Sorry, kids, but the drinking age should stay at 21; it’s about saving lives

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It seems like conventional wisdom: The drinking age should be 18. After all, why should you be able to vote or serve your country in the military, but not legally buy a drink? But there’s a very compelling case for keeping the drinking age at 21: It saves lives. That may be hard to believe, but at its heart, the drinking age is supposed to stop people from drinking until they’re responsible adults. And the research shows it works — to some extent. So the laws may not be perfect, and they may be disobeyed at times. But the overall evidence is clear: A drinking age of 21 reduces use and saves lives. Continue reading

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Millions spent on ads, but scare tactics won’t prevent underage drinking; youth asset building best solution

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The Australian government invested millions of dollars per year in the ad campaign, designed to prevent underage drinking by scaring teenagers straight. The goal was a worthy one; reducing underage drinking helps reduce numerous negative societal and public health outcomes. But the real question is this: Does the technique work? “All kinds of stuff has been done in the name of prevention, ‘Your brain on drugs’ and all that crap, that wasn’t based on evidence at all,” said Michael Koresky, an educator who was works on youth substance abuse prevention. “There’s not one iota of data that says Red Ribbon campaigns have any effect at all.” Koresky had found himself in underage substance abuse prevention after years of frustration working in treatment and intervention. “(I) just got more and more frustrated trying to help these people, save these people, who are pretty far gone,” he said. “I want to go upstream and … keep them from falling in the river.” Continue reading

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Recent CDC studies reveal alcohol abuse is a growing problem

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Recently a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that alcohol-related deaths in the United States rose 37 percent from 2002 to 2014. Often we focus on reducing underage drinking, however just because you can legally drink doesn’t remove needed concerns over alcohol-related fatalities and alcoholism.
In 2014, there were more than 30,700 deaths from alcohol-related causes. Continue reading

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Early 2016 traffic deaths are occurring throughout Greater Austin region; VisionZero Taskforce talks about solutions

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It’s already a deadly year on Austin-area roadways with three local traffic deaths Monday. Austin itself set a record in 2015 with 102 traffic fatalities. Austin is getting bigger. Not the city-limits but the amount of sprawl between the city and surrounding communities. Traffic experts say the more sprawling a metro area is, the more traffic deaths reported. The local VisionZero Task Force said collecting traffic data, targeting education and more aggressive enforcement and prosecution are expected to be part of an action plan. Continue reading

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Austin hits 102 traffic fatalities for 2015 after spate of crashes

Dec. 31, 2015 – American-Statesman —  The number of Austin traffic fatalities in 2015 reached 102 Thursday — the highest annual toll Austin has ever recorded since the city started tracking the statistic in 1985.  The unusual number of deadly crashes is like “nothing we’ve ever seen before,” Austin police Cpl. Chad Martinka said.   “The numbers are extraordinarily high compared to any previous year we’ve ever had,” he said. “Part of that, I believe, is more traffic congestion. We’ve got this many people moving into the city every day that we’re going to have more crashes and, unfortunately, more fatalities.”
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Underage drinking is an adult problem; Parents who host teen drinking parties: “Helicopter Partying” – Not cool, not smart, says MADD

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“One of the things we say at MADD is that underage drinking is an adult problem,” J.T. Griffin, chief government affairs officer at Mothers Against Drunk Driving says. “In order for kids to get alcohol, there’s an adult somewhere that messed up. Someone bought it for them, someone didn’t put it away, someone left it out in the open for kids.” It’s not just the driving you have to worry about, Goodwin said. Sexual assault, alcohol poisoning. Someone falls off a deck. This is the chaos you create when you throw an underage party, Griffin continues. Continue reading

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More people drinking more; Alcohol death continue to increase; 37% since 2002 says CDC

Alcohol related death has been increased to 37% from 2002. The staggering spike in the numbers suggest that there have been more people dying because of alcohol than drugs like heroin. Continue reading

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Parents can reduce the risk of underage drinking during holidays by locking up alcohol and providing “exit plans” for teens

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Parents, the holidays are wonderful for celebrating, fun and vacation, but it can also be a risky time for you teens when alcohol is often more available.   Increased underage drinking during the holidays comes as many young folks are out … Continue reading

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APD & TABC cite 84 minors for possession of Fake ID during operation at Austin bars

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84 underage adults received citations for using fake IDs as Austin Police Department’s Downtown Command partnered up with the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission to crack down on underage drinking. Operation Fake Out hit the bars Thursday night. Many minors lost their fake IDs this past week. APD says they seized 90 fake IDs. Continue reading

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Why does someone dying from alcohol poisoning get no media coverage, while an ecstasy-related death does? It all comes down to our psychological biases towards different activities

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So what’s going on here? The answer is fear of regret. When we evaluate risks we’re often not thinking of the objective likelihood of a bad thing happening, but how terrible we will feel if it does happen and we did not take steps to prevent it. An unsecured gun is a more frightening mental image than an unsecured back door – and people react accordingly. We find it inappropriate, even offensive, to compare two activities such as popping Es and riding ponies, where one is widely seen as inherently sinful while the other is regarded as wholesome. These subjective moral spectacles are one of the reasons people tend to be rather bad at evaluating risk. Continue reading

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Do ad campaigns designed to scare teens about underage drinking really work?

