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Daily Dose

Alcohol During Lunch with Your Baby?

1:30 to read

I know I often give advice, but I also have lots of opinions, so this may be a bit controversial but what do you think about drinking wine at lunch with your babies in tow?  I was meeting a friend for a “casual” lunch at a “healthy food” restaurant (I won't name it)  and while I was waiting I noticed a group of young mothers at the next table with their precious babies.  All of these little ones were under the age of one year.: one in a high chair while the other two were in the car seats. 

So, I also noticed that they were drinking a glass of wine while they were visiting with one another. I guess that a glass of wine is not a big deal…but I wish they had been paying a bit more attention to their babies.  I continued to watch them and when they finished the first glass of wine they ordered another while they started eating their lunch.  Again, no one was really interacting with their child.

While I am not against drinking wine at lunch, I must admit I have been guilty of this when on vacation.  But, sitting at lunch on a weekday with your tiny babies in tow and now on a second glass of wine?   By that time my friend had arrived and we started eating our lunch….but I just could not stop watching the table next to me.

The young women finished their lunches, one having another glass of wine and got up to leave.  As they were leaving the mother closest to me was buckling up her baby and we leaned over to admire him. He really had been the best baby and had sat quietly in his seat and watched all of the people around him…an easy baby. When we commented to his mother about his sweet demeanor, her comment was, “do you want him”?

I was disturbed by the entire event. How can you take your babies to lunch, for what was a seemingly normal Thursday afternoon, drink 2-3 glasses of wine and then drive your children home?

Unfortunately, when I was discussing this event with several of the young mothers in my practice they said that this was becoming more and more common. Take the kids to lunch or the park and drink while the children occupy themselves is becoming more and more “normal”.  

If you want to drink…then do it responsibly. That would not be at lunch with three young children, and then hop in the car to drive home.   Get a babysitter and take an Uber. I told you I have lots of opinions!

Your Teen

Smoking and Drinking Rates Among Teens Dropping

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There’s good news to report on teens’ use of alcohol and cigarettes. According to new government data, smoking and drinking among teenagers fell to new lows in 2015.

According to the data gathered, just 9.6 percent of adolescents, ages 12 to 17, reported using alcohol in 2015, down from 17.6 percent in 2002.

Far fewer adolescents smoke every day: about 20 percent in 2015, down from 32 percent in 2002.

The numbers came from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency that tracks addiction and mental health issues in the United States.

It appears that today’s teens are choosing not to follow in their parent’s footsteps, which had much higher rates of smoking and drinking when they were adolescents.

Kana Enomoto, principal deputy administrator at the agency, said the new numbers showed that rigorous public health efforts to reduce smoking and drinking among teenagers were paying off.

The survey also tracked prescription drug use and abuse, as well as the use of illegal drugs like heroin. While the trend is still down, the difference was not statistically significant from 2014, but headed in the right direction. Heroin deaths have been increasing rapidly across the country, health experts are hoping the data showing a decline in use could be an early indicator that the trend is reversing.

Prescription drug abuse is still very high in the United States. The survey found that about 119 million Americans 12 and older, or about 44 percent of that population, used prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in the past year. Of those, the vast majority — about 98 million — used pain relievers.

In all, about 19 million people age 12 and older, or about 7 percent of that population, misused prescription drugs in the past year, including about 12.5 million people who misused pain relievers.

Government funded treatment programs for drug abuse continue to lack congressional approval, frustrating mental health and drug abuse service providers.

“There’s no other condition for which we would accept the fact that less than 10 percent of people are treated,” Ms. Enomoto said.

A decrease in the numbers of teens drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes is really a welcomed change. Smoking is the largest cause of preventable death in the United States, with illnesses linked to it taking more than 480,000 lives a year.

Research indicates that alcohol use during the teenage years could interfere with normal adolescent brain development and increase the risk of developing an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD.) In addition, underage drinking contributes to a range of acute consequences, including injuries, sexual assaults, and even deaths—including those from car crashes.

No one wants to see his or her son or daughter become one more sad statistic.  Family support and treatment availability are key in helping our young people live healthier and happier lives.

