PARENTS AND UNDERAGE DRINKING: MYTHS VS FACTS

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Montgomery, AL- There is no such thing as “safe” drinking when it comes to alcohol use be teens. Research shows that young people’s brains keep developing well into their 20s. Alcohol can alter this development, potentially a?ecting both brain structure and function. This may cause cognitive or learning problems and/or make the brain more prone to alcohol dependence. This is especially a risk when people start drinking young and drink heavily.

Underage drinking is a serious public health problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America’s youth, and drinking by young people poses enormous health and safety risks. Research shows that by age 15, about 35 % of teens have had at least 1 drink. By age 18, that number almost doubles to about 65 %. In addition, in 2014, 8.7 million young people ages 12–20 reported that they drank alcohol beyond “just a few sips” in the past month.

There are many teens and youth who often binge drink, or consume many drinks on an occasion. In 2014, NIAAA reported that 5.3 million young people had 5 or more drinks on the same occasion, within a few hours, at least once in the past month. Furthermore, 1.3 million young people had 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on 5 or more days over the past month.

New research from The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) reveals that teens who perceive their parents to be more permissive about alcohol use are MORE likely to abuse alcohol and to use other drugs. With this is mind, there are some myths and facts about underage drinking that parents should take heed too. Monitoring the Future; an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students, college students, and young adults, suggests a few:

MYTH: ALLOWING TEENS TO DRINK AT HOME IS A “SAFE” CHOICE.

FACT: IT IS ILLEGAL TO HOST UNDERAGE DRINKING PARTIES, EVEN IN YOUR HOME.
Social Host Laws in the State of Alabama say that adults, who allow underage drinking in their home, even if they did not purchase the alcohol, can face sti? ?nes, and a sentence of up to six months in jail. This is a Class B Misdemeanor.

MYTH: THEY’RE GOING TO DRINK ANYWAY, IT MIGHT AS WELL BE AT HOME SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO DRIVE

FACT: MANY TEENS ARE MAKING THE CHOICE TO BE ALCOHOL-FREE.
Five-year trends continue to show signi?cant decreases in alcohol use among all grades. Past-month use of alcohol was 9.7 percent, 21.5 percent, and 35.3 percent of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, respectively, compared to 5 years ago, with rates at 13.8 percent, 28.9 percent, and 41.2 percent in 2010.

MYTH: DRINKING WITH YOUR TEEN CREATES A WAY FOR YOU TO BOND WITH THEM.

FACT: TEENAGERS WANT PARENTS TO BE PARENTS, NOT PEERS.
A report done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that children who believed that their parents would disprove of their behaviors were less likely to try and engage in these behaviors. Council and Heal News (SAMHSA).
For more information on how underage drinking and prevention call 334-316-6827 or email info@cosa.ncadd.org.

The mission of COSA-NCADD is to reduce the incidence and prevalence of the disease of alcoholism, other drug addiction diseases, and related problems.

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