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Michael Koresky, an educator who was worked on youth substance abuse prevention for more than 30 years. “There’s not one iota of data that says Red Ribbon campaigns have any effect at all.” The Anchorage School District’s youth development model relies on the premise that youth alcohol abuse often comes about as a response to trauma or other risk factors. By working to mitigate trauma’s effects on kids, the youth development model seeks to stop the cycle of trauma and self-medication before it begins. The organization eventually came up with a list of 40 developmental assets. The more of those assets a person had, the better their odds of overcoming difficulty to lead a healthy life, underage drinking a binge drinking was reduced over a dozen years. Continue reading

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Bid Farewell: Why Millennials Are Abandoning the Nightclub Nightlife Around the World

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There’s a massive trend brewing in America’s nightlife scene. The attendance of nightclubs and bars have been on a steady decline for the past several years. Nightclubs left and right are going out of business with nightclubsseveral others being threatened to close their doors. There have been massive declines of profit as well as overall revenue. Continue reading

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Student’s long history of underage drinking, binge drinking and blacking out finally comes to end

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I’m now 26 and seven years sober. But that morning in April 2008, I was a college freshman with a serious drinking problem. Six years earlier I had followed my older brother into our parents’ liquor cabinet and discovered how unafraid and sociable I could be with a little alcohol in my system. Before I even had a driver’s license I was blacking out nearly every time I drank. Continue reading

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Teenage binge drinking can rewire the brain, August “Pediatric” report says

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“For humans, this means binge drinking during adolescence may permanently change brain functioning,” says the NIAAA’s Faden. What’s more, she adds, these changes “appear to be irreversible.” Other research has shown that teens who drink heavily lose more white matter in their brain over time than do teens who don’t, Faden says. Plus, “the younger they start, the more likely they are to continue to drink and to drink larger amounts,” Lorena Siqueira, a pediatrician says. That occurs even though alcohol has a stronger effect in adolescents than it does in adults. The really sad outcome: Teens who binge drink are more likely to become alcoholics, she reports. Continue reading

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Experts say binge drinking connected to alcoholism

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“There is a clear link between early drinking and a higher lifetime risk of alcoholism,” says Joshua Hersh, a psychiatrist at the Miami University Counseling Services who treats students with various substance abuse problems, including alcoholism. Adds Sarah Benton from Psychology Today, many college-aged students who participate in binge drinking often “phase out” of the habit, but there are still some who never do and develop alcoholism. The national average of first-year students who engage in binge drinking and other high-risk drinking behaviors is 28 percent. Continue reading

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Ways to reduce extreme college drinking … 10 solutions …

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While there is no magic bullet, interviews with campus administrators, police, policymakers and researchers in Michigan and across the country suggest the most effective efforts involve sustained, coordinated measures ranging from state policy to data sharing, to a willingness to take on unpopular fights, such as curtailing welcome week and cracking down on Greek student organization party culture.
What follows are some examples of what experts suggest state lawmakers and school administrators can do to help curb campus binge drinking: 1) tweak the medical amnesty law to say that underage drinkers who qualify for medical amnesty must receive whatever alcohol education is available in their community … 2) Record contact information of anyone purchasing multiple cases of liquor .. 3) Standardized data on college drinking. Continue reading

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Downtown Austin Sobriety center could possibly move into Medical Examiner’s Facility

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A group made up of city and county staff suggests converting the current Travis County Medical Examiner facility into a sobriety center. Last year, city and county officials created the Austin-Travis County Intergovernmental Working Group to develop a plan for a potential sobriety center. The sobriety centers, also known as “drunk tanks,” are places to secure publicly intoxicated people deemed a danger to themselves or others; it could also offer support and encourage treatment for alcoholism. It’s also seen as an alternative to jail for minor public intoxication offenses. Continue reading

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What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Alcohol: Binge Drinking ( how it’s done by teens – hard, fast to get drunk)

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Drinking, and particularly binge drinking, is more common among high school students and younger children than many parents may realize, and also more dangerous. A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics focuses on binge drinking and how pediatricians should be addressing it with their young patients. As much as parents may prefer to think of it as “just drinking,” alcohol use is dangerous for the young. Drinking is associated with the three leading causes of death and serious injury in teenagers (motor vehicle accidents, homicides and suicides). Continue reading

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Parents of teen killed file lawsuit against 20-year old driver of June fatal crash in West Austin

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The parents of a 19-year-old man killed in a crash in June have filed a lawsuit blaming the driver, 20-year-old Kenneth Richmond, who was charged by Austin Police with intoxicated manslaughter. The lawsuit claims Richmond and his father, Kip Alan Richmond, were negligent. The Lopitakwongs blame Richmond for consuming alcohol while underage, driving while intoxicated and failing to control his car. Continue reading

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Some Sobering Stats on Kids and Drinking

Alcohol poses a far greater threat to children than many parents care to admit, a new report warns. Many kids start drinking at a young age, and their size and inexperience with alcohol renders them more apt to be binge drinkers, said report author Dr. Lorena Siqueira, director of adolescent medicine at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami.

Such hard drinking can prove fatal. For example, one-third of all fatal auto crashes involving alcohol happen among 15- to 20-year-olds, the report found. “The top three causes of mortality in teenagers are motor vehicle accidents, homicides and suicides, and alcohol is strongly associated with each of these,” Siqueira said. Continue reading

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