We are well into the month of April, completing our first full week, so we know what that means….
ITS ALCOHOL AWARENESS MONTH!
During the month of April, we make an effort to increase outreach and education regarding the dangers of alcoholism, alcohol abuse, and underage drinking. Alcohol is the most widely abused substance among teens (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2017). The earlier teens begin drinking, the more likely they will become alcohol dependent in adulthood. Aside from the legal consequences, underage drinking can result in several health-related consequences that can be very costly for youth as well. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Liver disease
- Tissues scarring (Cirrhosis)
- Inflammation (Alcoholic Hepatitis)
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risk of cancer
- Impaired brain development
- Memory lapses that can worsen to short-term memory loss or early onset of dementia
- Persistent brain damage
To prevent any further contribution to the cost of excessive drinking on our youth, we must act through prevention and preventive efforts! One of the most effective ways to prevent teens from engaging in underage drinking is by talking to them about alcohol use. Parents do have a significant influence the decisions their children make, and having multiple talks often builds a trusting relationship with your child, allowing them to feel more comfortable coming to you for advice in regard to drinking among other things. Also, the earlier these conversations are had, the better the chances of influencing their decisions. Another effective method is for adults to not serve teens alcohol, even under “supervision”– “supervision” does not mean SAFE! Adults can also lock away their alcohol drinks so as to hinder access to minors.
For more information about the dangers of underage drinking and alcohol abuse, check out any of the links below! And don’t forget to share to help spread awareness!
Download the “Talk. They Hear You.”® App or text “TALK” to 85775 for conversation starter ideas, tips, and other resources!
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2017, February). Underage Drinking. Retrieved April 9, 2019, from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website: https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/UnderageDrinking/UnderageFact.htm