Although summer is winding down and school will begin this month, many teenagers have had exposure to alcohol. 

Over fifty percent of 12th graders report drinking in the past month.

Alcohol lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, which can lead to risky behaviors, including practicing unprotected sex. This can lead to acquiring HIV/AIDS as well as other sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancy. 

Alcohol also hinders coordination, slows reaction time, dulls senses and blocks memory functions.

The relationship between alcohol and motor vehicle crashes is widely acknowledged.

In many cases it is difficult to discuss this issue with your teenagers, but it could save their life or someone else’s if you share these quick facts:

  1. Know the law. Alcohol is not legal until the age of 21 and there are harsh penalties for underage drinking.
  2. Get the facts right. One 12 -ounce beer has as much alcohol as a 1.5 ounce of whiskey or 5 ounces of wine.
  3. Be aware of the risks. Drinking increases the risk of injury. Car crashes; falls, burns, drowning and suicide are all linked to alcohol and other drug use.
  4. Sweep away the myths. Having a designated driver is no excuse to drink. Drinking only at home, or sticking to beer doesn’t make drinking any “safer.”

Make sure your teenager knows that no matter what happens when they are out with their friends they are ALWAYS able to call you when they need help.

A parent needs to remain calm, understand the situation and find a safe solution to the problem.

For more information contact, Al-Anon/ Alateen Family Group Headquarters, Inc. (1-800-344-2666.)

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