Pubdate: Tue, 10 Jun 2014
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2014 The Baltimore Sun Company
Authors: Zella Adams, Jan Brant, Krista Dhruv, Debbie Roffman, Dave Tracey
Page: 12


We noted an important connection between two separate articles that 
appeared in the June 4 issue of The Sun. In the article regarding 
hazing among Towson University cheerleaders ("Towson U. hazing 
details released"), we read that according to investigators, "the 
women were told they had a choice of doing cocaine or heroin, to test 
their understanding of team rules. Although no drugs were provided, 
this was done to let the new members [on the cheerleading team] know 
that the team was drug-free, investigators wrote. The new 
cheerleaders were [then] given the choice to funnel beer or take a 
shot of alcohol, and all the women obliged, according to the investigation."

And then this in an article regarding an incident involving a 
midshipman in the U.S. Naval Academy ("Midshipman was drinking before 
fatal crash"): "A midshipman who crashed his SUV into a creek and 
drowned in February had been drinking in an Annapolis bar earlier 
that night, a Naval Academy investigation found."

In the United States, alcohol use kills or destroys more lives than 
all other supposedly "real drugs" combined. Yet as a culture, we 
continue to think and communicate as if "drugs" and "alcohol" are not 
one and the same.

At our school, we work hard to undo this dangerous set of assumptions 
that in effect normalizes and indirectly encourages underage drinking 
and also drinking to excess. We have found that even a simple and 
consistent change in phrasing, from "alcohol and drugs" to "alcohol 
and other drugs" - or "AOD" - goes a long way in changing the 
mindsets of young people and adults around these issues.

Zella Adams, Jan Brant, Krista Dhruv, Debbie Roffman and Dave Tracey, 
Brooklandville The writers are all members of the Health Team at the 
Park School of Baltimore.
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