Greetings Prevention Partners, and welcome to
Prevention Works!VT’s monthly newsletter!
Spring is almost here and we have a lot of different ways to support prevention whether at the personal, community or policy level.
PW!VT had a busy winter! We held the second annual Prevention Awareness Dayon February 15th.
Read more about our Prevention Champions and see highlights from the day.
Mardi Gras…St. Patrick’s Day…Binge Drinking?

For some Vermont college students in particular, the upcoming Mardi Gras  (Magic Hat Brewery sponsors Burlington’s city-wide celebration March 10-12) and St. Patrick’s Day holidays can be rife with opportunities for alcohol and other drug misuse, and particularly binge drinking.

We can all be prevention partners around these types of holidays by understanding the associated risks and helping to build protective factors for everyone. Did you know that, for both underage and legal age students, “drinking in a bar was associated with a higher level of consumption relative to drinking in a private setting” and “for both location types and age groups, there were higher levels of consumption when ‘many intoxicated students’ were present” (read more here)?

Helping young folks revel healthily during these festive holidays is as much about the events themselves as it is about daily life: young adults who are building a sense of identity, forming healthy relationships both within and outside the family, are engaged in a vocational or educational path and feel a balance of autonomy as well as relatedness to family and the boundaries and limits therein are less likely to engage in harmful behavior.

You can also encourage local colleges and universities to use the The College Alcohol Intervention Matrix (College AIM), which is an easy-to-use tool that helps colleges identify appropriate binge drinking interventions.  If you’re a college student or have one in your life, check out this website for facts and prevention tips on college drinking.

Inhalants: Less of a threat, but not exactly obsolete

The National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week is March 19-25th and brings with it an opportunity to consider what we may be tempted to write off as an outdated or irrelevant problem. While statistics suggest that inhalant abuse has declined overall, the Vermont 2015 YRBS still shows that 7% of VT teens grades 9-12 had tried inhalants at some point (the same % as the national YRBS results).

What’s more, inhalant abuse can be particularly insidious, given the easy access (common household products) and symptoms that are easily confused with those of a common illness, varying to the point that no one specific clinical presentation can confirm inhalant intoxication.

What can we do? Prevention is critical and may require a slightly different approach than for other drugs. Read more about risks, symptoms and suggestions for prevention here.

First-ever report on addiction highlights importance of prevention

In November, the US Surgeon General issued a landmark report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.  It is the first time such a report was dedicated to substance misuse and related disorders, but it sadly was eclipsed by political news. The Report makes clear that substance misuse – which includes use of a substance in any way that can cause harm to oneself or others – is an underappreciated but critical public health challenge that can lead to substance use disorders, such as addiction.  The Report also provides a roadmap for working together to move our efforts forward.

The Surgeon General’s call to action for prevention includes:

Evidence-based Prevention Programs
Across the lifespan, from birth to elders, in multiple settings.

Evidence-based Community Coalition-based Prevention Models
Coalitions work to change community-level risk and protective factors and achieve community-wide reductions in substance use by planning and implementing one or more prevention strategies in multiple sectors simultaneously, with the goal of reaching as many members of the community as possible with accurate, consistent messages.

Evidence-based Prevention Policies
Research has shown the evidence of effectiveness for policies to reduce alcohol misuse and the misuse of prescription medications.

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