Youth for Justice Academy Completes Fourth Year of Leadership Training

August 24, 2016

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The fourth annual Youth for Justice Academy recently completed its two-week summer leadership training at the Alcohol Justice headquarters in San Rafael’s Canal Neighborhood.

Between 20 to 25 youths, ages of 11 to 18, participated in activities that focused on building leadership skills, nutrition training, exercise, drug and alcohol prevention, and direct action to improve their community.

The Academy summer program operates under the auspices of Alcohol Justice with the collaboration and partnership this year of the San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition, the Marin County Probation Department, the National Park Service, Marin County Parks, and Trips for Kids.

Program highlights included field trips with Trips for Kids Marin to the Presidio, Fort Baker, Stinson Beach, and McNear’s beach, one of Marin County’s parks. The students also worked in the 129 Canal Garden, planting and harvesting fresh vegetables that they cooked and drank down as smoothies.

Guest speakers Ashel Eldridge, an Oakland-based rapper, environmental activist, and founder of Earth Activated, and Ernesto Hernandez, a Mayan Elder who teaches indigenous Meso-American art. Their talks at the Youth Academy centered on ancestral wisdom and native culture designed to nourish creativity and empowerment.

“It is a joy to see a beautiful group of young people come together,” says Maite Durán, Community Organizer for Youth for Justice. “Their energy is amazing. I find it personally inspiring to see them develop these skills and understanding in just two weeks. My hope, going forward, is that they will continue to make a contribution at home, their schools, or in their communities.”

Participants in the two-week summer program are encouraged to join the Youth for Justice year-long program that meets on Friday afternoons. For more information about Youth for Justice or the San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition, contact Jorge Castillo at (415) 257-2488 or Maite Durán at (415) 257-2499.

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New EU study finds definitive link between alcohol ads & adolescent drinking

alcohol television

August 22, 2016

A new report
by the Society for the Study of Addiction supports a link between alcohol adverstising and adolescent drinking. The European study, published in August by the scientific journal Addiction finds that exposure to several different types of alcohol marketing is linked with the amount and frequency of drinking among adolescents across Europe.

The study included more than 9,000 adolescents in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland where the average age of those questioned was 14 years. The students reported their drinking frequency and binge drinking as well as their exposure to a wide range of alcohol marketing, including television ads; online marketing; sponsorship of sports, music events, or festivals; ownership of alcohol branded promotional items; receipt of free samples; and exposure to price offers.

The data showed exposure to alcohol marketing of all kinds was positively associated with adolescents’ alcohol use over time. These findings support new regulations by the EU's regulatory agency, the Audio Media Visual Services Directive (AMVSD).

The report's lead author, Avalon de Bruijn, of the European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing (EUCAM), says “Europe is the world’s heaviest drinking region, and youth drinking is particularly problematic. Our study highlights the need to restrict the volume of alcohol marketing to which young people are exposed in everyday life. It’s no longer just a matter of restricting television ads; policymakers need to examine the alcohol industry’s total marketing scheme and develop regulations that will reduce all types of alcohol marketing.”

Read the full report.

Obama Pushes TPP Onto New Congressional Fast Track

August 22, 2016

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President Obama submitted notice to Congress.

Now's the time to weigh in to STOP the TPP!

Last Friday, the Obama administration issued formal notice to Congress of intent to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), by submitting a draft statement of administrative action [SAA].

The SAA lays out how the President would implement the TPP if Congress approves the 12-nation trade agreement. This notice kicks off a process of Congressional hearings and negotiations with the White House.

After 30 days has passed, the White House can submit a final SAA along with a bill to approve the agreement, which Congress will give expedited consideration and an up or down vote.

Here's a timeline to catch you up, as well as a brief overview. Learn more from the Congressional Research Service.

Tell your Members of Congress TO STOP THE TPP!

Yes, New Mexico! It’s Time to Raise Your Alcohol Tax and Charge for Harm

New Mexico Tax REAL

August 18, 2016

On Tuesday, August 23, New Mexico's state legislature will consider raising the state tax on alcohol to 25 cents. If you thought a quarter was small change, you'd be amazed at the positive impact the increase will have on the health and well-being of New Mexico's residents, not to mention cities, counties, hospitals, public health officials, and government coffers.

Currently, New Mexico holds first place in a dismal race--it leads the U.S. in the number of annual deaths per capita attributed to alcohol. As Dr. Holly Mata reports in the Almogordo Daily News, 1 in 6 deaths in New Mexico among people aged 20 to - 64 is caused by excessive drinking. That's 1,139 individuals whose deaths from alcohol-related causes (including traffic crashes, violence, cancer, liver failure, falls, injuries, and other illnesses) could have been prevented.

Daunting figures.

An yet, studies show that an additional 25 cents excise tax is a strong enough disincentive to prevent 12,375 people from suffering alcohol dependence or absue in any given year. Even more telling, this small bump in price is enough to reduce New Mexico's underage drinkers by 13%. That's 7,150 kids who will have some powerful help in resisting temptation.

Paying for Harm

The revenue from alcohol-related excise taxes offer wide-ranging social benefits.

When researchers at the University of New Mexico added up these hidden costs, they found every New Mexican resident is spending more than $400 a year in taxes for public services by city and county police, ambulance and emergency medical care providers, plus administrative court and detention cases.

Public health experts estimate the economic cost of excessive drinking for New Mexico approaches $2 billion a year.

An alcohol excise tax turns these numbers upside down. A 25 cents-per-drink tax raises $154 million in New Mexico's state revenue that will be spent on law enforcement, education, and rehab programs focusing on underage drinking, drinking and driving, and alcohol dependence.

The tax is not regressive. First, the state has not increased its excise tax since 1993. And, while it does hit the excessive drinker the hardest, nearly 49% of New Mexico's residents don't drink. They won't pay a cent!

Every resident will see direct benefits to public health. Part of the revenue is earmarked for 2017's Medicaid Expansion Match. The federal program, part of the Affordable Care Act, is expressly for low-income and disabled residents. In New Mexico, the program will provide health insurance coverage to more than 200,000 people.

So, go ahead: pick heads or tails. No matter how you toss the coin, it makes great sense to increase New Mexico's alcohol tax.

  • Learn more about Alcohol Justice's Charge for Harm campaign.
  • Curious to learn how a similar excise tax would impact your state's revenue? Use our Tax Calculator and find out.