Thursday, May 03, 2007
Alcohol is too widely available to our youth

By Anthony Policastro, M.D

One of the things that I have always found interesting is the attitude of some adults that use of alcohol is something that adolescents will do. The result is that alcohol is more available than it should be for this group. A recent survey showed that 64.2% of 8th graders and 93% of 12th graders reported that it was easy to obtain alcohol. What that means is that there is an opportunity to control access to alcohol in this age group. In addition to that opportunity, there is also a need to do so. That same survey showed that 17% of 8th graders and 47% of high school seniors reported using alcohol in the last 30 days. What that means is that 1 out of every 6 8th graders is using alcohol and it is about half of high school seniors. There are several concerns about this. The first is that alcohol is associated with one-third of the deaths in the 15 to 19 year old age group. The second is that alcohol is associated with high-risk behaviors in this age group. The third is that alcohol is associated with increased sexual activity in this age group. The fourth is that alcohol is used as an instrument for sexual victimization in this age group. If there is a family history of alcoholism, the adolescent is at increased risk of alcohol addiction compared to his/her peers. Such adolescents clearly need to hear this when it is the case. Peer pressure begins very early in school. Thirty percent of 4th through 6th graders report pressure to use alcohol from their peers. I have written in the past that children of this age who weigh about 100 lbs can die from as little as 16 ounces of whiskey. It happens every year on college campuses. When I used to work in the emergency room, I treated alcohol intoxication like the acute poisoning that it was. I used Ipecac to clean out the stomach and I used large amounts of IV fluids to get the alcohol to be excreted by the kidneys. WE do not often think of alcohol as a poison. However, for many young adults it can be. For some of them it can be fatal. Each adult has an important role to protect both their own children and others from the serious effects of this type of poisoning.

Michelle Davis, C.N.A.

Michelle Davis, C.N.A., of Laurel joined Delaware Hospice as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Michelle has been a certified nursing assistant for 10 years with experience in home care and nursing homes. She has worked with Alzheimer's patients and with mentally and physically challenged individuals. Since 1982, Delaware Hospice has provided exceptional care and support to 26,000 patients and their families. Its mission is to help each patient, each day, live the fullest, most comfortable life possible. Delaware Hospice is the largest and only licensed, nonprofit, community-based hospice serving New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties in Delaware and southern Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania. For more information about Delaware Hospice's programs and services, upcoming events, or employment opportunities, call 800-838-9800 or visit

The Wellness Community
Join Kim Furtado, ND. for her program "Root Causes for Cancer: A Naturopathic Perspective" on Wednesday, May 9 at 7 p.m. at The Wellness Community-DE Sussex Facility. Kim will explore the many factors involved in the transformation of a normal cell into a cancer cell. To reserve a seat call 645-9150 by May 7. All Programs offered by The Wellness Community- De are free of charge to people affected by cancer.

NMH Auxiliary meeting
Forensic Pathology in Sussex County will be the subject of Dr. Judith G. Tobin, at the May 9 meeting of the Nanticoke Health Services Auxiliary. Dr. Judy is the chief pathologist at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, as well as medical officer of Sussex County. She has been a resident of Seaford for many years, and her medical knowledge and skills has been recognized throughout the state of Delaware and beyond. Luncheon of an Indoor Picnic theme will be served at the Seaford Golf & Country Club promptly at noon. Members must make reservations with their caller who will make contact. A stroll down the Auxiliary's Memory Lane will be a special feature, according to Janet Hubbard, president of the auxiliary. Area residents desiring to be a part of the Auxiliary should contact Jan Grantz, 628-8478 or Linda Crescenzo, 628-8701. Membership is open to both men and women in the Nanticoke Service area.

Health Care Conference
Individuals and organizations focused on improving the quality of Delmarva's social service delivery will gather at Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus, Georgetown, on Friday, May 4, for the annual "Families, Individuals & Communities" conference. The conference begins at 8 a.m. with exhibits by area agencies; free health screenings for cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure will be offered by Beebe Medical Center from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The keynote presentation focuses on basic, necessary skills that will give health care professionals an edge in their professional roles. It will be given by Dr. Sharon R. Yoder, president of "Make it Happen Training Programs," and offers a humorous look into what should, and should not, be done by workers in the health-care world. There will also be workshops available throughout the day on a variety of topics including anger management, women's health, living wills, holistic modalities and stress. Cost for the conference, including meals, is $35 for the general public and $20 for full-time students. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations must contact Lori Westcott at 855-5988 by May 1.

Relay for Life Friendraiser
The Western Sussex Relay for Life committee members are busy making preparations for this year's Relay for Life. This year's event will be held on May 18, at the Mears Campus in Seaford. The Relay for Life is an overnight event that helps raise money for the American Cancer Society. If you are interested in receiving information on how to register a team or for further information, contact Mary Catherine Hopkins at 875-7308.

Campaign to help uninsured
Lt. Governor John Carney was on hand Tuesday to help AstraZeneca representatives and community leaders launch the "Healthy Delawareans Today & Tomorrow" campaign. Announcements were made at both the Delmarva Rural Ministries Center in Dover and Westside Health Center's new facility in Northeast Wilmington. Joining the Lt. Governor in kicking off the campaign were Tony Zook, president and CEO of AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, and Drew Langloh, president of United Way Delaware. They were joined by Lolita Lopez, president and CEO of Westside Health Center, for the Wilmington announcement and Debra Singletary, CEO of Delmarva Rural Ministries, in Dover. The program's goal is to foster collaboration between the public and private sectors to reduce the number of Delawareans that go without health insurance. Currently, about 105,000 Delaware residents are uninsured. "Delaware has state of the art facilities and great people working to help the uninsured," said Carney, who also chairs the Delaware Health Care Commission. "We need to enhance and advertise these programs to reach as many people as we can."