Free Condoms at the Barking Dog Bar and Grill for FASD Awareness Day

In recognition of FASD Awareness Day, on September 6th, the Better Safe than Sorry Project Team will be at the Barking Dog pub in Bethesda, MD distributing 999 condoms and informational materials about FASD.

The condoms were donated by the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington.  For each first drink of the evening purchased, patrons of the bar will receive a condom with a bookmark cover to promote contraception for alcohol consumers.  BSTS project volunteers will provide information and a brief discussion about FASD for those who express interest in learning more.

 front of condom cover  inside of condom cover Back of condom cover

Our project concept was developed by our interns after the idea was suggested during one of our summer talk show segments.  From a primary prevention perspective, It’s a little further “upstream” approach than the pregnancy test kits in bars – another extraordinarily innovative project implemented in Minnesota and Alaska.

STOP our social drug of choice from affecting 2-6% of school aged children with preventable brain damage.  Just like HIV/AIDS & STD prevention, help spread the word to “contracept if you use alcohol!” 

Special thanks to BSTS volunteers Melissa Blair and Nick Muzic, BSTS interns Sydnie Butin, Juliana Pietri, Carlye Hillman, Kaitlyn Gularson, and Nathalie Pollack, and our fabulous BSTS Blog Master, Daniela Mielke for creating and implementing the innovative FASD Awareness Day prevention project. We are also thankful to the Barking Dog bar and grill for letting us promote our project there and to Robert Ridley of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington for donating the condoms.

Planning and Implementing Screening and Brief Intervention for Risky Alcohol Use: A Step-by-Step Guide for Primary Care Practices

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is pleased to announce the release of their new resource, Planning and Implementing Screening and Brief Intervention for Risky Alcohol Use: A Step-by-Step Guide for Primary Care Practices.


At least 38 million adults drink too much but only about 5 million are alcoholics. Drinking too much includes high daily use, binge drinking, high weekly use, and any alcohol use by pregnant women or those under age 21. It causes about 88,000 deaths in the US each year, and in 2006 cost the economy about $224 billion.

Research shows that health professionals can use alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) to help people who are drinking too much to drink less. Alcohol SBI consists of a few questions asked in a doctor’s office and a short conversation. It can reduce excessive drinking by up to 25%. But a recent study showed that only 1 in 6 people reported ever talking with their doctor or other health professional about their alcohol use.

CDC hopes this guide will help practices implement alcohol SBI and thus reduce the wide range of health problems related to excessive drinking.

CDC Step by step guide image

The Guide

This guide provides detailed steps and resources to help staff in any primary care practice implement alcohol SBI. It includes information on risky alcohol use, its effects on health, and how it can be addressed through alcohol SBI.

The guide consists of 10 steps arranged in four major sections.


On behalf of Coleen Boyle, PhD, MS hyg, Director, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC

Talk Show Episode #2: FASD and the Responsibility of Men

Better Safe Than Sorry – Alcohol and Unprotected Sex Don’t Mix… during our second filming we focus on the responsibility of men when it comes to alcohol use and contraception. Being safe is the responsibility of both men AND women. Our guest Nick Bruni is providing us with insights on the male point of view.

Watch us on YouTube

The male responsibility in dating: “If a girl is inebriated, YOU AS A GUY should NOT approach that girl and take her home. Find her friends and let them know that their friend is “blacked out”. As good samaritans they should take her home to avoid the chances of her getting taken advantage of.”

Talking about FASD and the responsibility of men brought us back to the recently uploaded blog post “A fathers fight for appropriate diagnosis and treatment” about Charlie Sheen advocating to have his twin sons evaluated for Fetal Alcohol Syndrom. A father and a mother have the same responsibility for the well being of their children. Raising children is a partnership, both should be an advocate for the best interest of their children. So what makes Brooke Mueller refuse having the twins evaluated? Our guess since they are a profile couple, she might be afraid of her image as well as being afraid that she is not going to retain custody as a result of their ongoing divorce. But also there is another important point: the female’s guilt… that she was the one drinking and either knowingly or unknowingly causing brain damage to the developing fetus. But hold on…isn’t that the man’s problem as well?! HE COULD HAVE USED CONTRACEPTION OR ENCOURAGED HER TO STAY ABSTINENT WHEN PLANNING A PREGNANCY! 

Think about it, if he is drinking, isn’t it more likely that she is drinking as well? The Washington Post published an interesting advice column “It’s not fair for my husband to drink while I am pregnant”

Why do we let “our social drug of choice” harm our future generation?

