Monday, April 14, 2014

Facts About Underage Drinking

Alcohol Dependence or Abuse and Age at First Use:
• Approximately 10% of 9 to 10-year-olds have started drinking.
Nearly one-third of youth begin drinking before age 13.1
• Persons reporting first use of alcohol before age 15 are more than 5
times as likely to report past-year alcohol dependence or abuse than
persons who first used alcohol at age 21 or older (16 vs. 3%).

Underage Drinking Among College Students
• An estimated 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24
die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including
motor vehicle crashes. Approximately 600,000 students are
unintentionally injured while under the influence of alcohol.

• Approximately 700,000 students are assaulted by other students
who have been drinking.

• About 100,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault
or date rape.

• Young adults aged 18 to 22 enrolled full-time in college were
more likely than their peers not enrolled full-time (i.e., part-time
college students and persons not currently enrolled in college)
to use alcohol in the past month, binge drink, or drink heavily.
Past-month alcohol use was reported by 66.4% of full-time college
students compared with 54.1% of persons aged 18 to 22 who
were not enrolled full-time. Binge and heavy-use rates for college
students were 45.5 and 19.0%, respectively, compared with 38.4
and 13.3%, respectively, for 18- to 22-year-olds not enrolled full
time in college.

Binge Drinking Among Underage Youth
• In 2006, about 10.8 million persons aged 12 to 20 (28.3% of
this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month.
Approximately 7.2 million (19.0%) were binge drinkers, and 2.4
million (6.2%) were heavy drinkers. These figures have remained
essentially the same since the 2002 survey.

• When youth drink, they tend to drink intensively, often consuming
four to five drinks at one time. Monitoring The Future (MTF) data
show that 11% of 8th graders, 22% of 10th graders, and 29% of
12th graders had engaged in heavy episodic—or binge—drinking
within the past 2 weeks. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse
and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of
drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration [BAC] to
.08 grams or above. For the typical adult, this pattern corresponds
to consuming five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks
for women, in about 2 hours.

• Nationwide, 25.5% of students had had more than 5 drinks of
alcohol in a row (i.e., within a couple of hours) on more than 1 of
the 30 days preceding the survey (i.e., heavy episodic drinking).

Alcohol Use and Adolescent Development
• Alcohol is the drug of choice among America’s adolescents, used by
more young people than tobacco or illicit drugs.
• Children of alcoholics (COAs) are between 4 and 10 times more
likely to become alcoholics than children from families with no
alcoholic adults. COAs are at elevated risk for earlier onset of
drinking and earlier progression into drinking problems.
• Among 8th graders, 30-day prevalence of alcohol use has declined
by more than one-third since its peak level in 1996. Among 10th
and 12th graders, the proportional declines from recent peaks have
been smaller—one-sixth among 10th graders since 2000 and one-seventh
among 12th graders since 1997.
• In 2006, the prevalence of being drunk at least once in the prior
month stands at 6% of 8th graders, 19% of 10th graders, and
30% of 12th graders.
• Past 30-day prevalence of the use of flavored alcoholic beverages
(sometimes called “alcopops” or “malternatives”) was at slightly
lower levels in 2006 in all grades than in 2005, having declined by
1.1 percentage points among 8th graders and 3.7 percentage points
among 12th graders.

Health and Safety Risks of Underage Drinking
• Underage drinking is a risk factor for heavy drinking later in life,
and continued heavy use of alcohol leads to increased risk across
the lifespan for acute consequences and for medical problems such
as cancers of the oral cavity, larynx, pharynx, and esophagus; liver
cirrhosis; pancreatitis; and hemorrhagic stroke.
• Underage drinking is a leading contributor to death from injuries,
which are the main cause of death for people under age 21.
Annually, about 5,000 people under age 21 die from alcoholrelated
injuries involving underage drinking. About 1,900 (38%) of
the 5,000 deaths involve motor vehicle crashes, about 1,600 (32%)
result from homicides, and about 300 (6%) result from suicides.
• Youth who report drinking before the age of 15 are more likely
than those who begin drinking later in life to have other substance
abuse problems during adolescence; to engage in risky sexual
behavior; and to be involved in car crashes, unintentional injuries,
and physical fights after drinking, both during adolescence and in
• Underage drinking plays a significant role in risky sexual behavior,
including unwanted, unintended, and unprotected sexual activity,
and sex with multiple partners. Such behavior increases the risk
for unplanned pregnancy and for contracting sexually transmitted
diseases (STDs), including infection with HIV/AIDS.
• Among the 33.9% of currently sexually active students nationwide,
23.3% had drunk alcohol or used drugs before their last incidence
of sexual intercourse.

Taken from the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Alcohol:  Family History and Genetics
Why do some people become addicted to alcohol and drugs and others do not?

