Young adults making the transition to college are vulnerable to alcohol use, particularly during the first several weeks of their freshman year. In response, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has created The Sound of Your Voice; this short animated video encourages parents to talk with their college-bound children about the potential consequences of underage alcohol use. Talking With Your College-Bound Young Adult About Alcohol, a companion guide for parents, emphasizes the continuing influence that parents have over alcohol use decisions by their older children; this guide also offers tips on discussing alcohol use with them before and during college.
SAMHSA has designed these materials to—
- Make parents more aware of the increased vulnerability of young adults to alcohol use during their transition to college life;
- Increase parental awareness of the consequences of underage drinking among college students; and
- Stress the powerful and continuing role of parents in discouraging underage drinking by young adults.
Parents can view and download the resources directly. SAMHSA encourages high school and college administrators to make parents aware of these resources and their call to action during Parent–Teacher Association meetings, college tours, and other events involving college-bound students and parents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced its annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign for August 21‒September 7, 2015. This annual crackdown on drunk driving is designed to reduce the number of alcohol-related fatalities that occur over the Labor Day weekend. In 2013, a total of 10,076 individuals, including young people, were killed in drinking and driving-related car crashes, which comprise nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities. Twenty-seven percent of these crashes involved drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .15 or higher.
NHTSA’s campaign focuses on improving awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving and enforcing zero tolerance for drunk driving. Visit the Traffic Safety Marketing website to download English and Spanish communication materials to help prevent drinking and driving. The website includes a variety of resources such as website banner ads, fact sheets, sample press releases, flyers, infographics, logos, posters, radio ads, sample social media materials, web videos, and television ads.
International Overdose Awareness Day aims to increase awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, including those from alcohol overdose. According to Alcohol Overdose: The Dangers of Drinking Too Much, from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), signs of an overdose include the following:
- Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or inability to wake up
- Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute)
- Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
- Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness
NIAAA’s Rethinking Drinking website offers numerous tools for evaluating your drinking behavior and how it might be affecting your health.
Health centers provide access to affordable, high-quality, and cost-effective health care to patients across the country, regardless of their ability to pay. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, health centers serve nearly 22 million Americans, including some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations. One in 15 people living in the United States access health care through health centers, including one in four individuals living below the poverty line and one in six individuals who are uninsured.
To help people locate substance abuse or addiction and mental health treatment services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration developed the Behavioral Health Treatment Services locator, an online tool that allows users to enter their ZIP code and locate nearby treatment facilities. The locator is available online at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov.