Only 1 in 100 parents believes his or her teen binge drinks, yet 1 in 7 teens does
As children prepare to go back to school, now is the perfect time for parents to talk with them about some of the tough issues they may encounter—including alcohol use—and help them get off to a healthy start. This month, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is working to empower parents to have ongoing conversations with their children about underage drinking by conducting its Power of Parents® program across the state.
Parents may think their child would never drink alcohol, but they could be wrong. Research shows that more than 40 percent of all 10th graders drink alcohol. And, according to research by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 1 in 7 teens binge drinks, yet only 1 in 100 parents believes his or her teen does.
Parents who talk with their children about alcohol can make a difference. Studies have shown that parents have the greatest influence over their kids’ decisions about alcohol, including their decisions around riding with a drinking driver. MADD developed its Power of Parents program to give parents the information and tools they need to feel confident about talking with their children about the dangers of underage drinking and never riding with a drinking driver.
“As kids get ready to go back to school, we encourage parents to prepare their children to make smart decisions about alcohol by talking with them about the importance of not drinking until the age of 21 and never getting in the car with a drinking driver,” said MADD Texas Executive Director Jaime Gutierrez. “Our Power of Parents program can help parents begin ongoing, lifesaving conversations about alcohol with their children at this crucial time of year.”
The effects of not having these important conversations can be devastating. In 2015, 101 Texas young people between the ages of 12 and 20 were killed in alcohol-related crashes, and 70 of those deaths involved drivers under 21 who had been drinking, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
likely to be in an alcohol-related crash. Adolescent drinkers perform worse in school; are more likely to fall behind; and have an increased risk of social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts and violence.
“Talking with your children is just the first step,” said Gutierrez. “Parents must also put those words into action by modeling positive behaviors.”
A recently released MADD and Nationwide survey found that 82 percent of Texas parents surveyed have talked with their children about the dangers of riding with a drinking driver. However, more than 1 in 4 Texas parents admitted to riding with a drinking driver in the past year, and nearly 55 percent of parents surveyed said that they’ve had a drink or two at dinner and then driven their children home in the past year.
TxDOT is MADD’s Texas partner on the Power of Parents program, with Nationwide serving as the national presenting sponsor and the GM Foundation as the national supporting partner. Parents can download Power of Parents handbooks for parents of middle school and high school students and sign up for a free 15-minute online workshop in English or Spanish at www.madd.org/parentstx. New in 2016, parents can download the Power of Parents Pocket Guide for a quick overview of the handbooks.
Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2015). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975-2014: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan.
Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2015). Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 15-4927, NSDUH Series H-50). http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf
Hingson, Ralph, et al. “Age of Drinking Onset, Driving After Drinking, and Involvement in Alcohol-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes.” DOT HS 809 188. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, January 2001.
American Medical Association (AMA) (2002). Fact Sheet from an AMA Report on Alcohol’s Adverse Effects on the Brains of Children, Adolescents and College Students. See more at: http://www.madd.org/underage-drinking/why21/brains.html#sthash.X9mXKM5v.dpuf
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD changed American culture by introducing the “designated driver” in 1986 and related red ribbon awareness campaign Tie One On For Safety® now in its 30th year. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® is marking its 10th anniversary and reducing drunk driving fatalities by 25 percent since its launch. MADD supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, providing a service every four minutes through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Power of Parents® and Power of Youth® programs reduce underage drinking. Learn more by visiting madd.org or calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, commercial, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; banking and mortgages; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
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Jeff SalzgeberSherry Matthews Marketing, for MADDPR Consultant5127432659jeff@radiantmediagroup.com
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