April 2020 is Small Talks Alcohol Awareness Month in Wisconsin

Why should you talk to kids about alcohol? Underage drinking is a real problem in Wisconsin, and it starts earlier and can be more dangerous than you might think. But parents, loved ones, and other caring adults can make a real difference. All you have to do is talk. That’s right. Having small, casual conversations with kids, starting around age eight, can help prevent underage drinking.

Know the consequences

There’s a reason the legal drinking age is 21. It’s to keep our children healthy and safe. When youth drink alcohol, they can damage and even block the development of healthy mental pathways in the brain that shape how kids feel, learn, behave, and grow. Damage like that can have lifelong physical, social, and emotional consequences.

Alcohol affects young people more powerfully than it does adults, and drinking before the brain and body are fully developed can have dangerous effects.

  • Underage drinking can change the way the brain develops and functions.
  • Alcohol can shut down new brain cell growth.
  • Drinking can damage the parts of the brain responsible for learning, memory, and self-control.
  • Alcohol can alter a child’s motor skills.
  • High levels of alcohol in the body can shut down those parts of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature.
  • Heavy alcohol use can increase the risk of liver disease, heart disease, and seven different cancers later in life.

Young Drinkers Can Take Costly Risks

Underage drinking has serious consequences for a young person’s life, affecting everything from their behavior and relationships to their long-term health.

  • 17% of kids who drink have been in a car with a driver who’d been drinking alcohol.
  • There’s always a risk that substance use may lead to addiction.
  • Drinking can lead to issues at school, with friends, and with the law.
  • In the U.S., alcohol landed 119,000 underage drinkers in emergency rooms in 2013 alone.
  • Underage drinking is associated with a higher risk of physical and sexual assault.

Alcohol is linked to mental health problems

As young people transition from childhood to adolescence, they experience dramatic social and emotional changes. Adding alcohol to the mix can be devastating. 

  • Underage drinking often goes hand-in-hand with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
  • Each year, about 300 young people die in alcohol-related suicides.
  • Research shows that waiting to start drinking alcohol is one of the most effective ways to prevent the development of a substance use disorder later in life.
  • Underage alcohol use is associated with youth who struggle with mental illness.

Most underage Drinking is binge drinking

Loosely defined as having four or five drinks in just two hours, binge drinking is especially dangerous for children.

  • Around 90% of underage drinking is binge drinking.
  • Because most underage drinking is binge drinking, young people are more likely to experience alcohol poisoning.
  • Youth don’t drink as often as adults do, but when they have access to alcohol, they usually drink more than an adult would.
  • Binge drinking lowers inhibitions at a time when young people are already eager to take risks.


Small Talks: Start Talking, It Makes a Difference

Think kids won’t listen? Think again. Research shows that parents and other caring adults are the most powerful influence on children’s choices about underage drinking. That means you can make a real difference, especially if you start early. Don’t worry; it’s easier than you may think. We can show you how.

Download this Small Talks Tip sheet and visit SmallTalksWI.org for more information.

“Small Talks: How WI Prevents Underage Drinking”

Source: Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/ . Accessed April 21, 2020.

Your recovery is important : virtual recovery resources

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when social distancing and self-quarantine are needed to limit and control the spread of the disease, continued social connectedness to maintain recovery is critically important.

Virtual resources can and should be used during this time. This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) tip sheet, describes resources that can be used to virtually support recovery from mental/substance use disorders. It also provides resources to help local recovery programs create virtual meetings.

Locally, in Forest County, if anyone is needing an AA meeting, the mnogishget group of Alcoholics Anonymous is an open meeting. We meet Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday nights at 7pm on Zoom. If you have any questions, please contact Donald Keeble at 715-889-6709 or through his Facebook page for the meeting ID.

Office of Children’s Mental Health Focuses on Preventing Underage Drinking with New Fact Sheet

Office of Children’s Mental Health Director Linda Hall today announces the publication of a new fact sheet detailing how to support our children’s well-being through preventing underage drinking. While youth in Wisconsin are drinking less, they are still drinking more than youth in other states. Peer pressure, the ease in which youth can obtain alcohol, as well as advertising in the community may encourage unhealthy drinking behaviors.
Highlights include:
• Using alcohol at an early age can lead to negative health outcomes that in turn can lead to, or worsen, symptoms of depression and anxiety.
• Youth tend to binge drink more than adults, which can interfere with normal brain development.
• In Wisconsin, only 36% of kids think it’s risky for them to have 5 or more drinks a couple times a week.
• Having short, frequent, casual conversations with young children and throughout adolescence is one of the best interventions for parents to prevent underage drinking.
See the complete fact sheet

Taking Care of Your Well-being

TIPS FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING, QUARANTINE, AND ISOLATION DURING AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE OUTBREAK

This time of social isolation can be incredibly difficult for us and those we love. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) offers this excellent review of what to expect during this time and how to mitigate the stress of social isolation.

Update from Health Department

Per the Forest County Health Department website, the following Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) order is now in effect:

Under the authority of Wisconsin State Statute § 252.02(3) and at the direction of Governor Tony Evers, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm has ordered a statewide moratorium on mass gatherings of 50 or more people to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Continue reading “Update from Health Department”

CCFC Mission in regards to CO VID-19

As Forest County leaders and citizens begin to, and continue to, coordinate responses to the CO-VID 19 pandemic, it is important that Forest County residents have access to correct and trust-worthy information.

The Community Coalition of Forest County is a partnership of county leaders that includes the school districts of Wabeno, Crandon and Laona, the county Health Department, the Forest County Potawatomi community, the Sokaogon Chippewa community, UW-Madison Extension, the Sheriff’s department, the Social Services Department, the Department on Aging, faith-based organizations, county food pantries, as well as regional and state-wide agencies.

Per our mission to inform and engage all age groups and cultures in Forest County, the Community Coalition website and Facebook page will offer trusted and up-to-date information on community resources, childcare needs, government communications, essential updates and contact information.

Please share this information widely and ‘Like’ the Community Coalition on Facebook. It is our intention that by offering this key information to the public, we can offer a sense of understanding and well-being to those that need it.

Please send any up-dates, closure information, comments, questions or concerns to michelle.gobert@wisc.edu

Community Coalition of Forest County Interest Survey

The Community Coalition of Forest County recently surveyed Forest County middle and high school youth regarding prevention efforts in our county. The youth we surveyed responded that they are looking for role models and to participate in positive healthy activities in our area.

As part of our efforts to address those requests, our Coalition has hired Vive18 to present to the three local high schools on April 8, 2020. VIVE18 is a peer lead sustainable prevention program for teens, giving them skills to promote positive sober events in their communities. The Community Coalition of Forest County has secured $1500 in donations/grants from Conway True Value to offer mini-grants to middle and high school age county residents planning activities/events that will be distributed after the presentation.

The Community Coalition will need adult volunteers willing to work with the youth on the VIVE18 events; however, we are expanding our reach in order to build a base of volunteers and mentors that can be contacted to build/create/participate/promote youth activities across the county. This may range from one-on-one or group activities.

We know that our county residents have hidden talents, hobbies and interests to share.  We hope to find out what those are so that we can reach out to individuals when we have a need for assistance with event planning that will promote life-long learning and enhance the quality of life for Forest County residents.

Give us your talents, passions and interests and we’ll help you find a place to share them!