Whether a person decides to use alcohol or drugs is a choice, influenced by their
environment--peers, family, and availability. But, once a person uses alcohol or drugs, the risk of developing alcoholism or drug dependence is largely influenced by genetics.
Alcoholism and drug dependence are not moral issues, are not a matter of choice or a lack of willpower. Plain and simple, some people’s bodies respond to the effects of alcohol and drugs differently.

FACT: The single most reliable indicator of risk for future alcohol and drug problems is Family History.

Research has shown conclusively that family history of alcoholism or drug addiction is in part genetic and not just the result of the family environment. And, millions of Americans are living proof, based on personal, firsthand experience that alcoholism and drug addiction run in families. Plain and simple, alcoholism and drug dependence run in families.

What do we mean by family history?:

Although the definition of “family history” has differed among researchers, we mean when either or both of the person's parent has had an alcohol or drug problem.

What About Genetics and Disease?:

Genes provide the information that directs how our bodies respond at the cellular level. Research indicates that over 99% of our genes are the same and the 1% that are different account for visible differences (hair color, height, etc.) and invisible differences, such as our risk of diabetes, heart disease or addiction to alcohol or drugs.

Our Health: NOT Nature vs. Nurture BUT, Nature and Nurture:

Individual health is the result of the interaction between genes and environment. As an
example, our risk of developing high blood pressure is influenced by both genetics and
environment, including diet, stress, and exercise.

Genetically Complex: Some diseases, like sickle cell anemia or cystic fibrosis, are caused by an error in a single gene. However, most diseases, like alcoholism and drug dependence, are considered genetically complex and involve variations in a number of different genes.

“Alcohol dependence and dependence on other drugs frequently co-occur, and strong evidence suggests that both disorders are, at least in part, influenced by genetic factors.  In recent years, researchers have identified numerous genes as affecting risk for dependence on alcohol and drugs. These include genes involved in alcohol metabolism as well as in the transmission of nerve cell signals and modulation of nerve cell activity.”

From “The Genetics of Alcohol and Other Drug Dependence,” by Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D., and Arpana Agrawal, Ph.D.

Twin Studies and Adoption Studies - Is Alcoholism Inherited:

“Relatives of alcoholics have higher rates of the disease than do relatives of non-alcoholics.”   But is this nature or nurture? Perhaps some of each, but let’s look at the evidence for heredity.  Twin studies offer a chance to compare the influence of genetics versus environment.  Identical twins (one-egg twins) share exactly the same set of genes while fraternal twins (two-egg twins), like ordinary siblings, share only one-half their genes. A higher rate of concordance (similarity) between identical twins compared with fraternal twins would argue for heredity. In other words, how often are both twins affected together rather than only one. The evidence favors heredity with figures like 60% (identical) versus 39% (fraternal) in one Scandinavian study."

“Even more interesting are the results from adoption studies. When adopted in infancy and studied into adulthood, sons of alcoholics were 4 times as likely to be alcoholic as were sons of non-alcoholics. And this risk was not affected by the alcoholism status of the adopted parent!  “Certainly heredity cannot account for all causation in alcoholism but in that manner it is much like diabetes or heart disease that also have an inherited component.”

From ASK DR. BOB, published by NCADD and written by Robert M. Morse, MD, former Director of Addictive Disorders Services at the Mayo Clinic, NCADD Board Member and member of NCADD’s Medical/Scientific Committee.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services joins in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) helps to protect you from discrimination in certain health care and social service programs. Some of these programs may include:

  • Hospitals, health clinics, nursing homes
  • Medicaid and Medicare agencies
  • Welfare programs
  • Day care centers
  • Doctors’ offices and pharmacies
  • Children’s health programs
  • Alcohol and drug treatment centers
  • Adoption agencies
  • Mental health and developmental disabilities agencies

What Does OCR Do To Protect Your Rights?
  • OCR teaches health and social service workers about civil rights, health information privacy, and patient safety confidentiality laws that they must follow;
  • OCR educates communities about civil rights and health information privacy rights;
  • OCR investigates civil rights, health information privacy and patient safety confidentiality complaints to find out if there is discrimination or violation of the law and takes action to correct problems.
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in a speech to the Medical Committee for Human Rights, 1966

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April is Alcohol Awareness Month
The theme for 2014 is Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.  No other substance is more widely used and abused by America’s youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related problems the number one public health problem in the United States.  Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous—both to themselves and to society, and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors. Annually, over 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related accidents and thousands more are injured.

  • Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America's young people, and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
  • Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
  • Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.
  • More than 1,700 college students in the U.S. are killed each year—about 4.65 a day—as a result of alcohol-related injuries.
  • 25% of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family.
  • Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually.
Reducing underage drinking is critical to securing a healthy future for America's youth and requires a cooperative effort from parents, schools, community organizations, business leaders, government agencies, the entertainment industry, alcohol manufacturers/retailers and young people.

Four areas that have proven to be effective in prevention of this problem:

1) Curtailing the availability of alcohol to underage populations;

2) Consistent enforcement of existing laws and regulations regarding alcohol purchase;

3) Changing cultural misconceptions and behaviors about alcohol use through education; and

4) Expanded access to treatment and recovery support for adolescents and their families.


*Information taken from

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month-Every March, Nutrition and Dietetics promotes National Nutrition Month. Nutrition is important, especially for older adults. A healthy diet can reduce risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Eating right can also improve cognition, provide a greater resistance to disease and illness, produce higher energy levels, and create a healthier immune system.

Essential Nutrients for seniors are water, vitamin B, and vitamin D. As we age, our bodies can lose some of our ability to control fluid levels. As a result, older adults have a decreased sense of feeling thirsty. To avoid urinary tract infections (UTI), constipation, and confusion, we need to be sure to drink plenty of water. Our stomach absorbs less vitamin B-12 after the age of 50, so it’s important to get the recommended daily amount through fortified foods or vitamin supplements. Vitamin D is vital to absorbing calcium, mainly through sun exposure.

Nutrition Tips for seniors:

1. Reduce Salt to help to inhibit water retention and high blood pressure.
2. Increase Your Fiber to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and help with digestion. Examples of high fiber foods are: raw fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains.
3. By monitoring ‘good’ fats in your diet, it can control the bad cholesterol levels and raise better levels. Food preferences for ‘good’ fats include: olive oil, avocados, salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed.
4. Eating bad carbs can provide temporary energy and spikes in your blood sugar levels. White flour, refined sugar, and white rice are examples of bad carbohydrates. Lean towards good carbs such as whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. These options can provide long-lasting energy and stable blood sugar levels.

Meals for seniors: Through the Aging & Disability Resource Center, we provide Meals on Wheels (MOW) for individuals 60+ and information on nutrition sites within Columbia County. For more information on our MOW program and/or contact information for local nutrition sites, please call #608-742-9233 or 800-742-9233 for further information.

Visit and for more information on National Nutrition Month.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

March Enrollment Fair Coming

Come on by to the Marketplace Enrollment Fair to get assistance with There will be agents and certified assisters ready to help! Remember, coverage is mandatory. Whether you are uninsured, losing coverage, or just curious, lets explore your health coverage today!

Important deadlines:
If you apply on by March 15th, your coverage starts April 1st. Last day to apply for 2014 coverage is March 31st and coverage will start May 1st. If you currently have BadgerCare, make sure it is not ending April 1st. If it is, we can help you find your next options.

Please bring the following items:
 ID Information for all members of your family
 Income for all family members
 Information about insurance offered through your job or spouse’s job
*Applicants will be taken on a first come, first serve basis

Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Fair
MATC-Portage Campus
Room 103
Portage, WI 53901
Saturday, March 8, 2014 from 9am - 3pm

General inquires, please call 608-288-2545 or email

Monday, February 17, 2014

Prevent Suicide Columbia County!

Our Suicide Prevention Coalition continues to move forward with activities that promote suicide prevention. To date, we have trained over 700 people in our community in “QPR”, an evidence-based training that teaches ANYone how they can have a helpful conversation with someone who is (or may be) suicidal. Our coalition meets on the third Thursday of each month from 1-3 PM in the John Roche Room at the Columbia County Law Enforcement Center in Portage. If you would like to become a part of our efforts, please contact Sara Jesse at: for more information. Some suicide
prevention-focused events coming up:

• February 25th – QPR (Question Persuade Refer) Suicide Prevention training in the John Roche Room at the Columbia County Law Enforcement Center in Portage from 10:00-11:30 AM. This particular training is geared towards law enforcement, but if you would like to also attend, please contact Debbie Millman at: to see if there is room.

• March 3rd – Our “Columbia County Connects to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse” coalition is hosting a “School Health Summit” in Wisconsin Dells at Glacier Canyon Lodge from 9AM - 2PM. Please contact Heather Fish at: for more information or click on the following link for event details:

• March 8th – Shamrock Shuffle in Cambria – a 5K race sponsored by the Cambria 4H club. All proceeds will go towards funding the activities of “Prevent Suicide Columbia County”. For more information, please contact Heather Gove at:

• March 26th – QPR training for Foster Parents will be held at Health & Human Services in Portage from 5-6:30 PM. Please contact Megan Vinje at: for more information. This training will be geared towards foster parents and anyone interested in becoming a foster parent in Columbia County.