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How much is “too much”? A Review of the Evidence on Youth Drinking Risks

Canada's National Youth Council defines "youth" as those who are 15-24 years of age. Compared to adults 25 years and older, youth are the population mostly likely to engage in risky drinking patterns typically characterized by the consumption of high quantities of alcohol per occasion (Stockwell, Zhao , & Thomas, 2009) and are more likely to experience acute alcohol-related harms, such as injuries and poisonings (Makela and Mustonen, 2000). Further, research comparing risk of injury for a given dose of alcohol by age shows that when consuming the same amount of alcohol as older adults, youth are more likely to experience alcohol-related harm (e.g. Keall, Frith, & Patterson, 2002; Peck Gebers, Voas, Romano, 2008; Cherpital, Tam, Midanik. Caetano, Greenfield, 1995). This evidence marks youth as a particularly vulnerable population.

This vulnerability stems from developmental changes including greater sensitivity to ethanol-related brain impairments (Clark, Thatcher, & Tapert, 2008), lower tolerance, and increased propensity for risk taking as a result of increased sensation seeking and delay maturation of self-regulatory competence (Steinberg, 2008). Together this evidence demands we consider carefully what can be defined as "low-risk" or "too much" alcohol for youth and design health messages that are realistic and specific to this age group.

Of some 34 countries who have issued low-risk drinking guidelines, Canada is the first to acknowledge this heightened vulnerability and offer lower detailed quantitative recommendations for youth, including distinct recommendations for those from the legal drinking age to 24 years. These recommended "low-risk" levels come from recent studies that showed the risk of acute alcohol-related harms, including physiological (e.g. passing out, sexually transmitted infections, self-harm, injuries), psychological (e.g. doing something you regretted, relationship problems), behavioural (e.g. drinking and driving, risky sexual behaviour, polysubstance use) and legal problems (e.g. getting into trouble with the law) increased considerably for youth when alcohol consumption exceeded 1-2 drinks per occasion (Thompson, Stockwell, & MacDonald, 2012; Gruenewald, Johnson, Ponicki, & LaScala, 2010).

However, it is important to acknowledge that the guidelines offer different messages for those at different ends of the youth age spectrum. Before the legal drinking age, the guidelines encourage delayed onset of drinking, but if it is initiated, guidelines recommend no more than one or two drinks, no more than once or twice a week to reduce drinking risks.

Once youth reach the legal drinking age, the guidelines suggest daily limits of no more than 2 drinks per occasion for women and 3 for men (more stringent limits than the adult guidelines). Further, the guidelines go beyond recommendations about the numbers of standard drinks and also provide advice about how to alter the context of drinking (e.g. drink slowly, eat while drinking, parental supervision). Thus abiding by the numeric and the contextual recommendations is likely to reduce youth's alcohol-related risks further.

The guidelines should not be perceived as encouragement of youth alcohol consumption and "low-risk" does not imply "no risk". The guidelines are intended to be an educational tool that provides specific information necessary for youth to make informed choices about their drinking and reduce their alcohol-related risks.The challenge is that few youth (particularly those between 19-24 years) are currently drinking at these recommended levels. However, with appropriate dissemination these guidelines could be helpful in shaping young people's attitudes and drinking behaviour, and contribute to a shift in cultural norms about drinking patterns.

 

To view the guidelines, please visit: 

http://www.ccsa.ca/Eng/Priorities/Alcohol/Canada-Low-Risk-Alcohol-Drinking-Guidelines/Pages/default.aspx

 

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Comments 33

 
Guest - Andrea Zeelie on Monday, 29 October 2012 08:37

I'd like to welcome and thank Kara Thompson for providing an overview of the evidence.

Lets start off the discussion with the following questions:
1) Should we have guidelines for youth?
2) Can they actually reduce drinking? Should we expect them to?
3) How do we market the guidelines to young people in a way that doesn’t condone drinking?
4) What should the role of government, health services and parents be? Who is responsible for message delivery?

