Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ulster Prevention Council Weekly Blog 6-25-13: Will I See You in September?

With summer in and school out, unsupervised youth may be in danger of accessing and/or consuming alcohol in their homes and in the homes of their friends.  These dangers are real and possibly deadly.
Through the 2012 Ulster County Youth Development Survey, we asked youth in grades 7-12 how they obtained alcohol and where they drank it. While 56.8% reported not drinking at all in the past year, 25.4% reported drinking in their own home, and 26.1%  reported drinking in the home of a friend.  
In almost every case involving underage drinking, somewhere along the way an adult broke the law. 35% of Ulster County youth reported obtaining alcohol with the aid of an adult. The Ulster County Social Host law holds parents accountable for drinking parties involving under-age participants in their home.  However, many adults still believe that allowing youth to drink in the home is "safer" and that they can teach youth to drink "responsibly". 10.3% of Ulster County youth reported drinking with parental permission.
Although many still view underage drinking as a rite of passage, it is a dangerous practice that should be discouraged. Every three minutes someone under the legal drinking age in the US has to go to the emergency room because they drank underage.
Youth ages 15 and younger who drink alcohol are 4 times more likely to become dependent on alcohol and 5 times more likely to abuse alcohol later in life than those who wait until they are 21 or older. Alcohol use can interfere with adolescent brain development. Adolescent brains do not discriminate between alcohol used without permission and alcohol used with permission.
In addition, adolescents may make the poor choice of getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking. It is no coincidence that during June, July and August the greatest number of teenagers perish in car crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This summer and all year, adults should monitor and secure alcohol at home in order to help prevent underage drinking. Parents are urged to have a frank discussion with teens about the dangers of underage drinking and set rules, including not getting into a car with someone who has been drinking.
If you have had the talk with your teen about drugs, but not alcohol, now’s the time to have it. 

Cheryl DePaolo
Director of Ulster Prevention Council

No comments:

Post a Comment