Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Back to Health Issues: Substance Abuse and a little more on Facebook drama

I didn’t conclude my emphasis on health issues and with the recent Facebook photo drama, it seems like good timing to touch on substance abuse.

My good friend, and former Miss All*American City, Lauren Hogan’s pageant platform is “Risky Business” so I asked her for some help...

As part of her platform she advocates that abstinence-only sexual education is not good enough and here’s why:

*47% of Ohio teens ages 15-19 have had sexual intercourse. (Reference)

This site offers statistics about college alcohol consumption; here are a few:

* 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.

* More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

* 1 million students between the ages of 18 and 24 drove under the influence of alcohol last year.

* 31 percent of college students met criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse and 6 percent for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence.

Lauren quoted this site stating that “76% of Ohio teens ages 15-19 have had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more days during their life.”

So what constitutes a drink?

* One 12-ounce bottle of beer* or wine cooler
* One 5-ounce glass of wine
* 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits

(*Different beers have different alcohol content. Malt liquor has a higher alcohol content than most other brewed beverage.)

There are factors that put some students at greater risk.

A number of environmental influences working in concert with other factors may affect students' alcohol consumption. Schools where excessive alcohol use is more likely to occur include:

* Schools where Greek systems dominate
* Schools where athletic teams are prominent
* Schools located in the Northeast
* First-Year Students

This next statistic is where Lauren’s platform intersects with mine…

The first 6 weeks of enrollment are critical to first-year student success. Because many students initiate heavy drinking during these early days of college, the potential exists for excessive alcohol consumption to interfere with successful adaptation to campus life. The transition to college is often so difficult to negotiate that about one-third of first-year students fail to enroll for their second year.

Although I hate FOX News, I do see value in this article Lauren sent me:

Facebook Photos Make Light of Heavy Drinking, but Doctors Aren't Laughing

In the past, one of the worst things about getting drunk and acting like a fool was the hangover that followed the next morning. But, with social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace, the humiliation has been taken to a whole new level.

A user group called, "30 Reasons Girls Should Call It a Night" has posted nearly 5,000 photos of completely wasted young women making total fools of themselves.

…The CDC defines binge drinking as a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings a person's blood alcohol level (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. When you break that down, it translates to men consuming five drinks in one sitting and women having about four drinks in the same time period, said Levounis.

…According to Levounis, these are the top 5 signs you might be in trouble:

1. Drinking five or more drinks in one sitting if you're a man, four or more if you're a woman.
2. If there's a big change in your performance at work, or at school.
3. If you're trying to cut down on drinking and you're not able to.
4. If you've ever felt guilty about your drinking.
5. If you've ever felt annoyed by people telling you that you're drinking too much.

The Miss Ohio Contract states:
Good Character. I am of good moral character and I have not been involved at any time in any act of moral turpitude.

Criminal Record. Other than minor or petty offenses, I have never been convicted of any criminal offense and there are no criminal charges presently pending against me.

Prior Conduct. I have never performed any act or engaged in any activity or employment that is or could reasonably be characterized as dishonest, immoral, or indecent.

Short of criminal offensives, I maintain that “good moral character” is a grey area in our society, especially for a college student. I wish I could impress upon non-contestants how truly difficult it is for a young woman to juggle the ideals of the crown with the day to day world around her.

Honestly, the moment I aged out of the system, it was as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders, yet I had struggled and persevered for six years because I deeply wanted the crown, the title and the job. Although I felt unrealistic judgment, I also knew with every fiber of my being that I could do the job. I am jealous of women who truly embody and live the “goody-goody” image that is desired and often awarded in the Miss America system. I admire women who juggle being a titleholder with being a relatable, realistic college woman with class. It is more difficult than ever with networking sites and I feel badly for them. I can not stand or respect the women who don’t seem to care or struggle with the idea that they should act a certain way.

It is up to each contestant to find the right balance in their life. To Lauren Hogan, it means this:

Current titleholders or contestants of Miss Ohio are representatives of the Miss America Organization. They are held to a higher standard in the eyes of the society. What they do in their private life can affect their overall image. Their behavior should reflect the ideals of the organization at all times.

Other issues that have come about are pictures posted on Facebook, MySpace, or other online forums. Prospective employers and recruiters look at an applicant’s online pages for background information. Because of Miss Ohio being a job, these posting are fair game for judging candidate’s credibility, professionalism, and morality.

Overall, contestants need to have a self-reflection of their actions and behavior. If they are engaging themselves in questionable activity and cannot handle being a good role model, maybe the Miss Ohio job is not for them.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you soo much for the post about my platform. I hope to make you proud yet again this weekend! Can't wait till I see you in May. Untill then please stay in touch!



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