Get the Facts
- More teens die as a result of alcohol use than all other illegal drugs combined.
- In Utah many kids now begin drinking in elementary school, and binge drinking is a common activity by the 10th grade
- Because the brain is not fully developed until a person reaches their mid-twenties drinking alcohol underage can result in reduced brain activity compared to brain activity in non drinking teenagers
- Kids who begin drinking before the age of 15 have a 40% chance of becoming alcohol dependent, compared to a 7% chance in those who wait until the legal age of 21 to start drinking.
- 39% of underage drinkers exhibit serious behavioral problems
- Underage drinkers are four times more likely to suffer depression than those underage who do not drink
- 67% of those who drink before age 15 will go on to use illegal drugs
The Best Solution
The best defense against underage drinking might be surprising-it’s involved parents. If you have children it’s important that you talk about alcohol with them, and the dangers that can come from drinking underage. Even if it seems like they are not interested or listening to you it can make a big difference. In fact, studies have found that parental disapproval was the number one reason underage individuals choose not to drink.
On average, Utah parents begin talking to their children about not drinking alcohol two years too late. Because of this Parent’s Empowered encourages parents to talk to their children about not drinking underage before their child is eight years old. Parents are also encouraged to participate in the following activities to better prevent their children from drinking underage:
- Bonding: If a child feels close to their parents they are less likely to drink
- Boundaries: Parents should set clear rules regarding no underage drinking, and make sure their children remember these rules
- Monitioring: Know where your children are, who they are spending time with, and what they’re doing
In honor of Alcohol Awareness Month this April take the time to have these important conversations with your children.
To learn more about underage drinking and a parents important role in preventing it visit parentsempowered.org