Kick Off For The “Better Safe Than Sorry – Alcohol and Unprotected Sex Don’t Mix!” Talk Show

We are delighted to introduce you to the “Better Safe Than Sorry – Alcohol and Unprotected Sex Don’t Mix!” talk show – our newest blog addition. Our talk show is hosted by Dr. Susan Rich, a Child and Adolescent psychiatrist who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Dr. Rich moderates a young adult “coffee table” discussion about alcohol use and problems caused by alcohol exposure in the womb.
Watch our first episode on our BSTS YouTube channel :
Each week we invite different guests to discuss recent postings on our Our first session focuses on the high prevalence rates of drinking on college campuses and the potential for FASD in babies exposed inadvertently during unprotected sex.
Dr. Rich is joined by her team of “change agents”:
Daniele Mielke, a 25 year old graduate of a social work degree from Germany, currently looking to attend George Washington University’s graduate program in forensic psychology.
Sarah Roberts, a 23 year old recent graduate of UMBC’s department of psychology, also with an interest in attending graduate school in psychology.
Juliana Pietri, a 20 year old rising junior at Loyola University in New Orleans studying criminal justice, with an interest in forensic psychology.
Sydnie Butin, a 20 year old rising junior at Salisbury University studying psychology with an interest in graduate school as well.
Carlye Hillman, an 18 year old rising freshman at High Point University with an interest in psychology and pre-med.
Remember – if you are sexually active and using alcohol – contracept (i.e., avoid pregnancy!).  If you are pregnant, could be, or planning to be – avoid alcohol

Safety Tip # 3: Know Your Limit. We Are Not All EQUAL

We all know not only from biology class that women’s bodies are different from men’s.

First of all on average women way less than men. But that is not the only important difference.

Let’s take a closure look at the differences in metabolism of alcohol:

Females have less “alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme” in their stomachs, an enzyme your body needs to break down the alcohol you consume. Which is why women can only drink half of what a male can drink over the same amount of time. Leading to the conclusion that women face higher risks of alcohol poisoning while attempting to keep up with their male peers.

Your brain can only tolerate a certain amount of alcohol until it shuts off due to the toxic levels.  Literally, your brain is poisoned by the alcohol (which is why we call it alcohol poisoning) to the point that you are killing brain cells.  And it’s the ones you use that you lose.

Low-risk drinking limits defined by the NIAAA include women should have no more than 7 drinks per week and no more than 3 drinks on any single day.

Just like girls and guys are different in their metabolism of alcohol, certain ethnic groups are also different. 

People with Asian ancestry often have genetic differences in one of their metabolic enzymes for alcohol – alcohol dehydrogenase therefore will become intoxicated and “poisoned” by the build-up of an intermediary bi-product [acedaldehyde – a metabolite of alcohol] faster than Caucasians.  [].  This build-up of acetaldehyde leads to a “flushing” response then profuse vomiting.

For more information review this very informative fact sheet by the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)

Safety Tip #6: Be self-aware. Beware of Black Outs Safety Tip #4: Be a Samaritan. Take care of friends

What does it mean when you “Black Out”?  Blacked out doesn’t mean passed out, although you eventually do.  It means you are walking around in “auto-pilot” – acting on instinct without an awareness of what’s going on around you.  The high amount of alcohol makes your brain poisoned (i.e., “alcohol poisoning”) and kills brain cells – the ones you use are the ones you lose.


The article “Your Brain on Booze” addresses “What happens when we become too drunk, and how to help a friend who’s had one (or five) too many.”

In addition the article is giving us an idea of how to Be a Samaritan. Take care of friends – Safety Tip #4

WARNING SIGNS OF ALCOHOL TO ALERT YOU TO DANGER FOR A FRIEND (INTOXICATED/OVERDOSE): If you see someone who seems to be passed out or if they have urinated or defecated on themselves – immediately call 911.

  •        Try to wake them up, ask them questions.
  •        If they are not making sense when they talk, not answering your questions or seem unconscious, turn them on their side. They can die from choking      on their vomit.  Call 911.
  •        If they are awake and able to talk, give them water, help them sit up so they can throw up. Continue giving them water to drink, a cold cloth to clean their face with, and call their parents.
  •        Pupils are dilated, they have shallow breathing, and low pulse – immediately call 911.

If you have to submit a friend to the ER, you will NOT automatically be tested or questioned for alcohol or drug use as well!

Check out the resources provided by your College or Community to find more information on where to go if you or a friend of yours needs help. You will find an overview on ULifeline – Your Online Resource for College Mental Health