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PARENTS ARE THE #1 INFLUENCE WHEN IT COMES TO TEENS AND ALCOHOL

The longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it. That’s why it is so important to help your child connect the dots and make smart decisions about alcohol and drugs.


TIPS FOR PARENTS:

Click here to download more information on tips for parents in talking to their youth about alcohol.

1. Make it clear your expectation is no-alcohol use before 21
2. Agree on consequences and enforce them consistently
3. Discuss real-world consequences of underage drinking including the high fines for a minor in possession, risks of drunk driving, or loss of driver’s license or scholarship
4. Emphasize the facts — underage drinking can negatively impact health, safety and academics
5. Discuss ways to handle difficult situations where alcohol use by other students may create a problem — interrupted study time or unwanted sexual advances
6. Become familiar with the school’s alcohol use policy together
7. Demonstrate your willingness to help find constructive alternatives to drinking
8. Stay in regular communication, and talk in ways that show caring, trust and respect


ADDITIONAL PARENT RESOURCES:


5 QUICK FACTS ABOUT UNDERAGE DRINKING: 

  1. RISK OF INJURY AND DEATH: Alcohol is a significant factor in the deaths of people younger than age 21 in the United States each year. This includes deaths from motor vehicle crashes, homicides, alcohol overdoses, falls, burns, drowning, and suicides. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Underage Drinking, March 2021 
  2. INTERFERES WITH BRAIN DEVELOPMENT: Research shows young people’s brains keep developing well into their 20s. Alcohol can alter this development, potentially affecting both brain structure and function. This may cause cognitive or learning problems and/or increase vulnerability for alcohol use disorder, especially when people start drinking at a young age and drink heavily. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Underage Drinking, March 2021 
  3. INCREASED RISK OF ALCOHOL PROBLEMS LATER IN LIFE:  Research shows that people who start drinking before the age of 15 are at a higher risk for developing alcohol use disorder later in life. For example, adults ages 26 and older who began drinking before age 15 are 5.6 times more likely to report having alcohol use disorder in the past year as those who waited until age 21 or later to begin drinking. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Underage Drinking, March 2021 
  4. YOUTH ALCOHOL USE: 1 in 6 (17%) Kentucky 10th grade students reported alcohol use, and 1 in 8 (13%) said they had been drunk in the last 30 days. KIP Survey by REACH of Louisville, 2018
  5. YOUTH ACCESS TO ALCOHOL: 1 in 2 (47%) Kentucky 10th grade students and 3 in 5 (60%) 12th grade youth reported alcohol is easy to access. KIP Survey by REACH of Louisville, 2018