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I'd like to welcome and thank Kara Thompson for providing an overview of the evidence. Lets start off the discussion with the following questions: 1) Should we have guidelines for youth? 2) Can they actually reduce drinking? Should we expect them to? 3) How do we market the guidelines to young people in a way that doesn’t condone drinking? 4) What should the role of government, health services and parents be? Who is responsible for message delivery?
Guest - Diane Buhler on Monday, 29 October 2012 10:07

I think the whole concept of identifying low risk drinking guidelines for youth, including underage drinkers, is interesting. It challenges some of our previously held convictions about messaging for youth. For example, at Parent Action on Drugs - along with many other health promotion organizations - we said "Be smart about your drinking" or "Stay in control".

Importantly, these messages were done in consultation with underage drinkers. They felt these messages were non-judgmental, and absolutely they do convey a harm reduction approach. But is this enough? Is staying smart and being in control too subjective, given the evidence around the effects of drinking?

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I think the whole concept of identifying low risk drinking guidelines for youth, including underage drinkers, is interesting. It challenges some of our previously held convictions about messaging for youth. For example, at Parent Action on Drugs - along with many other health promotion organizations - we said "Be smart about your drinking" or "Stay in control". Importantly, these messages were done in consultation with underage drinkers. They felt these messages were non-judgmental, and absolutely they do convey a harm reduction approach. But is this enough? Is staying smart and being in control too subjective, given the evidence around the effects of drinking?
Guest - Terry on Monday, 29 October 2012 10:08

Good morning, and forgive me if this is jaded for a Monday morning.
Whenever I talk with teens, I ask the question... "Is it OK for parents, or should parents, to buy alcohol for their underage kids?"

Surprisingly, I have never heard one say yes. In one instance when talking with youth in an alternative education program for teens and young adults, one kid, who had his head down, and doodling the entire discussion, raised his head and said, "The drinking age is 19 for a reason. Kids don't know how to handle alcohol or the risks." So kids are listening...but will they absorb the message?

Parents need to realize they are parents, not friends, and kids want structure.

You can have as many guidelines as you want, but I am not sure teens would follow them. The only way I see reduction is to have other teens lead by example and to have the government have rules about marketing and advertising regulations.

If life were only like a beer commercial... nice times, pretty girls and guys and none of the risks. Some limitations on what can be marketed would be great but when gov't talks out of both sides of the mouth, reduce consumption but also encourages consumption, I think the message is loud and clear... alcohol is more fun. And worth any risks.

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Good morning, and forgive me if this is jaded for a Monday morning. Whenever I talk with teens, I ask the question... "Is it OK for parents, or should parents, to buy alcohol for their underage kids?" Surprisingly, I have never heard one say yes. In one instance when talking with youth in an alternative education program for teens and young adults, one kid, who had his head down, and doodling the entire discussion, raised his head and said, "The drinking age is 19 for a reason. Kids don't know how to handle alcohol or the risks." So kids are listening...but will they absorb the message? Parents need to realize they are parents, not friends, and kids want structure. You can have as many guidelines as you want, but I am not sure teens would follow them. The only way I see reduction is to have other teens lead by example and to have the government have rules about marketing and advertising regulations. If life were only like a beer commercial... nice times, pretty girls and guys and none of the risks. Some limitations on what can be marketed would be great but when gov't talks out of both sides of the mouth, reduce consumption but also encourages consumption, I think the message is loud and clear... alcohol is more fun. And worth any risks.
Guest - Jull on Monday, 29 October 2012 15:46

I agree with leading by example, either by other teens or parents, helps a teen's awareness about drinking and its challenges.

However I disagree with the teen who says wait until you are 19. Is waiting until a kid is 19 to say "ok, it's now okay to drink" because it's thought that a 19 year old can handle alcohol better than a 16 year old due to maturity or because now they're legal to do so, the right approach? What if the 19 year old is a sheltered young man who hasn't had the conversation about alcohol with their parents or anyone for that matter, and doesn't know how his body type will handle alcohol, but he's pushed to celebrate his new legit status and goes out and over does it due to his own ignorance? What if the 16 year old was introduced to the guidelines and had open discussions about limits with her peers through an open discussion in school....and she takes a responsible approach to alcohol and maybe has the occasional drink and doesn't overdo it? Situations differ and it's hard to broad stroke this issue.

