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Parents Who Host, Lose The Most

Don’t be a party to teenage drinking

This time of year brings lots of opportunities for teens to celebrate.  Unfortunately, many times these celebrations end in tragedy because the parties are fueled by alcohol provided by adults.  This year, the Montgomery-Rocky Hill Municipal Alliance wants teens (and their parents) to celebrate events safely without alcohol.

Now through July, the Montgomery Township Police Department and the Montgomery-Rocky Hill Municipal Alliance are raising awareness about the health and safety risks of adults serving alcohol at teen parties.

“Too many people think underage drinking is harmless or even worse – it is acceptable if parents take car keys away from youth.  Every year we hear about teens dying or suffering from alcohol poisoning, sexual assault, cyber bullying and drowning that occur after adults provide alcohol to youth.” said Devangi Patel, Montgomery Rocky-Hill Municipal Alliance Coordinator. “Nobody has the right to endanger the welfare of someone else’s child by providing them with alcohol”, she added.

“The Montgomery Township Police Department takes underage drinking and the adults who sell or serve alcohol to youth very seriously”, said Captain Thomas Wain, Montgomery Township Police Department.  Anyone who purposely or knowingly offers, serves or makes available an alcoholic beverage to a person under the legal age for consuming alcoholic beverages or entices or encourages that person to drink an alcoholic beverage is a disorderly person, he warned.

“Underage drinking is illegal, has long term health consequences and is a factor in all five of the leading causes of death among youth” explained Patel.  We want this to be a happy commencement season, underage drinking isn’t part of that picture, she added.

Parents should understand that taking away the car keys does not solve all of the problems related to underage drinking.

Did you know:

  • At least six youth under 21 die every day from non-driving alcohol related causes (such as
    alcohol poisoning, falls, burns, drowning, homicide and suicide).
  • Youth aged 12-20 drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the U.S.
  • Studies reveal that alcohol consumption by adolescents impairs intellectual development and results in possibly permanent brain damage.
  • When drinking is delayed until age 21, a child’s risk of serious alcohol problems decreased by 70%.
  • A conviction for underage drinking goes on your permanent criminal record and will appear on criminal background checks performed by educational institutions and employers.

Consequences of Underage Drinking.  Youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience:

·   Poor coping skills

·   Legal problems, such as arrests, abuse/assaults and drunk driving

·   Poor decision making

·   Disruption of normal growth and sexual development

·   Alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, and drowning

·   Abuse of other drugs

·   Death from alcohol poisoning

·   Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity

·   Physical and sexual assault

·   Higher risk for suicide

·   Memory problems

·   Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.

·   School problems, such as higher absence and poor grades

In general, the risk of youth experiencing these problems is especially greater for those who binge drink.

Here are some tips for adults (especially parents) on how to avoid being a party to teenage drinking:

  • Don’t be afraid to be the bad guy. Taking a tough stand on alcohol use can help youth say no when they are pressured to drink by their friends.
  • Talk with other adults about hosting alcohol-free youth events.  Unity creates a tough, enforceable message.
  • Communication and honesty are important to keep your child safe. Tell your teen that you expect him/her not to use alcohol or other drugs at parties. Be up to greet your teen when s/he comes home. This can be a good way to check the time and talk about the evening.
  • Parent networking is the best prevention tool to combat underage drinking. Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents. If your teen is planning on going to a party, call the parents to ensure that they will be home and that they will not allow drugs or alcohol.
  • Set a positive example. If hosting a party, always serve alternative non-alcoholic beverages and do not let anyone drink and drive.
  • Stay home if your teen is hosting a party at home. Observe the activities and confiscate any alcohol that may be brought by party goers.
  • Report underage drinking to the police promptly.
  • Encourage parents and youth to call 9-11 if someone needs medical help resulting from binge drinking or alcohol poisoning. New Jersey’s Lifeline Legislation protects the caller from prosecution (P.L. 2009, c.133).

For more information, please contact the Montgomery Township Health Department at (908) 359-8211.

 

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Prevent Lyme Disease Press Release

May is Tick-borne Disease Awareness Month

Montgomery Twp., NJ — A growing number of Montgomery Twp. Residents are falling ill with diseases spread by ticks, such as Lyme disease and anaplasmosis. These tick-borne diseases are preventable if you take action to stay safe while enjoying the outdoors now, and in the warmer months ahead.

