the changes you see and keep in contact with her friends parents. If some of the signs listed above are also present, it might be wise to get an assessment, including an observed and unexpected drug test, from a qualified treatment center or licensed professional therapist specializing in adolescents.

Big Alcohol will do anything to avoid paying for alcohol-related harm

For those of you unfamiliar with Proposition 26 –
here is some information from the Marin Institute.

That’s why they have joined with Big Oil, Big Energy and Big Tobacco to change our state constitution with Proposition 26. It’s an absolutely terrible initiative that would absolve companies that harm the public health and environment with dangerous products or practices.

Prop 26 will make it impossible to charge or raise harm mitigation fees without a two-thirds majority vote.

Prop 26 deserves your NO vote

Big Alcohol wants California taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for the harm it causes. This is harm that robs state, county and local governments and residents of over $38 billion a year.

Please tell the Governor and the two top candidates for Governor to declare their opposition to Prop 26 too.

Click here to take action.

Original article from the Marin Institute.