The guidelines are just that, guidelines. They aren't rules, regulations or legislation. They are to guide a person through an issue and they don't claim to have all the answers.

As for the beer commercials, I agree, life is not like a beer commercial. I'd like to see digital and tv ads in Canada that portray the unpleasant side of binge drinking (lying in a pool of vomit, waking up with the unknown, etc), and provide a solution: education via the guidelines.

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I agree with leading by example, either by other teens or parents, helps a teen's awareness about drinking and its challenges. However I disagree with the teen who says wait until you are 19. Is waiting until a kid is 19 to say "ok, it's now okay to drink" because it's thought that a 19 year old can handle alcohol better than a 16 year old due to maturity or because now they're legal to do so, the right approach? What if the 19 year old is a sheltered young man who hasn't had the conversation about alcohol with their parents or anyone for that matter, and doesn't know how his body type will handle alcohol, but he's pushed to celebrate his new legit status and goes out and over does it due to his own ignorance? What if the 16 year old was introduced to the guidelines and had open discussions about limits with her peers through an open discussion in school....and she takes a responsible approach to alcohol and maybe has the occasional drink and doesn't overdo it? Situations differ and it's hard to broad stroke this issue. The guidelines are just that, guidelines. They aren't rules, regulations or legislation. They are to guide a person through an issue and they don't claim to have all the answers. As for the beer commercials, I agree, life is not like a beer commercial. I'd like to see digital and tv ads in Canada that portray the unpleasant side of binge drinking (lying in a pool of vomit, waking up with the unknown, etc), and provide a solution: education via the guidelines.
Guest - Andrea Zeelie on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 11:09

Is 19 an arbitrary age for legal consumption and purchase? A look at legal ages internationally (http://www.icap.org/portals/0/download/all_pdfs/icap_reports_english/report4.pdf) shows that much of Europe has a lowered age limits of 16 or 18 (which is the age in Alberta and Quebec). These lower age limits suggest that youth below legal age may be equipped to drink alcohol if given guidance (as you've pointed out).

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Is 19 an arbitrary age for legal consumption and purchase? A look at legal ages internationally (http://www.icap.org/portals/0/download/all_pdfs/icap_reports_english/report4.pdf) shows that much of Europe has a lowered age limits of 16 or 18 (which is the age in Alberta and Quebec). These lower age limits suggest that youth below legal age may be equipped to drink alcohol if given guidance (as you've pointed out).
Guest - Diane Buhler on Monday, 29 October 2012 10:29

You make a good point about parental supervision - and I must admit I'm confused by what is stated in the guidelines. What does drinking "under parental guidance" mean for youth who choose to drink underage?

I'm hoping Kara can help clarify this from a research point of view!

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You make a good point about parental supervision - and I must admit I'm confused by what is stated in the guidelines. What does drinking "under parental guidance" mean for youth who choose to drink underage? I'm hoping Kara can help clarify this from a research point of view!
Guest - LArmstrong on Monday, 29 October 2012 14:28

I'm really interested in the answers to the question of underage drinking and harm reduction and the roles of parents and public health (and other partners). I love the parenting videos from MLHU (http://www.healthunit.com/parenting-teens.aspx). These videos tell parents to relay the expectation to their kids that they should not use alcohol or drugs under any circumstance. Do you agree? Does anyone know the evidence for harm-reduction and alcohol in teens? And are there differences depending on a source of information?

0
I'm really interested in the answers to the question of underage drinking and harm reduction and the roles of parents and public health (and other partners). I love the parenting videos from MLHU (http://www.healthunit.com/parenting-teens.aspx). These videos tell parents to relay the expectation to their kids that they should not use alcohol or drugs under any circumstance. Do you agree? Does anyone know the evidence for harm-reduction and alcohol in teens? And are there differences depending on a source of information?
Guest - Joanne on Monday, 29 October 2012 14:53

I'm not sure what the right answers are but I might suggest that our messages might differ depending on the youth's age.

