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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Teen Alcohol and Drug Use Survey

(Update: you'll note, if you take the survey, that it asks a lot of questions about these issues as it pertains to the NE. But Inga said they would be happy to hear from all parents. If you don't feel you can answer those questions, skip them. I think they would like to hear from parents about what you do/don't do in terms of talking to your children about alcohol and drugs.)

From our friends at Prevention Works in Seattle, a survey on youth substance abuse.

Prevention Works in Seattle, a coalition to prevent youth substance abuse in northeast Seattle, is interested in your views about issues of youth alcohol and marijuana use in our community. Your opinion is important to us. It will help us plan effective substance abuse prevention programs in our community.

We would appreciate if you could complete this 10-15 minute survey. We know that individuals might have different opinions about the issues in this survey, so we would like each adult in your household to complete his or her own survey.

The survey is anonymous and confidential. We will not ask for your name or other information that would be personally identifiable.

If you need a paper copy of the survey, please contact Inga Manskopf at 206.396.0919 or inmanskopf@seattleschools.org. If you would like additional information about the coalition, please visit www.preventionworksinseattle.org.

And FYI, it's coming up to being prom/graduation season. Talk to your teen if he/she will be involved in any of these activities. Also, many, many students in middle/high school have some kind of get-together at a park area on the last day of school. Many times there is a keg of beer involved. Make sure you know where your pre-teen/teen is on the last day of school.

9 comments:

SolvayGirl said...

I had to leave a LOT of questions blank because they were specific to families/children in NORTHEAST Seattle. Do they not want input from people in the other three quadrants of the city? Do they not realize that many kids go to school outside their NE neighborhoods and/or have friends from all over the city?

SolvayGirl said...

I realize that the group is based in NE Seattle and concerned about that area, but their kids don't live in a bubble. My daughter has friends all over the city (and some in outlying areas like Shoreline, etc.).

Lori said...

We got an email from our PTSA about this survey, which suggests that it was specifically designed for NE families (I can't comment on why or whether that's appropriate, just pointing it out):

Prevention Works in Seattle, a coalition to prevent youth substance use based at Eckstein Middle School, is conducting a parent survey about underage drinking and youth marijuana use in our community. Please take the survey and make your opinions on the subject known!

The survey is short and easy to take. All you need to do is go online to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NESeattleParentSurvey and take 10 minutes to let us know what you, as parents, think about youth substance use....


The name of the survey is the NESeattleParentSurvey, for whatever that's worth!

Melissa Westbrook said...

My fault - yes, she said it was written for NE as it is a NE org but they are happy for input from all corners.

I wish it hadn't been written that way. I actually left a lot of the NE questions blank because I really don't know what a lot of other NE families are doing.

Chris S. said...

OK, that was a weird survey. I live in the NE and I still had to leave a lot of questions blank. Maybe I will talk about these things with my parent-peers when my kid gets a little older (1st yr at Eckstein) but no, I don't know if my neighbors check their children's breath!

I don't see see any point to the regional focus either. I'm having a little trouble framing my thoughts, maybe it's that we as a society have a great deal of ambivalence about substance use/abuse and the survey wants me to agree or disagree on what is "acceptable?"

Patrick said...

I got to the first page and stopped taking the survey. Too many questions could only be answered as "it depends on the circumstances". Wine diluted 1 part wine to 5 parts water at family dinner is harmless, in my opinion, even for kids under 18. It may even be a good thing, as it sets the example that alcohol can be enjoyed without binge drinking.

Anonymous said...

Patrick said: "Wine diluted 1 part wine to 5 parts water at family dinner is harmless, in my opinion, even for kids under 18. It may even be a good thing, as it sets the example that alcohol can be enjoyed without binge drinking."

