Narconon Issues Guidelines for a Safe and Drug-free Spring Break

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Spring Break can be enjoyed safely, but it takes thinking ahead and knowing the dangers to make it home with enjoyable memories instead of regrets.

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Back in the 1960s when Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon ruled the beach party scene, Spring Break was an innocent affair involving a few broken hearts but no real danger. In the years since, Spring Break has gone through a complete transformation. Now, travel companies package trips for college students that include airfare, hotels with food and booze included in the fee and even access to open bar parties.

Behind the scenes, things aren’t so rosy. As exposed in the National Geographic documentary Spring Break filmed in Miami, drug dealers stock up on party drugs like marijuana, Ecstasy and cocaine. Law enforcement personnel prepare to seize drugs before they can be consumed by Spring Breakers and arrest drug dealers planning to prey on the vacationers. Miami’s Spring Break season peaks when the Ultra music festival takes place, an event that gives emergency medical services what they call their “busiest weekend of the year,” with 118 emergency calls over three days featured in this documentary.

A survey published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that 42% of vacationing college students got drunk on at least one day and 11% drank until they blacked out. As featured in the Psychology of Addictive Behavior journal, another survey found that 33% of first-year college students suffered hangovers during Spring Break, 23% felt sick or threw up, 9% passed out and 6% found themselves in sexual situations they later regretted.

Since those experiences may not make for a memorable and safe Spring Break, here are some tips for both students and their parents:

Travel with friends and don’t ever go off on your own. This is triply important if you travel to a foreign country.

If you are of legal age and are going to drink, decide on your own limits and discuss them with the people you’re traveling with. Agree on what to do if one of you goes over your own limit.

Never leave your drink unattended. Date rape drugs are undetectable. If you accidentally leave it unprotected, throw it out and get a fresh one. Don’t drink from a punchbowl.

Don’t drink and get in a hot tub or hot spring. The heat magnifies the effect of the alcohol. Use caution around any water, such as swimming pool or beach, because you may not be as capable of swimming as usual.

Parents also need advice on what to expect from their older teens and college age kids. A new trend is for older high school students teens to want to go on Spring Break trips just like college students do. With a younger or more inexperienced Spring Breaker, there’s a much greater danger of harm due to drinking, drugs or unsafe sexual activity. It’s vital that parents stay fully involved with teens who intend to take Spring Break trips. Here’s some advice for getting through this trip without anyone being harmed:

If you never went on Spring Break trips and you’re not familiar with the phenomenon, go to a video website and do a search for Spring Break videos so you know what you’re talking about.

Be very frank with your child about the hazards of drinking and the high availability of drugs at Spring Break sites, especially the kinds of drugs used at parties. There are drug or alcohol-involved deaths of young lives every Spring Break season, sometimes from drug or alcohol overdoses or perhaps from a fall off a hotel balcony or a drowning.

When it’s an under-18 person who’s adamant about going on a Spring Break trip, consider offering an alternative trip with family, a parent or older sibling and then plan a great trip that does not focus on partying. See the link below for more ideas.

Set up a phone call schedule so you can verify that they are healthy and doing well.

Know exactly where they will be staying, get the phone number and actually verify they are there.

Get Creative About Alternatives

Another way to approach Spring Break is to plan an alternative that doesn’t focus on wild parties and nights spent drinking. Narconon has compiled some alternative ideas that can be enjoyed in some of the most popular centers for Spring Break, like Cancun, Fort Lauderdale and Panama City. This article can be found at http://www.narconon.org/blog/sobriety/how-to-have-fun-spring-break-without-drugs-alcohol/.

If a young, inexperienced person takes off with equally inexperienced friends, the result of this annual exodus to party hotspots could be disastrous. The solution can be as simple as anticipating the typical Spring Break environment and having open and thorough family discussions followed by definite plans to keep everyone safe while they have a great time enjoying their time off.

Narconon offers drug rehabilitation and drug prevention services at more than 100 centers and groups around the world. The Narconon rehab program is a long-term residential program founded by William Benitez, that utilizes the humanitarian works of American author L. Ron Hubbard in its recovery steps. For more information on the drug rehab program of Narconon or the drug prevention curriculum, visit http://www.narconon.org or call 1-800-775-8750.

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Clark Carr
@narconon
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