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Spring Break! The Dangers -

by the Social Diary Safety Educator Columnist Monica Zech
Column #9, March 21st, 2006

Parents Concerned About Drinking, Unprotected Sex...Yes, You Should Be
Very Concerned!

Parents listen up..."Spring Break" is no longer an innocent respite (if
it ever was) from the rigors of college academics,
it's potentially life
threatening, this according to the American Medical Association, which
published a survey in 2004 that shows 91 percent of parents say it's
time to stop spring break marketing and promotional practices that
promote dangerous drinking.

Note: What happened to Natalee Holloway in Aruba, can and has happened
to young women here in the U.S.! Educate your children on the dangers
of drinking alcohol, especially your daughters. As a responsible
parent you should be educating your children it's illegal to drink until
they're 21...for a healthier future, to avoid drinking alcohol period.
But, either way - talk to your children. The following information can


First lesson - "alcohol" is a DRUG! It's a depressant in the drug
category. From the very first sip it's in your blood system in six
seconds - going immediately to the most important part of your body -
your "BRAIN" - affecting the way you think and react...and impairing
judgment, making you more vulnerable to those who will take advantage
of those situations. But also keep in mind - it's not only women that
fall prey to predators when they've had too much to drink! - Monica

The Marketing Issue From The AMA:

"The tourism and alcohol industries promote heavy drinking and sex,
creating an environment that can lead to rape, fatal injuries and death
by alcohol poisoning. We agree with parents that we must put an end to
these promotions that target students, most of whom are underage." said
J. Edward Hill, MD, AMA Chair-Elect in a news release.

The "Matter of Degree" poll indicated that a majority of parents (56
percent) were completely unaware that tour companies market spring break
destinations directly to college students, emphasizing heavy drinking
and sex. In addition to U.S. spring break destinations, American tour
companies, in partnership with alcohol producers, promote destinations
outside the country where the drinking age is 18 - a key attraction.

Of the 500 parents surveyed, 91 percent say it's time to stop spring
break marketing and promotional practices that promote dangerous

Other findings of the poll include:

More than 80 percent of parents said they were concerned about college
students drinking alcohol during spring break. Topping the list of
concerns were students having unprotected sex (71 percent), students
driving while intoxicated or with a drunken driver (70 percent), and
female students getting raped (68 percent).

Eighty-eight percent of parents said they think that spring break is
primarily a problem of underage drinking, because many college students
are younger than the legal drinking age of 21, and 61 percent believe
that underage students are more likely to drink than 21-year-olds.

77 percent of adults and 68 percent of parents say that alcohol
companies are using spring break in Mexico to introduce underage
students to their products.

The beer and liquor industries say that they are not promoting underage
drinking by encouraging alcohol use at spring break locations in Mexico,
but 64 percent of parents agree that this practice takes advantage of
American youth under 21 and influences them to drink.

70 percent of parents say they are unwilling to pay for their child's
spring break.

"Parents and students need to recognize that there is a dark side to
the spring break madness they see on MTV," said Frank Guglielmi, whose
19-year-old son died after falling off a balcony following a day of
partying in Panama City Beach, Florida.

As an emergency agency - From Monica Zech:

*All you have to do is read the newspaper or watch TV news and you'll
see story after story of drug related incidents. The number one drug
causing most of the problems we respond to as an emergency agency is
"ALCOHOL." You didn't know that? It's the number one cause of
rapes, pregnancies, transmitted diseases, fights, shootings, stabbings
and robberies etc. Especially in party situations, and the dangers
behind the wheel.

Open your eyes to the dangers -

What is often forgotten is the issue of "binge" drinking. Having too
much to drink to the point of passing out, which is very typical among
under-age drinkers into the early twenties. What causes you to black
out? It's "blood alcohol poisoning." Since alcohol is a DRUG, you've
basically "overdosed" on this drug. You'll be lucky to wake up period,
if not with a hang-over. Yes - you can die from drinking too
much...especially if you mix your drinking with other drugs, such as
ecstasy or cocaine.

Aside from injury and death for the moment...if money has more meaning,
realize an average DUI ticket can cost well over $10-thousand dollars.
Factor in DMV fees, tow/storage, auto insurance increases, booking fees,
bail fees and lawyer/legal fees. Not to mention what a DUI on your
driving record can affect - such as your credit rating. This will
prevent you from getting loans (vehicle, house & student loans), and
ruin your future job or current job status. I can tell you first hand,
I've seen numerous job candidates kicked out of the running for jobs in
law enforcement and in fire/paramedic careers due to a DUI on their
record - and other drug-related issues. And, I've also seen those with
a job in those areas "lose" that job due to a DUI. It's amazing we
forget we need that job to pay our bills and support our families.
Speaking of families - what kind of example are you setting for your
children when you get a "DUI?"

But, what should have more meaning is the "death and injury" I've seen,
which is why I'm passionate about this issue. It happens more often
than you think. I've been passionate about this issue long before my
own father was killed by a DUI driver in June of 92', as he was walking
legally across a street in La Mesa. And yes, lighting can strike a
family twice. My daughter was injured when struck by a DUI driver last
year in February of 05'. I thank GOD she survived...as a result, I now
get to see her graduate from paramedic school in June, and see her marry
in July. I've met other families who were not as fortunate to see
their children achieve their dreams. But, I've also seen parents who
were responsible for injuring and killing their own family members while
driving impaired.

No matter what the occasion, if your plans include alcohol "designate
BEFORE you celebrate"...and make sure your designated driver is a
"sober" designated driver. It is not the person who had the least
amount to drink. Careful planning can prevent a tragedy!

From Safety Educator Monica Zech, City of El Cajon, police & Fire

For more safety information please visit our web site at El Cajon Fire.com

* Monica Zech is the Public Information Officer and Safety Educator for the City of El Cajon and for El Cajon Police and Fire Departments. For safety tips please visit El Cajon Fire.com In community work, Zech is the President on the board for the Trauma Research Education Foundation-TREF and a board member with Communities Against Substance Abuse-CASA. In March, Monica received the County's 2005 Individual Health Champion Award for her safety lectures in the community and throughout the county. Email mzech@ci.el-cajon.ca.us and visit Zech's Web Site ,or Monica Zech at (619) 441-1737.

back to New this Week.......Monica Zech's Columns....... Home


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