Think before you drink, teens are told
Article Date: September 27, 2013
From Standard Times
By Auditi Guha
TAUNTON — When making a tough decision, Marisa Silveri recommends teens practice the 10-10-10 rule.
“Wait 10 seconds,” said the neuroscientist and Harvard professor, speaking at a conference on underage drinking Thursday. “Would you make the same decision 10 minutes later, 10 hours later, 10 days later?”
It’s a message that hit home with many of the 150 students attending the free, full-day, countywide conference organized by Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter’s office and held at the Holiday Inn.
“I like the 10-10-10 rule,” said Daryl Zawaski, 13, a Mansfield middle school student. “When you have to make a decision, you should wait 10 seconds and more.”
Sutter, who formed an Underage Drinking Prevention Task Force in 2009, said the students have the responsibility of taking the information back to their campuses.
“Our mission can’t be over when the conference ends,” he said. “We have to spread the message in our communities to make sure Bristol County’s a safer place.”
With MRI images of a developing brain and impromptu exercises, Silveri’s keynote address pointed out startling facts about how alcohol affects the teen brain — from a potential 10 percent reduction in memory function to a heightened risk of alcoholism in the future.
Comparing the brain images during a test of a student who has never had alcohol to one who occasionally has a couple of drinks, Silveri described it as two students running a race but with one carrying a backpack of bricks. So “it requires a lot more brain energy” for the second student to do as well on the test, she said.
National data cited by Sutter’s office show young drivers are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when under the influence of alcohol.
The stats also showed that, on average, young drivers are drinking and driving roughly 2.4 million times per month.
While the conference mainly focused on underage drinking, organizations also gave out information on parenting, recognizing drug abuse, support for families with teen deaths and the dangers of texting while driving.
Alana Monteiro from New Bedford High School tried the virtual texting-while-driving simulator set up on a computer by It Can Wait, an initiative to educate teens.
At a nearby table, Chris Arnold from Advanced ID Detection in Medway demonstrated the latest in ID swipe systems at a time when, he said, fake IDs have gotten to be so sophisticated that bar swipe machines and police officers can often be duped. The four-year-old technology costs $3,500 but comes with a laptop and is already in use at some police departments and businesses, he said.