Story source: Sabrina Tavernise,

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/09/science/smoking-and-drinking-rates-among-us-teenagers-fall-to-new-lows.html

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

 

Your Teen

Parenting Style And Teen Drinking

2.00 to read

Researchers at Brigham Young University have found that teenagers who grow up with parents who are either too strict or too indulgent tend to binge drink more than their peers. A new study suggests that your child could become a binge drinker depending on your parenting style. For teenagers, friends play a big role in the decision to take that first drink. And by the 12th grade, more than 65 percent of teens have at least experimented with alcohol. But what parents do during the high school years can also influence whether teens go on to binge drink or abuse alcohol. Researchers at Brigham Young University have found that teenagers who grow up with parents who are either too strict or too indulgent tend to binge drink more than their peers. "While parents didn't have much of an effect on whether their teens tried alcohol, they can have a significant impact on the more dangerous type of drinking," says Stephen Bahr, a professor of sociology at BYU, and the author of the study that was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. As part of the survey of 5,000 teenagers, Bahr and his colleagues asked 7th- to 12th-grade students a series of questions about their alcohol use. "We asked how many had taken five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks," says Bahr. That's the typical definition of binge drinking. They also asked the kids about their parents: What kinds of rules did they have? Did their parents know where they were on weekends? Did their parents check up on their whereabouts and set curfews? How much oversight and monitoring was typical? The teens who were being raised by so-called indulgent parents who tend to give their children lots of praise and warmth — but offer little in the way of consequences or monitoring of bad behavior — were among the biggest abusers of alcohol. "They were about three times more likely to participate in heavy drinking," says Bahr. The same was true for kids whose parents were so strict that no decision was left to the teenager's own judgment. "Kids in that environment tend not to internalize the values and understand why they shouldn't drink," says Bahr. They were more than twice as likely to binge drink. Striking The Right Balance The parenting style that led to the lowest levels of problem drinking borrowed something from each of the extremes. From the strict parents: accountability and consequences for bad behavior. From the indulgent parents: warmth and support Bahr says these parents tend to be more balanced. "They recognize their kids when they do good things and praise them, but they offer direction and correction when they get off a little bit," he says. Lots of factors contribute to teenagers' experimentation with alcohol and drugs. Genes play a significant role, as do peer relationships. And the teenage years can be adversarial. "Parents get really frustrated with teenagers," says Aimee Stern, who has written “Delaying That First Drink: A Parents’ Guide.”  “I have two of them — and you can't tell them anything they don't already know." That's why it's important to start talking to kids about alcohol when they're young — as early as fourth grade, recommends Stern. Her free book, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is intended as a teaching tool for parents and contains plenty of evidence-based information on drinking and addiction. It explains the science of alcohol, both in terms of what it does to the body and the developing brain. The guide can be used as a companion to a series of Science Inside Alcohol lessons developed by AAAS or as a stand-alone tool that parents can use in talking with their children. More information about Aimee Stern’s free book “Delaying That First Drink: A Parent’s Guide”  is at http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2010/0927alcohol_book.shtml.

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Teens and Alcohol

Teens & Alcohol: A Deadly Mix

Your Teen

Almost Half of Teens Drink, Use Drugs, Smoke

2.00 to read

If you have a teenager, there’s a high probability that he or she will be exposed to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes during their high school years. And, there is a good chance your teen will try these drugs.If you have a teenager, there’s a high probability that he or she will be exposed to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes during their high school years. And, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse there is a good chance that your teen will try these drugs.

A new report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) has even more startling news for parents. Nearly half of all American high school students smoke, drink alcohol, or use illicit drugs. One in four, who start using these substances before they turn 18, may become addicts. The report also indicates that one-quarter of people in the U.S. who began using drugs or alcohol before age 18 meet the criteria for drug or alcohol addiction, compared with one of 25 Americans who started using drugs or alcohol when they were 21 or older. Why is dinking, smoking and using drugs more addictive for a younger person? Harold C. Urschel, MD, an addiction expert in Dallas, says that from the age of 15 to 22, the adolescent brain is still developing. “A complex layer of neural networks is being laid down and brain growth is exponential during these years, so even a little bit of injury from alcohol or drugs is greatly magnified.” “I was surprised at the prevalence of substance use disorders among young people,” says study author Susan E. Foster, CASA’s vice president and director of policy research and analysis. The new study opens a window of opportunity for providers and parents to intervene and prevent addiction, she says. “Do everything you can to get young people through their teen years without using drugs or alcohol. Every year they don’t use drugs or alcohol reduces their risk of negative consequences, such as addiction.” The report also mentioned other findings that give parents an insight to the kinds of drugs teens are choosing. - The most common drug of choice among high school students in the U.S. is alcohol, followed by cigarettes and marijuana. - Ten million, or 75%, of high school students have tried tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine; and one in five of them meet the medical criteria for addiction. - Of the 6.1 million, or 46%, of high school students who currently use addictive substances, one in three is addicted to these substances. The findings are based on surveys of 1,000 high school students, 1,000 parents of high school students, and 500 school officers, along with expert interviews, focus groups, a literature review of 2,000 scientific articles, and an analysis of seven data sets. “Health care providers need to integrate screening for substance abuse into their practice, and treat and refer patients,” Foster says. This may be easier said than done because there is a dearth of addiction treatment information and options available as well as insurance barriers, she says. Most teens don't begin taking drugs thinking they will become addicted. They usually start trying drugs or alcohol to have a good time and be more like their friends. There’s a certain vulnerability to peer pressure that often replaces common sense, and moral teachings. According to TeenDrugAbuse.org many teens who are addicted don't see a problem with their behavior or their drug use. Drugs make them feel good, and are a way to relieve the stress of school, problems at home, disagreements with friends, and other pressures of growing up. “Teen substance abuse is a huge problem,” says Stephen Grcevich, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Family Center by the fall in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. “The numbers in the new report are very consistent with what we see in context of our practice and surrounding areas.” But teen substance abuse and addiction are not inevitable, he says. Preventing substance abuse starts with “intentional parenting” at an early age. “You have to have a plan that allows you to be a positive influence on your children at a young age so that when they get to an age where they are exposed to drugs and alcohol, they will know how to say no,” he says. “Kids who do well academically, are involved in religion, and/or are actively engaged in sports are less likely to get involved with these substances,” he says. “We need to look at giving kids something meaningful and important to do.” For many teens, the stigma of drug use, drinking and smoking has vanished. It’s become acceptable, and almost expected, behavior. It’s time for parents and caregivers to take the blinders off and become educated about teenagers and drug use. Parents often notice that their teen will start pushing away from their guidance, and advice. Sometimes communication is almost impossible when both teen and parent don’t agree on a particular behavior. But this is the most critical time for parents to keep trying and finding new ways to reach their teen. If the parent – child relationship reaches the point where no valuable communication is happening, then you may want to try family counseling. It’s worth the heartbreak, effort, costs, and stress in the long run.

