Each week during April, we featured a different theme in recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month. The final theme is Underage Drinking.
Parents play a major role in their children’s choices about alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. In a recent national survey of parents and teens by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, one-third of teen party goers had been to parties where teens were drinking alcohol, smoking pot, or using cocaine, ecstasy or prescription drugs while a parent was present. By age 17, 46 % of teens have been at such parties where parents were present.
What’s the big deal about hosting underage drinking parties for youth? Isn’t it safer to host a party and take the keys than for youth to drink unsupervised? The answer to this question is no. Only 1/3 of underage drinking deaths involve auto crashes. The remaining 2/3 involve alcohol poisoning, homicides, suicides and unintentional injuries such as burns, drownings and falls. Taking away the car keys doesn’t make underage drinking safe. In fact, tragic accidents have occurred after well meaning adults supplied alcohol to minors.
Most of us want what is best for our children. As we head into prom and graduation season, here are a few helpful online resources for parents:
- 21 Reasons to prevent underage drinking (Maine)
- MaineParents.net (Maine Office of Substance Abuse)
- Time to Talk (Partnership for a Drug Free America)