Parent involvement is key in preventing underage drinking

Underage drinking and accidents caused by drunk driving is becoming a major problem especially in young drivers. However, according to experts, parents can play a key role in preventing underage drinking.

It is mentioned in a report that in the past month, almost 10 million people under the age of 21 have consumed alcohol only in the United States. Moreover, Michigan faces an estimated $2 billion annually for covering medical aid, treatment, youth violence, property damage and driving accidents due to underage drinking.

As time is passing on, parents are becoming more accepting of teen drinking. It is found that between 2010 and 2012, the percentage of parents allowing their teens to drink with them rose from 30 percent to 37 percent. Similarly, 15 percent teens are allowed to host parties where alcohol is in the menu. The percentage of teens who are allowed to go to parties where alcohol is being served is 47%.

“I buy alcohol for my son, not until he was out of high school, but definitely is not 21. My husband says, ‘if you are old enough to go to war then you are old enough to drink’,” said a New Haven parent.

Now it is very important that parents should play their important role in reducing the amount of underage drinking that goes on in their communities. They should give proper guideline to their children and tell them the consequences of underage drinking.

There are many ways parents can adopt like improving their relationships by using positive reinforcement, problem solving and listening and communication skills. There are some duties parents have to give like monitor children’s activities during adolescence, consistent discipline and rule making. Parents need to strengthen family bonding to prevent underage drinking.

There are some legal troubles which parents can face who allow underage drinking. Civil and criminal penalties are enforced on adults who allow underage drinking on their property even if they are not the ones who supply alcohol due to Social Host Liability Laws. Social host laws are also imposed regardless if someone gets hurt.

There are some negative effects on teens health if they start underage drinking. Reports show that about 5,000 people under the age of 21 die each year due to underage drinking only in the United States. The mood and behaviour of teens changes in a negative way as alcohol affects the brain’s communication pathways. This also makes one harder to think clearly and move with coordination.

In Century Council reports it is mentioned that more than three people under the age of 21 die each day in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Similarly, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released that one in five teen drivers who were involved in fatal crashes had alcohol in their system. According to Hallmark Health Systems reports, people who drink large amounts of alcohol in a fairly short time span begin to lose control of functions like breathing and the gag reflex due to the alcohol depressing their nervous system. This can have fatal results, and in extreme cases even lead to death.

A parent, Debbie Taylor, whose son Casey died from alcohol poisoning said, “I’ll never know why my smart, honor roll student, Casey made the choices he did that night, but Casey was that person who everyone cheered on at that party.” She continues, “When they got tired of watching him stumble around drunk, they put him to bed. On Sunday morning, the people who were still at the party didn’t know what to do when Casey started breathing funny. By the time they called 911, it was too late.”

Another organisation, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, released a report telling that 37 percent of rapes and sexual assaults, 27 percent of aggravated assaults, 15 percent of robberies and 25 percent of simple assaults involved alcohol use by the offender.

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