Prevention through Connection
April 2016
Talk 2 Prevent & Protect ... their Brain!
Town Hall Meeting Kicks Off Underage Drinking Prevention 

Manhasset CASA's 2016 Spring Talk. They Hear You. Underage Drinking Prevention Campaign officially kicks off on Wednesday, April 20th at 7:30 p.m. during our Town Hall Meeting in the auditorium at Manhasset High School.  The campaign will continue to convey the importance of parent-t(w)een communication as well as provide resources regarding alcohol's impact on the adolescent brain. 

Our Town Hall meeting is part of a national initiative that seeks to raise awareness about the negative impact of underage drinking and mobilize communities to take action to prevent underage drinking.  Christopher Keen, AP Psychology teacher at Manhasset High School , will moderate our event which will feature Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas. DA Singas will address why underage drinking is not a MINOR problem in any community.  A panel of experts will be present to address issues related to underage drinking and to answer parent and community questions. For more information about our Town Hall Meeting, contact Manhasset CASA at 267-7548 or go to You can also join the online conversation at #CommunitiesTalk.

Today we know that underage drinking during the teen years interferes with normal brain development and changes the brain in ways that can have negative effects on information processing and learning. Even more disturbing is the fact that teens who begin underage drinking before the age of 15 are seven times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder later in life (NYSOASAS Talk 2 Prevent) Research also maintains that parents remain the number one influence in their children's life - especially when it comes to underage drinking. Over the coming weeks and months, CASA will provide you with prevention tips and parent resources through our electronic newsletter, press releases, website and Facebook page  to foster communication with your child about the dangers of alcohol and help them grow up healthy and safe. 

The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice. We hope our campaign assists you to help your child find their voice.

Manhasset CASA Executive Board
Blinding Us with Science!
Alcohol's Impact on the  Developing Adolescent Brain 
Remember the infamous  This is Your Brain on Drugs  commercial from the Partnership for Drug Free America? While its message was rudimentary  as an effective parenting prevention strategy, it was spot-on as to how alcohol or drugs affect the developing adolescent brain.  Today we know through science how alcohol and drugs impact the rapidly developing teen brain as it continues to change and grow until the mid 20's
[ (National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA ) Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The Science of Addiction, July 2014]

So what  happens to the adolescent brain when it is exposed to alcohol or drugs? 

During the teen years, essential parts of the brain are still forming such as the prefrontal cortex, which allows people to weigh the pros and cons of situations instead of acting on impulse. This is one reason why teens are generally more likely to take risks than adults. Underage drinking  taps into the t(w)een brain's communication system and tampers with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. It also affects the brain's reward system (NIDA: Teen Brain a Work in Progress, September 2011).

When teens drink alcohol, its presence targets the brain's reward system by flooding it with dopamine.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in the region of the brain that regulates movement, emotion, motivation and feelings of pleasure - like hitting the winning home run in a baseball game or receiving good grades in school. When the brain is exposed to alcohol or drugs, euphoric effects result which strongly reinforces or "teaches" a teen's brain to want to repeat the behavior. The effect is such a powerful reward that it physically motivates a t(w)een to drink again and again  (NIDA, July 2014)

Research shows that alcohol and other drugs change the brain's structure and how it works in the short and long term. In the short term, alcohol and drugs affect the brain's judgment and decision-making abilities, while long-term use causes brain changes that can set people up for addiction and other problems ( NIDA, July 2014).  For more information about how alcohol and drugs affect a teen's brain,  CLICK HERE for NIDA's Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.
Our Community Talks about Underage Drinking
Nassau DA Madeline Singas Headlines Town Hall 

Proactive Prom Parenting Tips from CCE
Talk...They'll Hear You!

Manhasset CASA is happy to connect you with insight 
from Tim Jahn, Human Ecology Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County's Family Health and Wellness Program. His article reminds us of the importance to talk with our teens not only about the exciting milestone they are celebrating but also the importance of their health and safety:

It's Prom Time for high school seniors and their dates and that means romance, memories and bittersweet finales to four years of classes, tests, football games and friendships. It's a time of anticipation and excitement for teens, but also a time of dangerous risks like drinking, unplanned sex and driving while impaired or with someone under the influence. So how can a parent accentuate the positive aspects of the prom while preventing negative, even deadly consequences?