In New Jersey, the most commonly infected tick is the deer tick (or black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis). “After a mild winter, tick populations are surging and that could mean a bad year for Lyme Disease. During the spring, ticks are active and looking to feed on people or pets. The trouble is, these ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, so we all need to be aware of the risks and take action to protect ourselves.” said Stephanie Carey, Health Officer for Montgomery Twp. Health Department.

Anyone who is bitten by a tick carrying the bacteria can become infected. People who spend a lot of time outdoors in tick-infested areas from April through October are at greatest risk. Proper removal of a tick from the skin within 48 hours of being bitten can reduce the risk of infection.

The Health Department encourages residents to follow these three simple steps to avoid tick-borne diseases:

REPEL – Before you go outside, apply an EPA-registered insect repellent (such as DEET). Treat your clothes with permethrin. Wear light-colored long sleeved shirts and long pants, and tuck your pants into your socks. Inspect yourself regularly when outside to catch any ticks before they attach.

INSPECT – Do daily tick checks on yourself, your children and pets. Check yourself from head to toe.

REMOVE – Remove ticks promptly. Showering within two hours of coming indoors is also effective to wash ticks off the skin.

If you were bitten by a tick – watch for early signs of disease during the weeks following the bite. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding red rash at the site of the tick bite. The rash usually appears seven to 14 days after the tick bite, but sometimes it takes up to 30 days to appear. Not everyone gets the rash, so be on the lookout for additional symptoms of early Lyme disease: fatigue, headache, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle and joint pain. Early signs of anaplasmosis are fever, muscle pain and malaise. Both diseases can be successfully treated with antibiotics, especially if treatment is given early.

Get more tips and information for reducing your risk of tick bites, download tick-identification cards, see how to safely remove a tick, at health.montgomery.nj.us.

For health news, alerts and information – visit www.health.montgomery.nj.us or call (908) 359-8211.

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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

The Montgomery Township Health Department and the Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition (RCDC), along with its partners, are encouraging residents to play it safe and protect themselves from the harmful rays of the sun, beginning this season and throughout the year.

A proclamation declaring May as Skin Cancer Awareness month was presented at the April 25 Somerset County freeholders’ meeting.

“Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It is vital that we understand that anyone can get skin cancer regardless of skin color or age,” said Freeholder Patricia L. Walsh, public health and safety liaison. “Recent studies indicate that sun damage in childhood can lead to skin cancer later in life, so you are never too young to protect yourself from sun exposure.”

“Skin cancer is a serious public health concern.  Every year, more than five million Americans are treated for skin cancer. This year alone, more than 10,000 deaths in the U.S. will be caused by melanoma skin cancer,” she said.  “We are urging residents to avoid artificial tanning, to conduct self-exams and to get screened. Melanoma is highly treatable when caught early.”

The RCDC is encouraging skin cancer awareness through a number of initiatives, programs and screenings throughout both counties.  An interactive May skin cancer awareness calendar with sun safety tips, screening locations and partner resources is available at http://bit.ly/MelanomaHD.  Dates with an orange star open to tips on how to protect yourself and your family as well as screening information and available resources.

An information table with skin cancer resources, screening information and copies of the calendar will be in the lobby of the Somerset County Administration Building at 20 Grove St., Somerville throughout the month of May. For ongoing information about programs offered by the Somerset County Department of Health, go to http://bit.ly/SCHealthDept and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SCHealthDept.

We also are supporting our coalition partner the Enright Melanoma Foundation, a New Jersey-based nonprofit organization, whose mission is to raise sun-safety awareness and help prevent melanoma through education and early detection.

Residents are encouraged to become Enright Sun Safety Certified™. Designed by skin-care professionals from the Enright Melanoma Foundation, programs are free, online education courses for ages 5 and over that take about 15 minutes to complete.  Once finished a certificate of completion can be printed. The programs can be found at www.ApplyCoverEnjoy.org.

The Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition, under the auspices of the Somerset County Department of Health, is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Office of Cancer Control and Prevention.  For more information, to become a member or to learn more about available cancer resources, screening locations, dates, times and eligibility, contact RCDC Public Health Consultant Lucille Y-Talbot at (908) 203-6077, ytalbot@co.somerset.nj.us or visit http://bit.ly/RCDCSC.

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