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Communities Against Substance Abuse encourages parents and teens to get in ‘Sync’

September 11, 2014

The Sync campaign, an effort to address underage drinking and drug use in the Midcoast region, launched on Friday, September 5. Communities Against Substance Abuse (CASA) coalition members unveiled the new initiative among supporters from local community organizations and representatives from the Access Health Advisory Board and Sagadahoc Board of Health. This new substance abuse prevention campaign was timed to begin in early September, when many teens are at higher risk for experimenting with alcohol and other drugs because of the added social and academic pressures of returning to school.

CASA, a coalition supported by Access Health and Mid Coast Hospital, conducted a parent survey earlier this year that revealed some startling discrepancies between the perceptions of parents and teens around underage drinking and drug use in Sagadahoc County, Brunswick and Harpswell, as compared with the 2013 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS) of teens in the same area. Spurred by this information, CASA developed the Sync campaign to bridge the gap between parents and their teens and support parent-to-parent conversations around underage drinking and drug use.

According to Melissa Fochesato, Partnership Director at Access Health, “There is a real disconnect between what parents and teens think about alcohol and drugs. For instance, in our survey, we found that 73 percent of local high school parents believe they are likely to catch their teens if they have been drinking, while 55 percent of local high school students think they are not likely to get caught. The Sync campaign is designed to provide proven tips that help break down barriers and any stigma that parents might have about talking with each other or their teens about alcohol and drugs. If everyone is on the same page – in ‘sync’ – we can help our teens to make healthier decisions.”

Key messages of the Sync Campaign include:

 

  • Talk with your teen: Explain the dangers of underage drinking and drug use, and be clear about your rules and expectations of their behavior and the consequences for breaking them.
  • Talk with other parents: If you hear about a party at your teen’s friend’s house, call the parents and ask if it will be supervised and whether alcohol will be present.
  • Share information with other parents: Exchange contact information and tell the parents of your teen’s friends that they can call you if they have concerns about your teen. Offer to return the favor.
  • Monitor and secure your alcohol and drugs: If you have alcohol or prescription drugs in your home keep track of them – know how much you have and keep them where teens cannot get them.
  • Be up and ready: Wait up or set the alarm for curfew time. Talk with your teen about the night when they get home.
  • Check in often: Ask your teen to call you at a set time when they go out, so that you can confirm where they are and how they are doing.

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