Your Teen

Kids Using Inhalants To Get High

More kids are using household products to get high.Take a look around your house. Do you have hairspray, furniture polish or air freshener?  Lock it up!  A recent study reveals children as young as 12 years old are more likely to use these products to get high than marijuana or alcohol.

The National Inhalant Prevention Coalition  released new findings showing kids are experimenting with everyday products and inhaling them to get high. Many of these products are accessible in a child’s home providing easy access to a quick buzz. Parents:  be aware of what common household products are in your home.  Talk with your children and explain to them just how dangerous inhaling these liquids and sprays can be. If you don’t think it can happen in your home, take note.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse says one in five 8th graders have tried inhalants.

Daily Dose

Online Alcohol Sales

1.30 to read

What do you know about online alcohol sales?  I must admit that I knew little about this industry and was amazed with some of the statistics I recently discovered while reading an article in the September 2012, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. If you are a parent of a tween or teen, here is another topic for discussion and for monitoring as well. 

According to this study that was done in 2011 out of the University of North Carolina there are greater than 5,000 internet alcohol venders (IAV), and there is little regulatory attention being paid to this 2.4 billion /year industry.  It seems that another place for teens to purchase alcohol while underage is no longer just the corner liquor store, or grocery.  In many communities it is much becoming more difficult for minors to purchase alcohol as there seems to be a push to improve enforcement by“carding” any one under the age of 30.  I find this to be true in our area as I watch my 28 year-old married son have to produce his ID. (regretfully they no longer ask for mine!) 

In this study 45 of 100 internet alcohol purchase (done by students age 18-20) attempts were successful and the alcohol (predominately wine, but beer and liquor as well) were successfully received by underage buyers. There was very little age verification at point of order, with some of the orders being processed using a parents birthdate or by simply checking a box stating that “buyer is over 21 years of age.”   All of the orders in the study were for less than $100 and were made using prepaid gift cards that are difficult to track. Teens are savvy and are will buy a card with cash and then they do not have to worry about parents tracking credit card purchases. 

Age verification at time of delivery was also inconsistent. Even when packages were shipped and labeled “age verification at delivery” half of the time the package was still delivered to a minor.  In some cases the alcohol was delivered to a neighbor who then handed it off to the minor, with the neighbor not paying any attention to what was in the box. (this seems like an easy thing to miss as I often receive packages for my neighbors, sign and then put them on their porch). 

So, it is hard to stay ahead of tech savvy teens and with little regulation underage internet alcohol sales may continue rise.  I guess the good news is that this takes a bit of pre planning on the part of adolescent, but with a little notice and a pre paid gift card a party a few weeks out may be easier to pull off than heading to the local liquor store on a Friday night.  

Daily Dose

Binge Drinking on the Rise

1:30 to read

Binge drinking among teens has always been an issue, but unfortunately alcohol use is becoming more prevalent at younger and younger ages.  While many parents (including me) discussed the use of alcohol with their teenagers during their high school years, a recent clinical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics published in the journal Pediatrics states that “by the eighth grade a quarter of those surveyed had consumed alcohol”.   

