Underage DrinKing Prevention

What: Prevent youth and young adults, ages 12-24 from underage and binge drinking.

How: Primary prevention strategies focus on providing information to the community about the risks and dangers of alcohol by youth building skills, changing policies and practices that provide protective environments to allow youth to make healthy and positive choices.

3 ways for parents to talk to youth about Underage and Binge Drinking:

  1. Make sure they understand that you disapprove of underage drinking and other drug use. Let them know that underage drinking puts them at risk for a variety of short- and long-term physical and emotional problems. It also affects and endangers the lives of those around them.

  2. Be open and honest with them about your use of alcohol. Be a good source of information about alcohol and other drugs. And start talking early. Between the ages of 9 and 13, children start to think differently about alcohol. Many children begin to think underage drinking is OK. Some even start to experiment. It is never too early to talk about alcohol.

  3. Build your child's strategies for refusing alcohol and drinking. A possible strategy is to plan on a 'code' word they can text you when they need to use you as an excuss or if they need you to get them out of a situation. Have them think through possible situations where they might be asked to drink and what they are going to do. This allows them to have a plan of action if the situation ever occurs where they need to refuse alcohol.

Parent Alert: Alcopops

Some of these drinks contain almost as much alcohol in one container as 4 or 5 beers. These alcoholic beverages appeal to young drinkers because they are very sweet and cheap to purchase. They are marketed to youth and are sold most often at convenience stores.

It is estimated that in 2011 - more than 5,500 ER visits were because of alcopops and children as young as 13 were injured. Reports from first-time young or underage drinkers said that they vomited or blacked out after drinking less than 1 container of the products.

Why: Alcohol is the most widely available drug to youth. It is also one of the first drugs to be used at a young age. Alcohol use damages the developing brain, and intoxication can lead to accidents or overdose. Young people deserve the best chance at a healthy, substance-free life. Waiting until at least 21 is the best way to achieve that.

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