If the youth is 14 years old and looking for a reaction or possibly permission to drink I might stand firm with my expectation that they not use alcohol under any circumstances.

However, if I were speaking with a 17 year old who I know is drinking alcohol on the weekends my message might be more that I don't want them to drink but if they are going to drink that they consider how they can do it safely, ie, asking for a ride home, considering a limit on the number of drinks they will have, etc. I would want them to think about their safety in any situation where they might be drinking.

0
I'm not sure what the right answers are but I might suggest that our messages might differ depending on the youth's age. If the youth is 14 years old and looking for a reaction or possibly permission to drink I might stand firm with my expectation that they not use alcohol under any circumstances. However, if I were speaking with a 17 year old who I know is drinking alcohol on the weekends my message might be more that I don't want them to drink but if they are going to drink that they consider how they can do it safely, ie, asking for a ride home, considering a limit on the number of drinks they will have, etc. I would want them to think about their safety in any situation where they might be drinking.
Guest - Kara Thompson on Tuesday, 30 October 2012 10:29

You all raise some great points. Parents play an important role in socializing adolescents into adult drinking practices and the impact of many different parenting factors on alcohol use have been examined in the research literature including parental monitoring, parental provision of alcohol, parental attitudes, parental rules, parental support, etc.

With regards to the guidelines specifically, the recommendation of “parental supervision”, is trying to put youth drinking in context. For those youth who choose to drink it is best to do it under supervision (with or under the watchful eyes of parents). There is research to support this recommendation. For example, McBride (2003) found that unsupervised drinkers consumed up to 6 times more alcohol that supervised drinkers and non-drinkers. They were also more likely to drink in risky patterns and experience more alcohol-related harm. More generally, research shows that drunkenness and heavy drinking are more likely to occur in settings without adult supervision.

However, findings are mixed. Some research also suggests that parental supervision can have negative outcomes. Adolescents who first start drinking at home tend to have earlier ages of first use, which can place them at increased risk for later problem drinking (Van Der Vorst, et al., 2010). Research suggests that supervision condones drinking, thus adolescent being to drink more frequently both at home and in other contexts.

Overall, the jury is still out and it is an area that is getting more research attention recently.

Also mentioned was parental supply of alcohol - so buying alcohol for your adolescent. Its nice to hear that some kids are disagreeing with this, but in my experience that isn't always the case. There is not a lot of research on the effects of parental supply yet, but results are similar to supervision - mixed - some show protective effects, and some show increased risks. There is still a lot of research to be done in this area - particularly in Canada. Approximately, 22% of Canadian adolescents reported their parents as the source of supply on their most recent drinking occasion.

0
You all raise some great points. [b]Parents play an important role in socializing adolescents into adult drinking practices[/b] and the impact of many different parenting factors on alcohol use have been examined in the research literature including parental monitoring, parental provision of alcohol, parental attitudes, parental rules, parental support, etc. With regards to the guidelines specifically, the recommendation of “parental supervision”, is trying to put youth drinking in context. For those youth who choose to drink it is best to do it under supervision (with or under the watchful eyes of parents). There is research to support this recommendation. For example, McBride (2003) found that [b]unsupervised drinkers consumed up to 6 times more alcohol that supervised drinkers[/b] and non-drinkers. They were also more likely to drink in risky patterns and experience more alcohol-related harm. More generally, [b]research shows that drunkenness and heavy drinking are more likely to occur in settings without adult supervision.[/b] [b]However, findings are mixed[/b]. Some research also suggests that parental supervision can have negative outcomes. [b]Adolescents who first start drinking at home tend to have earlier ages of first use, which can place them at increased risk for later problem drinking[/b] (Van Der Vorst, et al., 2010). Research suggests that supervision condones drinking, thus adolescent being to drink more frequently both at home and in other contexts. Overall, the jury is still out and it is an area that is getting more research attention recently. Also mentioned was parental supply of alcohol - so buying alcohol for your adolescent. Its nice to hear that some kids are disagreeing with this, but in my experience that isn't always the case. [b]There is not a lot of research on the effects of parental supply yet, but results are similar to supervision - mixed - some show protective effects, and some show increased risks.[/b] There is still a lot of research to be done in this area - particularly in Canada. Approximately, 22% of Canadian adolescents reported their parents as the source of supply on their most recent drinking occasion.
Guest - Sue on Tuesday, 30 October 2012 15:11

Thanks for the great information and discussion.