The report found that children start to “think positively about alcohol between 9 and 13 years of age”. With this finding it is incumbent upon parents and pediatricians to start the discussion about alcohol use at even earlier ages.  Personally, I think that one of the reasons we need to discuss alcohol use with younger children, may be due to the fact that alcohol use and availability has become more and more prevalent across our society. Many young children’s birthday parties in my area include alcohol for the adults.  Some play groups now have “mommy juice” in coolers at the park  as well as apple juice for the toddlers. Parents are drinking on the sidelines of the soccer and baseball game.  Grocery stores and pharmacies all carry beer and wine which makes it easy to pick up a bottle of wine while you wait for your child’s prescription.  Recently,  more and more college sporting events are allowing alcohol sales in their stadiums, field houses and coliseums. 

The statistics reveal that alcohol is the substance most frequently abused by children and adolescents in the U.S.  In 2014, “half of twelfth graders and one in nine eight graders reported having been drunk at least once in their life”. We also know that among our youth, the proportion who drink heavily is higher than among adults who drink. 

Because teens typically weigh less than adults, binge drinking is teens is defined differently than for adults. For girls ages 9-7, three or more drinks in a two hour period is considered binge drinking and for boys ages 9-13 the cutoff is three or more drinks, for boys 14-15 it’s four or more drinks, and for boys 16-17, its five or more drinks.   

It is also not difficult to understand the correlation between binge drinking and risk taking behaviors among teens.  Binge drinking has been associated with earlier sexual activity and teen pregnancy, fatal car accidents and even alcohol poisoning and death.  Not only does alcohol affect choices while imbibing, but it  “may interfere with important aspects of brain development that can lead to cognitive impairment, brain injury and substance use disorders later in life”.

Lastly, not surprisingly, teens look to their parents on their decision to drink or not. Modeling behavior could not be more important, as one teen once told me when discussing her use of alcohol, “why don’t you talk to my mom about coming home drunk every night, then I will talk to you”.  

Your Baby

AAP Reissues Warning About Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy

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The medical community has long stressed the importance of not drinking alcohol while pregnant.  But repeated claims that it is safe for a mother-to-be to drink small amount of alcohol has prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to publish an updated report in its online journal Pediatrics.

There is no amount of alcohol that is safe to drink during any trimester of pregnancy notes the new report.

Alcohol-related disorders in newborns occur at even greater frequency than previously thought, it found, because such disorders have been “significantly unrecognized.”

Such disorders, in fact, are the most commonly identifiable cause of developmental delays and intellectual disabilities in children, said Janet F. Williams, a University of Texas physician and lead author of the report.

“The research suggests that the smartest choice for women who are pregnant is to just abstain from alcohol completely,” she said. “This message has been out there for a long time, that alcohol use is not healthy, and a lot of people just want that to be wrong.”

The report stated “about half of all childbearing-age women in the United States report consuming alcohol within the past month. In truth, some don’t yet realize they are pregnant. But nearly 8 percent of women said they continued consuming alcohol during pregnancy.

Women that binge-drink when they are not pregnant may be more likely to consume alcohol during pregnancy, researchers said.

Williams noted that there’s more than 30 years of research that clearly connects alcohol use during pregnancy with birth defects.

The academy reports that another study found an increased risk of retardation of growth in infants even when a pregnant woman’s consumption was limited to one alcoholic drink per day — a 1.5-ounce shot of distilled spirits, 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer.

Drinking in the first trimester of pregnancy compared with no drinking resulted in 12 times the odds of giving birth to a child with fetal alcohol spectrum.

First- and second-trimester drinking increased those odds by 61 times, with those drinking throughout the duration of pregnancy increasing the odds by a factor of 65.

Children affected by fetal alcohol spectrum, Dr. Williams said, are notably smaller with smaller or less apparent facial features and flatness in the middle region of the face. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also is strongly associated with alcohol, while neurological and cognitive problems can include the inability to form concepts, make plans and speak fluently. Additional problems can occur with social interaction and relationships.

“No alcohol is the safe choice,” Dr. Williams said. “No alcohol means no [fetal alcohol spectrum disorders]. I don’t want people to feel badly if they were using alcohol and found out they were pregnant. That happens. But they must know at that moment, if they stop, they have a definitely lower risk of their child having problems than they would if they continue drinking.”

Sources: David Templeton, http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2015/10/19/Study-reinforces-avoiding-alcohol-while-pregnant/stories/201510190008

Carl Nierenberg, http://www.livescience.com/52515-pregnant-women-no-drinking-alcohol.html

 

 

 

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