I don't want to get into a big argument because people seem to get bent out of shape on this topic, and for many people there are (sadly) deep cultural ties to alcohol, but methinks you should attend one of the PreventionWorks meetings (or any other similar group with in depth knowledge on the subject) to understand the reality of the issues. Your choice, of course, but at least don't perpetuate urban myths like this. Please :-) (This behavior acclimates the kids; would you give them a diluted whiskey?)

I suppose most people who think the above is ok will just pooh-pooh real data, but here are just a couple quick links for those who have any interest:

NIH PSA A quote: "A person who begins drinking as a young teen is four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than someone who waits until adulthood to use alcohol."

Surgeon General article Quote: "Drinking alcohol can harm the growing body and brain. That’s why it’s important for young people to grow up alcohol-free. And it takes everyone to help young people choose not to drink alcohol. It takes you."

And a bunch more info and links here: Stop Alcohol Abuse

I doubt The Facts will change anyone's mind if they truly think it's okay to inculcate their children with the notion that diluted drinks for kids/teens are okay, but if I can encourage even one person to start reading and taking the data seriously, the discussion's worth it.

hschinske said...

none1111, I didn't see a single thing in the materials you cited that addressed the kind of formal-dinner situation that Patrick was talking about. I doubt that sort of thing is even on their radar, as most teens who grow up in that atmosphere don't consider themselves drinkers and don't say they are on surveys.

I can believe that such a practice might not be a wise one in a family that for some other reason has a high risk of alcoholism, but in that situation very likely the parents shouldn't be drinking either.

Helen Schinske

Inga Manskopf said...

To answer some of your questions . . .

1) As a coalition, we have struggled with what constitutes our community. It's difficult in an urban area such as ours. However, the grant that funds Prevention WINS (coalition) was awarded to Eckstein because underage drinking rates are high among Roosevelt and Nathan Hale High School students. The same grant was awarded to Madison Middle School because they have high underage drinking rates in West Seattle. While we would like to do prevention programming for ALL of Seattle, we only have the resources through the grant to provide prevention programming in our communities -- in our case NE Seattle. We are asking for the opinions of NE Seattle parents because the majority of our prevention strategies will be targeting parents in NE Seattle. While we realize that kids go to school outside their neighborhoods and have friends from all over the city, we only have the resources to serve NE Seattle parents and students. So, we welcome input from all parents because we know parents and children don't just stay in their neighborhoods, but we need to also keep in mind that we have limited resources.

For instance, though we know that all schools in Seattle need substance abuse prevention curricula and drug/alcohol counselors, the coalition only has the resources to fund these things in NE Seattle.

If you live in Central, South, or West Seattle, contact me and I can put you in touch with coalition coordinator’s in those communities.

2) As far as the questions about what you think other parents are doing, those questions are being asked to determine what the perceived norms are among parents in our community. For instance, if most parents answer one question stating that they personally talk to their children about not using marijuana but then answer another question stating that they think that most other parents do not talk to their children about marijuana, we can use that information to create a social norms campaign for parents. (I know I am not going to be able to do justice to this topic, so I suggest you check out www.MostOfUs.org.) We could use that information to create a message that includes, "Most parents talk to their children about not using marijuana." While this may seem simplistic, research has shown that positive messages about norms increase the liklihood that people, in this case parents, will either continue to do the "right thing" or start doing the "right thing" because they know others are doing it, too.

I understand that the majority of us may not KNOW what other parents are doing, but the question is more about what you THINK other parents are doing. In my job, I continually hear parents complaining about other parents who allow their kids to drink. Is that based on any sort of knowledge? Maybe. But I know that parents have perceptions about other parents and their behaviors without really knowing.

Prevention WINS is a community coalition and everyone is welcome to join. We can always use more input from parents about our activities, including the development of a parent survey. We need more community participation so that we can address youth substance use community-wide.

I appreciate hearing from all of you and being able to respond to your questions and concerns. I wish more people would ask questions and voice concerns!

Inga Manskopf
inmanskopf@seattleschools.org
www.PreventionWorksInSeattle.org