Substance Abuse in Talbot County. Blue Ribbon Commission Oversight Committee 2014 Status Report

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1 Substance Abuse in Talbot County Blue Ribbon Commission Oversight Committee 2014 Status Report

2 2013/2014 Blue Ribbon Commission Oversight Committee Members (BRCOC) Hilary Spence, Chair Steve Capranica Laurie Dennis Robbie Gill Cynthia Jurrius Connie Loveland John Ryan, MD Russell Schilling, DO Beth Williams We have all seen the tragic cost that substance abuse has on our families, our communities and our economy. It is clear that a reactive approach to the problem often comes too late. Yet through open partnerships, creative prevention, intervention and continuing care services; we will be able to hopefully eliminate the deadly effects of substance abuse and in the process save lives. Corey W. Pack, President, Talbot County Council Ex-Officio BRCOC Members: The Honorable Broughton Earnest Kathy Foster, Talbot County Health Officer Staff: Sharon Huseman, Director Talbot Partnership Paula Lowry, Prevention Coordinator Talbot County Health Department JoAnn Urso, Prevention Specialist The 2014 Status Report is the result of collaboration between the Talbot Partnership, Talbot County Health Department and Blue Ribbon Commission Oversight Committee. The 2014 Status Report has been produced with support from the Talbot County Council. 2

3 Substance Abuse in Talbot County Blue Ribbon Commission Oversight Committee 2014 Status Report This report to the community on substance abuse in Talbot County is produced at the request of the Talbot County Council. The data displayed is taken from the results of the 2013 Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey. While much of the data from this latest survey shows improvement in the rates of alcohol and other drug use, substance abuse continues to be a serious problem in Talbot County. As a community, we need to work together to identify youth at risk and intervene early with services for our children and their parents. I have worked with members of the Blue Ribbon Oversight Committee for the past six years and have seen progress in changing the community s attitude toward alcohol and drug use. However, substance abuse continues to ravage the lives of too many of our youth and adults; there is much work still to be done. Hilary Spence, Chairperson, BRCOC 3

4 COMMUNITY ISSUE The Talbot County Public School system will continue to work with all community agencies in the prevention of drug abuse. Prevention begins with education and honest conversations between children and adults. We must get to the root cause of drug use/ addiction in our county. We look forward to working with the Talbot Partnership in educating our community and facilitating this process. Kelly L. Griffith, Superintendent Talbot County Public Schools There are a lot of pressures about having fun around substances. Staying sober is hard to do when you are a teenager. Parents need to care about their children and be involved. The bottom line is that kids need boundaries and need to feel that their families care about them. Talbot County Teen 4

5 A Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) was appointed by the Talbot County Council in 2006 to address the prevalence and acceptability of alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse in our county. Review of data on local rates of substance abuse and interviews with key community stakeholders led the Commission to conclude that Talbot County has a growing substance abuse and addictions problem not limited to its youth. Talbot County adults were also at high risk for substance abuse, as indicated by per capita consumption of alcohol, per capita number of facilities licensed to sell alcohol, and hospital discharge rates for alcohol related diagnoses. The BRC identified three root causes for the substance abuse problem in Talbot County: 1. The community culture accepts substance abuse 2. Interventions for substance abuse occur too late 3. Drugs and alcohol are too easy to obtain at home and in the community As a result of the BRC report, an Oversight Committee was formed. The committee meets bi-monthly and reports to the Talbot County Council on current substance abuse issues. The Council charged the Oversight Committee with producing reports on the status of substance abuse in the county; this is the second report compiled from state monitored student surveys. The committee continues to work toward a healthier community. SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN TALBOT COUNTY 2013 Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) Data in this report comes from the 2013 Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). For the first time, the YRBS was combined with the Maryland Youth Tobacco Survey and administered to high school students. The survey tracks health risk behaviors among youth, as well as behaviors that support health. The following summary report focuses on substance abuse among Talbot County youth. The YRBS was administered to Maryland public school students in the Spring of Students in both Talbot County public high schools were surveyed. The following report is compiled from questionnaires submitted by 856 students; a 71% response rate after data editing. In cases where year-to-year usage trends by grade are compared, the 2007 data source is the Maryland Adolescent Survey (MAS). The MAS was discontinued after 2007 and has since been replaced by the YRBS. Although students in all high school grades (9 through 12) were surveyed in the YRBS, the 2007 MAS included only grades 10 and 12. Thus, where comparisons are made they are limited to students in those grades only. The YRBS data provides a picture of what is happening in communities throughout Maryland. Student responses can be used as a tool for understanding trends, extent of use and attitudes associated with substance abuse. Full 2013 YRBS data tables are available at youth-risk-survey.aspx 5

