Monday, September 28, 2009
September 23, 2009
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National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA*) at Columbia University
New York, NY, September 23, 2009 – Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners (five or more per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are twice as likely to use tobacco or marijuana; more than one and a half times likelier to use alcohol; and twice as likely to expect to try drugs in the future, according to The Importance of Family Dinners V, a new report by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
The report also found that compared to teens who have five to seven family dinners per week, those who have fewer than three family dinners per week are:
Twice as likely to have friends who use marijuana and Ecstasy;
More than one and a half times likelier to have friends who drink, abuse prescription drugs, and use Meth; and
Almost one and a half times likelier to have friends who use illegal drugs like cocaine, acid and heroin.
"The magic of the family dinner comes not from the food on the plate but from who's at the table and what's happening there. The emotional and social benefits that come from family dinners are priceless," said Elizabeth Planet, CASA's Vice President and Director of Special Projects. "We know that teens who have frequent family dinners are likelier to get A's and B's in school and have excellent relationships with their parents. Having dinner as a family is one of the easiest ways to create routine opportunities for parental engagement and communication, two keys to raising drug-free children."
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
On Thursday, September 17, the Assembly voted 95-0 in support of Assembly Bill 283 authored by Representative Tony Staskunas. Below is a brief summary of the key provisions. In his floor speech Staskunas said this is the beginning of the process and there are many other things we can do to continue the fight. This was truly a bi-partisan effort and he should be commended for reaching out to the republicans and welcoming their ideas.
The Senate still has to act and many believe a bill will be on the Governor's desk by November.
The specific provisions are:
- Mandatory Ignition Interlock Devices for first time offenders with a .15 BAC and all repeat drunk drivers.
- Allowing the Expansion of the Winnebago County Safe Streets Treatment Options Program statewide.
- Closing .08-.099 BAC Loophole.
- Allowing probation for 2nd and 3rd OWI offenses.
- Extending the period of license revocation until after completion of sentencing.
- Penalty enhancer for causing injury.
- Making a 4th OWI a felony if it is within five years of a previous OWI conviction.
- Criminalizing a first OWI if there are any children in the vehicle at the time of arrest.
- Increase the OWI surcharge by $100 to pay for Prosecutors.
- Re-direct the beer tax to the Department of Corrections for AODA programs.
- Immediate incarceration upon a 3rd OWI conviction.
- Direct the Judicial Council to develop statewide sentencing guidelines for OWI offenses.
Candy and Fruit Flavored Cigarettes Now Illegal in United States; Step is First Under New Tobacco Law
For Immediate Release: Sept. 22, 2009
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today a ban on cigarettes with flavors characterizing fruit, candy, or clove. The ban, authorized by the new Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, is part of a national effort by the FDA to reduce smoking in America. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in America.
The FDA's ban on candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes, effective today, highlights the importance of reducing the number of children who start to smoke, and who become addicted to dangerous tobacco products. The FDA is also examining options for regulating both menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products other than cigarettes.
"Almost 90 percent of adult smokers start smoking as teenagers. These flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. "The FDA will utilize regulatory authority to reduce the burden of illness and death caused by tobacco products to enhance our Nation's public health."
Flavors make cigarettes and other tobacco products more appealing to youth. Studies have shown that 17 year old smokers are three times as likely to use flavored cigarettes as smokers over the age of 25.
"Flavored cigarettes attract and allure kids into lifetime addiction," said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. "FDA's ban on these cigarettes will break that cycle for the more than 3,600 young people who start smoking daily."
The FDA is taking several steps to enforce the ban. A letter recently sent to the tobacco industry provided information about the law, and explained that any company who continues to make, ship or sell such products may be subject to FDA enforcement actions.
The FDA has also made available today an advisory to parents on the risks associated with flavored tobacco products.
"Youth are twice as likely to report seeing advertising for these flavored products as adults are," said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a pediatrician and the FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner. "Marketing campaigns for products with sweet candy and fruit flavors can mislead young people into thinking that these products are less addictive and less harmful."
The FDA encourages consumers to report continuing sales of flavored cigarettes through a special tobacco hotline (1-877-CTP-1373) and Web site (www.fda.gov/flavoredtobacco).
General information can be found at:
Q & A information can be found at:
Factsheet for parents can be found at:
(just a side note, this law only regulates flavors in CIGARETTES, smokeless products, cigars, cigarillos, etc are NOT included. The FDA bill does not speficially call for a ban on candy-flavored non-cigarette tobacco products. Hopefully, with efforts from Coalitions like ours, this will change.)
Monday, September 14, 2009
A letter was submitted to the FDA today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the American Legacy Foundation, the American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids alerting the FDA of possible industry efforts to get around the ban.