I am hoping the guidelines will be an opportunity to engage youth and thier parents in the alcohol conversation. Its a good place to start and get feedback from both groups. I include parents also as it has been mentioned they have an influence based on thier values and actually the supply of alcohol to youth. Would both groups be making the decisions they have if they were aware of the background information, would parents be more able to offer the needed boundaries and monitoring we strive for. As someone already mentioned we are working with the results of media portraying a different message to youth. That is why I think we need to engage parents of youth to be more empowered to understand the issue.

0
Thanks for the great information and discussion. I am hoping the guidelines will be an opportunity to engage youth and thier parents in the alcohol conversation. Its a good place to start and get feedback from both groups. I include parents also as it has been mentioned they have an influence based on thier values and actually the supply of alcohol to youth. Would both groups be making the decisions they have if they were aware of the background information, would parents be more able to offer the needed boundaries and monitoring we strive for. As someone already mentioned we are working with the results of media portraying a different message to youth. That is why I think we need to engage parents of youth to be more empowered to understand the issue.
Guest - Tamar Meyer on Monday, 29 October 2012 10:50

Thanks for the great overview of the evidence and starting this interesting discussion.

I think Guideline 5 of the LRDG’s is realistic since we know from the 2011 OSDUHS Drug Use Report, 54.9% of all students between the grades of 7-12 used alcohol in the past year and 22.3% reported binge drinking.

Regarding the fourth question, in addition to the role that governments, parents and health services should and can play, a key audience for delivering messaging for safer, responsible, low-risk drinking (including saying no to alcohol – either as a designated driver or taking a “break” from alcohol) are other youth and young adults. By engaging youth directly in developing messaging as Diane suggests and by engaging them as peer leaders in schools and community settings, can help to ensure messaging is not only non-judgemental but appropriate for a youth audience.

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Thanks for the great overview of the evidence and starting this interesting discussion. I think Guideline 5 of the LRDG’s is realistic since we know from the 2011 OSDUHS Drug Use Report, 54.9% of all students between the grades of 7-12 used alcohol in the past year and 22.3% reported binge drinking. Regarding the fourth question, in addition to the role that governments, parents and health services should and can play, a key audience for delivering messaging for safer, responsible, low-risk drinking (including saying no to alcohol – either as a designated driver or taking a “break” from alcohol) are other youth and young adults. By engaging youth directly in developing messaging as Diane suggests and by engaging them as peer leaders in schools and community settings, can help to ensure messaging is not only non-judgemental but appropriate for a youth audience.
Guest - Andrea Zeelie on Monday, 29 October 2012 14:19
Link to the OSDUHS Drug Use Report and highlights: http://www.camh.ca/en/research/news_and_publications/ontario-student-drug-use-and-health-survey/Pages/default.aspx
Guest - Janet Sherbanowski on Monday, 29 October 2012 11:29

Through MADD's messages and other venues, young people are finally getting the message that there should be a designated driver. They are media savvy and have seen the terrible consequences of drinking and driving. If we want to stop binge drinking, why wouldn't we do the same kind of targeted messaging and make use of their innate sense of survival.

Image is really important to young people, one of the most powerful anti-drug messages of late is the commercial showing a young woman go from attractive to an out-of-control druggie. Drinking carries the same loss of control. Show someone lying in their own vomit, waking up in bed with a stranger, stepping in someone else's vomit or vomiting on someone. These are the images that teens talk about and remember from others.

I think that those who want to drink will drink; that won't change. The criminalization of these acts may not be the way to handle it. If these laws are to be changed, then we need to increase penalties for drinking and driving. Don't criminalize kids, criminalize actions. As long as the message that getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after you have been drinking, no matter how little or much, is strong, enforced and illegal I am in favour of realistic laws.

