This from CADCA ( Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America)….
A new federal report reveals that more than 40 percent of the nation´s estimated 10.8 million underage drinkers obtained their alcohol from adults of legal drinking age—including their own parents. For coalition leaders, the findings are nothing new. That´s why in many communities, social host laws have been passed to stop parents from supplying alcohol to their kids.
The report, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration this week, indicates that one in 16 underage drinkers (6.4 percent or 650,000) was given alcoholic beverages by their parents in the past month.
“In far too many instances parents directly enable their children’s underage drinking – in essence encouraging them to risk their health and wellbeing,” said Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H, a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service. “Proper parental guidance alone may not be the complete solution to this devastating public health problem – but it is a critical part.”
The report is based on a nationwide study which for the first time asked detailed questions about the behavior and social situations involved in underage drinking – a problem responsible for the deaths of more than 5,000 people under the of age 21 every year in the United States. The survey asked persons aged 12 to 20 about the nature and scope of their drinking behavior as well as the social conditions under which they drank.
Gwen Brown, from the Genesis Prevention Coalition in Atlanta, Ga., said the findings are not surprising. “Drinking is such a part of our culture that parents think it’s OK that their teens drink,” she said. “They tend to believe that it’s better to serve alcohol at home to their kids, than have them go to an establishment to drink alcohol, without realizing the type of behavior that it’s enforcing.”
Among the report’s more notable findings:
• More than half (53.9) of all people aged 12 to 20 engaged in underage drinking in their lifetime, ranging from 11.0 percent of 12 year olds to 85.5 percent of 20 year olds.
• Past month underage alcohol use was higher among non-Hispanic whites (32.6 percent) than Hispanics (25.7 percent), who in turn had a higher rate than blacks (18.8 percent). Underage current drinking rates were 27.2 percent among American Indians or Alaska Natives and 17.1 percent among Asians.
• An average of 3.5 million people aged 12 to 20 each year (9.4 percent) meet the diagnostic criteria for having an alcohol use disorder (dependence or abuse).
• About one in five people in this age group (7.2 million people) have engaged in binge drinking.
• Among youths aged 12 to 14 the rate of current drinking was higher for females than males, about equal for females and males among those aged 15 to 17 and lower for females than males among those aged 18 to 20.
• Over half of underage drinkers were at someone else’s home when they had their last drink, and 30 percent were in their own home; 9.4 percent were at a restaurant, bar or club.
• Rates of binge drinking are significantly higher among young people living with a parent who engaged in binge drinking within the past year.
Brown said community prevention efforts should include a strong parent education component, so that parents learn the facts about underage drinking. “In our parent education efforts, we need to stress the damage that alcohol has on the adolescent brain so that parents are made aware of the long-term implications of youth alcohol use,” she noted.
In Nebraska, local community leaders helped pass a social host ordinance in the state. The ordinance holds parents liable for serving alcohol to underage youth in their homes. That, coupled with a campaign launched around prom and graduation season, dubbed “Create Memories, Not Regrets. Celebrate Sober,” is helping to educate the community about the risks of serving alcohol to underage youth.
“Parents often believe that it’s OK if their teens drink while at home under their supervision. They don’t realize that they’re sending mixed messages. That’s just telling the kid that it’s OK to drink,” said Amber Berliner, Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator of Community Connections. To learn more, see the Feb. 29 issue of Coalitions Online.
In Atlanta, the Genesis Prevention Coalition is slated to launch a social marketing campaign aimed at parents. The campaign will include citywide billboards displaying messages discouraging parents from serving alcohol to their youth.
Underage Alcohol Use: Findings from the 2002-2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health is available at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/underage2k8/toc.htm.