Where would 709,000 American youth between ages 12 and 14 get alcohol? According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost all (93.4%) of them got it for free the last time they drank. What’s more, over 44.8% of 12 to 14 year olds who reported drinking in the past month say they got for free from their family or at home.
Many experts call alcohol the most dangerous drug. “People who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 15 are six times more likely than those who start at age 21 and older to develop alcohol problems. Parents and other adults need to be aware that providing alcohol to children can expose them to an increased risk for alcohol abuse and set them on a path with increased potential for addiction,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.
Parents and family members, including older siblings and friends, play an essential role in keeping youth alcohol free. Preventing access can be as simple as not keeping alcohol in the house. If you choose to keep alcohol, reduce your teen’s chances of using without your knowledge by keeping track your supply or if possible, store alcohol in a locked cabinet. Most importantly, get involved and stay involved in your child’s life and don’t provide alcohol to them or their friends.
Information provided by MAPSA, in recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month.