0
Through MADD's messages and other venues, young people are finally getting the message that there should be a designated driver. They are media savvy and have seen the terrible consequences of drinking and driving. If we want to stop binge drinking, why wouldn't we do the same kind of targeted messaging and make use of their innate sense of survival. Image is really important to young people, one of the most powerful anti-drug messages of late is the commercial showing a young woman go from attractive to an out-of-control druggie. Drinking carries the same loss of control. Show someone lying in their own vomit, waking up in bed with a stranger, stepping in someone else's vomit or vomiting on someone. These are the images that teens talk about and remember from others. I think that those who want to drink will drink; that won't change. The criminalization of these acts may not be the way to handle it. If these laws are to be changed, then we need to increase penalties for drinking and driving. Don't criminalize kids, criminalize actions. As long as the message that getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after you have been drinking, no matter how little or much, is strong, enforced and illegal I am in favour of realistic laws.
Guest - Andrea Zeelie on Monday, 29 October 2012 15:28

Have you seen the "No Magic Goat" campaign from Injury Free Nova Scotia? http://nomagicgoat.ca/

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Have you seen the "No Magic Goat" campaign from Injury Free Nova Scotia? http://nomagicgoat.ca/
Guest - Ginny Gonneau on Monday, 29 October 2012 12:14

Hello,

I would like to add to this conversation by sharing a few of the resources I have been involved in developing around girls and alcohol with the British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women's Health (BCCEWH).

1) Girl-Centred Approaches to Prevention, Harm Reduction and Treatment
This is a discussion guide on girl-centred approaches to prevention, harm-reduction and treatment which came out of a national project about Gendering the National Framework
Link: http://www.coalescing-vc.org/virtualLearning/section6/documents/GirlsDG2.2forweb.pdf

2) Preventing Heavy Alcohol Use Among Girls & Young Women:
Practical Tools & Resources for Practitioners & Girls' Programmers
Link: http://www.coalescing-vc.org/virtualLearning/section3/documents/BCCEWH_Preventing_Heavy_Alcohol_Use_Among_Girls_Young_Women_Practical_Tools_Resources_for_Pr.pdf

3) Symposium on Heavy Alcohol Use Among Girls and Young Women
Gender-Informed Primary Prevention Approaches for BC
http://www.coalescing-vc.org/virtualLearning/section3/webcasts-files.htm

4) Visit Coalescing on Women and Substance Use 'Young Women, Alcohol and Other Substance Use' section: http://www.coalescing-vc.org/virtualLearning/section3/default.htm

5) Preventing Heavy Alcohol Use in Girls (April 20, 2010) Nancy Poole, MA, PhD(C), Director, Research & Knowledge Exchange BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health
Link: http://www.bccewh.bc.ca/news-events/documents/GirlsandAlcohol_Presentation_April2010.pdf

6) Girls' Perspectives on Girls' Groups and Healthy Living Research Summary June 2012
Link: http://girlsactionfoundation.ca/en/girls-perspectives-on-girls-groups-and-healthy-living-research-summary-june-2012

I hope these are useful in contributing to the conversation, particularly in reaching girls and young women through a gender-informed, holistic, strength-based, health promotions approach.

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Hello, I would like to add to this conversation by sharing a few of the resources I have been involved in developing around girls and alcohol with the British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women's Health (BCCEWH). 1) Girl-Centred Approaches to Prevention, Harm Reduction and Treatment This is a discussion guide on girl-centred approaches to prevention, harm-reduction and treatment which came out of a national project about Gendering the National Framework Link: http://www.coalescing-vc.org/virtualLearning/section6/documents/GirlsDG2.2forweb.pdf 2) Preventing Heavy Alcohol Use Among Girls & Young Women: Practical Tools & Resources for Practitioners & Girls' Programmers Link: http://www.coalescing-vc.org/virtualLearning/section3/documents/BCCEWH_Preventing_Heavy_Alcohol_Use_Among_Girls_Young_Women_Practical_Tools_Resources_for_Pr.pdf 3) Symposium on Heavy Alcohol Use Among Girls and Young Women Gender-Informed Primary Prevention Approaches for BC http://www.coalescing-vc.org/virtualLearning/section3/webcasts-files.htm 4) Visit Coalescing on Women and Substance Use 'Young Women, Alcohol and Other Substance Use' section: http://www.coalescing-vc.org/virtualLearning/section3/default.htm 5) Preventing Heavy Alcohol Use in Girls (April 20, 2010) Nancy Poole, MA, PhD(C), Director, Research & Knowledge Exchange BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health Link: http://www.bccewh.bc.ca/news-events/documents/GirlsandAlcohol_Presentation_April2010.pdf 6) Girls' Perspectives on Girls' Groups and Healthy Living Research Summary June 2012 Link: http://girlsactionfoundation.ca/en/girls-perspectives-on-girls-groups-and-healthy-living-research-summary-june-2012 I hope these are useful in contributing to the conversation, particularly in reaching girls and young women through a gender-informed, holistic, strength-based, health promotions approach.
Guest - Tamar Meyer on Monday, 29 October 2012 15:19

Yes, thanks for sharing those resources... also looking foward to your webinar Ginny!

For those interested:
Webinar: Girls, Alcohol & Depression
Thursday, November 8th, 2012 at 12PM (EST) http://www.bccewh.bc.ca/news-events/default.htm

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Yes, thanks for sharing those resources... also looking foward to your webinar Ginny! For those interested: Webinar: Girls, Alcohol & Depression Thursday, November 8th, 2012 at 12PM (EST) http://www.bccewh.bc.ca/news-events/default.htm
Guest - Andrea Zeelie on Monday, 29 October 2012 14:21

Thank you for sharing these helpful resources with us.

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Thank you for sharing these helpful resources with us.
Guest - Rose on Monday, 29 October 2012 13:20

Thanks to all who have provided their comments. Here are some thoughts on the questions posed:

1) Should we have guidelines for youth?
As professionals we do need guidelines so that we can provide information to youth so they can make informed decisions. Having said this...it doesn't mean the guidelines in and of themselves will make the difference as mentioned above...we need a multiple strategies...including peer leadership/youth engagement strategies, polices around alcohol access and advertising...parental engagement strategies...etc..to make the difference...and at the same time we need the evidence....which these guidelines provide.

2) Can they actually reduce drinking? Should we expect them to?
I don't think we should expect them to reduce drinking just like we didn't expect evidence on the harms from tobacco...to reduce smoking....it was all the approaches...advocacy...multiple strategies...social marketing...policy to limit access and advertising.....and development of new cultural norms which decreased tobacco use...

3) How do we market the guidelines to young people in a way that doesn’t condone drinking?
Good question and not sure it is about marketing the guidelines...as much as how to engage youth and other key stakeholders in comprehensive, collaborative strategies...to promote safe drinking.....the guidelines are our reference...and provide information/evidence...and also need to be supplemented with a variety of strategies to engage youth and help promote their health...and need to involve coordinated and collaborative approaches across the sectors and with lots of partners...focused on youth health...

4) What should the role of government, health services and parents be? Who is responsible for message delivery?
I think all of the above are responsible...in one way or another...and I like to think we as a community and society are responsible..because youth are vulnerable.....and I like the research on youth resiliency which states that youth are influenced by their relationships with significant adults....and thus there is a need to educate adults so that they can at least be informed of the risks and can also model healthy behaviours when it comes to alcohol and provide information as needed...also youth do need to be involved in the messaging and the process of education...as mentioned above...to be empowered to be informed consumers...just like other products they are exposed to....

Thanks for having this discussion and for the information provided.

