It's Alcohol Awareness month! We recently released an insightful flyer on the dangers of underage drinking. The flyer's author, Kelly Sickafoose, shared that though it is important to focus on the opioid epidemic, education on the dangers of alcohol abuse is vital to healthy, drug free communities.
According to the CDC Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States, and it is responsible for thousands of deaths among youth each year. Even though drinking alcohol is illegal for persons under the age of 21, the U.S. department of Justice reported that people aged 12 to 20 drink over 10% of the alcohol consumed in the United States. Underage drinking is not only dangerous, but it also has a negative effect on the economy, costing the U.S. $24 billion in a single year according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
The flyer (mentioned above) further warns against the dangers of underage drinking:
"Research indicates that alcohol use during the teenage years can interfere with normal adolescent brain development and increase the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. In addition, underage drinking contributes to a range of acute consequences, such as crime, injuries, sexual assaults, and even deaths. The longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop problems associated with it.
Parents play a key role in warning their children about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. Research shows that kids who learn about the risks of alcohol and drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use. Parents influence whether and when adolescents begin drinking. Family policies should be established to disallow adolescent drinking, and adults need to be mindful of the example they set for their children when they drink."
This April, don’t be fooled into thinking that underage drinking is okay. Talk to your kids about the risks of underage drinking, and refuse to provide alcohol to minors.
- Maggie Neal
Multiple Authors including coalition staff, board members, and coalition members contribute to this page.