Graduation is a wonderful milestone to celebrate with family and friends. Talk2Prevent reminds parents to take time to talk with their graduates about the importance of keeping celebrations safe and alcohol-free. By serving as positive role models, talking to our teens and other parents, supervising parties, and supporting alcohol-free graduation celebrations, parents can help prevent a life-changing mistake. “It’s critical to talk with our kids. Research shows parents do make a difference in the prevention of underage and binge drinking,” stated Jennifer DeSena, Executive Director of Manhasset CASA.
Earlier this month, Manhasset High School (MHS) hosted College 101 for graduating seniors in coordination with district administration, faculty, CASA, and the SCA. Seniors rotated through three programs: The Red Watch Band Alcohol Emergency Response Program, a Sexual Assault Prevention Program, run by the Safe Center of Long Island, and an Adjustment/Transition to Freshman Year Program presented by Adelphi University Faculty. The Red Watch Band Training provided students with accurate information about the dangers of alcohol use and discussed when, where, and how to get help when every second counts to prevent a tragedy. The program empowered students to recognize the signs of an alcohol related emergency and know how to intervene properly on behalf of a friend in need. The program also challenges students’ beliefs and behaviors with regard to alcohol use, identifies high risk drinking environments, and educates them on the impact that high risk drinking has on their community at large. In Manhasset, 41.6% of 12th grade students reported binge drinking or having 5 or more alcoholic drinks in a row in the past two weeks (2017 Bach Harrison Prevention Needs Assessment Survey Results).
Parents are encouraged to Talk2Prevent as tragedies can—and do—happen as a result of underage and binge drinking. The effects of alcohol can be deceptive to a teen and young adult under the age of 21. Talk2Prevent suggests parents explain the reasons why underage drinking is dangerous and how it affects the human body: when people drink alcohol, they may temporarily feel elated and happy, but they should not be fooled. As blood alcohol content rises, the effects on the body—and the potential risks—multiply. Inhibitions and memory become affected, so people may say and do things that they will regret later and possibly not remember doing. Decision-making skills are affected. When they drink, some people may become restless and aggressive. They may be at greater risk for having an alcohol-related traffic crash, getting into ﬁghts, or making unwise decisions about sex. Coordination and physical control are also impacted. When drinking leads to loss of balance, slurred speech, and blurred vision, even normal activities can become more dangerous. Consuming too much alcohol can also lead to death. If people drink too much, they will eventually get sleepy and pass out. Reflexes like gagging and breathing can be suppressed. That means they could vomit and choke, or just stop breathing completely.
Thousands of students are transported to the emergency room each year for alcohol overdoses, which occur when high levels of alcohol suppress the nervous and respiratory systems. Signs of this dangerous condition can include: slow or irregular breathing, vomiting, mental confusion, stupor, loss of consciousness, or coma, and hypothermia or low body temperature, bluish or pale skin. An alcohol overdose can lead to permanent brain damage or death, so a person showing any of these signs requires immediate medical attention. If you or your graduates notice any of these signs, don’t wait. Call 911 if you suspect an alcohol overdose.
For more information about Manhasset CASA’s Talk2Prevent campaign go to manhassetcasa.org and talk2prevent.ny.gov. To learn more about issues related to alcohol abuse and binge drinking among college students go to collegedrinkingprevention.gov.