6 SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN TALBOT COUNTY Alcohol, marijuana and tobacco considered to be gateway drugs continue to be the most abused substances among teens in Talbot County. The results of the 2013 Maryland YRBS reveal that Talbot County is making progress in some areas. Although alcohol, marijuana and cigarette use may have decreased in high school students grades 10 and 12, Talbot County still ranks high in the use of heroin and prescription drugs in this age group. Parents need to be more aware of the changing drug landscape. Prevention and early intervention are more important than ever. Past 30 day use of Alcohol, Marijuana, Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco With regard to alcohol, the most frequently abused substance by teens, there is encouraging news. The 2013 YRBS reports decreases of 25% for 12th graders and 18% for 10th graders compared to data from 2007 MAS Report. There is also positive news about marijuana, the second most frequently abused substance by teens. Use by seniors declined by 33% while 10th graders use remained nearly the same as in Cigarettes are the third most frequently abused substance by teens. Use by both 12th and 10th graders decreased 39% from the 2007 survey. Use of smokeless tobacco by 12th graders declined slightly by 4%, however 10th grade use more than doubled. HEROIN Ever in Lifetime Heroin abuse is on the rise in Talbot County and throughout the state. The survey monitored whether teens had ever used* heroin. Reported abuse by 12th graders increased by 41% and 10th graders rose by 70% compared to *The YRBS survey did not question past 30 day use of heroin. 6

7 In the following graphs, counties are ranked according to percentages of students abusing substances within the past 30 days of the survey. The county with the highest abuse rate is ranked number one. Conversely, the county with the lowest abuse rate is ranked with the highest number (24). (Graphs are proportionate in and of themselves, but not in relationship to one another.) ALCOHOL Past 30 Days Talbot County high school students rank number 20 out of 24 counties for abuse of alcohol: 45% of seniors, 30% of juniors, 31% of sophomores and 18% of freshman reported drinking alcohol within 30 days of the survey. Underage drinking is strongly associated with many health and social problems including impaired driving, fighting, poor school performance, sexual activity and smoking. Underage drinking is deeply embedded in the American culture, is often viewed as a rite of passage, is frequently facilitated by adults, and has proved stubbornly resistant to change. Surgeon General s Call to Action BINGE DRINKING Past 30 Days Talbot high school students rank number 18 out of 24 counties for binge drinking which is defined as five or more drinks of alcohol in a row within a couple of hours. Thirty-one percent of seniors, 18% of juniors and sophomores, 9% of freshman reported binge drinking within 30 days of the survey. About two thirds of high school students who drink do so to the point of intoxication. Health effects of binge drinking include alcohol poisoning; unintentional injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings; and neurological damage. Primary Citations: Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (2013 Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey) 7

8 SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN TALBOT COUNTY Vehicular crashes are the leading cause of death among young Americans, with drunk and/or drugged driving as one of the main contributors. DRINKING AND DRIVING Past 30 Days While the percent of Talbot students who are drinking alcohol has decreased since the 2007 survey, many are making unwise choices about drinking and driving. They ranked number 8 out of 24 when compared to other counties in Maryland: 14% of seniors and 9% of juniors reported driving when they had been drinking one or more times during the past 30 days. Young drivers (ages 16-20) are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of.08% than when they have not been drinking. DRINKING AND RIDING Past 30 Days Talbot County high school students rank number 10 out of 24 counties for having ridden with someone who had been drinking. Twenty-six percent of seniors, 23% of juniors, 18% of sophomores, and 20% of freshmen admitted to getting into a vehicle with a driver who had been drinking. The survey did not question whether that driver was a peer or an adult. We are pleased to see a decline in teen use of alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. The decline supports the power of prevention activities in our community. This new data will help us develop new programs to improve the health of our community through prevention and early interventions. However, the rise in heroin use among Talbot County residents is alarming. It spans all socioeconomic and age groups. We need to recognize the problem and work with all segments of our community to combat this addictive and deadly drug. Thom McCarty, Acting Health Officer of Talbot County Health Department Primary Citation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 8

