March 2014 Newsletter


March 2014 Newsletter



Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is April 26th

Communities across Texas and the nation will host Prescription Drug Take-Back events on Saturday, April 26th. At these events, the public can drop off expired or unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs for proper disposal--no forms to fill out, no ID required, no questions asked.

Disposing of prescription drugs reduces youth access to them. The most common way that youth obtain prescription drugs not prescribed to them is from the home medicine cabinet.

Visit the DEA web site to find out the locations of events in your community.


2014 Statewide Summit: Where it All Came Together

At the Summit, participants heard the data from the 2013 Texas Report Card on Substance Use. They learned how far Texas has come and where our efforts and dollars need to go to prevent youth alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.

Now what?

*Reach out to other stakeholders in your community. Find strength in numbers.

*Work toward getting all stakeholders on the same page to more efficiently and more effectively implement strategies to prevent underage alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.

*Take part in advocacy efforts statewide by more deeply engaging with TST on our statewide efforts.

*Request training or technical assistance for your coalition so you can advance the evidence-based strategies your community needs.

Let's work together to save lives.


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Say it Isn't So, Bevo.

43The University of Texas at Austin announced that it has reversed longstanding policy and will now sell alcohol at UT athletic events. The great majority of colleges and universities nationwide do not permit alcohol sales at athletic events.

Athletic Director Steve Patterson indicated the policy change is "intended to enhance the fan experience" and is not merely a way to increase revenue.  

At what cost? And how many other universities will follow UT's lead?      
Nationwide, go-team-fans.jpgcollege students are more likely to binge drink (defined as having 5 or more drinks in one sitting) than their same-age peers who do not attend college. Among Texas college students, 43% of males and 38% of females had binge drunk in the past 30 days when surveyed, according to the 2013 Texas Survey of Substance Use Among College Students. The same survey indicated that 25% of Texas college students had driven after drinking in the past year.  

The Texas Relays, one of the nation's largest track and field events held annually at UT at the end of March, features both college and high school athletes. Should a high school track meet have beer sales? Evidence-based strategies to reduce underage drinking and DUI point to changing the environment that encourages and condones underage drinking.  Many believe that selling alcohol at college sporting events does quite the opposite.



Case Closed.  
Minimum Drinking Age of 21 Saves Lives

Public health researchers have reviewed the scientific literature published since 2006 to determine the impact the minimum legal drinking age of 21 has had on underage drinking, risky drinking, and driving under the influence. Proponents of lowering the drinking age have argued that a lower legal drinking age would enable young people to drink more responsibly because they wouldn't need to hide it.

What did the researchers learn? "Case closed." The minimum legal drinking age of 21 saves lives. The literature review showed that reducing the drinking age would result in an increase in DUI, underage drinking, and risky drinking. It also pointed to the public's broad support for a minimum legal drinking age of 21.

The study can be found in the February 2014 issue of The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.



Data Shows Youth E-Cigarette Use Rising

The reasons to prevent youth tobacco use are clear: 90% of adults who currently smoke started smoking before they turned 18. Youth today are being lured to nicotine addiction not by smoking, but by "vaping"--using electronic cigarettes.  
E-cigarettes look like cigarettes and are used the same way as cigarettes. They emit a vapor that looks like smoke. They contain nicotine, which is addictive. They are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and the vapors they emit have not been tested for safety. Youth are drawn to e-cigarettes because they perceive them as being safer than traditional cigarettes; however, e-cigarettes are quickly becoming the gateway to cigarette smoking.
A November 2013 CDC report indicates that the rate of e-cigarette use by middle school and high school students nationwide doubled from 2011 to 2012. E-cigarette use is appealing to young people because it is inexpensive and the vapor juice comes in flavors that appeal to adolescents, such as bubble gum, cotton candy, and watermelon.  
The consequences of e-cigarette use are becoming better known. A study released this month in the journal Pediatrics indicates that, among adolescents, e-cigarette use is associated with higher levels of ever or current cigarette smoking and lower levels of abstinence from cigarette smoking.
There are currently no federal regulations of e-cigarettes. Some states have limited the purchase of e-cigarettes to those of a certain age, but Texas has not. In Texas it is up to individual retailers to decide whether to sell them to minors.


We would love to hear about the work of our partners across Texas, and we may feature it in an upcoming issue of the TST Compass!

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