February 2016 Newsletter
COALITION NEWS and UPDATES
Social Host Strategies Gaining Steam in Texas Communities
Alcohol is the most commonly used substance among youth, and youth report that they obtain alcohol socially at parties and from friends more often than anywhere else. According to a 2014 report published by the Texas Department of State Health Services, 47.9% of Texas middle and high school students reported getting alcohol at parties. Additionally, 44.8% of high school seniors reported that alcohol is used most of the time or is always used at parties they attend.
To combat underage alcohol use the Here 2 Impact (H2i) Coalition in Odessa, Project Hope in Corpus Christi, and the Communities Against Substance Abuse (CASA) Coalition of Raymondville recently began partnering with TST to work on implementing a strategy to reduce social access to alcohol in their communities.
TST's strategy to decrease social access to alcohol involves gathering community support to address underage alcohol use and involves two key components: (1) educating local law enforcement through Controlled Party Dispersal trainings and (2) training local coalitions on how to work with the media to raise awareness of laws related to providing alcohol to minors.
Once community support for reducing social access has increased, a community may pursue a social host ordinance, which allows for a civil penalty against the responsible adult at a gathering where underage alcohol use occurs. A social host ordinance is considered by prevention experts to be one of the most effective strategies to reduce underage and risky alcohol use. It also encourages a greater sense of responsibility among community members, thus significantly limiting youth access to alcohol.
To assist these partner coalitions, TST has provided training on how to collect relevant local data in order to create an issue brief, which is a short document that identifies alcohol-related problems within the community, and how to use this information to build support for decreasing social access to alcohol.
According to Rosalie Tristan, a CASA Coordinator, a recent social host training session provided by TST's Field Operations Specialist, Brian Lemons, was well received by the coalition members of their small, rural community. "One of the goals of our coalition in 2016 is to develop a comprehensive social host strategy with the continued assistance of TST."
Youth Leadership Council Member of the Month
Congratulations to Kayla Gardner, our Youth Leadership Council (YLC) Member of the Month. As a part of her YLC service project, Kayla has made significant progress collecting data on the opinions of underage alcohol use in her community of Wichita Falls by using a survey designed by the YLC.
The survey targets property owners over the age of 21 and asks them if they think there is an underage alcohol use problem in the community, whether parties occur in their neighborhood, how they think youth obtain alcohol, and if the laws are enforced. The YLC will use this data to write a report that will shed light on underage alcohol use in Texas and propose a solution.
To date, Kayla has collected 200 surveys! According to Kayla, her job has been easy because of the great response she has received from within her community. "People seem to really care and want to answer the questions," she said. When Kayla told one survey respondent why she was doing the survey, she said that upon hearing her reason, "He was really impressed that a youth cared so much about the issue," said Kayla.
As a new YLC member, Kayla feels she has already helped her community. "The biggest thing for me is knowing that I am helping to spread awareness about underage alcohol use because it's just not an issue that is talked about much."
Thank you for Standing Tall with us!
Athletes vs. Alcohol: Beer is Not a Sports Drink
Have you ever considered quenching your thirst after a rigorous workout by drinking a beer? Michelob promoted exactly that in an ad that aired during Super Bowl 50, showing a series of athletes drinking Michelob Ultra immediately after working out.
Quenching your thirst after exercising by drinking a beer is not a recommendation most scientists would make. Alcohol is a diuretic, which causes the kidneys to produce more urine, and thus causes the body to become dehydrated, not rehydrated.
Alcohol use before exercising can hinder athletic performance as well. To perform, an athlete needs energy. Since alcohol is not a nutrient, it cannot be stored as energy in the muscles. Consequently, it is stored as fat. Chronic alcohol use can damage long-term performance by causing muscle damage. It can also cause muscle loss and muscle weakness known as myopathy in the arms, legs, and heart, which can harm an athlete's abilities.
However, muscle damage and weight gain are just two potential effects alcohol can have on an athlete's performance. Alcohol can impact and negatively effect an athlete's competitive edge in many different ways. Despite what the ad portrays, the reality check is that alcohol use leads to slower running and cycling times, weakens the heart's ability to pump, impairs temperature regulation, decreases grip strength and jump height, lowers stamina, and reduces strength and power.
Texans Standing Tall recently presented information on the effects of alcohol use on athletes at two conferences. On January 21, Atalie Nitibhon, Senior Researcher and Analyst, and Nancy Pryor, Program Coordinator for Screening and Brief Intervention, presented the information to college and university personnel at the 2016 NASPA Strategies Conference: Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention in Orlando, FL. On February 2, Nicole Holt, Chief Executive Officer, and Brian Lemons, Field Operations Specialist, presented the information to coalitions at CADCA's National Leadership Forum in Washington D.C.
During the sessions, TST staff not only educated attendees about the lesser-known effects alcohol can have on athletic performance, but also encouraged participants to identify and evaluate the challenges of educating athletes, parents, teachers, coaches, healthcare professionals, and other individuals who may work with athletes on the consequences of alcohol use.
Download our Athletes vs. Alcohol poster to find out more about how alcohol use impacts the specific parts of an athlete's body, including the brain, heart, muscles, and more. You can obtain additional information by emailing Nancy Pryor at npryor@TexansStandingTall.org, or Atalie Nitibhon at anitibhon@TexansStandingTall.org, or by calling 512-442-7501.
Matters of the Heart - the Effects of Secondhand Smoke on Public Health
February is American Heart Month and the American Heart Association wants to educate the public about the health risks associated with not only tobacco use, but also secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke exposure is a risk factor for developing heart disease.
People are potentially exposed to secondhand smoke in public places, at home, at work, and in public transportation vehicles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), secondhand smoke contains 7,000 chemicals, of which hundreds are known to
The effects of secondhand smoke on public health in the U.S. are alarming. Over 34,000 nonsmokers die prematurely from heart disease caused by secondhand smoke. In adults, there is evidence to suggest that secondhand smoke can be linked to cancers of the larynx, pharynx, nasal sinuses, brain, bladder, rectum, stomach, and the breast.
In addition to the toll secondhand smoke has on adults, it also affects children living in homes with parents or caregivers that smoke. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and asthma attacks, and are more likely to cough, wheeze, and have shortness of breath.
How do we protect the public from exposure to secondhand smoke?
In Texas, there isn't a statewide law prohibiting smoking in public places. Consequently, the responsibility of protecting the health and well-being of Texas residents currently falls on the shoulders of individual communities that must pass local ordinances to restrict smoking in public places. To date, 44 Texas cities have passed comprehensive smoke-free ordinances that prohibit smoking:
- in all public places including places of employment;
- at outdoor events including bleachers or grandstands at sporting or other public outdoor events; and
- within 15 feet of an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited.
In December, Edinburg became the latest city to prohibit smoking in all public places, including bars, restaurants, and parks. To learn more about how your community can pass a Comprehensive Smoke-Free Ordinance, contact TST's Statewide Coalitions Coordinator, Steve Ross, at sross@TexansStandingTall.org, or call Steve 512-442-7501.
SAVE THE DATE!
Texans Standing Tall's
August 3-4, 2016
We encourage all those interested in prevention, including parents, teachers, healthcare professionals, coalition members, and policymakers, to join us to learn how to become a "Community Lifeguard" and make alcohol, tobacco, and drugs irrelevant in the lives of Texas youth.
Seton Healthcare Family
St. Vincent de Paul Auditorium - 1st Floor
1345 Philomena Street, Austin, TX 78723
Registration information coming soon.
Visit our website for updates.