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Thanks to all who have provided their comments. Here are some thoughts on the questions posed: 1) Should we have guidelines for youth? As professionals we do need guidelines so that we can provide information to youth so they can make informed decisions. Having said this...it doesn't mean the guidelines in and of themselves will make the difference as mentioned above...we need a multiple strategies...including peer leadership/youth engagement strategies, polices around alcohol access and advertising...parental engagement strategies...etc..to make the difference...and at the same time we need the evidence....which these guidelines provide. 2) Can they actually reduce drinking? Should we expect them to? I don't think we should expect them to reduce drinking just like we didn't expect evidence on the harms from tobacco...to reduce smoking....it was all the approaches...advocacy...multiple strategies...social marketing...policy to limit access and advertising.....and development of new cultural norms which decreased tobacco use... 3) How do we market the guidelines to young people in a way that doesn’t condone drinking? Good question and not sure it is about marketing the guidelines...as much as how to engage youth and other key stakeholders in comprehensive, collaborative strategies...to promote safe drinking.....the guidelines are our reference...and provide information/evidence...and also need to be supplemented with a variety of strategies to engage youth and help promote their health...and need to involve coordinated and collaborative approaches across the sectors and with lots of partners...focused on youth health... 4) What should the role of government, health services and parents be? Who is responsible for message delivery? I think all of the above are responsible...in one way or another...and I like to think we as a community and society are responsible..because youth are vulnerable.....and I like the research on youth resiliency which states that youth are influenced by their relationships with significant adults....and thus there is a need to educate adults so that they can at least be informed of the risks and can also model healthy behaviours when it comes to alcohol and provide information as needed...also youth do need to be involved in the messaging and the process of education...as mentioned above...to be empowered to be informed consumers...just like other products they are exposed to.... Thanks for having this discussion and for the information provided.
Guest - Andrea Zeelie on Monday, 29 October 2012 16:33

I'd like to thank all our respondents thus far. We look forward to continuing this discussion over the next two days.

Please note that posts must be moderated. As such, any comments posted this evening may only be posted tomorrow.

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I'd like to thank all our respondents thus far. We look forward to continuing this discussion over the next two days. [i]Please note that posts must be moderated. As such, any comments posted this evening may only be posted tomorrow.[/i]
Guest - Patricia on Tuesday, 30 October 2012 09:13

Through my experiences working with youth, I have experienced the extreme polarization of attitudes about the use of alcohol. Some youth practice in abstinence and I believe that it is important to support these choices; however, others struggle with the images of ‘parties’ that portray extreme drinking. Although not targeted to youth, young people are subjected to adult messages about drinking. In particular, the ‘drink responsibly’ message. When discussing this with youth, I have found that they have limited information about what ‘responsible’ means for them.

Most consistently, they identify not drinking and driving– but other than that one message, they lack any context. Generally they discuss “when drunk, don’t…” as their understanding of what responsible means. Their understanding of responsible use of alcohol does not seem to reflect consumption, but rather behaviours when already impaired. While it is important that we continue to discuss and promote reducing harms when impaired, I believe we also have a duty to provide a context for youth around the use of alcohol, perhaps a middle ground between no use, and ‘party ‘til you puke’ would be helpful for youth. When discussing with youth the idea of having one drink with friends I often hear ‘What would be the point? If you don’t drink to get drunk, why would you drink at all?"

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Through my experiences working with youth, I have experienced the extreme polarization of attitudes about the use of alcohol. Some youth practice in abstinence and I believe that it is important to support these choices; however, others struggle with the images of ‘parties’ that portray extreme drinking. Although not targeted to youth, young people are subjected to adult messages about drinking. In particular, the ‘drink responsibly’ message. When discussing this with youth, I have found that they have limited information about what ‘responsible’ means for them. Most consistently, they identify not drinking and driving– but other than that one message, they lack any context. Generally they discuss “when drunk, don’t…” as their understanding of what responsible means. Their understanding of responsible use of alcohol does not seem to reflect consumption, but rather behaviours when already impaired. While it is important that we continue to discuss and promote reducing harms when impaired, I believe we also have a duty to provide a context for youth around the use of alcohol, perhaps a middle ground between no use, and ‘party ‘til you puke’ would be helpful for youth. When discussing with youth the idea of having one drink with friends I often hear ‘What would be the point? If you don’t drink to get drunk, why would you drink at all?"