If you see evidence of these efforts in your community, comments can be submitted to the FDA on this and other issues at www.regulations.gov
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Press in attendance: WLUK TV 11, WBAY TV 2, WGBA TV 26, WFRV TV 5, WHBY 1150 AM, WTAQ, WOSH, Post Crescent, Time Warner Cable On Demand
Click www.wbay.com scroll down and find the video that was shown on Channel 2
Scope of Problem: JB Van Hollen- WI Atty. General:
Van Hollen started out saying that "RX drug abuse/misuse is a serial killer that needs to be taken down. (Making the comparison to Milwaukee’s recent headlines). We need to raise awareness and advise the public of the degree of the problem. This is a huge problem with a simple solution, educate youth on dangers and reduce access to non-prescribed drugs."
Legislative Efforts: Rep. Gary Sherman (D-Port Wing)
Sherman is author of a bi-partisan bill that will monitor prescription drug dispensers. He says there is "nothing political about it". Whenever a customer purchases a prescription drug they are entered into a data base. The intent is to drastically reduce "Dr. Shopping" or the practice of persons going to several pharmacies or stores to attempt to purchase prescription drugs at various locations in same time frame. 14 people died in his area of Ashland and Bayfield Counties from RX OD, non died from hard drugs overdoses. This bill has a lot of support and is on the floor for hearing Wednesday Sept 15. If passed (and he expects it to since WI is only one of 3 states that do not have such a process already) it then goes in front of senate to be heard. I asked him after the conference how can our coalition support this bill and he said that after its heard next week and on its way to Senate. We should be lobbying and writing letters and making phone calls to our senators in support.
Prevention Efforts: Jason Weber-Town of Menasha PD
Ripon traffic stops have produced bags of pills. Homes and businesses in Winnebago County are reporting burglaries and theft of pills. Realtors are alarmed that prescription pills are being stolen out of open house showing in Two Rivers. "Pharm" parties are occurring all too often in Green Bay. This is why Crime Prevention Officers in partnership with Purdue Pharm, a Drug Free America and the Drug Free Communities coalition has developed "Good Drugs Gone Bad" community toolkit. It includes presentations targeted at teens, parents of teens, and older adults as well as pharmacy security measures, posters, PSA’s and more. Coalitions and Crime Prevention officers are now working on extending materials to targeted groups. Weber will distribute tool kits at State wideCrime Prevention Conference and local coalitions plan "train the trainer" workshops to share with youth workers.
Victim Impact: Karen Falck parent of Cory McNeil (Depere HS student who died 3 years ago of Rx drugs)
This was an emotional account on how vibrant her son was. He was an athlete and a well rounded respectful youth. He got caught up in drugs, began lying to her and she was ultimately shocked to get a phone call saying he died from drug use. She is an advocate because this with this form of substance abuse "there is no time to learn from your mistakes, its too late, it kills you."
Cindy Meyers parent of 19 year old former drug user. Discussed how parents should be cautious and secure their pills, at least make kids work hard for them if they are going to steal them. Too easy to experiment.
Questions on trend: Brad Dunlap-MEG fielded press questions on upward spike of drug use and also referred to the MEG Threat Assessment
Visuals: Barry Busby-County Coroner displayed pictures of the abundant supply of prescription pills taken from homes of deceased this year alone. He explained to the press the intent of the time released products and how overdoses occur all too often when youth crush, or take pill in non-prescribed form.
For more information, contact Lisa Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Today’s announcement by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Lorillard Inc. and other tobacco manufacturers that they have filed suit to overturn portions of the recently passed FDA tobacco legislation is not unexpected. The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Bowling Green, Kentucky, seeks to overturn portions the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which deal with advertising, marketing and labeling of tobacco products.
The tobacco companies have challenged language in the bill that would compel them to scientifically justify claims of "reduced risk" for any tobacco product. They are also challenging the requirement for larger graphic warning labels on cigarette packs, as well as restrictions on colorful advertising which impacts children, advertising within 1000 feet of playgrounds or schools and numerous other marketing and advertising restrictions. In challenging these restrictions in the FDA tobacco legislation, R.J. Reynolds and the others are asking a federal court to allow them to continue to employ the same irresponsible and deadly marketing techniques which have addicted generations of American children and caused an epidemic of disease, death and heartbreak for American families.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law on June 22, 2009 by President Obama, is carefully crafted and consistent with the First Amendment. The advertising and marketing restrictions in the bill, first introduced in 1996 as the FDA Tobacco Rule, have been reviewed and cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice. The restrictions have been carefully developed to satisfy constitutional requirements. They are supported by recent findings by the Institute of Medicine, the President’s Cancer Panel and The U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, and the National Cancer Institute.
The lawsuit filed today is simply more proof that the tobacco industry is far more interested in its bottom line than it is in doing anything meaningful to stop the cycle of addiction and disease that comes from tobacco use. The FDA tobacco bill, when fully implemented, will save lives. We hope the federal court will quickly and decisively reject the latest attempt by Big Tobacco to circumvent the law, and allow the FDA to get on with its role in putting an end to the deceptive and dangerous tobacco marketing practices which have taken such a terrible toll on this nation’s health.
A related article published in the New York Times can be read here: