Drug and Alcohol Abuse

High Socioeconomic Status Brings Risk of Excessive Drinking with Aging

British researchers found a silent epidemic of heavy drinking among the affluent and otherwise healthy aging population they studied. Alice Walton reported the study originally published in the British Medical Journal in a recent issue of Forbes magazine.(July 24, 2015)

Curiously, those who were non-smokers, with better overall health, with higher income, more education and active social networks tended to be heavy drinkers. Alcohol risk factors for women include higher income levels and retirement, while for men increased risk factors appeared to peak in their mid 60's and are associated with being single, separated or divorced. 

The authors worry that education about the harmful risk of heavy drinking is not reaching this well-educated, affluent group of people. Perhaps higher income and relatively good physical health give a false sense of security against the risk of drinking. Whatever the reasons,  it makes good sense to take all prudent measures we know contribute to good health and to avoid excessive consumption of alcohol at any age.



Teenage Drinking


Rumson police announced arrests yesterday of three teenage pedestrians for underage drinking after police were apparently called for loud, blasphemous comments by the teens in question.1   

The arrests come as part of a conscientious regional approach in cooperation with Fairhaven to diminish underage teen drinking. 

Now that the windows are open in the warm weather, it's not difficult to hear the sound of rowdy pedestrian traffic late at night, often young people. Discarded beer cans often litter Rumson Road alongside the church property during the summer months. An increase in public awareness and a renewed vigilance in enforcement and prevention of teen drinking is quite timely as summer approaches and graduation parties kick into gear.


Rumson - Fair Haven Municipal Alliance to Prevent Drug and Alcohol Abuse


Rumson and Fair Haven have joined together in a regional effort to combat drug and alcohol abuse in our communities, especially among our young people and in both our public and private schools.


The Serenity Prayer


A part-time Municipal Alliance Coordinator will be employed by both governments to implement a grant received from the Governor's Council of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, provide comprehensive substance abuse prevention programs to the communities of Rumson and Fair Haven, address community risk factors through collaborative planning with local resources. The Coordinator will also provide support to existing resources, i.e. schools, local law enforcement and recreation departments.

Holy Cross looks forward to cooperating with the Municipal Alliance Coordinator when named, and welcomes assistance in providing our students, their parents and parishioners with timely information and education to prevent drug and alcohol abuse.


Key Parties for Underage Teen Drinkers?

Despite the fact that they are illegal and that high school administrators routinely denounce the practice, some parents host supervised drinking parties for their underage teens, especially for graduations. Parents who break the law choose to allow the drinking reasoning that drinking done under their supervision will help teens to drink responsibly, or at least protect them from harm for the moment. "They've got to learn someday," the common sense wisdom goes.

A recent study belies this bit of folk wisdom. Researchers followed 7th graders for three years, and found that the younger the child began drinking, the more likley they were to continue drinking - with or without parental supervision. Trouble is, the supervised group drank more, not less and had significantly more adverse alcohol-related events (sickness, passing out, blacking out, etc.).  The supervised use of alcohol appears to encourage alcohol's use, but not responsible drinking.

"Kids need parents to be parents and not drinking buddies," says study researcher Barbara J. McMorris, PhD. Permissive parenting may only be part of the problem though. Parents may need to examine the importance of alcohol in their own lives and establish a "no use" policy for their teens instead of initiating them into a problem at an even younger age.


Teenage Alcohol Abuse Awareness in Wealthy Families

Teenage Drinking

A study published Monday studied 13 year olds and their drinking behavior. Children in wealthier families tended to abuse alcohol more frequently than less economically advantaged children.

The lead author of the study published in Pediatrics, Roberto Melotti speculates that teenagers from wealthier families may have easier access to alcohol. The research reinforces the fact that all parents should be aware of the problem of early drinking -- but maybe particularly so in higher income families.

"More advantaged families tend to have healthier behavior" in general, lead author Roberto Melotti, of the University of Bristol, said in an e-mail. "Our results indicate an example where this is not the case." At age 13, many kids who drink may get the alcohol from their own house, Melotti noted. So parents may want to make sure any alcohol is locked away, he said.

Did you know that teens who attend church services and pray have lower rates of alcohol and drug abuse?  


