National Prevention Week: Underage Drinking

Not.A.Minor.Problem.BottleParents, did you know that, according to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), nearly 52% of New York State students in grades 7-12 reported that their parents had never talked to them about the dangers of underage drinking?

By the time students are in their senior year of high school, four out of five teens have consumed alcohol, and adolescents who drink are likely to be heavy drinkers or binge drinkers.

  • Youth who begin to drink before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who abstain until the legal age of 21.
  • Adolescent use among teens is associated with the three most common causes of teenage deaths: accidental (such as car crashes), homicides, and suicides.
  • On average, eight youth per day die in alcohol-related car crashes in the U.S., and nine out of ten teenage car accidents involve the use of alcohol.
  • Ninety-five percent of violent crimes on college campuses are alcohol-related. Ninety percent of college sexual assaults involve alcohol use by either the victim and/or the assailant.
  • More than 70,000 students between the ages of 18-24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
  • Higher levels of alcohol use are associated with unplanned or unprotected sexual activity among adolescents, which poses increased risk for teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
  • Alcohol us and higher levels of use among adolescents is associated with poor grades, absenteeism, and higher rates of school dropout.
  • Due to the fact that the brain continues developing through age twenty-five, alcohol use can damage the teen brain, disrupt growth, and interfere with learning. There is no organ of the body that is not affected by alcohol consumption.

PromisesLocal efforts to reduce underage drinking in Allegany County include the “Promises” campaign and “Sticker Shock”.  Prior to prom season, a total of forty-five businesses, including hair salons, restaurants, florists, and tanning places, post table tents, cards, and posters with a theme that reminds youth to “Celebrate…Be Alcohol and Drug-Free!”.

The “Sticker Shock” campaign continues throughout the year, with a total of eight local grocery stores allowing red stickers in the shape of a stop sign to be placed on multi-packs of alcoholic beverages.  These stickers remind the community that it is illegal to purchase or provide alcohol to minors, and that legal consequences of doing so include fines up to one thousand dollars or one year in jail.

Parents and other caring adults can learn how to keep our children safe from alcohol and other drugs by visiting the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Talk2PreventCASA’s Family Day is also a great resource for age-appropriate conversation starters and family activities.  A supportive relationship between parents and children is linked to better judgement, increased self-control, and resilience, which are all strengths that help reduce the risk of future drug use.

Resources

Parent Toolkit

Remember Prevention Works!

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