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Cutting down on underage drinking

Jul 15, 2015

PARENTS EVERYWHERE received welcome news last week: underage alcohol use has decreased significantly in the past decade. Better still, binge drinking among minors has also declined. Cause and effect is always hard to determine in these matters, but the many prevention measures adopted in recent years by governments, schools and other public service organizations seem to be having an impact.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the proportion of people ages 12 to 20 who drink has dropped from 28.8 percent to 22.7 percent from 2002 to 2013, and the proportion of those who binge drink, from 19.3 percent to 14.2 percent.

The study’s findings suggest that states need not lower the drinking age to 18 — as a number of college and university chancellors and presidents urged in a 2008 letter — to cut down on underage and binge drinking. That would absolve educational leaders of the responsibility to implement effective solutions to the alcohol-related problems facing their schools, when last week’s report indicates that responsibility is exactly what it takes to get the job done.

A number of catalysts could have spurred the decline in underage drinking. Along with stricter enforcement of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act enacted in 1984, price and tax hikes on beer, wine and liquor have made alcohol less available to minors. But the past decade also has brought about an evolution in how young people view alcohol.

Ad campaigns and educational seminars stressing the dangers of drunk driving and alcohol poisoning seem to have made students warier of drinking large amounts. There’s also been growing attention to the connection, highlighted in a recent Post survey, between sexual assault on campus and alcohol consumption. This hyper-awareness of drinking and its consequences may be contributing to a cultural shift: According to the University of Michigan’s yearly Monitoring the Future study, minors have reported increased perceived risk and disapproval rates of underage drinking and drunkenness since 2000, just as heavy drinking itself has declined.

Of course, better does not mean perfect. The decrease in consumption comes as a surprise to most precisely because underage drinking remains widespread. Alcohol is still the most common drug young people use illegally, and the current numbers on binge drinking are hardly rosy. Many teenagers continue to be at risk. In the coming years, efforts must build on the progress of the past decade.

 

 

Read more here. 

New campaign targets parents, adults as alcohol providers

Apr 28, 2015

SANDY — For the next six months, the rear doors of Sandy's squad cars will display a pointed public health advertisement:

"Seat reserved for adults who provide alcohol to minors."

The new stickers represent the first phase of a joint campaign against underage drinking by the mayor's office of Sandy, its police department and ParentsEmpowered.org, an outreach arm of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Rather than addressing children and teens directly, the campaign targets parents and other adults who provide the majority of all alcohol consumed by minors.

"Some parents feel that it is good for children to learn to drink at home," Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan said Monday. "That is not only a very bad decision to make on the behalf of our young people, it is also illegal."

Adults who provide alcohol to a minor can be charged with a class B misdemeanor, and face up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.

"That's the same penalty as a DUI," said Sandy Police Chief Kevin Thacker. "It's something that's very important and we take it very seriously."

Of course, Thacker said, the legal consequences are the least of his force's worries. Studies have shown that underage drinking both impairs adolescent brain development and predisposes teens to alcoholism and addiction.

According to Art Brown, co-chairman of ParentsEmpowered.org, 40 percent of children who begin drinking at or before age 15 will become alcohol-dependent; 67 percent will try another illicit drug.

Whatever their intentions, parents who supply their children with alcohol are complicit in this damage, Brown said.

“Law enforcement will be there and they will, I assure you, enforce the law. You will get a ride in the back seat,” he said, gesturing to the squad car’s newly-emblazoned passenger door. “But more importantly, when we give kids alcohol, we can set them down a path that’s almost irreversible.”

The good news, Brown said, is that parental attitude is one of the most important influences on a teen's response to alcohol.

"It trumps peer pressure as the No. 1 thing,” he said.

Campaign officials encourage parents to set strong zero-tolerance rules for alcohol, especially in the face of upcoming celebrations such as prom and graduation. April is the perfect time for a family meeting, said city communications director Nicole Martin.

"If parents are not having conversations with their children about underage drinking, we hope they take this time, Alcohol Awareness Month, to do so," she said.

Phase one of the campaign will continue for six months before organizers transition to phase two, a series of town hall meetings and public forums on underage drinking prevention.

Published: Monday, April 27 2015 3:24 p.m. MDT

 

See Full Article Here

Email: aoligschlaeger@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @allisonoctober

Bonding, Boundaries, Monitoring

Feb 20, 2015

Effects of Underage Drinking

Mar 4, 2013

This bulletin presents findings from a literature review that investigated how underage drinking can affect a youth’s physical, emotional and neurological health. In it, the authors discuss the legal, neurological, economic and personal consequences youth can face when they make the decision to begin drinking.

The authors highlight the following points:

  • The human brain continues to develop until a person is around age 25. Underage drinking may impair this neurological development, causing youth to make irresponsible decisions, encounter memory lapses, or process and send neural impulses more slowly.
  • Underage drinking cost society $68 billion in 2007, or $1 for every drink consumed. This includes medical bills, income loss, and costs from pain and suffering.
  • In 2009, 19 percent of drivers ages 16-20 who were involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal adult limit (0.08).
  • Alcohol use encourages risky sexual behavior. Youth who drink may be more likely to have sex, become pregnant or contract sexually transmitted diseases.

Continue reading at: http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/237145.pdf

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