Mary Alice Reporting – A campaign to prevent underage drinking continues to be a key message to remind adults that it is illegal and unhealthy to provide alcohol to youth.
Drinking and driving is a major contributor of teen deaths in the U.S., with approximately 5,000 persons under 21 dying every year from drinking.
ADAMHs Board Community Services Manager Veronica Spidell says that the Parents Who Host Lose the Most campaign runs mid-April through mid-June to cover prom and graduation season.
“A lot of times a parent might think, oh, it’s safer for them to drink at our house we’ll just have the party here, and we try to let you know, through this campaign, that you can’t give alcohol to your teens friends, who are under the age of 21, under any circumstances.”
The initiative also serves to be a reminder to minors that there can be consequences for their parents, for themselves, and also for their health and could also lead to increased risky behavior like drunk driving and drug abuse.
Spidell notes the most important thing a parent can do is to communicate with their teen that if going to a party and the situation becomes uncomfortable, it’s okay to call.
“And say I need a ride. Maybe there’s some code word or something they establish between the parent and the child as to if you text this to me I know you’re in trouble and I’ll come get you, and you’re not going to be in trouble if I come get you, because kids don’t always know what they’re walking into but if they can have a plan in place they can reach out to the parent.”
Other ways for adults to be part of the solution to curb underage drinking is by talking with the teen about the dangers of drinking, being a positive role model, having regular conversation with their kids, and to connect with the child’s friends and their parents.
Additional information about underage drinking is available at www.empowertusc.com.
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