Recently there was some media buzz about women and alcohol, and how our society should approach the topic.
It all started when Emily Yoffe, a writer for Slate, wrote this column on college women, drinking, and sexual assault. If you don’t feel like reading the whole article, a headline pops up on the website which sums it up: “The Best Rape Prevention: Tell College Women to Stop Getting So Wasted”. (To be fair, the article is more nuanced than that, and I’m not convinced Ms. Yoffe wrote that tagline.)
The response to the article was swift. Some responded with rebuttals while others strongly agreed. The New York Times ran a “Room for Debate” piece that had a number of interesting viewpoints. Basically, opinions seem to fall down two lines: one party thinks women imbibing alcohol become vulnerable to sexual assault, and they should be told not to drink in order to protect themselves. The other sees this as a victim-blaming piece of advice that support a status quo in which rape culture runs rampant, and young women are expected to prevent their own rape.
So, even though I’m late to the game, I thought I’d give my take on this (although I’ve covered a lot of it in my Teens and Sexual Assault series).
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The Silk Road sounds like a title of a romance novel, but in reality the story behind it is much more sinister. It is the name of an anonymous online market place for illicit drugs and has made headlines this week as the Federal Bureau of Investigations shut down the original version and arrested the person who started it. I first learned of the Silk Road last week at a symposium for pediatricians. A guest speaker at the conference, who is an expert on substance abuse, highlighted the fact that many teens are well aware of how to get drugs – illegal drugs – on the internet. I was dumbfounded (and so were nearly all of the other pediatricians in the room)! If something is illegal, shouldn’t it be a challenge to order and have delivered to your home? Apparently, it’s not that hard at all. Read full post »
Headlines have appeared recently about “Krokodil”, an intravenous drug common in Russia, that has made its way to the United States. It is reported to be “more perilous than heroin“, a “flesh-eating zombie drug“, and even a “zombie apocalypse drug“.
While Krokodil is an incredibly dangerous way to get high, it’s also unlikely to bring on the zombie apocalypse. Let’s talk about Krokodil, what it is and what it isn’t, and how to best warn your teen away from it.
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Tobacco use is still pretty common, even though we now know that tobacco is dangerous and can lead to problems such as cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease in addition to cosmetic things like bad breath and yellow stained teeth. We wanted to talk about tobacco use amongst teens in order to highlight that it is still a drug being abused by teens so it’s important for parents to discuss the risks.
The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day encompass some of the most amazing events of the year for teens: Prom, graduation, summer vacation. These times of celebration are sometimes accompanied by parties involving alcohol and drugs which can lead to dangerous circumstances. In Washington, the 4 months between May and September are some of the most dangerous for teen drivers. The local news station just ran a story about this issue and I know we’ve covered the dangers of alcohol as well as teen driving, but feel it’s very timely to cover it again.
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There is nothing safe about being your own pharmacist: Guest Blogger Alexis Barrere RN
A teen worried about their weight may overhear that their sibling’s ADHD medicines was making them less hungry and choose to started sneaking some of their siblings pills every few days. Or a teen who finds an old bottle of painkillers that had been left over from their dad’s operation may decide to try them or share them with friends, assuming the pills are safe since a medical provider prescribed them. Sometimes parents even give their own prescription medications to their kids. Taking prescription drugs in a way that hasn’t been recommended by a doctor can be more dangerous than people think. In fact, it’s drug abuse. And it’s just as illegal as taking street drugs.
Teens experiment with prescription drugs because they think they will help them have more fun, lose weight, fit in, and even study more effectively. Prescription drugs can also be easier to get than street drugs. Family members or friends may have them, but prescription drugs are also sold on the street like other illegal drugs. A 2009 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that prescription drug abuse is on the rise, with 20% of teens saying they have taken a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription. Read full post »
Most parents have talked to their teen about the importance of refraining from alcohol and drug use. However, many parents will also be faced with the question from their teen, “Well, did you ever drink/ use drugs?”
Parents who did not abstain may be taken aback, and unsure what to say. If you’re someone who did experiment with alcohol and drugs in their own past, you might be wondering how to relate that history, if at all. Should you lie and say you never experimented? Should you refuse to answer? Should you change the subject? Read full post »
Alcohol use among adolescents continues to be a concerning problem. While 71% of teens have tried alcohol by the time they’re in high school, even more scary is that 8% have driven while intoxicated. Parents can play an important role in preventing underage alcohol use. We’ve covered alcohol use previous posts, but wanted to highlight an opportunity for parents to learn more about alcohol prevention from experts that will happen on April 25, 2013:
In partnership with the Prevention WINS coalition, the Seattle Children’s Division of Adolescent Medicine invites parents to a special movie night Read full post »
Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend. I’ll admit I’m not a huge football fan, but I always enjoy watching the half time show and the commercials. The commercials are entertaining, but they can also be an opportunity for us to talk with our kids about what we’re seeing on TV. In fact, a recent study came out that re-enforces the need to have conversations about advertisements. It found that teens who watch alcohol ads and like them as young teens are more likely to abuse alcohol as older teens. Read full post »
In this post, and posts to come, I’m going to talk about safety measures that teens can take to try and lower their risk of sexual assault. However, that comes with two important caveats. The first is that, unfortunately, there is nothing a teen can do to keep themselves 100% safe from sexual assault. The second is that if a sexual assault occurs, the blame is 100% on the perpetrator. It does not matter how the victim was acting, or what risks they took, or whether or not they showed good judgment in the situations leading up to the assault; a person who sexually assaults another person is the only one who bears responsibility for that assault.
The tips I am giving in the next few posts are ways to possibly lower risk, but someone who chooses to ignore all of them should never be blamed if they are attacked. Sometimes I wonder if we spend time teaching our teens to take safety measures and then forget to teach our teens to not sexually assault people. Like I mentioned in my last post, take the time to discuss with your teen, no matter what their gender, what is and is not acceptable. Again, I’m not implying your teen is the type of person to victimize someone, but they might be able to speak up to help someone else. If one teen had chosen to call the police when they saw what was happening during the Steubenville incident, the victim’s assaults- or at least some of them- might never have happened. Read full post »