As April Comes To A Close, Alcohol Awareness Month Was A Success For Underage Drinking ConcernsDuring the month of April, local and state officials did a great job for Alcohol Awareness Month. This years theme, “Help For Today. Hope for Tomorrow” was sponsored again by NCADD (The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependance, Inc.). The NCADD went the extra mile to raise awareness for underage drinking and the direct effects it has on our youth and communities across the country.
While news of the heroin and opioid epidemic continue to grab headlines, we often forget that alcohol and underage drinking continue to be a major problem in our society. Over 6,500 people, under the age of 21, die each year in alcohol related accidents and far more are injured.
Here are some interesting facts about underage drinking in America:
- Alcohol is the #1 drug of choice for underage young people. It kills more kids than all illegal drugs combined.
- Every day over 7,000 youngsters, under the age of 16, take their first drink of alcohol.
- Underage drinking costs the United States a whopping $62 billion dollars every single year.
- 1/4 of all children are exposed to alcohol disorders within their families.
- Over 1,700 college students are killed every year by alcohol related events. One college student dies every 4.65 days in the U.S. because of alcohol.
- If a teenager starts drinking before age 15, he or she is 4X more likely to become an alcoholic before the age of 21 years old.
Typically, when it’s time to celebrate parents have to make tough decisions about serving alcohol to minors. This critical decision carries serious liability not only for the underage person who is drinking but more importantly the person (such as the parent) who provides the alcohol to the minor. Even if a parent does not directly serve a minor, just knowing that the child was “raiding the liquor cabinet” carries serious legal consequences. Parents also have a responsibility to collect a youths car keys if the parent suspects the youth is intoxicated.
Parents and the media need to be aware that alcohol use is still dangerous without a motor vehicle. Suicide, drownings, accidental overdose deaths and alcohol deaths are just as common as mixing alcohol and driving.
This year, colleges, churches, schools and may other organizations sponsored activities that created awareness and promoted families to get help for alcohol related issues and alcohol addiction. This is something that needs to continue all year round to protect our children and keep our communities healthy and safe.
There are 4 ways to combat underage drinking:
- Reduce the availability of alcohol to minors – for example, properly securing all the alcohol in your home.
- Enforcement of laws and regulations regarding underage drinking – for example, local bars or liquor stores that sell minors.
- Changing cultural misconceptions and behaviors through education.
- Stop glorifying underage drinking and drug use in the media