June 3, 2020
Dr. Loretta Novince, a psychologist and consultant for the LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY), wrote an editorial as a contributor to the Hilton Head and Bluffton Sun News voicing concerns about NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” skit that featured youth of all ages drinking. The skit repeated the words “let kids drink” and suggested that alcohol could be used to help individuals cope with the stress of COVID-19. Dr. Novince pointed out that this message was very misleading and harmful. In fact, drinking alcohol to cope with stress can lead to or worsen existing mental health problems and increase the risk for alcohol use disorder. The risk for young people is even greater because it can contribute to a range of adverse consequences, including interfering with and impairing brain development. Dr. Novince also noted that promotion of alcohol in the media is very harmful to youth because it can increase positive expectancies about alcohol, leading to influencing their attitudes and behaviors. Furthermore, she made it clear that health experts report that alcohol use can reduce one’s ability to fight disease and make one more susceptible to developing COVID-19. LCAHY’s consultant urged the community to support LCAHY’s public health campaign to be part of the solution: Send clear messages to our children about the dangers of youth drinking, tobacco, and illicit drug use. Dr. Novince encouraged the community to visit www.lcahealthyyouth.com for information for healthy ways to cope with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The full editorial can be viewed at http://www.blufftonsun.com/tv-skit-promoting-youth-drinking-sends-wrong-message-cms-5417 and http://www.blufftonsun.com/letters-to-the-editor-cms-5419.