The Alcohol Education Trust - Parent Newsletter

Summer Term, July 2016, Ed 20

If you crave a little light relief from the relentless news and worry about Brexit, then why not take a look at our new on-line Learning Zone on www.talkaboutalcohol.com. There are all sorts of games and sources of information, from quizzes that you might like to test yourself on, to Ninja type fruit cutting games that your youngsters will really enjoy.

Have a look at the interactive body or visit the virtual nightclub in the Alcohol Clock game where you can choose drinking, eating, chatting, dancing and other activities and see the effect on your body over time. The Learning Zone has information on units and guidelines, the effect of alcohol on the body and alcohol and the law (The Fact Zone and Body Zone). Who Do You Think You Are? encourages young teenagers to think more about their own personalities and how they interact with friends, plus, there are film clips, which are great for starting a conversation about alcohol, including  an activity built around the BBC Just a Few Drinks films.

If you’d like to send us feedback too, then we’d really appreciate it. Just send the info in an email to kate@alcoholeducationtrust.org.

Do you want a cup of tea?

This clever video on consent, illustrated by Rachel Brian at Blue Seat Studios and written by Emmeline May at rockstardinosaurpirateprincess.com, goes through all the situations which can be twisted into ‘blurred lines’ territory by certain people, all the while keeping with the analogy of offering someone a cup of tea. This is one of the most powerful and engaging clips on understanding what consent is about that we have seen. If your youngster is starting dating, or off to College or Uni in the Autumn, then you might like to show them this short clip.

‘Maybe they were conscious when you asked them if they wanted tea, and they said “yes”. But in the time it took you to boil the kettle, brew the tea and add the milk they are now unconscious … Don’t make them drink the tea. They said ‘yes’ then, sure, but unconscious people don’t want tea.’

The video clip is part of the #ConsentisEverything campaign.

Parents really are right: underage teenagers who drink and smoke weed get poorer grades

This is probably the last thing any of us want to hear as the long wait for exam results begins – and yes, the research was carried out in LA, but scientists who followed the cannabis and alcohol use among 6,500  11 – 17 year-olds over seven years found that teenagers using both marijuana and alcohol had worse grades at school. They were also likely to have worse job prospects than their parents. Smoking cannabis was linked with and found to cause 'delinquent' behaviour, put down partially to it being increasingly potent.

It’s great news then that underage drinking among teenagers in England has dropped to its lowest level since records began. The latest figures released by the government show the proportion of 11-15 year olds who have ever consumed alcohol has steadily declined from 62% in 1988  to 38% in 2014. In the latest survey, only 4% of 11 to 15 year olds said they drank alcohol at least once a week, with prevalence increasing with age from less than 0.5% of 11 year olds to 10% of 15 year olds.

Please also note that, as of the 26th May, The Psychoactive Substances Act came into force and in brief criminalises the supply, importation and production of “psychoactive substances” (Legal Highs). There is no offence of possession in this Act other than in a Prison institution. This is powerful legislation and introduces both criminal and civil processes with sanctions of up to 7 years imprisonment.

Drink spiking

As we talk to parents across the country and share experiences, a topic that is coming up more and more is about drink spiking at private parties and when out.

A recent survey in Cambridge nightclubs found that a third of students have experienced their drinks being spiked. Please do speak to your teenagers about never leaving their drink unattended, or accepting drinks from anyone they don’t know well, especially as we get into the season of summer parties and festivals.

Drink spiking can be linked to sexual assault and robbery, however, the majority of reported drink-spiking incidents are not linked to any additional crime. In these instances the motive may be 'prank spiking'. Drink spiking is illegal, whatever the intent. This means that slipping alcohol or drugs into a friend's drink as a joke is against the law. People who spike drinks can be charged, fined or jailed.

