Class of 2024 experiences Amazing Alternatives Alcohol Prevention Program

Seventh grade students in theology classes have been
learning about the Amazing Alternatives Alcohol Prevention Program facilitated by the Gulf Coast Mental Health Center. Prevention Specialist Karen Mullinax leads students through applicable activities and discussions throughout the program.

“Ms. Mullinax taught the students that alcohol is the drug most widely used by teens. Studies show that many teens begin drinking before age thirteen. This early alcohol use is associated with health and social problems, including alcohol abuse and dependence, alcohol-related violence and injuries, issues related to drinking and driving, and other drug use throughout adolescence and into adulthood.  The students listened to the journey of four fictional seventh graders and how their choices affected each other. Data from the ACRE tests show that attitudes against teen drinking have been increasing since St. Patrick implemented this program.” – Theology Teacher Terry Creel

Ms. Mullinax has been facilitating this program for eight years at St. Patrick with support and encouragement from administration. Amazing Alternatives is a science and research-based program created specifically for seventh graders, which is a transitional year from child to teenager. The program focuses primarily on alcohol and underage drinking, because it is the most used and accessible drug to this age group. Students also talk about tobacco use, e-cigarettes, vaping, and marijuana. The program features “HomeTeam” activities that include parents and family in the learning experience.
“My personal goal for this program is to encourage and facilitate open communication between these seventh graders and their parents. I believe that this is so important and the most effective deterrent for a teen and underage drinking. I do feel that the program makes a difference. It gets them thinking about alcohol and its influence in our lives. Every year, I have juniors and seniors stop me in the hallway and still remember the program and what the learned. That’s the biggest compliment.” – Ms. Karen Mullinax
During the final session, Mr. Creel’s class presented Ms. Mullinax with a gift for her assistance!