MAKING SURE YOU TEENS HAVE A SAFE PROM SEASON

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Montgomery, AL- Spring Break is over and now many high school students are preparing for prom. Many look forward to a night full of excitement, fun, and shared memories. However, there are some students who engage in dangerous activities like underage drinking. This puts their young lives at stake.

The 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students in the last 30 days, 33% drank some amount of alcohol, 18% binge drank, 8% drove after drinking alcohol, and 20% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. Moreover, in Alabama, 20.6% of high school students used alcohol before age of 13.

Alcohol is the most common abused drug among youth across our nation. Based on data from 2006–2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, on average, alcohol is a factor in the deaths of 4,358 young people under age 21 each year with 1,580 deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes. In addition, people aged 12 to 20 years old drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks.

Furthermore, underage drinking poses an array of negative consequences and risks. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), underage drinking causes deaths and many injuries, impairs judgments, increase the risk of physical and sexual assault, interferes with brain development, and can cause alcohol related problems later in life.

There are procedure parents can take to ensure that their children are safe while enjoying prom. The Alliance For Safe Kids recommends knowing where your child will be. Set a curfew for your teen to be home and when they arrive home, have them check in with you. Also, reinforce the message to your teenager that he/she should never allow someone who has been drinking to drive them anywhere.

In addition, NIAAA suggests that parents can help their children avoid alcohol problems by talking about the dangers of drinking while under the influence, getting to know their children’s friends, and connecting with other parents about sending clear messages about the importance of not drinking alcohol.

The Council on Substance Abuse- NCADD (COSA-NCADD) provides the Good Neighbor Network (GNN) Program to help decrease alcohol consumption rates among students in grades 6th-12th. For more information about GNN and prevention strategies for underage drinking contact Behavioral Health Prevention Specialist Muhammed Hasan at 334-229-1629 or mhasan@cosancadd.org.

 

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