Safety Tip #2: Be Safe. Learn Self-Defense

This self-defense video is “empowering women with options.” Before attending college, it is important for women to learn some tools to defend themselves from an attacker. We all like to believe that we are going to be safe walking across campus or partying with friends, but that’s not the case. Things happen. You can be robbed, beaten, raped, or even killed. Don’t wait until it is too late.

Debi Steven demonstrates the do’s and don’ts in common attack scenarios. The video also features a “multifunctional personal safety aid” called the Weeble. It’s a compact key fob which can be used physically defend yourself. In the case of a drug related attack, the Weeble can also store 14 mL of urine for evidence.

– Sarah Roberts

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)

Kick off for the Better Safe Than Sorry – Alcohol and Unprotected Sex Don’t Mix! Campaign at the Winston Churchill High School in Montgomery County, Maryland

We launched the Better Safe Than Sorry Project with a kickoff today at Churchill High School. Our project aims to empower young adults to make informed decisions about alcohol and other drug use, including it’s consequences. Our focus on prenatal alcohol exposure and the reproductive health consequences of alcohol use is incorporated into broader messages, presented in a format that is both light-hearted and serious. This “train the trainer” approach attempts to engage adolescent “change agents” in the program development to tailor each school-based project according to each school’s interests.

Dr. Joan Benz, the principal of Churchill High School (#1 public high school in Maryland for 2013), requested our leadership to develop a Churchill BSTS campaign after she heard Dr. Rich present in Baltimore at the FASD and the Law Summit (read former article). Over the past several weeks, BSTS volunteers collaborated with Churchill students and staff in a series of 4 focus groups designed to train students as change agents while getting their direction, feedback and perspectives about the campaign.  Together, we developed the BSTS Project’s kick off presentation for Churchill seniors that we held on April 2nd.

The multimedia presentation (developed during the focus groups) was designed to prepare seniors for prom, graduation, beach week, college and beyond. The Safety Tips evolved out of Dr. Rich’s desire to catch the students’ attention while sharing important information for healthy transitioning. Her father, a retired police officer, helped start the original MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) programs in Randolph and Guilford County, NC and has been an inspiration in her prevention efforts.  As a child psychiatrist, she always appreciates the simple approach of children’s books to get serious points across. “Officer Buckle and Gloria” by Peggy Rathmann is the inspiration for the safety tips, with David Letterman’s “Top Ten reasons” lists providing additional humor.  To get an idea on how Officer Buckle and Gloria presented their Safety Tips watch the book reading on YouTube:

Our aim with this first presentation is:

1) To empower High School students to make informed personal decisions about alcohol use;

2) To kickoff our student led blog and internship program;

3) To inspire Churchill students and faculty to begin incorporating messages about reproductive health consequences of alcohol use into their curriculum, and

4) To help develop and empower student leadership toward prevention initiatives on a broader scale by posting the presentation to our blog, which has the potential to reach a global audience.

Our Safety Tips are:

Safety Tip #10: Be Smart – Beware of Prom Gaming


Safety Tip #9: Fashion Tip. Don’t Vomit on your Favorite Clothes


Safety Tip #8: Use Common Sense. Limo drivers are smart.

Safety Tip #7: Catch 22

EtOH (til21) & Mj r illegal – 18 y.o.’s go to jAIL not juvie.


Safety Tip #6: Be Self-conscious. Beware of Black Outs & Booty Calls


Safety Tip #5: Have Self-respect. Avoid Social Media Frights!


Safety Tip #4: Be a good Samaritan. Take care of friends


Safety Tip # 3: Know your limit. We are NOT all EQUAL


Safety Tip #2: Be safe. Learn Self-Defense


Safety Tip #1: If you use alcohol, CONTRACEPT. If pregnant or might be, AVOID alcohol.

  Copyright by Dr. Susan D. Rich Better Safe Than Sorry Campaign

In upcoming posts, more details on each safety tip will be provided along with information, useful web links and resources.

Feel free to spread the word or to get in touch with our team for further questions on our Better Safe Than Sorry Campaign.

Prom is Not a Big Deal

It’s almost this time of the year again – Prom is coming up.

Plus we are getting ready to start of next wednesday at the Churchill High School with our first presentation for “The Better Safe than Sorry – Alcohol and Unprotected Sex Don’t Mix! Campaign aiming to empower high school students to make informed personal decisions about alcohol use.

A word of advise:

Safety Tip #8: Fashion Tip.

Don’t Vomit on your Favorite Clothes! You spent all this time picking out a stunning dress or tuxedo but you drink too much, you get sick and in the end you throw up all over yourself. IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE. Be aware!

Don’t make prom bigger as it is. Stick to the same high standards you would have for yourself at a dance on any other night of the year. BE SAFE and you will have FUN!


Living with FASD Beyond the Orphanage

This article was written by Katarina, a young women in her twenties who was diagnosed with FASD when she was already in her teens. Katarina was born in Russia and got adopted by an American family at the age of 11. In her article she describes her life and her emotions that came with the diagnose of having FASD.  She is very brave to write down her thoughts and emotions and share them with us and the world.

OH Life Perspectives PDF

Did you know…

…that 50% of pregnancies in the U.S. are UNPLANNED?

…that teen age and young adult women binge drink more today than young men?

…that alcohol causes “disinhibited” sexual drives and promotes UNPROTECTED SEX????

…that unprotected sex and alcohol use can cause brain damage and psychiatric issues in babies BEFORE you know you’re pregnant????

…that lower IQ’s, birth defects, and other problems happen as early as 2-8 weeks after CONCEPTION?




Each year in the United States alone, 40,000 babies are born with intellectual disabilities, learning problems, attention deficits, autistic-related issues, and behavior issues known as “Neurodevelopmental Disorder associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure.”  Unintentional exposure to a fetus before pregnancy recognition is an unfortunate and inevitable outcome of drinking and unprotected sex.  It’s not just “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome” we need to worry about!


Given the data about unintended pregnancy and prevalence of alcohol use among childbearing age women, we believe warning messages should be clearer: “If you use alcohol, don’t get pregnant.  If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, don’t use alcohol.”