The public perception is that drink spiking is limited to slipping drugs into an alcoholic drink. However, drink spiking can include:

  • putting alcohol into a non-alcoholic drink (such as water, soft drink, non-alcoholic punch or fruit juice)
  • adding extra alcohol to an alcoholic drink
  • slipping prescription or illegal drugs (such as tranquillisers, amphetamines or GHB – also called liquid ecstasy) into an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink.

How to help prevent drink spiking

Suggestions include:

  • Party with trusted friends. Discuss how you will watch out for each other while at the venue.
  • Buy your own drinks. Watch the bartender prepare your drink.
  • Don't accept any drinks from strangers. 
  • Accompany the person to the bar if you do wish to accept the offer of a drink from a stranger. Take the drink from the bartender yourself.
  • Be wary if a stranger buys you a drink and it's not the type of drink you requested.
  • Don't take your eyes off your drink. If you have to leave the table (to go to the toilet, for example), ask a friend to watch over the drinks.
  • Buy drinks that come in bottles with screw-top lids. Carry the bottle in your bag when you go to the toilet or have a dance.
  • Don't consume your drink if you think it may have been spiked. Discuss your concerns with the manager or host.
  • Tell the manager or host immediately if you see someone spike a drink or if you suspect that drink spiking may be occurring.

Symptoms of drink spiking

You may not realise your drink has been spiked by smelling it or tasting it. The substances used to spike drinks are often colourless and odourless. The symptoms of drink spiking depend on many factors such as the substance or mix of substances used, the dose, your size and weight, and how much alcohol you have already consumed.

Symptoms could include:

  • feeling drunk, woozy or drowsy
  • feeling drunker than expected
  • mental confusion
  • hallucinations
  • speech difficulties such as slurring
  • memory loss
  • loss of inhibitions
  • nausea and vomiting
  • seizures
  • loss of consciousness
  • an unusually long hangover
  • a severe hangover when you had little or no alcohol to drink.

How to help

If someone shows any of the above symptoms, suggestions include:

  • telling the manager or host what is happening
  • taking the person to a safe area and staying with them
  • keeping a close eye on their condition. Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates in any way, for example, if they lose consciousness
  • if you or your friend suspects drink spiking, contacting the police or go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital. Urine or blood tests performed within the first 24 hours are able to detect the presence of most drugs.

For further information or advice please visit the parent area of www.alcoholeducationtrust.org

Charities Aid Foundation fundraising

In common with most charities, fundraising is crucial to the Alcohol Education Trust's continued success. We have set up a fundraising account with the Charities Aid Foundation to help promote our organisation and manage online donations.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit the Get Involved page of our website.

£25.00 supplies 100 information leaflets for teenagers on staying safe around alcohol.

£70.00 supports a school with teacher training manual, newsletter and email support for 1 year.

£150.00 funds a parent support seminar or teacher training session.

AET resources comprise of www.alcoholeducationtrust.org and www.talkaboutalcohol.com a Teacher Workbook, booklets ‘Alcohol and You’ for 15yrs+ and ‘Talking to Your Kids About Alcohol’ parent and carer guide.
We also offer teacher CPD workshops and parent information talks.

For further information on any of the above please contact
Helena Conibear, Founder, Director helena@alcoholeducationtrust.org
Sandra Saint, Parent and Schools Coordinator NE sandra@alcoholeducationtrust.org
Kathryn Arnott-Gent, Parent and Schools Coordinator NW kathryn@alcoholeducationtrust.org
Kate Hooper, Schools Coordinator kate@alcoholeducationtrust.org
Helen Dougan, Project Manager hdougan@alcoholeducationtrust.org

Trustees

Gordon Redley BEd (Cantab)
Victoria Mc Donaugh MA (Hons), PGCE
Alison Winsborough BMus, PGCE
Patricia Garven, Cert Ed.
Rod Hoare, MBE
The Alcohol Education Trust, Frampton House, Frampton, Dorset, DT2 9NH
01300 320869
Registered Charity Number 1138775
www.alcoholeducationtrust.org

MailerLite