9 MARIJUANA Past 30 Days Talbot County high school students rank number 21 out of 24 counties in the state for abuse of marijuana; 22% of seniors, 21% of juniors, 19% of sophomores and 10% of freshmen reported using marijuana within 30 days of the survey. Marijuana is the illegal substance most abused by youth. It is more potent than ever; according to a 2009 report from the U.S. government potency has tripled in the past 15 years. Scientific evidence has found that heavy marijuana use during adolescence can permanently lower a person s IQ by as much as 8 points. Marijuana is also linked with mental illness, especially schizophrenia and psychosis as well as depression and anxiety. Contrary to common belief, marijuana is addictive. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young and among people who use marijuana daily. National Institute on Drug Abuse PRESCRIPTION DRUGS Past 30 Days Talbot high school students ranked number 6 out of 24 counties for use of prescription drugs (OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, codeine, Adderall, Ritalin, Xanax) without a doctor s prescription. Fifteen percent of seniors, 16% of juniors, 10% of sophomores and 9% of freshman reported abusing prescription drugs within 30 days of the survey. Prescription opioid drugs (OxyContin/ Vicodin) can have effects similar to heroin when taken in doses or in ways other than prescribed and may open the door to heroin abuse. Teens also abuse other prescription drugs. Stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall are believed by teens to provide energy and increase their ability to focus when studying or taking tests. Depressants like Xanax and Valium are thought to help cope with academic, social or emotional stress. Amphetamines are used to lose weight and steroids to bulk up. Primary Citations: National Institute on Drug Abuse and Smart Approaches to Marijuana 9

10 SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN TALBOT COUNTY HEROIN Ever in Lifetime Talbot County high school students ranked number 5 out of 24 counties for abuse of heroin one or more times during their life; 9% of seniors and juniors, 7% of sophomores, and 5% of freshman reported having used heroin. Heroin is an opioid drug that can be injected, inhaled by snorting or sniffing, or smoked. It is extremely addictive and easy to overdose on. With the recent proliferation of prescription opiate painkillers, opiate use has become far more widespread than ever before. As pain medications have become harder to obtain, many people have turned to heroin. Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene s 2013 Annual Report: Drug and Alcohol-Related Intoxication Deaths in Maryland shows that the number of heroin-related overdose deaths increased by 18% in Our youth are in need of our full attention and commitment. Please take time to read and discuss this survey with a young person. The time you spend with them talking about these important issues is a great investment in their future. Drug and alcohol use and abuse by our young people is destroying lives in our community. For the past 28 years I have seen first hand the devastating effects that drugs and alcohol have had on youth all across our region. I stand with the Talbot Partnership and the Parent Coalition in hopes of educating the families of Talbot County on the dangers of these activities. Sheriff Joe Gamble 10

11 CIGARETTES Past 30 Days Talbot high school students rank number 13 out of 24 counties for abuse of cigarettes; 17% of seniors, 22% of juniors, 14% of sophomores and 10% of freshmen reported smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days. The overwhelming majority of adult cigarette smokers initiated and established the habit during adolescence. Youth may not recognize the short term impact of cigarette use although damage to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems is almost immediate. Research shows strong causal associations between active cigarette smoking in young people and addiction to nicotine, reduced lung function, reduced lung growth, and asthma. SMOKELESS TOBACCO Past 30 Days Talbot high school students rank number 10 out of 24 counties for use of smokeless tobacco products chewing tobacco, snuff, dip. By sucking and chewing these products nicotine is absorbed in the blood stream through the tissues in the mouth. Smokeless tobacco contains cancer causing chemicals that can lead to cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus. Eight percent of seniors, 11% of juniors, 13% of sophomores and 8% of freshmen reported using someform of smokeless tobacco within 30 days of the survey. Primary Citations: Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (2013 Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse 11