Drug and Alcohol Task Force Leadership Meeting

Meeting_conference_141616  Many community leaders, including myself and Mrs. Graham met two weeks ago for a follow-up discussion of how to minimize drug and alcohol abuse in our community, especially in our schools. The meeting was kindly hosted by Nativity parish. Many of the participants were faculty, staff or volunteers of the high school.

We listened to a presentation by Caron Institute on drug education and prevention in a community using a model they have tested in a town in Connecticut. Brainstorming, small group process (groan!) was done on three questions, perhaps most importantly, who should be involved in the education/prevention process. A group of individuals were identified and will be invited to participate in the ongoing planning discussions.

Opinions were varied and ranged between the view that education of the community about the dangers of addictions would be effective, while others insisted that only a strict enforcement of a consequence-based policy of sobriety within the school and community would be effective.  

It seems to me there is not only one correct measure to take, otherwise the solution would be self-evident. So far, not so good. I hope the group finds direction; it's such an important problem to prevent in the first place if possible, and if young people are addicted to detect it to save lives.

Meantime, we have had at least two presentations and discussions with parents of our children about the extent of drug and alcohol abuse among the young people in our area. It's important for us, even as a community with a grammar school to educate our children, and be vigilant about how they spend their free time especially as they transition from grammar school to high school.

We'll keep you posted about further developments. 

Parents Act to Prevent and Detect Drug and Alcohol Abuse in their Children

alcoholism, youth, drink, red cup, booze, alcohol Last night a group of parents listened to a presentation by Denise Stevens from Prevention First on the dangers of substance abuse in our community and particulary in children and adolescents.

There was a healthy Question and Answer session during which several important issues were raised, specifically to put the problem in context in our community. Prevention First provided many helpful education materials for parents.

A Community Leadership Task Force meeting in two weeks will discuss planning to prevent and treat substance abuse problems in our adolescents and community.

Rumson-Fair Haven Community Leaders Task Force Meeting May 5th

Silhouette of unidentified male teen drinking beer Community leaders of both the Rumson and Fair Haven communities have been invited to a Task Force meeting on the problem of adolescent drug and alcohol use. This is a follow-up to the first meeting which reviewed data from a self-reported survey of our high school students. Since the community leaders meeting, 94% of our high school parents have seen the same statistics. Now it's time to do something about them. Representatives from the Caron Foundation, an addiction recovery and research group, will also attend the meeting.

Parent Meeting at Rumson-Fair Haven High School

Buildings_educate_188918 As many of you know, last May the students of RFH High School completed an anonymous survey on their drug and alcohol use. Two meetings have been scheduled by the school to discuss the results with their parents: January 6th and January 14th in the school's auditorium.

The school has made this meeting mandatory for all parents of any students who wish to participate in any extra-curricular activity or receive a parking permit from the school. Obviously, the hope is for all parents to attend one of these important meetings.

Before planning a strategy to minimize the impact of drug and alcohol in the school, parents must have the results and analysis of this survey.

Drug and Alcohol Use Patterns in Our Community

0623_Alcohol_Drug_logo Educators and community leaders met last tonight at the high school to learn the results of an anonymous survey taken by all the high school students last May on their drug and alcohol use and that of their friends. Mrs. Graham and I both attended the meeting.

As many suspected, the survey reveals a significant drug and alcohol problem among our youth. Even though the survey reponses dealt primarily with drug and alcohol use among high school age youth, it may well indicate a problem with drugs and alcohol in our families and homes in general. This would surely be the case among those families which permit or encourage routine underage drinking in the home.

 The survey measured casual and first use of drugs and alcohol along with regular and heavy use. Alcohol, marijuana and cocaine, from what I can recall, seem to pose the greatest risk of abuse for young people from this area. Sadly, a significant percentage of graduating seniors already have already developed dependent patterns of drug and alcohol abuse.

As I recall, nearly all categories of drug use were higher in our community than the average of the student sample, with the exception of inhalant and hallucinogenic drug use by our young people, which were lower.

The purpose of the meeting was to present the data only. Subsequent meetings will plan a strategy to deal with what educators had suspected  and the survey confirms, an increasingly serious problem in our community. The Board of education will make the data available in the coming days and weeks. 

Holy Cross will evaluate and promote appropriate community and school programs to curb addictive use of alcohol and prevent recreational use of addictive or illegal drugs.