National Public Education Campaign Under Way To Reduce Underage
Drinking Substance Abuse And Mental Health Health Services
Administration

National Public Education Campaign Under Way To Reduce Underage Drinking Substance Abuse And Mental Health Health Services Administration



Alcohol is​ the​ most widely used substance of​ abuse among America's youth. a​ higher percentage of​ young people,​ ages 12 to​ 20,​ use alcohol (29 percent) than use tobacco (24 percent) or​ illicit drugs (14 percent),​ making underage drinking a​ leading public health problem in​ the​ United States. a​ new national effort to​ encourage parents to​ speak with their children about this critical problem is​ under way. Some people find it​ hard to​ believe that by the​ time they reach eighth grade,​ 41 percent of​ adolescents have had at​ least one drink,​ and almost 20 percent report having been drunk. It's also a​ fact that adults who had first used alcohol before age 15 are five times more likely to​ report dependence on​ or​ abuse of​ alcohol than adults who first used it​ at​ age 21 or​ older. in​ addition to​ its negative impact on​ health,​ alcohol use among youth is​ strongly correlated with violence,​ risky sexual behavior,​ poor academic performance,​ driving incidents and other harmful behaviors.

Yet many parents do not see drinking as​ a​ top-of-mind issue. to​ help bring this issue to​ the​ forefront,​ a​ new campaign is​ encouraging parents to​ speak with their children about the​ negative effects of​ alcohol to​ delay the​ onset of,​ and ultimately to​ prevent,​ underage drinking.

The campaign,​ developed in​ partnership with the​ Ad Council,​ is​ aimed at​ the​ parents of​ middle schoolers,​ particularly those whose children have not started drinking. Parents need to​ realize they have more influence over their children than they may know. Sure,​ kids spend a​ lot of​ time with friends,​ television,​ music,​ magazines and the​ Web. But they are also tuned in​ to​ what their parents say and do. Parents' disapproval of​ underage alcohol use is​ one of​ the​ key reasons youths choose not to​ drink. Underage drinking is​ not inevitable.

For too long underage drinking has been accepted as​ a​ rite of​ passage. Far too many young people,​ along with their friends and families,​ have paid the​ price. Any use of​ alcohol for teens involves risk-any use,​ not just binge drinking or​ drinking and driving. Alcohol can affect the​ developing adolescent brain. And we've learned the​ earlier a​ person is​ introduced to​ alcohol,​ the​ greater the​ chances are that that person will develop an​ alcohol problem in​ his or​ her youth and/or adulthood.

We must change attitudes toward teen drinking from acceptance to​ abstinence and recognize the​ importance of​ parents talking to​ their children early and often about alcohol,​ especially before they've started drinking. We must replace an​ environment that all too often enables underage alcohol use with an​ environment that discourages it.

Children need information to​ make good decisions. Don't wait until a​ problem arises to​ talk with them about drinking alcohol. Be sure to​ talk with them about the​ law,​ how alcohol affects the​ body,​ and how peer pressure can sometimes make it​ difficult to​ do the​ right thing. Discuss your personal beliefs with your children. Sharing your values and family history regarding alcohol helps create an​ environment of​ trust and understanding.

Get involved in​ your community and your child's school.




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