Teens in Ulster: the Problem


The Awareness Substance Abuse Program was established by mentors from the  AWARENESS Mentoring Program with the help of their peers. It is designed to decrease substance abuse among teens in Ulster County.

OASAS(Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services) studies show Ulster County has one of the highest percentages of underage drinking incidents in NYS…

Current state law gives a maximum $100 fine and/or maximum 30 hours community service and/or in addition the court may order completion of an alcohol awareness program.

Existing Problems:  1) An Alcohol Awareness program didn’t exist in Ulster County

2)One court has no way of knowing how many tickets an offender has in other courts.

This is not effective in decreasing the incidence of underage drinking.

Statistics for DWI and deaths/serious injuries in 2002

Youths DWI-arrests

Ulster County                                   74.6

Neighboring County Average             56.2

NYS                                                46.6

Youth Probation Cases: Use at offense ~ Alcohol

Ulster County                                  55.5

Similar County Average                    43.7

NYS                                               25.9

Youth Probation Cases Court Mandates~ Alcohol 

Ulster County                                  250.2

Similar County Average                    188.3

NYS Average                                    98.4

Source: http://www.oasas.state.ny.us/hps/datamart/2005_PRISMS_Profiles/Ulster.pdf

Goal:   Implement a teen run program to enhance the current sentencing allowed by Ulster County Courts to deter Underage Drinking.

Abstract In response to the persistent problem of college drinking, universities have instituted a range of alcohol intervention programs for students. Motivational Interviewing feedback is one intervention that has garnered support in the literature and been adopted on college campuses. This article reviews published outcome studies that have utilized feedback as a major component of an alcohol intervention for college students. Overall, 11 of the 13 reviewed studies (77%) found a significant reduction in drinking as compared to a control or comparison group. While the studies varied widely in terms of population, follow-up period, and feedback content, it appears that feedback can be effective whether delivered by mail, the Internet, or via a face-to-face motivational interview. Feedback seems to change normative perceptions of drinking and may be more effective among students who drink for social reasons. The addition of a group or individual counseling session does not appear to increase the short-term impact of the feedback.                                       

Source: University of Texas School of Public Health, Department of Psychiatry, University of Washington

Existing Solution:

The AWARENESS  Program provides a program in relationship with the legal system that insures accountability on many levels for underage drinking offenders, marijuana, prescription drugs, and any other violations or low level criminal charges in Ulster County. This program has teens speaking to and educating teen offenders. The teens who have participated identify the use of teens their own age to deliver the program as one of the most effective tools of the program.

~This is a teen run program supervised by clinical staff ~

 We feel it is important that parents be involved in all aspects of the educational activities listed below. This offers both parent & teen life changing information and an opportunity for open discussion about the seriousness of the issue with their child.

Strategies: ·

  • Alcohol Self Assessment ~ Based on a tool developed by Helene White, Ph.D. the RAPI (Rutger’s Alcohol Problem Index) is an element of the BASICS program. The RAPI inventories consequences associated with drinking. It simply allows the person to see that their alcohol use is negatively impacting them more than they may realize. The Alcohol Awareness Program (AAP) Coordinator in partnership with the clinical supervisor facilitate the face-to-face motivational interviewing part of this inventory process.   ·
  • Alcohol Awareness DVD ~ The Alcohol Awareness Program teens acted in and produced a two part educational DVD using situational role plays to show how to reduce the risks of negative consequences of underage drinking in the first part. The second part of the DVD consists of the teens telling their experience from their prom night that resulted in the DWI death of one of their friends and the incarceration for vehicular manslaughter of their other friend. There is educational discussion with a quiz to reinforce knowledge presented in the first part of the DVD..   ·
  • Community Service ~ Offenders that are required to participate in community service will be invited to attend weekly meetings held at the New Paltz youth center. The ASP Coordinator will follow up and make sure the offender is participating and note their progress.  
  • Prison Visit ~ The offender will sit in a model jail cell for 10 minutes allowing the offender to observe the environment they could end up in if his/her behavior results in more serious criminality.

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