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14 PARENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT 14 Parents Count According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia), parental conduct has a strong influence on children s behavior. Children are more affected by what they see their parents and adult role models do rather than what is said. Behavior sends a powerful message. Practicing what is preached is more persuasive than words. Seventy three percent of Talbot County students responding to the YRBS survey said their parents would feel it would be wrong or very wrong for them to drink beer, wine or hard liquor at least once or twice a month. (68% of seniors; 72% of juniors; 75% of sophomores; and 78% of freshmen). Parents provide the earliest formative influence on children s values, personal standards and behaviors. Children of hands-on parents are far less likely to smoke, drink or use other drugs. Highly engaged parents are also more likely to notice some of the warning signs of substance use. Parents and professionals need to understand why our teens are using drugs, looking at such outside pressures as bullying and school pressures, mental health issues, and teens feelings of isolation due to today s technology. Parents should not, however, feel they need to go it alone. Other support structures that youth have within their families, schools and communities can help guide them away from risky behaviors and toward healthy behaviors. Protective factors include having parents, teachers and other adults to turn to for advice and to discuss problems; receiving support from school personnel; being taught about specific risks; and participating in extracurricular activities (community service, clubs, sports, after school programs). According to the Governor s Prevention Initiative for Youth, community prevention includes collaboration from all segments of the community and increases the likelihood of whole systems change. Parents need to help their children separate fact from fiction. Children are bombarded from a very young age with images that make drugs and alcohol seem ok, fun and acceptable. Outside influences such as television, movies, social media, commercials/advertising, and the activities of pop culture icons all contribute to creating a culture that teens aspire to rather than recognizing the risks associated with these behaviors. Primary Citations: CASA Columbia (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse) and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (2013 Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey) During the time I have been a parent of teenagers, the last ten years, I have seen an improvement in the overall atmosphere when it comes to teens and alcohol. No longer is it easy for teens to walk into a retail establishment and buy alcohol. The openness of communication between parents has improved; parents are more willing to stand up for the values they want to promote in order to raise healthy adults. At the same time, our community has had devastating losses from drug use, and we must unite as a community now more than ever to stop the flow of drugs into our community. Cynthia Jurrius, Parent

15 Of the things that affect the quality of life in Talbot County, I think that the issue of substance abuse touches more people than any other. In my medical practice and in my own life, I have seen the destructive and powerful force that substance abuse is in our communities. I invite all to join an effort to make this wonderful region that we call home, one that does not condone or tolerate substance abuse, and lends a firm but helping hand to those who suffer. Then we will all truly enjoy the best possible quality of life indeed. Dr. Russ Shilling, Family Physician and Member of the Blue Ribbon Commission What Can Parents Do? 1. Be a positive role model when it comes to drinking, taking medicine and handling stress. 2. Spend time with your kids: Be involved/ask questions; Share family meals regularly; Engage in extracurricular activities with your child. 3. Educate yourself about drugs and alcohol and share that information with your child. Let them know what you think about underage use of drugs and alcohol. (Use the enclosed Drug Guide for Parents) 4. Know your teen s friends and their parents and know their attitudes about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. 5. Set rules/enforce (follow up with) predetermined consequences. Establish a curfew and enforce it. 6. Monitor social media and use of cell phones. 7. Check your medicine cabinets count pills and monitor your liquor cabinet. Don t allow alcohol, drugs or tobacco to be available to teens in your home. 8. Know your child s risk levels: family history, mental or behavioral disorders, trauma, and impulse control problems. 9. Look for warnings signs, including unusual behaviors. Closely monitor your teen s academic performance and get to know your children s friends. 10. Advocate for public policies affecting the sale and use of alcohol, tobacco products, synthetic marijuana. 11. Call the Talbot TipLine to report underage alcohol/drug parties anonymously. 12. Call the Talbot Parent Coalition or Talbot Partnership and get a free drug test kit to have on hand to test your teen. 13. Call Eastern Shore Psychological Services for early intervention when you suspect drug or alcohol use with your teen. They provide adolescent assessments and treatment for mental health and substance abuse. 15

16 LOCAL SUBSTANCE ABUSE RESOURCES Eastern Shore Crisis Response and Resource Helpline hour crisis Hotline for substance abuse and mental health issues Eastern Shore Psychological Services Adult and adolescent services for substance abuse and mental health Talbot County Health Department Adult addiction treatment services only TurnAround Program Talbot Health Department offers a free drug sceening and consultation for adolescents. If needed, they will refer the adolescent for further assessment and treatment. Talbot Partnership Information on raising alcohol/tobacco/drug-free youth Talbot TipLine Report underage alcohol/drug parties anonymously Talbot County Liquor Inspector Report liquor law violators Talbot Parent Coalition Offers free alcohol and drug testing kits at Talbot Partnership, resources and information on their website parentcoalitionoftalbotpartnership.org. WEBSITES LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSISTANCE Report underage drinking/drugging parties, impaired driving, neighborhood disruptions, sales of alcohol to minors, drug transactions. Easton Police Department Maryland State Police St. Michaels Police Department Oxford Police Department Talbot County Sheriff s Office Trappe Police Department DRUG DROP BOX: Talbot County Public Safety Center 115 West Dover Street, Easton Dispose of unwanted/expired prescription drugs safely and responsibly MARYLAND TOBACCO QUITLINE: QUIT-NOW SUPPORT GROUPS: Alcoholics Anonymous ALANON Narcotics Anonymous

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