Help your teen keep the prom in perspective. When teens go overboard on prom planning and spending, when they put too much pressure on themselves and their dates to have a great time, they can raise the stakes for the event that may lead them to take unhealthy risks.  If you're footing the bill for the prom, set a budget and stick to it. Setting limits on prom spending and resisting extravagance teaches your teen that there is life after the prom and it brings its share of expenses.

Offer to provide or pay for transportation. Even if not driving under the influence, inexperienced teen drivers are three times more likely to have an accident with other teens in the car. Distracted driving is just as deadly for teens as drunk driving and there will be plenty of distractions on prom night. 

Discuss your teen's plans for the night. Who are the other kids she will be with? Will they be going to other locations? If so, where and when? If they plan to go to someone's house, will there be a parent or other adults present? Once you have your answers, double-check with other parents to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Do NOT condone alcohol use. Underage drinking, serving minors alcohol and driving under the influence are all unlawful. Talk with your teen about having fun without drinking alcohol or using drugs.

Finally, emotions can run high at prom time. Some teens may be so anxious, they get short-tempered. If they don't have a date and are going with a group, they may be disappointed. If things don't go as planned, they may be sad and angry the next day. Be an empathetic listener and reassure them that there will still be many a great memories from the prom.
Teens Approaching the Summer...
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Join us for Coffee & Conversation on Wednesday, May 25th at 10:30 a.m. as we Navigate the Teen Years and learn about  Teens Approaching the Summer: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!  The small group meeting for parents with teens will be facilitated by Regina Barros, LCSW, Associate Executive Director of the North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center.  

Registration is required through SignUpGenius where you can also find location information for the event! This coffee is limited to 20 parents.
Spring into Positive Alternatives!
Many Opportunities for our Youth to be Healthy & Safe!

T(w)eens have many positive opportunities in the Manhasset community where they can enjoy new and old friendships, sports, fitness, and the arts as well as engage in community service. If your organization, agency or house of worship offers positive alternatives for teens, contact Manhasset CASA at (516­) 267-7548 to list in our newsletter!

  • Fundamental Sports spring season of flag football is here!  Both girls and boys are welcome from ages 9-18. The program meets on Friday nights at Manhasset Valley Park or Harbor Links Field Number 4 in Port Washington. For more information go to fundamental­ or email info@fundamental­ or call (516) 900­2FUN.
  • Tween Scene at the Manhasset Public Library will host its LAST ZUMBA class of the season this Monday, April 18, 2016 from 4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. in the community room. The program is available to all tweens (grades 4-8).  Register online (click here) by scrolling to the library's Event Keeper under April 18th. Please note that you will need a library card number. Walk-ins are welcome if space is available. 
  • Manhasset High School's Green Club Beach Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, May14th from 12:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m. at the Sands Point Preserve. For information on upcoming events and reminders, please view/join their Facebook page (Search Manhasset Green Club 2015-2016 on Facebook and add yourself to the group). 
  • Ryde @ EPhysique of Manhasset: Teen Cycle on Mondays at 4:30 p.m. and Teen Row on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. Teens receive reduced rate: $20.00 walk-in or pack of 4 classes for 60.00.
Mmmm...Ice Cream and More!
Chocolate Works Supports CASA/SCA after Spring Concerts!

Manhasset Community 
Coalition Against Substance Abuse (CASA), Inc. 
P.O. Box 392
Manhasset, NY 11030
(516) 267-7548
Manhasset CASA exists as a resource to reduce the illegal, underage use of alcohol, tobacco, & other drugs among its youth, before they are in trouble, by connecting parents, schools and the community as partners in the common goal.  In 2013, CASA was honored to receive its second five year Drug Free Communities Support Grant (DFC) by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).  Our goals are to reduce substance abuse among youth and, over time, among adults; and to establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, private nonprofit agencies, and federal, state, and local governments to support the efforts of our community coalition to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth.