Archive for the ‘Alcohol Policy’ Category

Alcohol is Affecting Our Teens More Than We Thought

Results from a recently published survey of Santa Monica teens revealed striking statistics about underage drinking perceptions and behaviors, including:

  • Most believe alcohol is “somewhat” or “very easy” to get (86%)
  • 1 in 4 report they “binge drank” (5+ alcoholic drinks in one session) at least once over the previous 30 days
  • Nearly 1/3 of those who have ever used alcohol have blacked out at least once (28%)
  • Most were only 13-14 years old when they first tried drinking alcohol

As adults in Santa Monica — from parents, to teachers, to business owners, and beyond – we should be disappointed by these numbers.

We often view drinking and driving as the biggest danger associated with underage drinking. We think when adults “take away the keys,” they somehow create a safer environment for youth to drink. This simply isn’t true. Alcohol’s threat to young people extends well beyond car crashes.

Research shows that adolescents are far more susceptible to alcohol and need only to drink half as much as adults to suffer the same effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience unintentional injuries such as burns, falls, and drowning, and memory problems, and have a higher risk for unplanned or unwanted sexual activity, memory disruptions, depression suicidal thoughts, and violence.

Additionally, several studies show alcohol can cause changes in the structure and function in the developing adolescent brain. The prefrontal cortex – the region of the brain responsible for things like planning, idea creation, decision-making and self-control, undergoes the most change in adolescent years. Premature drinking can significantly impact this part of the brain, including the formation of adult personality and behavior.

As adults, it is our responsibility to protect our youth from the harms of underage drinking. We must be proactive in preventing problems before they arise, and understand how our behaviors as adults can influence a teen’s decision to drink.

Educating ourselves and our children is certainly important, but will only take us so far in addressing this complex problem. I believe we need to take a greater step and create changes at the community level. That means heightening our standards. It also means implementing strategies – even Social Host ordinances, like so many other communities have done – that reduce the incidence of house parties, which are consistently places of high risk for teens and alcohol.

Underage drinking is a complex problem requiring a complex set of solutions; there’s no excuse for apathy. We need to be willing to take the steps necessary to make it happen.

Trisha Roth has worked on the Westside as a pediatrician with a central focus on addiction and recovery for over 21 years. She is the former Chair of Substance Abuse for the American Academy of Pediatrics Chapter 2 of California.

– By Trisha Roth, MD, FAAP


Let’s drink and make bad choices.

Let's drink and make bad choicesThis t-shirt below exemplifies how executive function disconnects from the rest of the brain with alcohol: let’s drink and make bad choices.


Alcohol Neurobiology: Understanding the effect of alcohol on the developing brain of the adolescent.

Rental  car companies understand that adolescents and emerging adults  under 25 do not yet have the executive controls in their brain in place.  Therefore   they  do not rent cars to people under 25 without charging  a substantial premium. We are just learning the effects of alcohol on the developing teen brain: alcohol-neurobiology.


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Archived Webinar 11/18/2010

Too  many teenagers become pregnant after sex under the influence.  Frequently they  do not realize that  they are pregnant , hence  they continue drinking during the most critical developmental times of their pregnancy.  Below is a fact sheet, a presentation and a link to the webinar archive.




American Academy of Pediatrics California Chapter 1 Alcohol Presentation

Dr Cathy McDonald, M.D., M.P.H Project Director, Alameda County ATOD Provider Network

Tackling Teen Alcohol Use: The Six G’s.


AAP POLICY: Alcohol Use: A Pediatric Concern

The Surgeon General and SAMSHA  designated underage drinking as a primary focus during  April Alcohol Awareness  Month 2010 . This is the AAP’s  most recent position paper on the subject.

AAP  POLICY : Alcohol Use: A Pediatric Concern


Santa Monica Underage Drinking Town Hall Feedback Form


The American Academy of Pediatrics in Collaboration with the SAMSHA held a town hall on underage drinking on April 6,2010. As part of the joint effort to increase awareness and problem solve, data is being collected  aggregately…no individual names.  Please give us your feedback so that we can accurately present the points of view of the participants.

Click here to view all feedback forms.


Town Hall on Underage Drinking Santa Monica 2010

The American Academy of Pediatrics along with SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) collaborated on underage drinking in the Santa Monica area.

This meeting was held in the Santa Monica Library. Some participants include the Santa Monica Police Department; Renee Talbot, Youth Investigator; Dr Brandy Cohen-Brown, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist; and John Doyle of Nicholas and Doyle Law Firm which specializing in social hosting liability.

Watch the full video here.

Social Hosting Town Hall

On April 8th, Monican’strisha-11 collaborated on the problem of parents serving alcohol to minors.

The Santa Monica Daily press wrote up an article on the problem we are faced with and how we intend solving it.

See full article page 1 and page 2.


Town Hall on Underage Drinking in Santa Monica