CASA Points to Local Gains; to Help in Coming Activities

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

CASA (Community Action for Safe Alternatives) and the Wellness Committee at the high school are raising awareness on several health issues. CASA acknowledging April as Alcohol Awareness Month and Wellness Week is set to launch events at the high school April 10-14.

On Monday, April 10 students will learn about mental health and “Minding your Mind,”  students will learn about coping with stress, anxiety and depression.

Students banded together and decided the topic that would be addressed during Wellness Week.

On Tuesday students will learn about Healthy Relationships and hear from a doctor who will speak about his daughter who was a victim.

Wednesday discussions will center around substance misuse.

On Thursday students will learn about body image, self-care/self-image.

Friday will be community pride day with students only being in school for a half day.

CASA is in its second to last year of federal funding for drug and alcohol prevention. The positive results of this investment are clear when the data around Alcohol use in Winthrop is reviewed. Rates of lifetime use in 2011 were higher than the state wide average, by at least 1 percent, in 2014  students were drinking at the same rate of youth state wide, and the last survey indicated that Winthrop High School students were drinking at a 5 and a half percent lower rate than their peers statewide.

The rates for current use show similar improvements. Winthrop students went from rates of 48 percent of high school students drinking in the past 30 days in 2014, a full 12 percent higher rate than their peers in the rest of Massachusetts, to 33.5 percent in 2016.

“Although we still have work to do around the issue of binge drinking, as WHS students still binge drink at a slightly higher rate than those in the rest of the state we have seen a significant decrease over time,” said LeighAnn Eruzione, Community Liaison CASA.

Rates of binge drinking among WHS students went from 37 percent in 2011 to 30 percent in 2014 and results of the 2017 survey show only a rate of 18.5 percent. Also of note, 43 percent of WHS think there would be some to a very good chance they would be seen as cool if they began drinking alcoholic beverages regularly, that is, at least once or twice a month.

Currently, CASA members are working diligently to address some of these concerning statistics with our Youth Advisory Board, Winthrop public schools, the Winthrop police Department, and various other town entities and community volunteers.

For the complete survey results or to learn ways to get involved, please contact LeighAnn Eruzione, CASA’s Community Liaison at [email protected] or 617-763-0241.

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